Thursday, June 9, 2011

MCC Openings Group 8/6/2011

Every second Wednesday the Melbourne Chess Club hosts an evening to discuss issues relating to the opening. The latest night saw a good turnout to look at the ultra sharp Perenyi Gambit in the Sicilian Najdorf. It is a very fun opening where white sacrifices a piece for a huge initiative and usually black's king is struggling to find a safe place. Of course examining an opening such as this brings us to look at a couple of more general questions:

Why do we play chess? To win? To improve? For fun? If winning is our major concern, then should we be taking risks in an opening like the Perenyi?

Why study openings at all? It's hardly the most practical way to employ one's study of the game on an obscure opening that will rarely be played. Surely it is more productive spending time on tactics, or the endgame? Or maybe the time could be spent analysing games, or studying well annotated games?

Well, if we essentially play chess for fun but still would like to reach our full potential, then perhaps there is room for the study of an opening like the Perenyi, as long as it is seen as part of tactical work, and we look at  games that are fully annotated by strong players.

So back to the opening of the night! The Perenyi Variation of the Najdorf arises after the moves 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Be3 e6 7.g4, where black now plays 7..e5 and white responds 8.Nf5. Now after the move 8..g6, white has a number of ways of sacrificing a piece, all of which seem pretty dangerous:

This is the position we started some practice games from after having looked at some games in the database. And I intend to run a thematic tournament from this position in 4 weeks time. It should be fun! Basically, white has a choice between the ultra-sharp 9.g5, or the completely insane, 9.Bg2. Here are some games to help inspire, and possibly confuse you, some more.

First the 9.g5 line with a very recent game that starts in typically mad fashion, plenty of tactics flying around, and then reduces to an interesting ending where the queen has the better of 2 rooks.

Next we have the new challenger for the World Championship getting hacked up after grabbing one pawn too many.

We now move to the 9.Bg2 line, and in this game, white shows that even if black does manage to get his king out of the centre, that is no guarantee of survival.

Finally, another game of Gelfand where he has to use all his defensive skills to stay in the game. To be honest, if a defender of the quality of Gelfand struggles with these positions, then I reckon that it is worth a try at club level!

1 comment:

  1. hi carl,

    I haven't been doing much personal blogging lately but after my recent loss against the new SA State Champ, Goran Srdic, I had to write it down as therapy, one of those near misses that would have been a sweet victory! Anyway it might be of interest: chess swings and roundabouts.

    Thanks again for the great sessions you run at the MCC!