Chess style

Games are given in the Style section of the Canon, and relevant examples may be found through the Glossary. Steve Lopez has written pen-portraits of the players at the 1924 NY tournament, and there is a whole site devoted to the World Champions.

[ I wrote this to accompany the lollipops in 1994, but it holds up as well as it ever did ;-) ]
"We perceive after a careful consideration of the evolution of the chess mind that such evolution has gone on, in general, in a way quite similar to that in which it goes on with the individual chess player, only with the latter more rapidly."
-- Richard RETI
"The delight in gambits is a sign of chess youth... In very much the same way as the young man, on reaching his manhood years, lays aside the Indian stories and stories of adventure, and turns to the psychological novel, we with maturing experience leave off gambit playing and become interested in the less vivacious but withal more forceful manoeuvres of the position player."
-- Emanuel LASKER

[cool blue cat says:]

I asked elsewhere, what's your style - the crunch or the crouch? or a bit of both? To help you in this decision, you might be interested to play over some of the exemplary games of the previous World Champions. Which do you admire most, which seem to you to be most logical, which diagrammed positions attract you? You may find that once you understand your strengths and weaknesses better, you can make efforts to steer the game into channels that suit you and not your opponent. Moreover, as Reti and Lasker suggest, that we often start off playing like Morphy, and then start to get interested in slower play; I would not, however, be in too much of a hurry for this. Advanced players might like to play these games over one at a time in between reading the next section on some of the theories behind these games.


The style of the World Champions

Before Steinitz

Before Steinitz, the first official World Champion, the great names of chess are Andre Danican-Philidor, Howard Staunton, Adolf Anderssen, and Paul Morphy. We've seen Anderssen's two greatest games elsewhere - many would say these are two of the greatest games ever, loved by chess romantics everywhere. Staunton played splendid, direct chess, but not in the romantic style of the period - he was much more controlled and effective, as can be seen in his game against Elijah Williams, no mean positional player himself.

 Style section of the Canon


Paul Morphy

Morphy was a razor-sharp attacker, one of the fastest and most accurate talents of the game. I have chosen his famous brilliancy against the great defender Paulsen, which spectators mocked until the game continuation made it obvious to them how much further Morphy had seen. I have given also his effective defensive game against the powerful Andersson; Morphy effectively defined the perfect style for playing open games.

 Style section of the Canon


Wilhelm Steinitz, World Champion 1886-1894

The first great chess thinker, whose often awkward-looking and defensive mature chess style was in total contrast to his dashing, gambiting contemporaries. He could attack when it was needed - indeed, he used to be known as the "Austrian Morphy" - but he suppressed his attacking talent in favour of a thoughtful, principled, positional style. His theories, particularly those of the closed game (see part ii below), were adopted and refined by his disciple Siegbert Tarrasch, who can be said to have taught the world how to play chess properly. The game against Andersson is characteristic - apparently awkward and cramped opening manoeuvres which gradually uncoil and engulf his opponent. Not until Nimzovitch did we see more of this.

 Style section of the Canon


Emanuel Lasker 1894-1921

The pragmatic philosopher who was also the wiliest combatant in chess history, who was still winning games against the best in the world in his sixties. Although he had a great grasp and appreciation of Steinitz' theories, Lasker always played the man as well as the board. As an example, see his game against the scientific Tarrasch. Wild rumours circulated about his luck in poor positions, but his mastery was not just of chess but of psychology. It was like inviting his opponents to waltz on a clifftop, confident that his footwork and nerve were stronger. It was a style impossible to imitate - you need always to be the strongest player - but elements of it may prove useful to anyone.

 Style section of the Canon


Jose Capablanca 1921-1927

The game's greatest natural talent, whose elegant and seemingly effortless style awed his contemporaries and has charmed generations since. He made it all look so easy - beating the great Marshall like a child (see elsewhere on Majorities), and nudging Bernstein off the board with one of the neatest finishes ever. More than other masters, he was content with small advantages, and content to give them up for other pluses on the board. This capacity for winning with small advantages led Euwe to comment about one game:
"Whether this advantage is theoretically sufficient to win or not does not worry Capablanca. He simply wins the ending. That is why he is Capablanca!"

