In fact, I found out the hard way how good Simon has become, as I lost to him on Monday. Funnily enough, as I was walking to my car, I phoned my wife to tell her I was on my way home and when she asked how my game went I said "I lost the game, but really enjoyed it. It was an amazingly interesting game and my opponent played better than me to beat me". Caroline replied something to the effect of: "I don't get it. Why do you seem to enjoy the games that you lose more than those you win?" It was a difficult question to answer, but she has a point. I guess that I like playing, and I enjoy a good interesting game whatever the result, rather than a prosaic win, or a poor loss (lifeless draws are gradually disappearing from my play). I'm glad to say that I'm not the only player who feels this way (and I'm sure there are many at the MCC who can relate to what I'm saying here).
Dutch GM Jan Hein Donner wrote a chess column for a Dutch newspaper and in 1958 one of his articles was entitled "Fun and Seriousness". This article touched on his result in a zonal tournament where he tied with Bent Larsen for equal third. Donner makes some interesting observations about chess in general and about Larsen in particular, who he needed to play off against to progress further in the World Championship cycle. "Character, staying power, self-confidence and aggression decide who will be the greatest among grandmasters" and don't forget that he wrote this before Spassky, Fischer, Karpov or Kasparov became World Champions! As for Larsen, Donner singled out one significant quality that set him apart from other grandmasters: "He derives great pleasure from playing chess. He is one of the very few players I know to whom winning is less important than playing the game". Of course, Donner was aware of how great a player Larsen was, and adds that for Larsen "it is the 'fun' that makes him take the game so seriously".
|Collected writings of GM Donner|
Good luck to everyone in the tournament, and again due to work, I will have to take another bye next week which will leave me on 2/4 and with some catching up to do if I'm going to finish in a high position in this tournament. Then again, if I end up playing games like this one against Simon throughout the event, I'll have an enjoyable tournament whatever the results. Enjoy the game I played against Simon, which he played excellently and with more feel for the opposite castling than I did.