Tuesday, December 8, 2015

My Chess Addiction

Yesterday I mentioned that I was an addict to chess. What exactly does that mean? I work as a coach, play or study chess daily but does that make me an addict? I suppose looking at chess articles every day can be seen as many as an addict. Saying that, what is the difference between a healthy interest, a pastime, and an addiction?

I saw this article a few days ago. It was published a long time ago, but I only saw it when someone mentioned it on Twitter on my feed. The author seems to be saying that the game world of players becomes more meaningful than the real world, using games such as chess and role playing games which have an ultimate conclusion, whereas we are facing constant unknowns in real life. The chaos of life is less appealing than the structure of game play.

Hmmm, that means I'm not an addict! A crazy chess nut maybe, but not an addict. Phew! Real life is too important to me, my beautiful wife, travel and experiencing new things and, of course, coffee. To prove this, I'll get back to some non-chess posts soon. But for now...

Yesterday, I talked about my favourite move of the day. Again, it wasn't a contemporary move, but a move I saw in a game I looked at yesterday (and seeing I solved about 600 puzzles yesterday, and looked at about 75 games, there were a lot of moves to choose from!).

White to play
This was from the game Kramnik-van Wely Wijk aan Zee 2004. In this position, Kramnik played the amazing 37.Rh8!! The rook can't be taken:

37..Kxh8 38.Qh6+ Kg8 39.Ra8+ will lead to black being mated

All players know the gut wrenching feeling when an unexpected move is hammered out by your opponent, and when your opponent is Kramnik it must feel even worse. 37.Rh8 not only threatens mate, it threatens to take the h4 pawn, while and transfers the rook to the king side where it can be both an attacker and a defender. Another possibility for white is doubling on the 8th rank, by 38.Raa8. Van Wely struggled on for some moves, but Kramnik easily converted his advantage.

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