White to move
Lucky, Not Good
3 hours ago
The development of a chess player runs parallel with that of chess itself; a study of the history of playing methods therefore has great practical value.Euwe's notion that growth in individual chess skill follows a pattern that parallels historic development often occupies my thoughts. It forms part of my rationale for favoring nineteenth and early-twentieth century games as a principal source for the lessons I develop for young players. It keeps me going back to the classics for my own skill development.
The Development of Chess Style (1968), n.p.
[I]t is from Steinitz and his queer moves that we learn so much about game-winning strategy. It is from Steinitz, whose play might have horrified La Bourdonnais and Morphy, that we discover the fundamentals of position play.Morphy would more likely have been appreciative of Steinitz's play, but Chernev can be forgiven for adopting a view that is commonly shared by many. It was from Chernev's Most Instructive Games that I found the inspiration and analysis that led me to begin the 2012-2013 school year with lessons from the games of Akiba Rubinstein (see "Lesson of the Week" [18 September 2012]).
Most Instructive Games, 166
As the nineteenth century gave way to the twentieth, positional play became the focus of top chess players. The elements of positional understanding were first articulated by Wilhelm Steinitz, followed by Siegbert Tarrasch, and others.After studying a few of Rubinstein's games in Chernev's Most Instructive Games and Logical Chess, I ordered a copy of John Donaldson and Nikolay Minev, Akiba Rubinstein: Uncrowned King (1994). This book, a chess set, and my puppies were my companions in Eden while my wife attended a retreat there. Through the next two months, as a warm fall gave way to winter, Rubinstein's games occupied the bulk of my study time.
James Stripes, "Positional Play: Lessons from Akiba Rubinstein"
Akiva's play against the Tarrasch variation of the Queen's Gambit, in which he gives Black hanging pawns and blockades the d4- and c5-squares, is part of the technical knowledge of every master today. Knowing what happened to Salwe, modern players will take radical action rather than acquiesce to a static disadvantage. Rubinstein's games, in which the great master was often given carte blanche to implement long-term plans, are still models for students wishing to learn positional chess.Yesterday, in a blitz game, I had this game in mind as I sacrificed pawns to lock Black's light-squared bishop out of the action. My efforts nearly succeeded until, in time pressure, I missed the winning idea and then even blew a technical draw. In contrast to this game, Viswanathan Anand scored a brilliant victory over Levon Aronian in the recent Tata Steel Grandmaster Tournament by sacrificing material to release this bishop. In the En Passant interview after the game, Anand mentioned Rotlewi -- Rubinstein as the inspiration for his play. The authors of Uncrowned King call Anand's inspiration "Rubinstein's Immortal Game" (95).
Life & Games of Akiva Rubinstein (2011), 7
In spite of his youth [Rubinstein] has acquired the set and sound style (suitable of his temperament) of Dr. Tarrasch. As a matter of fact he acknowledges his indebtedness to the latter, whose book of 300 games he has thoroughly studied.Garry Kasparov calls Rubinstein the "brightest" of the "new generation of followers of the Steinitz School" that emerged on the competitive chess scene in the early years of the twentieth century (My Great Predecessors, Part 1 , 187). Kasparov's comment led me to consider the so-called Steinitz School in more detail following two months of focus on Rubinstein.
C.T. Blanchard, Western Daily Mercury (29 June 1907)*
Principles, though dwelling in the realm of thought, are rooted in Life. There are so many thoughts which have no roots and these are more glittering and more seductive than the sound ones. Therefore, in order to distinguish between the true and the false principles, Steinitz had to dig deep to lay bare the roots of art possessed by Morphy. ...Perhaps ten years ago, I pored through some portions of Lasker's Manual that had a lasting impact on me. In particular, I was impressed by his honesty and objectivity in annotating a loss to Harry Nelson Pillsbury. Many times while playing in tournaments, Lasker's words, "Black wants to set White a task" (247), have echoed in my head. An object in competition is to offer one's opponent problems to solve. If he or she solves them correctly, play may result in neither player gaining an advantage. In this game, Lasker criticizes his own loss of time in his manner of bringing his pieces into play through the first few moves. As a chess coach teaching choldren, I designed my first lessons concerning positional chess on the basis of Lasker's annotations.
The world did not listen but mocked at him. How should this insignificant-looking person have discovered anything great?
So the world spoke and acted accordingly, but the world was entirely mistaken. The world would have benefited if it had given Steinitz a chance. He was a thinker worthy of a seat in the halls of a University.
Lasker's Manual of Chess, 187
While endeavouring to systematize as far as possible those openings which have already been brought before the public, I shall submit to a searching analysis several others which have not yet found their way into print. The analysis of new methods of attack and defense will probably engage the attention of Chess players for an unlimited period. The Chess Player's Magazine (1865), 2-3The first game presented offers an early version of what would come to be called the Smith-Morra Gambit, albeit with a slightly different move order. The game does not appear in the ChessBase database.
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