Tuesday, September 23, 2014


If you want to see flashing attacking games then this blog is not the right address. I have barely gambits in my repertoire. E.g. the Dutch stonewall demonstrates clearly that I prefer a cautious positional approach. Some people categorize me therefore as a classical player.

The term 'classical chessplayer' originated from the era of Siegbert Tarrasch. The German worldclass-player stressed the importance of a healthy setup and explained this didactically at the public with the aid of many rules. However in doing so he also received a lot of critics as chess is much more than just applying a bunch of rules.

I spoke in my previous article about that I like to discover little rules but at the same time I also realize very well there exists the danger of becoming too dogmatic. Chess is a very concrete game in which the needs of a position often overrule different rules. In the games of the contemporary generation of top-players we see a complete abstention of certain dogma's. A general rule like you should take back with a pawn towards the center, is often broken. Recently Magnus Carlsen wasn't shy to offend against this rule in his game against the Italian top-grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
[Event "Sinquefield Cup"] [Site "Saint Louis USA"] [Date "2014.08.29"] [Round "3"] [White "Magnus Carlsen"] [Black "Fabiano Caruana"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "C24"] [PlyCount "68"] [EventDate "2014.08.27"] 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 c6 4. Nf3 d5 5. Bb3 Bb4 6. c3 Bd6 7. Bg5 dxe4 8. dxe4 h6 9. Bh4 Qe7 10. Nbd2 Nbd7 11. Bg3 Bc7 12. O-O Nh5 13. h3 {(Almost begging that black would capture on g3 as white loves to recapture with the pawn away from the center.)} Nxg3 14. fxg3 Nc5 15. Bxf7 Kxf7 16. Nxe5 Kg8 17. Ng6 Qg5 18. Rf8 Kh7 19. Nxh8 Bg4 20. Qf1 Nd3 21. Qxd3 Rxf8 22. hxg4 Qxg4 23. Nf3 Qxg3 24. e5 Kxh8 25. e6 Bb6 26. Kh1 Qg4 27. Qd6 Rd8 28. Qe5 Rd5 29. Qb8 Kh7 30. e7 Qh5 31. Nh2 Rd1 32. Rxd1 Qxd1 33. Nf1 Qxf1 34. Kh2 Qg1 0-1
So white was punished but the continuation did promise a fantastic fight. I also want to add that Caruana has gained since beginning of August approximately 44 points and now approached the worldchampion at only 20 points. This is an incredible jump on that level of which I wonder if this is just coincidence or we really witness the rise of a player whom can challenge the Mozart of chess.