 Style section of the Canon


Alexander Alekhin 1927-1935,1937-1946

Alekhin's driving and sometimes unattractive personality powered his chess to bold and brilliant new levels in all phases of the game. His game against Marshall is almost the opposite of Capablanca's - no less accurate, but a forceful and aggressive drive for mate which looks risky. I've also added a sparkling finish, played blindfold.
Sir George Thomas once remarked: "Against Alekhin you never knew what to expect. Against Capablanca, you knew what to expect, but you couldn't prevent it!"
Alekhin had a knack of finding "accidental" opportunities in apparently harmless variations. The "sting in the tail" is the hallmark of an Alekhin combination, but he beat Capablanca on technique, improbable as it seemed at the time.

 Style section of the Canon


Max Euwe 1935-1937

The last real chess amateur and one of the game's great sportsmen, he devoted the rest of his chess life to writing, teaching and organisation. He played many positions well, but had a clear attacking talent. His game against Alekhin which helped secure the title is one of his best and best-known games.

 Style section of the Canon


Mikhail Botvinnik 1948-57,1958-60,1961-63

The first product of the Soviet school, a disciplined and insightful player who remained at the top for decades. No non-Soviet was to win again until 1972. Botvinnik could play clear positions well but was unafraid of complications - perhaps the secret being that they too were clear to Botvinnik. His game against Chekhover is an impressive win, overpowering his opponent by virtue of his grasp of the position; the Matulovic game is much more recent, and shows Botvinnik taking on an apparently unpromising but difficult line from which he emerges better off.

 Style section of the Canon


Vassily Smyslov, 1957-1958

Smyslov's attractively clear style took him to the top but his success served only to motivate Botvinnik for the re-match. His game against Liberzon is a nice blend of dominating positional play and tactically accurate cashing-in. In the 1980s he had a second wind, playing his bright, crisp, modern chess all the way to the Candidate's Matches where he was stopped by Kasparov.

 Style section of the Canon


Mikhail Tal, 1960-1961

Tal, the whirlwind from Riga, won the hearts of the fans and appalled the critics, all the way to a title match with Botvinnik where Botvinnik's clear head could never seem to keep the board under control for long enough. The game with Barcza is a nice attacking display, and the sacrifice against Smyslov shows that not even his closest rivals could stifle his driving urge to attack. Tal's collection of bold and risky attacking games continued to impress and inspire, but his poor health kept him out of the top rank after the re-match, in which a grim Botvinnik gradually wrenched the crown from Tal's hands.

 Style section of the Canon


Tigran Petrosian, 1963-1968

The slowest, canniest player of recent years, whose boa-constrictor style concealed great strategical insight and tactical skill. His play harks back to the hypermoderns of the 'twenties who challenged what they saw as the dogma of Tarrasch and his school. The games show two sides of Petrosian: a determined if dour endgame from the Championship match, and a nice finish from a much brighter game in one of the matches against Spassky.

 Style section of the Canon


Boris Spassky, 1968-1972

An attacking player with a well-rounded, classical style, he beat Petrosian at the second attempt. I have included two well-known quick wins, where he seemed to storm past world-class opposition in complex attacking games. His slower games also have a breeziness about them.

 Style section of the Canon


Bobby Fischer, 1972-1975

Fischer's turbulent career finally led to the most famous chess match in history. His chess was always razor-sharp, rational and brilliant. One of the best ever. His win against Byrne is well-known but also characteristic - all vigour and straight lines, with active pieces compensating for the isolated d-Pawn. When Byrne resigned, watching grandmasters were still arguing that White was winning - can you find the win for Black? His sporting achievements (11-0 in the US championship, 6-0 in two(!) Candidates Matches) will probably never be equalled.

