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     Volume 4 Issue 64 | September 23, 2005 |

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Time Out

Moody masters chess

A player has to be consistent to succeed at the top level. Most of the great masters are known for their ability to maintain their form over a long period of time. Of course, occasional bad patches are not to be counted.

That said, there were some truly formidable masters whose form fluctuated very often. It is not easy to determine a player's real strength when he is playing like a world champion in one tournament and caving in without any fight in another. Efim Bogoljubow, the Russian grandmaster, belonged to that category. He won some major tournaments in the 1920's, ahead of both Capablanca and Alekhine, but was never considered a player of their class. His fine showing in very strong tournaments elevated him to a contender for the world title; but his attempts to win the championship ended in unqualified setbacks, as Alekhine was too strong for him. Perhaps he was not a match player.

The difference between tournament and match play is quite marked. In match play, a master has to spot both the strengths and weaknesses of his adversary well before making the first move. It is absolutely necessary to be thoroughly prepared for the systems that are part of the opponent's opening repertoire. It is also important to be able to guess how he might react to a particular move over the board. In other words, match play requires long preparation. Tournament play is quite another proposition since you are facing a new opponent every day. So it's not really possible to study all the games played by them. But modern players, especially at the highest level, are showing a remarkable ability to study almost everything coming their way. Small wonder, they are prepared even for the rarely played opening variations.

Richard Reti in his book " Masters of the Chessboard" described Bogoljubow's play as rather unpredictable. On his day he was simply irresistible, but would play well below his strength when not in the right frame of mind. Such players are very likely to produce many beautiful games and Bogoljubow was no exception.

Here is a game played by the moody master.

White-Efim Bogoljubow
Black-Akiba Rubinstein [D29]
Bad Kissingen 1928

1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.c4 dxc4 4.e3 Nf6 5.Bxc4 e6 6.00 a6 7.Qe2 b5 8.Bb3 Bb7 9.a4 b4 10.Rd1 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 cxd4 12.exd4 Be7 13.Nc4 00 14.Nce5 Nd5 15.a5 N7f6 16.Bd2 Rc8 17.Bc4 Qd6 18.Bd3 Bd8 19.Ra4 Be7 20.Raa1 Bd8 21.Qe1 Be7 22.Nc4 Qb8 23.Nfe5 Rfd8 24.Qe2 Qa7 25.Be3 Nxe3 26.fxe3 Rf8 27.Nb6 Rc7 28.Rf1 Bd6 29.Rf2 Be7 30.Raf1 Bd8 31.Rf4 Nd5 32.Bxh7+ Kxh7 33.Qh5+ Kg8 34.Ng6 1-0

Position after 32.Bxf7+!


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