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     Volume 4 Issue 32 | February 4, 2005 |

   Cover Story
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Time Out

Burnt out? Chess

Chess players know a great deal about unfathomable complications that may arise over the board. As the clock ticks away, you have to find your way through a labyrinth where death is the only punishment for any mistake. Even in a winning position the life of a chess player is not easy, as the opponent is always ready with nasty surprises and diabolical traps. The disturbing thought that you might miss the winning line, and allow the enemy to prolong his resistance, adds to the pressure.

That said, players actually love the excitement generated by a double-edged position. They know that chess has an inexhaustible nature which has kept it alive over the centuries, despite the attempts made by theoreticians to analyse certain variations and positions to 'death'. But in the past there was at least one great master who believed that the game had nothing more to offer to him. Yes, JR Capablanca, arguably the most gifted player that ever lived, lost interest in the game when he was winning rather easily against almost all top masters. Capablanca even suggested introduction of new pieces to make it more complicated. The idea could not convince chess enthusiasts. Capablanca himself perhaps realised that he had failed to resolve the mystery of 64 squares and 32 chessmen when younger masters started beating him in the late thirties.

The Cuban world champion might have also been influenced by the 'style' of his times. After the euphoria of the mid nineteenth century romanticism died down, there was a swing in the opposition direction--some masters began to play it too safe. That was the time when the principles of Steinitz were perhaps overrated. The result was that a great number of games ended in a draw. Masters were ready to split the point while facing adversaries of equal strength, and the brilliant ideas were preserved for lesser mortals.

The Soviet School of Chess changed everything by introducing the element of dynamism. It laid much emphasis on correct assessment of a position and precise calculation.

Here is a game played by a leading Soviet player of the fifties.

White-Efim P Geller
Black-Gideon Stahlberg [C06]

Saltsjobaden Interzonal, 1952

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.Bd3 c5 6.c3 Nc6 7.Ne2 Qb6 8.Nf3 cxd4 9.cxd4 f6 10.exf6 Nxf6 11.00 Bd6 12.Nf4 00 13.Re1 Bxf4?! 14.Bxf4 Bd7 15.Bd6 Rfe8 16.Bc5 Qc7 17.Rc1Qf4 18.Ne5 Rac8 19.Rc3 Nxe5 20.dxe5 Rxc5 21.g3 Qb4 22.a3 Qb6 23.exf6 Kf7 24.fxg7 Rxc3 25.Qh5+ Kxg7 26.Qxh7+ Kf6 27.bxc3 Qd8 28.Bg6 Rf8 29.Bh5 d4 30.cxd4 Qa5 31.Qh6+ 1-0

Position after 21.g3


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