Monday, November 21, 2011

Tal Memorial - some strange impressions

I hope I'm not the only chess player baffled by some of the strange manouvres that are being played in this tournament. I mean, the field is great, and they are putting together some excellent combative chess, but some of the opening play is way beyond me.

Round 1

Ivanchuk plays around with his queen. The opening moves of the game between Ivanchuk and Svidler were:

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 d5 4. e3 Bg7 5. Qb3 e6 6. Qa3 a5 7. Nf3 Nc6 8. Bd2 Nb4 9. Qa4+ Bd7 10. Qb3 leaving this position

Now Ivanchuk has moved his queen 4 times in the first 10 moves but isn't worse?

Round 2

The 2010 Russian Champion Nepomniachtchi was playing against Ivanchuk and decided he could outdo his illustrious opponent.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 e5 5. Nb5 d6 6. N1c3 a6 7. Na3 Be7 8.Nc4 b5 9. Ne3

The beautiful knight on e3 has had an amazing start to this game, 6 times it's moved in the first 9 moves. Saying that, it does seem to have found a good square for itself. The same theme was used by Magnus Carlsen in the following round.

Round 3

It seems the world number 1 ranked player can get away with anything. Here he is playing no rabbit, but ex world champion Vladimir Kramnik, who has had a recent burst of form.
1. c4 e5 2. g3 Nf6 3. Bg2 h6 4. Nc3 Bb4 5. e4 Nc6 6. Nge2 Bc5 7. d3 d6 8. h3

Nh7 9. a3 a6 10. O-O Ng5 11. Kh2 Ne6
Magnus has an amazing knight on e6, much the same as Nepomniachtchi's in the previous round, and he has only moved it 4 times in the first 11 moves Nf6-h7-g5-e6, so has been economical compared to the ex Russian Champ. However, Magnus has had the grace to throw in the moves a6 and h6 and lose a tempo with his dark squared bishop on the manouvre Bf8-b4-c5, and this bishop is heading back to a7 in a couple of moves as well!

Round 4

Nepomniachtchi is at it again, this time against Nakamura.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 g6 6. Be2 Bg7 7. O-O O-O 8.
Re1 Nc6

Hold on I hear you say, that looks like a fairly regular Sicilian, doesn't it? Yes, it is. Look at the next few moves 9. Nb3 Be6 10. Bf1 a5 11. Nd2 a4 12. Ndb1 Ra5 13. Na3

The only difference in white's position is that his bishop has retreated to f1 and his centrally placed knight has moved to the edge of the board via the cumbersome manouvre Nd4-b3-d2-b1-a3.

Round 5

Nakamura decided to get in the act himself. The American number 1 decided that the best way to play against world number 3, Aronian was to move as few pieces as possible and shuffle his pawns a bit!

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Be7 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bf4 c6 6. e3 Bf5 7. g4 Be6 8. h4
Nd7 9. Bg3 Nb6 10. f3

Nakamura as white has played 7 pawn moves in his first 10 moves.

Strange opening choices, throwing conventional wisdom out the window:

- don't move the same piece twice in the opening until you are fully developed.
- don't waste time bringing your queen out early.
- develop your pieces quickly making as few pawn moves as possible.

The morals of the story?

Don't be dogmatic in chess. None of the players breaking these opening moves rules lost their games!

BUT!!! Don't try these things at home without some serious thought!!

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