 Style section of the Canon


Anatoly Karpov, 1975-1986,1993?-

Fischer never agreed to a match, but Karpov's long reign at the top was always totally convincing. A quiet man whose calm and deft chess was an overwhelming force for ten years. The games: GM John Nunn is a very dangerous and active player, but Karpov doesn't let him get started. Kasparov too is dangerous when he gets going, but the game given (from the 1985 Championship match) shows everything under control, and the win was always in hand. Currently Karpov holds the FIDE title. Karpov's style is often compared to Capa's (who he admires); the style of his great rival Viktor Korchnoi was often likened to that of Lasker.

 Style section of the Canon


Garry Kasparov, 1986-present (1994)

To complete the parallel, Kasparov's play reminds us more of Alekhin. A dynamic attacker with a great appetite for work and a forceful opening repertoire, Kasparov has yet to be seriously challenged by anyone but Karpov. Nigel Short may change all that! [HTMLed 1996, written 1994!] The game shows the man at his best - a great 6-piece attack against the king, in the most tense arena of chess, in an opening that Karpov has played and won with for years. The split with FIDE has led to the creation of two 'world champions'.

[cool blue cat says:]

So, what do you think? What games attracted you? Which ones looked or felt like your games, which do you admire most? Most players have a favourite or a hero in chess, and fondly imagine their play to be 'a bit like Morphy'; the thing to do is to assess what is real and what is you kidding yourself, but then to see how to improve - how to choose your openings, what your weaknesses are, what sort of positions to steer for and avoid. Players of every style have won the championship. Make your style work for you.

A potted history of chess theory.


Behind this human story of successive champions and rivals is a parallel story of the rise and fall of chess ideas. The parallel is not exact, for although Steinitz' peerless play as Champion was the embodiment of his theories, his title was taken by Lasker, who founded no school; and although the Hypermoderns were the ones to watch in the 'twenties, none held the title.
"Today we see in chess the fight of aspiring Americanism against the old European intellectual life: a struggle between the technique of Capablanca, a virtuoso in whose play one can find nothing tangible to object to, and between great European masters, all of them artists, who have the qualities as well as the faults of artists in the treatment of the subject they devote themselves to: they experimentalise and in striving after what is deep down. they overlook what is near to hand.

...If Americanism is victorious in chess, it will also be so in life. For the idea of chess and the development of the chess mind we have a pictureof the intellectual struggle of mankind." - Reti, MOIC.


A start on theory

Many chess ideas which were taken up later can first be found in the play and writing of PHILIDOR. In his 1749 book L'Analyse des Echecs, he discussed holes, blockade, prophylaxis, and the positional sacrifice, he described pawn weaknesses such as the isolated, backward, and doubled pawns, and discussed what we now term pawn islands. For 90 years he was praised but had no lasting influence on the play of the time, although he was re-discovered from time to time. He emphasised above all else play with the pawns, and said (in French) "Pawns are the very soul of the game.".

The Italian game

The play most characteristic of the late 1700s and later was dominated instead by the style of the Italian MODENESE SCHOOL - Italian players and writers like DEL RIO, LOLLI and PONZIANI, after whom the Italian Game (Guioco Piano and related openings) came into prominence. Fast development followed by attack was the name of the game, and beyond this it is difficult to see much theory at all; players were concerned with direct attack - to mate, or lose gloriously in the attempt. From this period we inherit all the older tactical variations of the King's Gambit and Giuoco Piano, where sacrifices were common and their acceptance almost routine. This period should not be though of as artless - it produced legions of fine analysts and several games of genius, and much was learned about the art of attack.

  The play of the American Paul MORPHY brought some additional science to all this, not that everyone recognised it at the time. Through his games he showed that a successful attack must be based on a lead in development. Similarly, he showed that a player who is behind in development must not open lines to 'free their position', since these lines will provide avenues along which the better-developed side will attack - instead, they should keep things closed until they have caught up a bit.

