Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Another Claim to Fame

I have already demonstrated my longest chessgame. I also have a game in 'The Quickest Chess Victories of All Time' (Graham Burgess, Cadogan 1998). A very nice book in my opinion but I may be biased as I luckily am on the winning side:

Sv.Johnsen - G.Nesheim
Gausdal Open Ch NOR, 1985

1.e4 c5 2.c3 Nf6

Recently Tarrasch' old 2...Qa5 has had a small boost in popularity. After 3.Nf3 Nc6 some notable continuations are:
a) 4.Na3 e6 5.Nc4 Qc7 6.d4 cxd4 7.Nxd4 a6 8.Bd3 b5 9.Ne3 Nf6 = Alapin-Tarrasch, Vienna 1898.
b) 4.Bc4 d6 5.Qe2 Nf6 6.h3 e5 7.0–0 Be7 = Rainfray-Movsesian, France 2003.
c) 4.g3 Nf6 5.Qe2 d5 6.exd5 Nxd5 7.Bg2 Bg4 8.h3 Bh5 9.0–0 e6 = Rozentalis-Movsesian, Hastings 1996.

3.e5 Nd5 4.d4 cxd4 5.Nf3 Qa5?!

6.Qxd4 appears less logical. After 6...Nc6 7.Qe4 e6 8.Bd3 f5 9.Qe2 Qa4 10.h3 Nf4 11.Bxf4 Qxf4 chances were equal in Tzoumbas-Skembris, Liosia 1991.


I think I had a faint hope of 6...Nc6 7.Nb3, which actually happened in Arslanov-Nozdrachev, Russian Ch U12 2004.


This appears more logical than 7.Bc4 Nb6 8.Bb5 a6 (8...Nc6 9.a4 Nd5 10.0–0 a6 11.Bxc6 bxc6 12.Na3 += Donets-Khatenever, St Petersburg 2005) 9.b4 Bxb4 10.cxb4 Qxb4+ 11.Qd2 Qxd2+ 12.Bxd2 axb5 13.Nxb5 Na6 14.Nd6 += Stojic-Edwards, Canberra 2003.


Burgess notes that White is better after 7...a6 8.Nc4 Qc5 9.Qg4 as well as 7...d6 8.Nc4 Qd8 9.Nxd6+ Bxd6 10.Bb5+.

8.Nc4 Qd8 9.Nb5 Bc5

9...Be7 10.Nbd6+ Kf8 11.Qh5 g6 12.Bh6+ Kg8 13.Qf3 Bxd6 14.Nxd6 transposes to 9...Bc5 10.Nbd6+ Kf8 11.Qh5 g6 12.Bh6+ Kg8 13.Qf3 Bxd6 14.Nxd6 (note to Black's 11th move).

10.Nbd6+ Kf8 11.Qh5

This loses a piece. Black had to try 11...g6 12.Bh6+ (12.Qh6+ Kg8 13.Bg5 Qf8 14.Qxf8+ Kxf8 15.Ne4 Be7 16.Bh6+ Kg8 17.f4 is good too) 12...Kg8 13.Qf3 Bxd6 when Burgess considered 14.Nxd6 dubious because of 14...Nxe5 but actually 15.Qe4 Nc6 16.0–0–0 is very good for White. An important line is 16...Qe7? which surprisingly loses to 17.Rxd5! exd5 18.Qxe7 Nxe7 19.Bd3 when Black is helpless. Instead Black must try 16...f5 but 17.Qc4 Nf6 18.Be2 clearly is better for White. Thanks to Rybka for assisting me with these lines!

12.Bg5 f6 13.exf6 1–0

(after 13...Nxf6 14.Bxf6 gxf6, White picks up the loose piece with 15.Qxc5)


Anonymous said...

What do you think is the best way to study your opening books and opening books in general?

Sverre Johnsen said...

A very interesting question which I may not be the right person to answer. There are some interesting thoughts by John Watson at http://www.chesscenter.com/twic/jwatsonbkrev87.html in which I basically agree.

Probably the most important thing is to become personally involved with the subject you study - not passively absorbing the author's assumed wisdom but asking questions and analyzing interesting byways yourself. This we try to encourage in various ways in our new "Win with the Stonewall Dutch" and I am quite curious how readers and reviewers will react.

Anonymous said...

I can't find the part of Watson's article that you are talking about.

Sverre Johnsen said...

The link leads to a Watson's book review 87 at chesscenter.com. Quite early on - before the actual reviews - there is a paragraph starting "This dovetails nicely with a question that I keep getting, that is, how one should be studying books these days, and in particular opening books".

In case you had a problem with copying and pasting the link, I give it a separate line (and remove the first part which is superfluous in most browsers):

Anonymous said...

This is a question that has concerned me as I don't think I extract the most from opening books.

My best result has been doing exactly what Watson recommended and physically playing through games from a book, restting the pieces etc and working through variations.

I did this with a significant part of Bellin's "Winning with the Dutch" and gained a lot from it.

Admittedley, I also followed Bellin's instruction to play through a number of the main games to get a feel for the opening, and then go back to play through variations.

I recently bought a second-hand book called "Chess Training" by Nigel Povah. Interestingly, in this pre-computer book ( 1981 ) he tells how he re-vamped his opening from the Sicilian Dragon to the Sicilian Labordonnais-Lowenthal ( if that is correct :). He actually worked through what little opening theory there was and kept his results and self-analysis.

By so doing, he claimed that he understood what the opening was about so was more prepared than his opponents at the time.

Possibly, computers, Chessbase etc , the availability and the ease of use of such software, has made us more lazy, so we want instant knowledge and results, rather than realising that we have to work to obatin them !

I think ( though I haven't done this so far ) a chess coach will also help focus, and joining a chess club to bounce ideas around is also good.


Sverre Johnsen said...

I have the Povah book somewhere (probably at my parent's house which for the moment is my book depository) and I remember I quite liked it. But if I remember correctly the difficulty of his examples varied quite a lot. I suspect he either didn't quite remember how a relative novice thinks about chess or he didn't sufficently define his target audience.

Joining a chess club definitely is a good idea if you haven't already done so. I used to consider it impossible to becoming a decent player without joining a club. But that was in the days before Internet, strong chess computers and huge game databases - so I may have to reconsider that opinion whenever I find the time to do some thinking.