Today we are spoiled by toptournaments as the Sinquefield Cup has just finished or we already can follow the Bilbao-masters. Also in that tournament players aren't embarrassed by violating rules. E.g. in the game Pons Vallejo - Levon Aronian again fxg3 at move 11 pops up. It evoked the reaction on schaaksite of the Dutch grandmaster Reinderman that maybe the rule was abolished.
[Event "Bilbao Masters"] [Site "Bilbao ESP"] [Date "2014.09.14"] [Round "1"] [White "Francisco Vallejo-Pons"] [Black "Levon Aronian"] [Result "1/2-1/2"] [ECO "E21"] [WhiteElo "2712"] [BlackElo "2804"] [PlyCount "92"] [EventDate "2014.09.12"] 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 b6 5. Bg5 h6 6. Bh4 g5 7. Bg3 Ne4 8. Qd3 f5 9. h4 {(Again a clear invitation to exchange the bishop which would force white to recapture with the pawn away from the center.)} Bxc3 10. bxc3 Nxg3 11. fxg3 g4 12. Nd2 d5 13. e4 dxe4 14. Nxe4 Bb7 15. Nd2 Nd7 16. Qe3 Qf6 17. Bd3 Bxg2 18. Rh2 Bb7 19. Re2 O-O-O 20. Qxe6 Qxe6 21. Rxe6 Nc5 22. Re3 Nxd3 23. Rxd3 f4 24. gxf4 Rdf8 25. Kf2 g3 26. Rxg3 Rxf4 27. Ke3 Rxh4 28. Rag1 Re8 29. Kd3 Bc6 30. Nf3 Be4 31. Kd2 Bxf3 32. Rxf3 Rh2 33. Kd3 Rxa2 34. Rg7 Kb8 35. Rh7 Ree2 36. c5 b5 37. Re3 Rxe3 38. Kxe3 Ra3 39. Kd2 Ra6 40. c4 bxc4 41. Kc3 c6 42. Rxh6 Kb7 43. Rh7 Kc8 44. Rh8 Kb7 45. Rh7 Kb8 46. Rh8 Kb7 1/2-1/2
Again fabulous chess but honesty obliges me to confess that black was better in the game. I remember that I was very impressed when an opponent once played such kind of move in my tournament-practice and hereby also created chances. This happened in 2002 by the very strong Belgian player Jakub Filipek from Polish origin. I wonder what happened with this creative player as since 2004 there is no trace anymore from him. I suspect that he just completely stopped with chess as in 2002 he already showed at the board that he was bored and not eager to play.
[Event "Open Knokke 6de ronde"] [Date "2002"] [White "Filipek, J."] [Black "Brabo"] [Result "1-0"] [ECO "C70"] [WhiteElo "2400"] [BlackElo "2284"] [PlyCount "102"] 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 b5 5. Bb3 Na5 6. d4 exd4 7. Qxd4 Ne7 8. Nc3 Nec6 $5 $146 {(It has been since 1996 that I encountered this variation. At that time I played d6 with approximately equality. The game-continuation was a recommendation of my old analysis in 1997 but new analysis in 2003 show that it is not so clear what the best continuation is. Black has 3 possibilities but they all have advantages and disadvantages. Immediately Nc6 eliminates the plan Ng6. Bb7 has as disadvantage that Bg4 is not possible anymore while d6 weakens the white squares and forces to develop the bishop to e7. Even after 2 weeks I am still not sure about what is the less evil so I think that it is more a matter of taste.)} 9. Qd1 $5 { (Engine-analysis demonstrate that Qd5 is more critical and black must play very accurately to maintain the balance.)} Nxb3 10. cxb3 $5 {(Filipek is known for his wayward play and this move certainly belongs in this category. White believes the pressure along the c-file is more interesting than along the a-file. I must admit that is a very interesting concept.)} (10. axb3 $5 Bb7 11. O-O Be7 12. Nd4 (12. Nd5 O-O 13. Re1 Re8 14. Bf4 d6 15. Qd2 Bf6 $11) (12. Bf4 O-O 13. Nd5 d6 14. c3 Re8 15. Qd3 Bf8 $11) 12... Nxd4 13. Qxd4 O-O 14. Bf4 Re8 15. Nd5 Bxd5 $11 ) 10... Be7 $5 {(Bc5 is more aggressive and also playable.)} (10... Bc5 $5 11. O-O d6 12. Re1 Bg4 (12... O-O 13. Bg5 f6 14. Be3 Be6 15. Rc1 Ne5 16. Nd4 $11 ) 13. h3 Bxf3 14. Qxf3 O-O 15. Be3 Ne5 16. Qg3 Bxe3 17. Rxe3 f5 18. exf5 $11) 11. O-O O-O 12. Bf4 d6 13. Nd5 Qd7 $5 {(Black has different good continuations. The game-continuation prepares Bd6 but immediately Bb7 or Re8 are also playable.)} (13... Re8 $5 14. Re1 Bf6 15. Rc1 Bb7 16. Re2 Rc8 17. Rec2 Qd7 18. Nxf6 gxf6 19. Re2 $132) 14. Rc1 $5 { (The logical follow-up after whites last moves but e5 indicated by Fritz is also interesting.)} Bb7 $4 {(A serious tactical blunder as whites next move was for me a complete surprise. After the correct Bd8 the position looks more or less balanced.)} (14... Bd8 $1 15. Re1 ( 15. e5 Bb7 16. Re1 Kh8 17. exd6 cxd6 18. Ng5 Bxg5 19. Bxg5 Rae8 20. Be3 $11) 15... Bb7 16. Qd3 Rc8 17. Bg3 Ne7 18. Nf4 Ng6 19. Nxg6 fxg6 20. Qd4 $11 ) 15. Ne5 $3 dxe5 16. Nf6 Bxf6 17. Qxd7 exf4 $6 {(More precise is Nd4 but it is unlikely that black can find enough compensation on the long run for the queen.)} (17... Nd4 $1 18. Qxc7 (18. Rxc7 Bxe4 19. Be3 Ne6 20. f3 Nxc7 21. fxe4 Ne6 22. Bb6 Rab8 23. Qd6 $16) 18... Ne2 19. Kh1 Nxc1 20. Qxb7 Rfb8 21. Qd7 Nxa2 22. Bd2 Rd8 23. Qc6 $16) 18. Rxc6 Bxc6 19. Qxc6 Be5 20. Rd1 Bd6 21. g3 b4 22. Rd5 Rae8 23. Rf5 g6 24. Ra5 Re6 25. Rxa6 fxg3 26. hxg3 Bxg3 27. Qb7 Bd6 28. a4 bxa3 29. bxa3 Ree8 30. b4 f5 31. exf5 $4 {(White throws away the winning advantage as now the white king gets into troubles. Better is f3 and whites material superiority must be enough to win the game.)} (31. f3 $5 fxe4 32. fxe4 Re5 $18) 31... Re1 32. Kg2 Rxf5 33. Ra5 Rf4 34. Qd5 Kg7 35. Qd2 Rg4 36. Kh3 $6 {(White gambles that I will not find salvage but objectively Kf3 is more accurate with a better rook-endgame for white but probably not winning.)} (36. Kf3 Rf4 37. Qxf4 Bxf4 38. Kxf4 Ra1 39. Ra7 Rc1 (39... Kf6 40. Rxc7 Rxa3 41. Rxh7 Rc3 42. Rb7 g5 43. Kg4 Rc4 44. Kg3 $16) 40. b5 Rc4 41. Kg3 Kf6 42. a4 Rc3 43. f3 $14) 36... Reg1 37. Qc3 Kh6 38. Rd5 R4g2 39. Qe3 Kg7 $4 { (Pity as a spectacular escape would become reality after g5 with no advantage anymore for white.)} (39... g5 $1 40. Qe6 (40. Rxd6 cxd6 41. a4 Kh5 42. Qe8 Kh6 $11) 40... Kg7 $3 (40... Kh5 41. Qf7 Kh6 42. Qf6 Kh5 43. Qf3 Rg4 44. Rxd6 cxd6 45. b5 $18) 41. Rxd6 cxd6 42. Qxd6 g4 43. Kh4 h6 $1 $11) 40. f4 $1 h5 41. Rd1 $1 {(With 2 exact moves white breaks the resistance. The rest is agony for black.)} Rxd1 42. Kxg2 Rd5 43. Qc3 Kh7 44. a4 Bxf4 45. a5 Rd2 46. Kf3 g5 47. a6 Ra2 48. Qc6 Bd6 49. Qd7 Kh8 50. Ke4 g4 51. Kf5 Bf8 1-0
His 15th move obviously came as a complete surprise. This is sore but I assume most of us have experienced such moments in their practice (as e.g. happened a few days earlier in the Europa Cup, see move 41 game Alexei Shirov - Henk Vedder). The positive side of the lost game is that I learned to also consider more often less logical exchanges and as a consequence also tried to play less dogmatic.


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