Friday, February 8, 2013

Time for some Classics

My lessons recently have focused on the tactical and some great attacking games. I think some of my young students are ready to take a look at some classic games. In his book "Modern Chess Preparation" Ukrainian Grandmaster and Olympiad team Captain, Vladimir Tukmakov devotes over a third of his book to looking at classic games claiming that for improving players, the "games of Capablanca are far more instructive than the extremely complex works of modern super-grandmasters". He goes on to say that strategic rules should be learned from "simple and logical examples" and that "the games of Capablanca not Alekhine, Botvinnik not Bronstein and Karpov not Kasparov" should be looked at.

So with this in mind, I am inspired to show my pupils 2 of the most famous games in history, both of them appearing in Tukmakov's book, as well as many other sources and I'll share them on this blog. In fact a little earlier this evening I looked through one of the games for the first time in a long time, and see in it one of the greatest knight outposts I can remember. Of course, this is the game Lasker-Capablanca St Petersburg 1914. I can't wait to see the kids faces when the queens are exchanged early on. Hopefully their disbelief will turn to resourcefulness when they are challenged to join Lasker in making the most of his other pieces. Another issue that is of paramount importance in this game is space which Capablanca had little of, and a permanent weakness on d6. Strategically it is a masterful game, and I hope the kids appreciate it for what it is.

To make things up to Capablanca I intend to show one of his masterful performances. I intend to show his game against Marshall where he had to defend against the Marshall Gambit. This will introduce the concepts of gambit play, attacking methods and defensive techniques, including giving back material which is something kids are always reluctant to do. I will again be interested to see the kids reactions to a game where the attacking player is the one who ends up losing.

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