Tuesday, August 30, 2011
I’m not much for buying chess books these days; in fact I recently gave away about 50 or 60 of them, keeping only about a dozen in my library. However on a recent book store visit I came across one I couldn’t resist despite its nearly $50 price tag! I guess compared to my recent purchase of a book on General George Armstrong Custer at $35, this book was a better bargain and one that I actually enjoyed more than the Custer book. Possibly it was because a lot of the information about Custer was already known to me, but most of the material in Averbakh’s was new.
It’s the autobiography of a player (Averbakh) who was a GM, former Soviet Champion and an insider of Soviet chess back in the days when chess was a major factor in Soviet diplomacy. Averbakh participated in or was a member of the Soviet delegation for many international tournaments as well as an insider who witnessed or took part in the many machinations of Soviet chess in those days.
He discusses the infamous'Sports Committee' and writes of his personal views on Soviet players like Botvinnik, Smyslov, Kortchnoi, Petrosian, Tal and Spassky as well as his dealing with players like Euwe and Fischer. I remember reading an interview with him in Chess Life magazine and was surprised at his openness in answering questions posed to him. Averbakh used to be known as the most powerful man in Soviet chess and is currently the oldest living grandmaster.
If you are interested in chess history from what I think is the Golden Era of chess then buy this book.
Monday, August 29, 2011
In the position Black has just played 17…Rg8; a move I knew was coming and a move I knew left me in dire straits. I let Houdini analyze the position for 16 hours then went to the end of its analysis and, as I have recommended in a previous post, began stepping back through the moves . That’s when I discovered that 29.Qxh5 was a bad move; by playing 29.Bxe1 the evaluation dropped from 1-1/2 Pawns in Black’s favor to 0.00. Needless to say I was elated…that is until I continued stepping back through the analysis. That’s when I discovered that starting with 23…b3, Houdini had not selected the best moves for Black. After about 2-3 hours of interactive analysis with a couple of different engines (hoping that one of them would find something Houdini missed) I came to the conclusion that, barring a miracle, I’m going to lose this game.
Morals of the story: 1) don’t rely on the fact that just because one side won it means his moves were the best, 2) even with engines, long analysis can be wrong analysis and 3) human interaction is necessary when analyzing with an engine. I have posted all that advice before so why didn't I follow it? Because I'm like Mark Twain who said, "Good advice never did me any good, so I always pass it along." Maybe it will help somebody else.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Friday, August 19, 2011
I don’t think resignation was premature. I was starting another tournament which included some very strong players, including an ICCF Senior Master, and wanted to devote more time to my remaining games.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Filip playing Tahl at Curaçao, 1962
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
A computer-based method of analyzing chess abilities was conducted by Matej Guid and Ivan Bratko from the Department of Computer and Information Science of University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in 2006. The basis for their evaluation was the difference between the position values resulting from the moves played by the human chess player and the moves chosen as best by the Crafty chess engine. They also compared the average number of errors in the player's game. Opening moves were excluded in an attempt to negate the progress in chess opening theory. According to their analysis the leader was José Capablanca, followed closely by Vladimir Kramnik. The "Classical" World Chess Championship matches were analyzed and the results for the fourteen Classical World Champions with fewest average errors:
1-José Raúl Capablanca 2-Vladimir Kramnik 3-Anatoly Karpov 4-Garry Kasparov 5-Boris Spassky 6-Tigran Petrosian 7-Emanuel Lasker 8-Bobby Fischer 9-Alexander Alekhine 10-Vasily Smyslov 11-Mikhail Tal 12-Mikhail Botvinnik 13-Max Euwe 14-Wilhelm Steinitz
Saturday, August 13, 2011
In the recent Kazan matches Alexander Grischuk (a late replacement for Magnus Carlsen) adopted a strategy that was disgusting. He believed he couldn’t beat the better players in classical chess so used what GM Ian Rogers called “poker strategy.” Grischuk threw in his hand if the cards didn’t favor him…meaning he agreed to short draws with White if he felt he didn’t have a clear advantage. He didn’t even try to win in the classical or blitz games. He counted on winning with tiebreakers. He freely admitted he couldn't beat his opponents from an equal position so, as Rogers put it, he "avoided dragons rather than slaying them." So this is what world championship chess has been reduced to. Rapid games and tiebreaks.
Supposedly the idea of finishing all games in one session was to eliminate adjournments and the use of engines. That’s nonsense. What’s the difference between having a gaggle of GM seconds analyze an adjourned position or using an engine? None. In fact I would sooner rely on the analysis of two or three GM’s than any engine. In amateur chess, engine use for analyzing adjournments is no problem at all. Let’s face it. Average players can’t remember 10 moves of their favorite opening let alone a whole lot of lines generated by Fritz. No. It’s about money. Organizers want chess speeded up so they can get sponsors and everybody can make some money.