  Sadly, when players learned to decline or return sacrificed material, a lot of the steam went out of the Italian approach. e.g. an old line of the Danish Gambit goes 1 e4, e5; 2 d4, exd4; 3 c3, exc3; 4 Bc4, cxb2; 5 Bxb2. If Black clings to the material White will have a good time, but MIESES showed 5...d5; 6 Bxd5, Nf6 secures open lines and probably the two Bishops. The best line for White here is probably 7 Bxf7+ Kxf7; 8 Qxd8, Bb4+ 9 Qd2, Bxd2+ when Black has no extra material but can play to win the ending with the Queen's-side majority. Technique was replacing romance in chess.

The English school

There was briefly an English school centred around Howard STAUNTON, who directly contradicted the Italian style by playing first for control of the small centre, or some other advantage, before any thought of direct attack on the king. Staunton (and his followers like Wyvill) embraced the Fianchetto, the flank openings (like the English Opening), but although he wrote a fine textbook he never defined or discussed his own system, and the style withered when Staunton retired. The attacking style persisted until the Modern era began with Steinitz.

The modern era

Wilhelm STEINITZ of Austria was a great player but also a great thinker and writer, so it was possible for his ideas to become widely known and adopted. He was a theorist primarily of closed positions (see the Steinitz Variation of the Ruy Lopez for a good example). To him we owe a deal of our understanding about two bishops, about play behind a row of pawns, about weak pawns (see his lines for Black in the Queen's Gambit Accepted, playing against an isolated Queen's pawn: 1 d4, d5; 2 c4, dxc4; 3 Nf3, Nf6; 4 e3, c5; 5 Bxc4, cxd4; 6 exd4 followed by ...Nc6-b4-d5). He also showed how to play defensively once you have accepted a gambit pawn (that you intend to keep). With Steinitz we associate positional play, accumulating advantages and playing against weaknesses - he did not discover weak points, but he showed that they were more important than had been assumed. By the 1890s most players had been influenced to a greater or lesser extent by Steinitz, and LASKER who took his crown paid tribute to the importance of Steinitz' theories.

 Lasker and TCHIGORIN both played superb defensive chess - Lasker on a knife-edge, waiting for his opponent to stumble, and Tchigorin more solidly - it was Tchigorin who founded the great highway of the Ruy Lopez known as the Closed Morphy or Tchigorin Defence (1 e4, e5; 2 Nf3, Nc6; 3 Bb5, a6; 4 Ba4, Nf6; 5 O-O, Be7 {just this far is the Closed Morphy}; 6 Re1, b5; 7 Bb3, d6; 8 c3, Na5; 9 Bc2, c5 {the Tchigorin Defence; Black can delay the ...Na5/...c5 manoeuvre until after castling}). Tchigorin was a demon attacker, rather in the old Romantic mould. When Steinitz defeated Tchigorin in a match he said ironically "youth has triumphed" - meaning, the Modern Steinitz, much the older of the two, had defeated the Romantic.

 Steinitz' awkward-looking chess attracted a lot of criticism, but even if there was no arguing with results there was no arguing with Steinitz, who was as pugnacious an opponent off the board as on it. In 1886 Steinitz played Zukertort for the World Championship, and critics of the day compared the clumsy-looking games unfavourably with the supposedly brilliant, error-free and superior chess of Morphy. Steinitz replied, not just by pointing out in an article Morphy's tactical blunders, but also indicating his strategical errors. Steinitz agreed that Morphy was a genius, but added that "Morphy in 1886, had he been alive, would have beaten the Morphy of 1859"...

"When it is so freely asserted that Morphy's style was all genius and inspiration ... Morphy possessed that most profound book knowledge of any master of his time, and never introduced a single novelty, whereas since his day the books have had to study the players...

