Saturday, July 7, 2018

Game of the Day 5

Different Analysis Styles

One of the things we're taught is that after we play games we should analyse with our opponent, especially if we are playing a higher rated, or more experienced player. When we go through the game we get an insight into the thought processes of our opponent, and the more players we analyse with, the more different thought processes we encounter. It is then down to us to filter the good analysts from the less good, to take the best parts of a player's thoughts and be critical of their weaker ideas.

It is the same when looking through books of games annotated by Grand Masters. Each will have a different style of presentation based on their style of thought. Some have stronger opinions, some are more verbose, some look deeply into calculating variations, some pick only critical positions to examine, some try to uphold their ideas through their analysis, while others will seek definite proof of  the truth in various positions. But whatever the style of thinking that brings a great player to come up with their ideas, it is worth examining.

This is the 5th game that I'm showing and it brings a different analysis style than the previous games

GotD 1 was a game by Lasker analysed by Reinfeld and Fine. The notes aren't too deep, and only a couple of critical positions are examined in any depth.

GotD 2 was another from the same authors, although here we see to a greater extent what a hero Lasker was for, at least one of the authors, Reinfeld.

GotD 3 was from Tartakower's autobiographical games collection. Tartakower is very wordy and likes to bring wit into the analysis, though it can sometimes be cutting.

GotD 4 was a clasic from Rubinstein analysed by Kmoch who like Reinfeld, was writing about a player he somewhat idolised. And like Reinfeld and Fine, the notes to this game are sparse and designed more as general advice for less experienced players than a thorough analysis.

Today's game is from "100 Selected Games" by Botvinnik. Now Botvinnik is perceived as one of the legendary analysts of the game and he believed that publishing analysis gave him a forum to debate his ideas about chess, to put his ideas in a public space for others to criticise, and for him to discuss and defend. Botvinnik's analysis style combines the general ideas style of Reinfeld or Kmoch and adds more analysis of variations with more definite assessments. Sometimes Botvinnik's analysis can seem rather brutal, but he upholds his ideas of logical thinking through to the end. Logically speaking, we can see Botvinnik's analysis style taken to its conclusion through the analysis style of his great pupil, Kasparov. It must have been truly amazing to see these two working together!

100 Selected Games is written in the descriptive notation, like the other other books I've mentioned, but if players could go through these games and analysis, they would get a great deal of wisdom and ideas. The book takes us up to 1946 so Botvinnik's early career and his build up to being the strongest player in the World. I have chosen his game against Tartakower from Nottingham 1936. This was a truly great tournament with a super strong top of the field: Alekhine, Capablanca, Lasker, Euwe, Botvinnik who all held the World title at some point in their life. Bogolyubov and Reshevsky who both competed for the World title also played! Botvinnik's win over Tartakower was awarded the brilliancy prize for this great tournament and shows what a great calculator Botvinnik was, always happy to join in a complicated fight and trusting his fantastic calculation and logical thinking.

This is my favourite bit of the game. Black has just played Ng6. Botvinnik's thinking is clear and execution is deadly. He describes ..Ng6 as "the only way of freeing the king's road to the Queen side without giving up defence of f7. If the king succeeds in slipping away (eg after Qh6 Ke7) Black will have chances of salvation. But how can White prevent the Black king from fleeing?"

See for yourself in this great, and under rated game. Enjoy!

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