Just picking a tournament at random, the Atlantic Open held this month in Washington, DC has an entry fee of $120 and most of the prize money goes to players rated under master. First is $2000 and class prizes are between $400 and $1500. Even a player rated under 1300 can win $1200.
It used to be everybody played the same schedule and at the same time limit. There weren’t any accelerated parings. In those days with my lowly mid-1600 rating there were many times I was paired against a master in the first round. OK, so it was an automatic defeat, but there was the thrill of playing a master and if I was having a good day, making him work for his point. I remember the pride after one defeat when my opponent, rated 2202, asked my rating and when I told him 1660, he said, “Really? I thought you were about 2000.” Prizes? We class players were playing for a cheap trophy or a book.
GM Nicholas Rossolimo once complained that he couldn’t get a book of his best games published because he wasn’t scoring points. When he pointed out how many games he had played with Q-sacs and how many brilliancy prizes he had won, he was told, “Who cares? You didn’t score a lot of points.” Rossolimo was a far cry from guys like Gata Kamsky and Yasser Seirawan before him. Kamsky has announced that if he isn’t world champion by the time he’s 40, he’s retiring. Apparently chess is not enjoyable for these guys; it's about the money...nothing but the money. OK, so maybe no big international events, but why not a weekend Swiss just for fun? Apparently because there is no money in it especially if you probably have to split the prize fund with a bunch of other GM’s. At least Kamsky is on record as stating that in the Kazan matches he decided to play for a win in every game whether it was rapid or classical because the spectators were watching and he can’t play like Grischuck or Kramnik. For that we can be thankful even if it cost him a shot at the world title.
Friday, August 12, 2011
I also use the DB that contains all the games ever played at the now defunct InternationalEmail Chess Group because it contains openings used by some of the world’s top CC players and their games are good models to follow. I don’t search for my own opening innovations like most top level CC players because I’m not one…I wisely rely on their research! Openings will need to be solid mainline openings and not dubious gambits. Successful CC usually means winning in the ending and to do that you are best advised to play positional chess.
You should set the hash on the maximum Ram you can and give the engine plenty of time to select a move. Then, as I have pointed out in previous posts, check the analysis!
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
In the Interzonal Fischer posted a score of 18-1/2 – 4-1/2 finishing 3-1/2 points ahead of Robert Heubner, Bent Larsen and Yefim Geller. It was hardly fair that Fischer’s phenomenal score overshadowed the 21-year old Heubner’s success in the tournament . Heubner started the tournament a “mere” IM and finished ahead of, Uhlmann, Taimanov (5th - 6th), Portisch and Smyslov (7th- 8th), Gligoric and Polugayevsky (9th -10th), Mecking and Panno (11th -12th) followed by, Hort, Ivkov, Minic, Suttles, Reshevsky, Addison, Matulovic, Naranja, Uitumen, Filip, Rubinetti and Jiminez. Quite a feat! Here is the game that started it all.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Investigations carried out by the German Grandmaster Helmut Pfleger, MD, et al. have demonstrated that the elite chess players have comparable physiological parameters in competition as those who practice sports such as shooting, car racing and golf; consequently, chess could be classified as the same category of sport as those according to these criteria. As a result, it will be necessary not to limit preparation to hours of study on the board, but to extend it to a more complete program involving physical training and an adequate nutritional plan for the demands, among others.
Regardless of what you are doing many investigations have shown that mental concentration can be affected when doing intellectual activities in the morning without having had breakfast previously. The most preferred solid food by Grandmasters included chocolate (80.5 %), fruits (14.6 %) and cereal bars (9.8 %). Regarding types of fluid, main preferences were water (72.1 %), coffee (42.6 %), tea (29.5 %) and fruit juice (23.6 %).
Friday, August 5, 2011
This blog contains some excellent instruction and annotated games that make it well worth a visit! “Roman” analyzes 38 GM games, 75 of his own, offers books reviews, databases, endgame instruction, advice on opening preparation, opening analysis, great players games analyzed, strategy, tactics, videos and software reviews. In short, this site has something for everyone. Another site by the author has well annotated games worth playing over. Be sure and pay both of these sites a visit!
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
He thought that was crappy advice. His idea is to memorize 30 lines 8-10 moves deep. Reminds me of the guy who once wrote a letter to the editor claiming that if one could memorize Modern Chess Openings, he could become a GM and challenge the Russians.
Anyhow…the guy went on about how he rarely loses, so either he’s really good in which case he does not need to be asking such a question in a forum haunted by amateurs or he’s playing really weak opponents. The other possibility is he knows nothing about chess and isn’t interested in learning.
Case in point: Once upon a time my 1400-rated opponent took about 5 minutes for his first 20-some moves while I used about an hour and a half. Finally he sank into deep thought and after several minutes played and outright blunder and resigned a couple of moves later. In the post mortem I had to listen to him yammer on and on about what a bad move I had played. When I asked why it was so bad, his only answer was that it wasn’t the move Fischer played in a game he had memorized. It didn’t matter because once “out of the book” he didn’t understand the position.