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     Volume 4 Issue 58 |August 12 , 2005 |

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Time Out

Triumph of youth                Chess

Most modern players don't have very long careers. Perhaps the pressure of having to play almost round the year against stiff opposition is too much for them. Of course, there are quite a few players who have been playing for 20 or 30 years, but their number is dwindling. At present the peak time is less than 10 years for the top masters.

Another factor influencing the careers of players is introduction of total professionalism. Players at the top level are totally dependent on the game and that has changed their approach towards it. They have to work six to eight hours a day, and that's really hell of a lot of work! It's not easy to take that kind of load for a very long time.

A shorter career also means that the masters are not going to get too many chances to play for the top honours--the world championship. Another problem is that there are a large number of highly talented players in the chess arena these days. So the fight for the highest position is much more intense and gruelling.

No, it is not an aspersion on the playing strength of the masters who dominated the chess scene in the past. There were many great players whose position in the annals of the game cannot be disputed.

Life was simpler and easier, and so was tournament chess. There were some masters who played competitive chess for more than 50 years. The title of Frank Marshall's book " My 50 years in chess" says it all. Jacques Mieses made his debut in Germany in 1888 and his last appearance was in Groningen, 1946!

World Champion Emanuel Lasker also had a long chess career. And what was spectacular about him was his exceptionally fine showing even at the fag end of his career. He came third in Moscow, 1935 when he was 68 years old! This is really not easy in our times when players have to memorise so many things. Here the young players have a natural advantage over their senior counterparts.

Here is a game played by J Mieses. Study the rook ending carefully, for a slight slip in these endings can lead to an irreversibly drawn position.

Mieses,J - Von Scheve,T [C26]
Leipzig, 1888

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Bc5 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.Nge2 Nc6 5.d3 d6 6.Na4 Bb6 7.Nxb6 axb6 8.c3 Be6 9.Bxe6 fxe6 10.f4 Qd7 11.00 exf4 12.Nxf4 00 13.d4 Nxe4 14.d5 Nd8 15.Re1 e5 16.Rxe4 exf4 17.Bxf4 Qf5 18.Qd4 c5 19.Qd3 Nf7 20.a3 b5 21.Rae1 Rae8 22.Qe3 Rxe4 23.Qxe4 Ng5 24.Qxf5 Rxf5 25.Bxg5 Rxg5 26.Re8+ Kf7 27.Rb8 Kf6 28.Rxb7 Rxd5 29.Rxb5 g5 30.a4 h5 31.a5 Rd1+ 32.Kf2 Ra1 33.b4 Ra2+ 34.Ke3 Rxg2 35.a6 cxb4 36.cxb4 Rc2 37.a7 Rc8 38.Rb8 1-0

Position after 25...Rxgs


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