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     Volume 4 Issue 29 | January 14, 2005 |

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Time Out

'Keats' of chess Chess
Today I am back to my favourite topic - the great players of the dim and distant past. Somehow they seem to have a greater appeal to me than their present day counterparts. And that may have something to do with the incisive way some chess authors have written about them. For example, Reuben Fine described the chess genius, Rudolph Charousek, in a very vivid language in his book on the middlegame. What could be a greater tribute for a player than being compared with a famous poet? " Going through Charousek's games is like reading the poems of John Keats, you cannot avoid feeling a deep sense of loss… a dream unfulfilled.

Both Charousek and Keats died young. And both of them died of tuberculosis. The disease cut short the lives of many a budding genius in those pre-antibiotic days.

The task of measuring a player's real strength was perhaps easier in those days when there was little support from theory. The players were on their own, right from the beginning.

But don't forget that the old games have something more than nostalgic value. Learners should study the games where elementary tactics and positional ideas come into play. You can watch those sacrificial attacks and beautiful combinations. That said, most players in those days were poor defenders. Perhaps the general mood was that the attacker deserved to win a game! Defence was still not a fully developed art. Of course, there were exceptions like world champion Emanuel Lasker who won many, many games by hanging on to apparently lost positions.

Another feature of chess in the late nineteenth century was the bold and lively play in the opening. Many gambits were tried by the attacking players. Initially, they were highly successful, but chess theorists soon found satisfactory lines for the second player and most of the 'violent gambits' disappeared from tournament praxis, only to be revived from time to time by the mavericks.

Here is a game played by Charousek.

White -Rudolph Charousek
Black -Emanuel Lasker[C33]
Nuremberg, 1896
1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 d5 4.Bxd5 Qh4+ 5.Kf1 g5 6.Nf3 Qh5 7.h4 Bg7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Bc4 Bg4 10.d4 Nd7 11.Kf2 Bxf3 12.gxf3 000 13.hxg5 Qxg5 14.Ne2 Qe7 15.c3 Ne5 16.Qa4 Nxc4 17.Qxc4 Nf6 18.Bxf4 Nd7 19.Qa4 a6 20.Qa5 Nf8 21.Ng3 Ne6 22.Nf5 Qf8 23.Bg3 Rd7 24.Nxg7 Qxg7 25.Qe5 Qxe5 26.Bxe5 f6 27.Bxf6 Rf8 28.Rh6 Nf4 29.Ke3 Ng2+ 30.Kd2 Rdf7 31.e5 Nf4 32.Rah1 Rg8 33.c4 Ne6 34.Ke3 Nf8 35.d5 Rd7 36.e6 1-0.

Position after 25.Qe5


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