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Let's Take A Look

We invite you to submit games to be considered by Nigel in this column. For all games submitted, please provide the following information: (1) Names of both players; (2) Ratings of both players; (3) When and where the game was played; (4) The time control used in the game; and (5) Any other information you think would be helpful for us to know. Please submit the games (in PGN or CBV format if possible) to: nigeldavies@chesscafe.com. Who knows, perhaps you will see the game in an upcoming column, as Nigel says to you, "Let's take a look..."

Winning Ugly

Let's Take A Look...


Nigel Davies

One of the problems with much of todays chess literature is that its far too academic and arty. You can read the most highly acclaimed authors from cover to cover, but this does not equip you for the kind of warfare we experience on the chessboard. Being a fine shot is one thing, but being able to shoot someone is quite another; a subject that was touched upon in Clint Eastwoods film The Unforgiven. You might have good technique, but can you pull the trigger? Well can you, punk? There are a few chess writers whove offered insights, most notably Tony Miles and Bent Larsen. Miles in particular was full of cunning ideas for winning his games, for example hed routinely offer a double repetition of position in order to draw his opponent into using time on the clock. If the guy spent 30 minutes on the clock and went for the draw, Miles would just as routinely avoid repetition number three. His opponent had lost thinking time and probably his cool. By far the most useful book on these matters that Ive come across is Brad Gilberts tennis book, Winning Ugly, and the lessons contained therein are highly applicable to chess. Take for example the following excerpt: The Retriever beats you because you choose the wrong game plan. As more and more balls keep coming back at you, frustration sets in. You get impatient. You try harder. You go for better and better shots, deeper, harder, more angled. You try shots McEnroe wouldn't attempt. The Pusher keeps them coming back until you screw up. The keep retrieving, knowing youll eventually make an unforced error. Or possibly youll just give up and start pushing the ball back, too. Youll lose. Theyre better at pushing than you are. Thats why its important to get your attitude going in. Recognize that patience is a great ally when a Retriever stands on the other side of the court.

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Having prepared yourself mentally for a long day at the office with points that go on and on, here are the other tactics that can tilt a match in your favour against the Pusher. Gilbert goes on to explain how you can use the limitations of a Retrievers game against him, and exactly the same thing can be done in chess. For example you might be playing someone who plays very soundly but cant attack for toffee. What do you do? Go for positions in which they MUST attack by snatching a hot pawn or mashing up their pawn structure, even if objectively speaking these are risky plans. Chess is not an academic exercise its a very human struggle. The following game features a suitably ugly looking opening, but later on White tries to go for points for artistic impression. To some extent we should allow some latitude as this was a blitz game, but I cannot emphasise enough that the problem with 13 Rxb4 is that its not percentage chess. In this case it works. Yet this win will lead to many losses if Mr. Tilling is encouraged to make such moves a regular feature of his games. Chris Tilling (1559) Guest656544 French Defence (by transposition) C11 Internet Blitz (3 minutes + 3 seconds per move) 2004 1 Nc3 This ugly looking move is the so-called Dunst Opening. It may be one of the chessboards last unexplored frontiers, though perhaps not the most hospitable territory on which to set up a homestead. Two of the best known players to have shown a fondness for this move are the idiosyncratic GMs Alexander Morozevich from Russia and Jonny Hector from Sweden; not to forget Napoleon, who reportedly played it in one game against Madame de Rmusat at Malmaison Castle. 1...d5 Napoleon - Mrs. Rmusat featured a transposition into a Philidor Defence after 1...e5 2 Nf3 d6 3 e4, with the great General going on to win after 3...f5 4 h3 fxe4 5 Nxe4 Nc6 6 Nfg5 d5 7 Qh5+ g6 8 Qf3 Nh6?? (8...Bf5 would have cost Napoleon half his cavalry) 9 Nf6+ Ke7 10 Nxd5+ Kd6 11 Ne4+ Kxd5 12 Bc4+ Kxc4 13 Qb3+ Kd4 14 Qd3 mate. 2 e4 It's better to play 2 d4 with a Veresov, and I'm not saying this just because I want to sell you one of my books. My objection to the text is that it allows

