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     Volume 4 Issue 39 | March 25, 2005 |

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Time Out

Character traits Chess

What precisely do you need to be a very good player? Well, obsession , motivation and competitiveness should be your strong points . It is really interesting to note that there are players who have spent years playing the game but have come nowhere near mastery over it. They seem to be totally absorbed in the goings-on , but seldom bother about the results. These players are greatly obsessed with chess, but have little motivation , and even less competitiveness. They are true chess lovers who do not seek anything other than pleasure. So you might now understand why the chess addicts you know never win tournaments or even bother to play competitive chess. They need an outlet for realising the 'psychological wastes' produced in the course of a life full of drudgery. They need a little excitement , some deviation from a highly structured life to recharge themselves. Chess is more than an intoxicant to these 'harmless' fellows.

Now, what about the players having a degree of motivation too? Yes, they usually look for something in return and set some goals , not always realistic though, and try to attain them . Most of the tournament players fall in this category. To them , chess is more than fun or a time wasting pursuit which does not enjoy great social recognition, They do not become champions, but may reach a reasonably good level of playing strength.

It is the third trait, that is, competitiveness which perhaps marks off the champion from the ordinary lot. It might mean a desire to win or a killer instinct which keeps a player on the winning track over the board. Curiously enough, even champions do not possess these virtues in the same measure. For example, chess was never an obsession to world champion Emanuel Lasker. He could keep himself off the board for years together without showing the withdrawal symptoms. JR Capablanca , on the other hand , lacked the motivation of a real champion, though he was an exceptionally gifted player. But Alekhine was different. He was fiercely competitive and greatly obsessed with the game. So intense was his look that players even complained that they came under some sort of hypnotic influence while facing the great master!

Here is a game played by Alekhine with great energy and dynamism.

White-Alexander Alekhine
Black Aaron Nimzowitsch [C17]
San Remo 1930

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Bd2 Ne7 6.Nb5 Bxd2+ 7.Qxd2 00 8.c3 b6? 9.f4 Ba6 10.Nf3 Qd7 11.a4! Nbc6 12.b4!± cxb4 13.cxb4 Bb7 14.Nd6± f5?! 15.a5! Nc8 16.Nxb7 Qxb7 17.a6! Qf7 18.Bb5! N8e7 19.00 h6 20.Rfc1 Rfc8 21.Rc2 Qe8 22.Rac1 Rab8 23.Qe3 Rc7 24.Rc3 Qd7 25.R1c2 Kf8 26.Qc1 Rbc8 27.Ba4! b5 28.Bxb5 Ke8 29.Ba4 Kd8 30.h4! h5 31.Kh2 g6 32.g3+- 1-0


Position after 12.b4


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