"We may all learn from Morphy and Anderssen how to conduct a King's side attack, and perhaps I myself may not have learnt enough. But if you want to learn how to avoid such an attack, how to keep the balance of the position on the whole board and how to expose the King and invite a complicated attack that cannot be sustained in the long run, then you must go to the modern school for information...

"The progress of age can no more be disputed than Morphy's extraordinary genius" - STEINITZ

The technique of chess continued to evolve. His theories were adopted, adapted and publicised by the German player Siegbert TARRASCH, who, while often regarded as dogmatic, played in a fresh, direct style. He would always defend an isolated central pawn if it meant he could develop his pieces freely, and his defence to the Queen's Gambit does just this: 1 d4, d5; 2 c4, e6; 3 Nc3, c5; 4 cxd5, exd4; 5 Nf3, Nf6 and later Pxc5 (or ...cxd4,Nxd4) will give Black the IQP. It was Tarrasch who gave the line 1 d4, d5; 2 c4, e6; 3 Nc3, Nf6 its derisory name of Orthodox Defence. In the Ruy, he advocated the Open Morphy Defence with 5...Nxe4, again leading to an open position where Black has compensation for messy pawns in activity. This balance between pawn structure and piece activity is perhaps the key question in any chess position, and after Tarrasch we see a continuous exploration of these issues across a variety of positions.

 Reti, in Modern Ideas in Chess, points to CAPABLANCA as being the first player to subjugate development to playing with a plan. For example, after 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4 4.Nxe4 Nd7 5.Nf3 Ngf6 6.Nxf6+ Nxf6 7.Ne5 [Capablanca,Jose - Blanco Estera,Rafael [C10]; Havana (02), 1913] instead of another developing move Capa played 7. Ne5, moving a piece twice but preventing the natural ...b6 and ...Bd7 which would get the Bc8 out of the box.

 [The game finished 7...Bd6 8.Qf3 c6 9.c3 0-0 10.Bg5 Be7 11.Bd3 Ne8 12.Qh3 f5 13.Bxe7 Qxe7 14.0-0 Rf6 15.Rfe1 Nd6 16.Re2 Bd7 17.Rae1 Re8 18.c4 Nf7 19.d5 Nxe5 20.Rxe5 g6 21.Qh4 Kg7 22.Qd4 c5 23.Qc3 b6 24.dxe6 Bc8 25.Be2 Bxe6 26.Bf3 Kf7 27.Bd5 Qd6 28.Qe3 Re7 29.Qh6 Kg8 30.h4 a6 31.h5 f4 32.hxg6 hxg6 33.Rxe6 1-0]

Hypermodernismus

NIMZOVITCH founded the HYPERMODERN school, and wrote a very engaging text My System in which he expounded his views on the centre, centralisation, prophylaxis, and various pawn formations. The other Hypermoderns, of whom we may take RETI of Czechoslovakia as an example, proposed no really new theory of the middlegame but revolutionised the treatment of the opening. They said (and showed) that there was no need to try to grab the centre immediately - and in fact, you could safely let your opponent rush into the centre with pawns in the opening, using them as a target for attack. In fact, Reti said, to occupy the centre directly as White merely allowed Black either to blockade or blow up what White had established, whereas keeping things unfixed was possibly the most awkward thing White could do.

  The hypermoderns would therefore develop the Bishops in fianchetto, and use side-swipes like c2-c4 to undermine the centre. For White, the Reti (1. Nf3 2. c4) and Barcza (1. Nf3 2. g3) openings, and for the Black Alekhin's Defence (1. e4 Nf6) and the Grunfeld Defence, are good examples of the hypermodern legacy. See the document on hypermodern openings.

