Friday, May 11, 2012

10 minutes until the World Championship

It's 10 minutes before the 2012 World Chess Championship between Anand and Gelfand. I've just finished dinner, and have settled into my front room waiting for it to start. What am I expecting? Actually, I have few expectations, though I do believe it will be an interesting match. I'm not sure either player will try to "fly out the stalls" today, but I certainly want to be watching it at the start. Anand has the white pieces and the first question is what will he be playing? Will he try 1.d4 or 1.e4? And what will Gelfand try to do with black? Will he stodge with a Petroff or Queen's Gambit, or take it to his opponent with a Sicilian or Semi Slav? We will find out in about 5 minutes now!!

For me, the most important thing is not necessarily the sporting aspect of the match, but the interest it generates. At the moment I am thoroughly into chess, both study and play. I have a new aim, to try to push my rating up to 2300 and FIDE Master standard and am currently training quite seriously. However, as essentially a middle aged hobby player (non professional) I need things to maintain my interest in chess as more than just a sport. I'll admit that I find it a real grind to work on tactical exercises, or plough through opening variations. I do it, but I can't say I really enjoy it. I just bought a load of chess materials that I'm going to be going through over the next few months. From a purely analytical point of view, I've just bought the latest Informator, number 113 which looks as if there is a ton of great material...


Anand opens with 1.d4 and the Internet Chess Club relay says that Gelfand replied 1..f6! It's been changed to 1..Nf6 and after 2.c4 g6......Grunfeld!!!

...I have also bought a Chessbase Magazine which arrived in the post today, of all days! This also has a lot of material, but the main thing I have these products for is the analysed games. With the top analysed games from Wijk aan Zee and Gibralter, this should prove to be a very good issue.

These 2 heavy tomes need some lighter material, so I have bought a book on Rubinstein, the Doeberl history, and Averbakh's "Centre Stage and behind the Scenes". I have read through this book briefly already, and it is a great read. Averbakh was both a prominent Grandmaster and a prominent chess politician and journalist. He rubbed shoulders with the greats of the game from Botvinnik through to the present day, and his nostalgic, anecdotal style is very readable. I found the book getting a bit heavy going as Averbakh moved his commentary into the 1980's, but there were still some nice touches. One thing I found very interesting was when Averbakh talked about psychological types who play chess. He identifies:

Killers: players who look for a KO against their opponents - Alekhine, Botvinnik, Fischer and Korchnoi
Fighters: players inspired by the battle itself - Lasker, Bronstein, Reshevsky, Tal
Sportsmen: Chess is a sport - Capablanca, Euwe, Keres, Smyslov, Spassky
Players: Good at all games - Karpov, Janowsky, Najdorf, Geller, Petrosian
Artists: Winning in style and creative approach - Simagin, Rossolimo
Explorers: those who try to understand the deeper meanings in the game - Rubinstein, Nimzovich, Fine

Averbakh admits there is some overlap, but this is an interesting subject  and I wonder where each player would put themselves. I can definitely rule out myself as being a killer or player and I am probably not in the fighter mode either. I think I'm less of a sportsman than an artist or explorer but this is only my own subjective self analysis! I look forward to re-reading this book and going into a bit more detail

World Champioship Update

30 minutes into the game, and things have already taken an interesting turn. An Exchange Grunfeld took an odd direction after 1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 Nxd5 5.e4 Nxc3 6.bxc3 Bg7 7.Nf3 c5 8.Bb5+ Nc6 when Anand played 9.d5. Is this home preparation? I guess we will find out after the game, although the continuation may lead us to make some conclusions.

Time to go and follow the game. I've never seen the position above before, so I'm going to be learning some new things from both the play and the analysis. And it fulfils my need to keep working, with the necessity to keep things interesting. I hope you all enjoy the World Championship and that it inspires you to bigger and better things!

1 comment:

  1. Superb narrative Carl, I wish I could find some time to learn to play chess. There's a definite affinity with my unconscious preference for analysing trends and exploring meanings .....In terms of the psychological types outlined, I think I would certainly like to know more about those likenened to 'explorers'. Be interesting to know which types inspire you and where you would position yourself amongst these styles. Keep up the blogging, it sure makes a welcome read! :D Annie