Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What's the Deal With Drawing Experts?

I seem to be awfully good at it for an ~1800ish player. This is the second game in a row in which I've screwed up an ending that I should have won and given up a draw. The only difference (and it is significant) is that unlike my previous effort I was pretty close to lost several times in this one. At the very least, I was much worse for several moves until a tactic came out of the blue to save me. That old saw of Steinitz's about tactics only arising when you have a positional advantage is BS. Sometimes your opponent just makes a mistake, maybe not an obvious one, and you win material. Of course, if one were particularly intent upon being an annoying sophist, then it could certainly be pointed out that once an opponent has made a mistake then you are automatically in a better position, but this is circular reasoning. In that sense, then Steinitz's statement is a meaningless tautology; not meaningless in the formal sense, just useless.

Well, that was a pointless digression.

In this game my opponent played well enough, though he seemed out of theory and on his own pretty quick. I've been playing the black side of a lot of Boleslavskys and English Attacks against my Classical Sicilian. This is probably because the Classical isn't that well studied by most players (unless they were theory hounds in the 90s), and so they revert to safe setups when faced with an unexpected move. I use the Nc6 before d6 move order, and I bet they all expect a Sveshnikov. I always smile when they stop banging out instant moves after ...d6 hits the board. Not one Richter Rauzer yet OTB. This game was a Boleslavsky as well, with Nb3 instead of the more challening Nf3. Here it is:


I played the following game tonight (4-22) in the first round of the April/May SFCC tournament. Being in the upper half of the draw, I got to player a much lower rated opponent. I drew him the first game I played in Florida, but this game was much more of a route. His opening play was timid, and he gave up a piece early. It's so funny how consistency in the level of one's play is such a hallmark of rating. I've seen John (my opponent) play very well and beat players of ~1900 strength, but then he plays games like this. I really think the main thing that has led to my recent gain of strength has been consistency both from move to move and from game to game more so than any great leap in ability. Something to think about. The game:


I got a new book this week, 'Imagination in Chess' by Pata Gaprindashvili. Forgive any possible spelling errors of his name, I don't have the book handy. I bought this book as a tactical puzzle book, but it defied my expectations. Firstly, it is HARD. I can't emphasize that enough...HARD. These puzzles are in many cases beyond me. It's not so much because the solutions are complex, but rather because these are not typical tactical puzzles. Unlike most puzzle collections, the solutions often consist of moves that do not appear forcing but are in fact very strong. Quiet moves that put your opponent in a sort of middlegame zugzwang. Also, the goal is not in every case winning material. Sometimes you are merely searching for a way to get to a much better position.

I guess what I'm getting at is that this is not really a tactics book, but an advanced version of those 'find the best move' volumes that all chess publishers seem fond of releasing. While the introductory commentary to the chapters is interesting, it's nothing that revolutionary. The puzzles are the meat of this book (it contains 700+ or varying difficulty), and meaty it is. If you're strong, stronger than me especially, then this might be worth your time. For me, 3-5 a day could easily take 30-45 minutes and I still don't know if I'd get them right. I'd say the intended audience for this book is probably the same group that actually uses Dvoretsky's works. The puzzles are in many cases really beautiful, but if you're under 1800 don't bother. CT-ART it ain't.

Those are the games and thought from last week. The final round of the April BRCC tournament is this Friday, and I think I may have to play a master. Well and good. Maybe I'll draw him too. Due white, after all. No job yet, thanks for asking. Peace.

1 comment:

CHESSX said...

The first game was very enjoyable to play over.
The second game was a very attacking game your opponet i think did not start to play untill the bishop was trapped on the h file. But it seemed to late then.
2 very good games thanks for showing them.
As for the book i think i will stick with ct-art.