An unexamined life is not worth living.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Anatoly Karpov turns 60

It is hard to believe that Anatoly Karpov is turning 60 on May 23. There is a lot chess players today can learn from this great player, both in terms of positional ideas, and in terms of fighting spirit at the chessboard. His early games had a significant impact on my opening repertoire, and I made several videos with the goal of learning typical ideas that Karpov demonstrated in the 1970s and 1980s.

image Photo by Frank Hoppe

Here are videos from my youtube channel with 5 games played by Karpov. He won with White in all of these games and the videos illustrate why he was very successful with 1.e4 and show how he was able to play in the same active positional style against just about any opening.

Defeating the Pirc defense. This game made me realize how important it is to predict opponent’s plans.

  Beating the Najdorf

Beating the Najdorf – yet again!

Handling the Sveshnikov variation in the same style – by exploiting the ‘d5’ square

 Defeating the Open Spanish – illustrates the importance of initiative in the endgame. This line became a critical test of Black ideas in this variation.

Friday, May 20, 2011

ChessBase turning 25

In his annotations to the game against Smyslov from the 1958 match, Botvinnik noted that a younger grandmaster ignored a transposition to the Botvinnik-Smyslov game, and as a result – made a faulty comment on some game played in the 1970s. Botvinnik’s conclusion was: “young grandmasters don’t study games of older generation, but it is also clear that chess openings should be stored using computer software”. Yes, this is so true, and Garry Kasparov was one of the first chess players who picked up on this idea, and therefore got involved in the development and promotion of what now became ChessBase software. Here is the story: Time flies and ChessBase software is now the most popular one among chess players, and it has affected the development of the game quite profoundly.

image The photo from the article comes with the caption “It was Kasparov who first recognized the power of the system and used it intensely”. Good point, but it feels like it was Kasparov’s teacher who was first to recognize the need for such software!

Years have passed, and Kasparov now is also inside the software!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Watching the Candidates Matches

As I am watching the World Championship Candidates matches, I am surprised to see that Vladimir Kramnik is out, despite his absolutely amazing opening preparation. In several games against Radjabov and Grischuk he seemed to have barely made any moves of his own and yet he had a very hard time against Teimur, and even a harder time against Grischuk. I suppose that proves that chess a sport still lives! Knowing most openings “down to checkmate” does not guarantee success, even when accompanied by such a skill of middlegame and endgame that Kramnik has. It does however make the games a bit harder to follow as it is very hard to tell where the game actually begins.

image Alexander Grischuk is through to the finals!

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