An unexamined life is not worth living.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Alexander Khalifman on Opening Preparation

I just watched a pretty entertaining interview with former FIDE World Chess Champion Alexander Khalifman. When asked why he made a quick draw with White against a lower rated grandmaster (who was rated 2530), Alexander the Great made a few remarks on how opening preparation works these days:

  • If your opponent prepared the opening variation with Rybka, his rating is not 2530, his rating is 3000!
  • There is a saying that if a grandmaster looked at the opening variation a week ago, it feels like as if he never looked at it
  • Memory is the main skill that gets affected as chess players get older, or stop studying chess intensely
  • Khalifman’s former strength – broad opening repertoire – is now becoming a vulnerable spot, since that requires keeping too many sharp variations in his head

The last remark definitely resonated well with myself, as I had to considerably constraint my repertoire, choose between 1.e4 and 1.d4 as White and focus my study on lines that I actually intend to play – a reasonable approach for a chess amateur. Here is the video of the interview – in Russian (which I loosely translated), recorded at the just finished Aeroflot Open

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