Carbon versus Silicon (2) – The Chess Improver

“The human mind isn’t a computer; it cannot progress in an orderly fashion down a list of candidate moves and rank them by a score down to the hundredth of a pawn the way a chess machine does. Even the most disciplined human mind wanders in the heat of competition…”
GM Garry Kasparov

A more common situation we encounter as chess lovers is reading analysis in books, magazines or online. In the older books and magazines there is a wealth of useful information waiting to be discovered. If you decide to study them because they are recommended, it is possible you might encounter incomplete analysis. This is more likely to be the case when the author annotates other players’ games. Take the following example from “Chess Life” where Paul Keres wrote the column “Keres Annotates” between 1968 to 1975. The annotations are by Keres with me adding the algebraic reference in between brackets:

There are a couple of aspects here we should look at:

  1. White’s decision to play 82. g6 is of course very bad. Black’s Na8 is stuck and cannot do anything else useful. Repositioning Ba5 as recommended by Keres makes perfect sense and can be done without any risks. Nc6 can always go to the a5-square, meaning Bh5 has no targets. I feel that here more could have been said
  2. Giving up voluntarily not one but both pawns, cannot be the correct way to play. Holding onto at least one pawn seems logical. Maybe Szabo thought the a8-square was well covered by both Na8 and the light squares Bishop. Still how many would like to checkmate with the knight + bishop combo as the best recommended outcome?

Now we can look at this position and analysis from today’s perspective. Implementing the idea suggested by Keres is simple for the engines. In this case it is useful to go over their solution and see how each move fits it. I believe this would deter you from repeating Szabo’s error to reach a simply won’t endgame.

This is another perfect example how wise was Lasker when he said “The hardest game to win is a won game. If the above has opened your appetite for a good practice session, here is the complete game for your review. Annotating it all would help you understand how the play led into this endgame.

Eugen Demian

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Valer Eugen Demian

Author: Valer Eugen Demian

The player – my first serious chess tournament was back in 1974, a little bit late for today’s standards. Over the years I have had the opportunity to play all forms of chess from OTB to postal, email and server chess. The journey as a player brought me a lot of experience and a few titles along the way: FIDE CM (2012), ICCF IM (2001) and one ICCF SIM norm (2004). The instructor – my career as a chess teacher and coach started in 1994 and continues strong. I have been awarded the FIDE Instructor title (2007) for my work and have been blessed with great students reaching the highest levels (CYCC, NAYCCC, Pan-Am, WYCC). I am very proud of them! See my website for more information. I have developed my own chess curriculum on 6 levels based on my overall chess knowledge and hands-on experience. A glimpse of it can be seen in my first chess app: I can help you learn chess the proper way if this is what you seek! View all posts by Valer Eugen Demian

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