Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Practical Repertoire

So I was just looking through my Twitter feed when I saw a chess book that sounded interesting: "A Practical White Repertoire with 1.d4 and 2.c4". There's always a snag when it comes to learning openings and this one is the addition of the words "Volume 3" after the main title. I mean, it may be a great book but why try to sell something as practical that takes 3 volumes (at least) to present the material. I wonder how much of it the average reader is supposed to remember, and over how long a period of time? I seem to remember when I was a teenager that someone said that a decent white repertoire takes 5 years to develop, with both theory and practice, while you are developing the rest of your game.

Who really gives a cat's arse about serious chess books?
Personally, I've never been one for a lot of opening theory. I mean, I do know bits and pieces, and some positions I think I have a decent understanding of, but generally my work has been on the later stages of the game. And seeing I have had to invest in a new laptop as the old one decided it had had enough, I have installed my database program without an analysis engine so I now have to analyse using my own brain. I'll see how long I can do without one. Quite a while I would imagine, as I get thoroughly annoyed by people commenting on games using computer assistance. In fact, this annoys me so much that I tend to watch games on non interactive sites like TWIC.

Yesterday I said I was working through an old Informator, and I had a look at some more today. I just randomly opened a page and looked at a diagram. The position I saw was this one:
This comes from the game Sigurjonsson-Ogaard Esbjerg 1978, a tournament that was won by the great Danish player, Larsen. However, the Icelandic Grand Master Gudmunder Sigurjonsson came second and showed great tactical flare during the event. In the above position as white, Sigurjonsson came up with the line closing 28.d6! [Threatening 29.Qf5 with a mating attack] 28..Rxd6 [There are 2 other nice variations from this position. a) 28..Bxd6 29.Qf5 g6 30.Rxg6+! winning; b) 28..Qg5 29.Rxf7! Rxf7 {29..Qxg5 30.Rxf8#; 29..Bxd6 Qe6!} 30.Qc8+ winning] 29.Qf5 Qxd3 [29..g6 30.Qxg6+!! fxg6 31.Rxf8+ Kg7 32.R1f7#] 30.Qxd3 Rxf6 31.Rxf6 gxf6 [Black has rook, bishop and pawn for the queen, but his position is hopeless and Sigurjonsson quickly makes use of black's poorly placed pieces]
32.Qg3+ Kh8 33.Qc7 1-0 Black's bishop is trapped and the continuation 33..Re8 34.g4 Re5 will just end up with white's queen taking lots of black's pawns.

Sigurjonsson was a fairly regular competitor in the late 1970's and early 80's, and played a number of times in UK, though I never met him. I shall ask my Icelandic friend Smari Teitsson about him. Smari is a strong player and chess teacher who came to Australia last year, and hopefully will come back. Check out his website, Restless Knights :)

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