Post-war

This century has not produced any great new theories, rather an approach to chess which takes no theory for granted. It was actually Reti who claimed that
"It is the aim of the modern school not to treat every position according to one general law, but according to the principle inherent in the position"
It seems that this claim has become more true as time has gone on. Novel play in the opening has become increasingly sophisticated, and players will defend the most dreadful-looking pawn structures if they get some sort of activity for it. Chess has become more concrete, more dynamic, and more difficult. Let's have a look at a couple of examples:
[These are taken from the planning handout]

 

tSlD-Tj+
Xx+-LxXx
-+x+-X-+
+-+-+-+-
-+bP-+-+
+-+-+n+-
pPp+qPpP
R-B-+rK-

This position, arising after 1 e4, c6; 2 d4, d5; 3 Nc3, dxe4; 4 Nxe4, Nf6; 5 Nxf6, exf6 (now we more often play 5...gxf6); 6 Bc4, Bd6; 7 Qe2, Be7; 8 Nf3, O-O; 9 O-O, was well-known to players and theorists of the 19th century. Lasker, for example, comments:

"White's plan consists in realising his pawn superiority on the Queen's side while remaining passive on the King's side. Black, on the other had will attampt to force his opponent to advance one of his pawns on the King's wing, in order to start play against White's King's side with his pawns."

  Lasker has in mind moves for White such as c4 and d5 to create a passed pawn, and for Black ...Bg4, ...Bd6, ...f5 and ...Qh5. In fact play went 9 ...Bd6; 10 Re1, Bg4; 11 Qe4! Bh5; 12 Nh4, Nd7; 13 Qf5. Steinitz and Lasker would undoubtedly have criticised White's crude and 'unjustified' attack. What's going on? Ragozin, a strong and experienced Soviet master, must have been aware of Lasker's views, and of the theories of Steiniz, so why is he playing on the 'wrong' side? He has made in fact a much more dynamic and concrete assessment of the position which notes, not just the Q-side majority, but also: the awkwardly placed bishops, missing Nf6, the compromised f-pawns and White's development and control of space. Given time, Black could no doubt disentangle his pieces. Ragozin gives him no time at all.

13...Nb6; 14 Qxh5, Nxc4; 15 Bh6!! Qd7 (can you find the win after 15...gxh6?); 16 b3, Nb6; 17 Nf5, Kh8; 18 Re4, Bxh2+ 19 Kh1 and Black resigned.

  This is the real contribution of the 20th century to chess theory, in which SOVIET players have been dominant. Players look beyond the geometry of pawn formations and have moved to a more flexible and more dynamic style of play. There are no new general principles, because modern players do not believe in general principles. Players like BRONSTEIN and BOLESLAVSKY turned established ideas on their heads in the 1950s, championing Black's dynamic chances in the King's Indian and Sicilian.

  The most dramatic recent example of this is Evgeny Sveshnikov's cherished variation of the Sicilian, sometimes known as the Pelikan: 1 e4, c5; 2 Nf3, Nc6; 3 d4, cxd4; 4 Nxe4, Nf6; 5 Nc3, e5; 6 Nb5, d6; 7 Bg5, a6; 8 Bxf6, gxf6; 9 Na3, f5!? Black will use the extra central pawns and piece activity to stop White getting a proper hold on the weaknesses on ...d6 and ...f6/...h6.

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 e5 6. Ndb5 d6 DIAGRAM

 

t+lDjL-T
Xx+-+xXx
-+sX-S-+
+n+-X-+-
-+-+p+-+
+-N-+-+-
pPp+-PpP
R-BqKb+r

Black has an obvious hole on d5; White sets out, in textbook fashion, to occupy it.

7. Bg5 a6 8. Na3 b5 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. Nd5

  Mission accomplished!

 

t+lDjL-T
+-+-+x+x
x+sX-X-+
+x+nX-+-
-+-+p+-+
N-+-+-+-
pPp+-PpP
R-+qKb+r

But at what cost? The outpost stands unsupported by any other White pieces, and the Na3 is at present a bit lost. Black's pawns are very muddled but control a lot of key squares (c4,d4 and f4). The muddling also gives Black the open g-file.

