Thursday, October 17, 2013

Revolution in the millennium

The only book of Kasparov about Modern Chess which I didn't read, is Garry Kasparov on modern chess, Part 1: Revolution in the 70's for the simple reason that I prefer to study recent openings. A nice bookreview of this book can be found on the site of the torrewachters. Recently the question was raised on chesspub if we can also speak of a sort of revolution in the new millennium. Very soon the remark was made that there has been in the last decade an explosion (and still ongoing) of new systems and variations in such magnitude that likely a book of the 70's would only be a chapter today. This is one of the main reasons why we have today much more repertoire-books as e.g. Playing 1.d4 Indian defences van Lars Schandorff instead of opening-manuals as e.g. The complete Albin counter gambit van Luc Henris.

Without a doubt the computer has hereby played an important role. Previously players were admiring the tactical wizardness of players like Mikhail Tal or Rashid Nezhmetdinov. Today every player backed up with some good home-analysis can show some fancy tactics which was illustrated in my blogarticle iccf. Players aren't afraid anymore to play hyper-sharp variations because they know that their engines have shown in advance it is fully playable. Besides tactics, we also see a remarkable raise of gambits in which material is invested for dynamical characteristics. The Marshallgambit is likely one of the most known systems which became very popular last decade even in such magnitude that a lot of white-players have given up the traditional Spanish setup and exchanged it for the slower d3 concept. On my blog I presented an example in my blogarticle eindspelen met ongelijke lopers deel 2. For the Marshallgambit we can mainly speak about expanding the theory but last years we have also seen many new fully playable gambits. I remember e.g. the astonishing Gajewski 2.0 gambits which caused a wave of attention in the chessworld as it concerned an extremely popular opening.

Finally I also see a 3rd kind of tendency in evaluating positional disadvantages compared with dynamics. An opening like the Berlin was regarded a few decades ago as nonsense but today most topplayers have it in their repertoire with white and black. In fact is it pretty absurd what black is doing. He let himself volunteerly lose the castlingrights, destroy the pawnstructure (double c-pawns) and on top white gets a few extra tempo. Despite all that a computer doesn't succeed in forcing an advantage, at contrary as black often has good counterchances if white plays a bit inaccurate.