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Black to take space. 2...e6 As I implied in my last note, 2...d4 is quite a good move here. After 3 Nce2 e5 4 Ng3 Be6 I guess that White should develop his king's bishop with 5 Bb5+ c6 6 Ba4, not that this is massively impressive. 3 f4 Nf6 This leads to a transposition into the Classical French, which isn't a bad result for White from the Dunst. It seems much better to play 3...dxe4 in order to make the pawn on f4 look silly, for example 4 Nxe4 Nf6 5 Nxf6+ Qxf6 6 d4 c5 7 Nf3 Nc6 gives Black an excellent game. 4 e5 Nfd7 5 d4 c5 6 Be3?! A dubious departure from theory; 6 Nf3 is the normal move, developing knights before bishops. 6...Qb6 It looks tempting to hit the freshly exposed b2-pawn, but taking it gives Black a fatal case of indigestion. The right way to exploit White's early 6 Be3 seems to be 6...cxd4 7 Bxd4 Nc6. White must then choose between giving up his darksquare bishop or retreating it with loss of time. 7 Nf3 Qxb2 8 Bd2? Missing a golden opportunity; a much stronger move is 8 Nb5! threatening 9 Nc7+ and simultaneously bottling in Black's queen. After 8...Na6 9 a3 c4 10 Rb1 Qa2 11 Qc1! (threatening 12 Ra1) 11...c3 12 Rb3 followed by Nxc3, the queen will be lost. 8...Qb6 9 Rb1 Qc7?! 9...Qd8 is a more circumspect move. White would still have to demonstrate that his compensation for the pawn is adequate. 10 Be3 I don't really understand this move as the bishop is already developed on a reasonable square. White should take the opportunity to open the game up with 10 Nb5 followed by 11 c4. His lead in development is much more valuable in an open position. 10...Be7 11 Bd3 Nc6 12 0-0 Nb4

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This loses time when Black is already behind in development. Simply 12...0-0 is a better move, when White has it all do prove. 13 Rxb4? Chris Tilling commented as follows: "The first rook sacrifice. Is it sound? I don't know! But it sure felt good!" I'll let Brad Gilbert answer the question: Remember to avoid the temptation to try and hit big. This is the point in the match where careless flubs are made. Don't put yourself in a position where the other player wins an early game just by standing there. Don't give them freebee's. Your goals should be modest: 1. Get the ball in. 2. Get it to their weaker side. Although White wins this game and evidently enjoyed it greatly, he has set himself up for some painful defeats should he try to repeat this kind of flamboyant but unsound game. 13 f5 was simpler and better, with compensation for the sacrificed pawn. 13...cxb4 14 Nb5 Qa5 In his notes to the game Tilling felt that 14...Qb6 may be Black's best, a sample variation continuing 15 f5 exf5 16 c4 dxc4 17 Bxc4 0-0 18 Qc2 with a claim of compensation. Well maybe White has something here but it's all very iffy, and 14...Qd8 looks better still, meeting 15 f5 exf5 16 c4 with 16...dxc4 17 Bxc4 Nb6. The exchange is the exchange. 15 f5 a6 Forcing White to commit himself; Black might also have considered 15...0-0 but then 16 f6 (16 fxe6 fxe6 17 Bg5 also gives some compensation) 16...gxf6 17 Ng5 (17 Qe1!?) 17...fxg5 18 Qh5 f5 19 exf6 Nxf6 20 Rxf6 Rxf6 21 Qxh7+ Kf8 22 Bxg5 gives White a dangerous attack. 16 Nd6+ 16 fxe6 was also interesting as 16...axb5 17 exf7+ seems very murky, despite Black's extra rook. 16...Bxd6 17 exd6

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Let's Take A Look

Once again 17 fxe6 is interesting when 17...Be7 18 exf7+ Kf8 leaves Black with an extra rook but in a horrible tangle. I won't even try to assess this position. 17...Qxa2?? This greedy move gets exactly what it deserves though in any case White has some compensation for the exchange. Black should probably organise his position with 17...Nf6 when White can play 18 Qe1 intending 19 Qg3. Not an easy position for Black to play. 18 fxe6 fxe6 19 Ng5 There's not the slightest chance of a defence to this with Black being so far behind in development. 19...Nf6 20 Rxf6! gxf6 21 Qh5+ Kd7 Or 21...Kd8 22 Qf7 etc. 22 Qf7+ Kxd6 23 Bf4+ Kc6 After 23...e5 24 Qxf6+ things would be getting gory. 24 Qc7 mate Recommended Studies Winning Ugly: Mental Warfare in Tennis-Lessons from a Master by Brad Gilbert and Steve Jamison (Simon & Shuster, 1994). Teaches you things about winning that are not available in the more reputable text books. The Veresov by Nigel Davies (Everyman, 2003). Quite simply a masterpiece, even if I say so myself. The Unforgiven starring Clint Eastwood (1992)

Copyright 2004 Nigel Davies. All rights reserved.

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Let's Take A Look

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