  Let's see how things unfold

10... f5 11. Bd3 Be6 12. Qh5 Bg7 13. O-O f4 14. c3 O-O 15. Nc2 f5 DIAGRAM

 

t+-D-Tj+
+-+-+-Lx
x+sXl+-+
+x+nXx+q
-+-+pX-+
+-Pb+-+-
pPn+-PpP
R-+-+rK-

The muddled pawns dominate the centre and the King's side, while White's pieces are still looking for a decent plan. Black now attacks down the open g-file. 16. Ncb4 Nxb4 17. Nxb4 d5 18. exd5 Bd7 19. Bc2 Be8 20. Qe2 Kh8 21. Rad1 Qh4 22. f3 Rf6 23. Qe1 Qg5 24. Qxe5 Bd7 25. Qe7 Rg8 26. Qxd7 Rf7 DIAGRAM 0-1

 

-+-+-+tJ
+-+q+tLx
x+-+-+-+
+x+p+xD-
-N-+-X-+
+-P-+p+-
pPb+-+pP
+-+r+rK-

Games like this may make the classically-trained chessplayer despair, but they have added a great richness and excitement to our understanding of the game.

  There is another good example of modern planning from Bronstein's superb book on the 1953 Candidates tournament The Chess Struggle in Practice.

  In this line of the King's Indian, an opening he and Boleslavsky more or less re-invented, White has a significant space advantage, and Black has a 'backward' d-pawn on an open file, although he has covered the outpost on d5. Black has some good pieces: the Bg7 and Nc5 are well-placed, and the Bc8 and Re8 also have some potential.

 

t+lDt+j+
Xx+s+xLx
-+xX-+x+
+-S-+-+-
x+pNp+-+
+-N-B-Pp
pPq+-Pb+
+-+rR-K-

Bronstein comments:
"I think now is the time to acquaint the reader with the mysteries of the Black d-pawn in the King's Indian. Even though it is situated on an open file and therefore always exposed to attack, it is not a very easy nut to crack. The simplest method for White is apparently to retreat the Knight from d4, but d4 is precisely where the B needs to be: its jobs are to supervise b5, c6, e6, and f5 and to buffer the influence of the Bg7. Only after White has taken steps against possible Black attacks (...a3, ...Be6, ...f5) can his Knight leave the centre, but during that time Black can regroup to cause worries elsewhere.

"So the weakness of the d-pawn proves to be imaginary. Contemporary methods of play in the opening recognise the illusory weakness of such pawns. But it was exactly this 'eternal' weakness of the Pd6 that led to the King's Inidan being regarded as dubious.


Further reading

Bronstein's book contains many good examples of this 'modern' type of assessment. Pachman's and particularly Kotov's books are also very good in this respect. After that the best source of training in modern thinking are books of annotated games, among which my own favourites include Botvinnik. Mikhail Tal was not only a popular player, his annotations are also very highly regarded.

  These all take periodic assessments of what is going on at key points in the games, and often give a few helpful variations with some commentary. For deeper study, some of the most determined attempts to find out what is going on throughout the whole of a game, together with concrete analysis, are to be found in Nunn and Griffiths' Secrets of Grandmaster Play, which can fairly be called a modern classic.

  There is a sprinkling of light accounts of chess history in Kosteyev's 40 lessons... books and Phillips' The Chess Teacher, and books which cover its personalities include those by Hartston (Kings of Chess) and Schoenberg (Grandmasters of Chess). The game as a whole has had its history written many times.

 The history of chess ideas is covered also in several texts, including the excellent and comprehensive Oxford Companion. Ones that you may find relevant to this page include Euwe's The development of chess style, whose title I swiped, and Imre Konig's superb little book Chess from Morphy to Botwinnik.

Chess Quotes

From: johnnymc@news.rio.com (John McMenamin)

  Here's my entry to this mess:

"Skeletons of mice are often to be found in coconuts, for it is easier to get in, slim and greedy, than to get out, appeased but fat."
— Viktor KORCHNOI