Recently I met by coincidence a similar concept in the Rauzer in which black via serious positional concessions, tries to get very dynamic play. I mean the system with g6 in which black permits to destroy completely his pawnstructure often intending to sacrifice a pawn.
Nevertheless we see recently several strong grandmasters willing to play with the black pieces. I am thinking of 2012 Junior Worldchampion Alexander Ipatov, 2011 European champion Vladimir Potkin and +2600 Evgeniy Najer. A fantastic game however lost by black but not in the opening, was played beginning of this year in Wijk aan Zee between the Swedish grandmaster Nils Grandelius and the earlier mentioned Alexander Ipatov.
[Event "75th Tata Steel GpB"] [Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"] [Date "2013.01.17"] [Round "5.3"] [White "Grandelius, N."] [Black "Ipatov, Alexander"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B60"] [WhiteElo "2572"] [BlackElo "2587"] [PlyCount "73"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 d6 6. Bg5 g6 7. Bxf6 exf6 8. Bc4 Bg7 9. Ndb5 O-O 10. Qxd6 f5 11. O-O-O Qb6 12. f4 fxe4 13. Nd5 Qa5 14. Nf6 Kh8 15. Nc7 Be6 16. Bxe6 fxe6 {(My personal analysis continue with Rad8 and black has good counterplay.)} 17. Nxa8 Qxa2 18. Nc7 Qa1 19. Kd2 Qxb2 20. Nce8 Nd4 21. Nxg7 Rc8 $2 {(Hereafter black is lost. With Kxg7 black could have stayed in the game.)} 22. Ke3 Qc3 23. Rd3 exd3 24. Qxd4 Qxc2 25. Re1 d2 26. Qxd2 Qb3 27. Ke4 Rc4 28. Ke5 Rc5 29. Kd6 Qb6 30. Ke7 Rc7 31. Nd7 Kxg7 32. Rxe6 Qc5 33. Qd6 Qc4 34. Qe5 Kg8 35. Kf6 Rc6 36. Qb8 Rc8 37. Re8 1-0'/>
In the last New in Chess Yearbook 107 there is a complete chapter covering this system which I by coincidence discovered thanks to a review in Checkpoint, a monthly column by Hansen on Chesscafe (readers having this book and willing to share the knowledge of the chapter so I can verify my personal analysis, will certainly do me a favor). So we can expect in the nearby future that more players will pick up the system. Myself I didn't have to wait long before encountering the system on the board as in July in round 7 of Open Gent, a young promising Belgium player Yasseen De Herdt was willing to test me with it. During my preparation I discovered thanks to the latest twics and downloading the games of the just ended Belgium championship that Yasseen had won 4 recent games with the system so I was warned and didn't consider the opening lightly. I plugged the whole morning to find some sort of advantage which wasn't easy with 2 small children hanging around me begging for attention. The longer I was investigating the variations, the more I was surprised about the vitality of the system. Finally I anyway found something new of which I supposed (there was insufficient time to check everything in detail) that it could be an amelioration.
[Event "Open Gent 7de ronde"] [Date "2013"] [White "Brabo"] [Black "De Herdt, Y."] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "B60"] [WhiteElo "2344"] [BlackElo "2170"] [PlyCount "53"] 1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 Nf6 4. Nc3 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Nc6 6. Bg5 g6 {(A side-system which gained in recent years popularity. I had not yet encountered it in a serious game but thanks to a few hours plugging during the preparation, I was anyway able to achieve some small advantage.)} 7. Bxf6 exf6 8. Bb5 Bd7 9. Qd2 Bg7 10. O-O-O O-O 11. Nb3 {(A novelty introduced last year in the game Naiditsch - Najer.)} f5 $146 {(Najer continued with a6 on which I had planned Bxc6, deviating from Naiditsch play with a small plus for white. I missed the gamecontintuation in my preparation but I did have a look at Be6 and Qb6 which became handy as via transposition we later returned to the game-preparation.)} ( 11... Be6 $5 12. Qxd6 Qb6 13. Qc5 f5 {(Via transposition we are back in the game.)}) 12. Qxd6 Qb6 13. Qc5 $5 {(Thanks to the special move-order, white has an extra interesting option.)} (13. Qxd7 $5 Rfd8 14. Bxc6 Rxd7 15. Bxd7 Qxf2 $1 16. exf5 Qxg2 17. Kb1 $14 {(The 3 pieces must be more important than the black queen but it remains unclear if white really has better winning chances than in the game.)}) 13... Be6 14. Nd5 $5 { (The alternative exf5 is also good for some small advantage.)} (14. exf5 $5 Bxb3 15. Qxb6 axb6 16. axb3 Ra5 17. Bxc6 bxc6 18. f4 Rxf5 19. g3 Ra8 $14 ) 14... Qxc5 15. Nxc5 Bxd5 $5 {(The critical test is without doubt Nd4.)} (15... Nd4 $5 16. Nxe6 fxe6 17. Nc7 Rac8 $1 {(Now white must make a difficult choice as in both variations whites advantage is small.)} 18. Nxe6 (18. Rxd4 Rxc7 19. Rd7 Be5 20. Rxc7 Bxc7 21. Bc4 fxe4 22. Bxe6 Kg7 23. Bd5 Rxf2 24. Bxe4 b5 25. a3 $1 a5 $14) 18... Nxe6 19. Bd7 Nd4 $1 20. Bxc8 Rxc8 21. c3 fxe4 22. Rhe1 Ne6 23. Rxe4 Nc5 24. Ree1 Kf7 25. Rd5 $1 Rc7 26. Kc2 $14) 16. exd5 Nd4 17. Bd3 Rac8 $6 {(More precise is Rfc8 with better compensation.)} (17... Rfc8 18. Nxb7 Rab8 19. Nd6 Rd8 {(First Bh6 will normally transpose. )} 20. Nc4 Bh6 21. Kb1 Nb5 22. Ka1 Rxd5 23. a4 $14 ) 18. Nxb7 Rc7 19. Na5 Rb8 20. Nb3 Nxb3 21. axb3 Rxb3 $6 {(A5 was the last chance to stay i the game. Now white can force quickly the victory with pushing up the d-pawn.)} 22. d6 Rc6 23. d7 Bf6 24. Rhe1 Kg7 25. Re8 Bxb2 26. Kd2 Bc3 27. Ke2 1-0'/>
So white won pretty easily whereby Stefan Docx interpreted my victory as something fully linked to the very weak openingchoice of black. However I believe this is incorrect as black can easily improve his play in the game. Fully equality I can't find against the setup for which I chose but even with the small disadvantage it doesn't mean that black needs to lose. Maybe a grandmaster will manage to defend successfully the disadvantage but I have to admit that I wouldn't volunteerly play such position. For a player, liking gambits (so I don't belong in that category) it is certainly a good surprise-weapon but to play it every time seems risky, specially if the opponent can/ will prepare himself.

If we may speak about a revolution in the millennium then I guess we realize today that much more positions are playable as we imagined previously. Personally I find this a refreshing thought in comparison with pessimists, thinking the computer will be the end of modern chess.


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