Burnt out? Chess
players know a great deal about unfathomable complications
that may arise over the board. As the clock ticks away, you
have to find your way through a labyrinth where death is the
only punishment for any mistake. Even in a winning position
the life of a chess player is not easy, as the opponent is
always ready with nasty surprises and diabolical traps. The
disturbing thought that you might miss the winning line, and
allow the enemy to prolong his resistance, adds to the pressure.
That said, players actually love the excitement generated
by a double-edged position. They know that chess has an inexhaustible
nature which has kept it alive over the centuries, despite
the attempts made by theoreticians to analyse certain variations
and positions to 'death'. But in the past there was at least
one great master who believed that the game had nothing more
to offer to him. Yes, JR Capablanca, arguably the most gifted
player that ever lived, lost interest in the game when he
was winning rather easily against almost all top masters.
Capablanca even suggested introduction of new pieces to make
it more complicated. The idea could not convince chess enthusiasts.
Capablanca himself perhaps realised that he had failed to
resolve the mystery of 64 squares and 32 chessmen when younger
masters started beating him in the late thirties.
The Cuban world champion might have also been influenced by
the 'style' of his times. After the euphoria of the mid nineteenth
century romanticism died down, there was a swing in the opposition
direction--some masters began to play it too safe. That was
the time when the principles of Steinitz were perhaps overrated.
The result was that a great number of games ended in a draw.
Masters were ready to split the point while facing adversaries
of equal strength, and the brilliant ideas were preserved
for lesser mortals.
The Soviet School of Chess changed everything by introducing
the element of dynamism. It laid much emphasis on correct
assessment of a position and precise calculation.
Here is a game played by a leading Soviet player of the fifties.
White-Efim P Geller
Black-Gideon Stahlberg [C06]
Saltsjobaden Interzonal, 1952
2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 Qb6 8.Nf3
cxd4 9.cxd4 f6 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.00 Bd6 12.Nf4 00 13.Re1 Bxf4?!
14.Bxf4 Bd7 15.Bd6 Rfe8 16.Bc5 Qc7 17.Rc1Qf4 18.Ne5 Rac8 19.Rc3
Nxe5 20.dxe5 Rxc5 21.g3 Qb4 22.a3 Qb6 23.exf6 Kf7 24.fxg7
Rxc3 25.Qh5+ Kxg7 26.Qxh7+ Kf6 27.bxc3 Qd8 28.Bg6 Rf8 29.Bh5
d4 30.cxd4 Qa5 31.Qh6+ 1-0
(R) thedailystar.net 2004