Thursday, June 23, 2011

MCC Openings Group 22/6/2011

The subject of the evening's discussions concerned whether it is better to play something that you understand, or a move which is considered better but is beyond your understanding. As an example, we took positions with a king side fianchetto for black and looked at some possibilities of an early h4. Certainly this kind of plan lacks the subtlety that Opening Theory books would recommend most of us to employ, but are most of us really good enough to exploit a minor queen side advantage, when deep down in our veins, we want to throw the h-pawn up the board and checkmate our opponent brilliantly? The point I am trying to make is that players need to know their own capabilities, and develop through stages of opening understanding. It is only by trying to hammer your opponent on the h-file when they fianchetto that you learn:

a) how and when it will work.
b) your opponent's defensive resources, and when it is unlikely to work.

So after this, you can try to employ more subtle methods of developing your game....or just remain a mad attacking player all your life!

All this was inspired by something I noticed last week. I went to one of my favourite websites, the chess cafe, and they have a list of anniversaries. I noticed last Wednesday was the birthday of Alexander Zaitsev and I wondered who this player was, so I looked him up. I noticed there was a gambit named after him, which started with the moves 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.h4.

Now personally, I have had some trouble playing the white side of the Grunfeld so the move 4.h4 grabbed my attention. Then when I realised that Zaitsev was a GM and co-winner of the USSR Championship, I understood that this was not the move of a patzer. In fact, the first game in my database with this move has Zaitsev trying out against none other than ex-World Champion Smyslov! And Zaitsev won!

So as a group we started to analyse some fairly crazy positions, though our examinations were based on black taking the c-pawn with 4..dxc4, whereas the main moves in the position are 4..c5 (as played by Smyslov), or 4..c6 leading into a Schlecter Slav type formation. After 4..dxc4 white would likely play 5.e4 

We had a lot of fun with this position, finding some great attacking ideas, and some interesting defensive and counterattacking ideas for black. The best thing was that I don't think anyone in the group felt out of their depth with the level of the concepts. Everything was tactically motivated and some thematic schemes of attack were developed. Have a look at some of our ideas:

1 comment:

  1. "whether it is better to play something that you understand, or a move which is considered better but is beyond your understanding."

    Should I play a strong opening that I don't know the theory behind? Of course I should. Why should chosing a middlegame or endgame move be any different? Many moves we 'know' to play without understanding the subtle mathematics behind them are essential. Don't double your pawns, castle your king. keep your rooks connected and so forth.