or, "the hardest thing to win is a won game" (TARRASCH).
"Well, well. IM (and correspondence GM) Douglas Bryson
once told me that he almost never plays a game that flows smmothly
from start to finish; there is always a "moment" of sorts where
someone misses a big defensive opportunity or the nature of the
position changes more than one might reasonably expect. This was
such a "moment"."
-- Jonathan Rowson British Chess Magazine October 1999 p.553
Mostly, situations of material imbalance are fairly clear.
Typically extra material wins: even with an otherwise level
position, the extra firepower can make an attack pay, or make the
opponent's defences overstretched.
Occasionally, normal material values are overturned. This
is most obvious in situations of sacrifice: the mutual
possibilities of exchange sacrifices Rh1xNh5 and ...Rc7xNc3 in the
Sicilian Dragon are well-known, if not always easy to judge. The
sacrifices remove a key defender and open lines against the
From The Master Game, Book 2, Jeremy James and
William Hartston (1981). London: BBC.
'Chess,' said the Dutch grandmaster, Jan Hein
Donner, 'is as much a game of chance as blackjack; or tossing
cards into a top hat.' There was a pained silence, then a
polite babel of disagreement: it was a game of the utmost skill; a
conflict between disciplined minds in which victory would
inexorably go to the more perceptive, the more analytical player; a
duel of the intellect in which luck played no part. Donner
Akiba Rubinstein made enormous contributions to the game of chess.
In the first place, our opening books contain Rubinstein's lines in
the Nimzo-Indian (1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4
4.e3), the Tarrasch Defense (1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3
c5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Nf3 Nc6 6.g3), the Four Knights' Game
(1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Nd4) and the
French Defense (1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 dxe4).
Secondly there is the legacy of his games, containing some superb
Polugayevsky, in the beginning of his book `Grandmaster
Performance', quotes some advice he was given when a young player:
"If you want to play well, in the first instance
study games. Your own and other peoples'. Examine them from the
viewpoint of the middlegame and the endgame, and only then from the
viewpoint of the opening. This is more important than studying