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     Volume 4 Issue 44 | April 29, 2005 |

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Time Out

Of styles Chess

Chess players have different styles. There are fiercely attacking masters who don't see anything beyond checkmate. They are ready to sacrifice virtually everything in the hope of developing a powerful attack. They play a kind of crowd-pleasing game. Then there are the dogged defenders who love to grab material and hang on to it. They defend very tenaciously until the attacker loses his way. That is a good technique and may pay rich dividends if you are really good at it.

For psychological reasons, players tend to be a bit reckless with the white pieces. Somehow they believe it is white's job to take the initiative early in the game and keep it alive as long as possible. But it's not really clear whether the right to move first can produce a lasting initiative. Millions of games have been played in international tournaments in the last 150 years, but experts cannot yet say that playing the white pieces is a great advantage.

How do the grandmasters handle the matter? Well, Most of them play for the full point while playing white and are happy to share it with black. They tend to believe that Black should refrain from pressing too hard. But there are notable exceptions. For example, Victor Korchnoi has an exceptionally good record with black pieces, thanks to his counter-punching style.

World Champion Bobby Fischer had his own interpretation of the issue. Fischer had a highly dynamic style where timidity and safety did not have much room. Strangely enough, he often played a few less popular systems as White, like the Closed Sicilian and the King's Indian Attack. On the other hand, he would choose the razor-sharp Poisoned Pawn in the Sicilian Najdorf or the King's Indian Defence to play for win as Black. He loved complications and relied on his great ability to calculate everything very accurately. Fischer was more like Alekhine, though he was equally comfortable in technical endings that Capablanca used to play so smoothly. That is only expected of the player considered by many to be the strongest ever.

Here is a typical Fischer game.

White-Robert James Fischer
Black-Lajos Portisch [C69]
Havana 1966
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.00 f6 6.d4 exd4 7.Nxd4 c5 8.Nb3 Qxd1 9.Rxd1 Bd6 10.Na5! b5 11.c4! Ne7 12.Be3
f5!? 13.Nc3 f4 14.e5! Bxe5?! 15.Bxc5 Bxc3 16.bxc3 Ng6 17.Nc6 Be6?! 18.cxb5 axb5 19.Na7 Rb8 20.Rdb1 Kf7 21.Nxb5 Rhd8 22.Rb4 Bxa2 23.Nxc7 Rbc8 24.h4! Rd2 25.Bb6 f3?! 26.Be3Re2 27.Nb5 Ra8 28.h5 Ne5 29.Rf4+ Ke7 30.Rd1 Rc8 31.Re4 Kf6 32.Rd6+ Kf5 33.Rf4+ Kg5 34.Rxf3+ 1-0


Position after 14.e5


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