03 February 2016

A Batch of Games

I was lucky to get a draw against an underrated youth player in late summer 2014 in the Spokane Falls Open. Happily, this same event went much better for me the following summer (see "Winning an Open"). Against the youth player, we reached this position after a couple of minutes and then I started to rush matters and handed him a long-term initiative through inaccurate play. In the end, he did not see his winning chances and fought hard for a draw while I sought an elusive win. Eventually, kings were all that remained on the board.

Black to move

This position is a typical position in ECO C11*, the Steinitz variation of the French Defense. My game against the underrated youth was not the first time that I had steered too close to the ditch in this variation.

Weaknesses become strengths when training is guided by deliberate practice (see "Hanging Pieces"). When Chess Informant's Paramount Database arrived, I browsed through some its features. Of immediate interest was a list of the openings that had in excess of 500 published games through the first 123 volumes of Informant. There have been 588 games in C 11!

Naturally, I set out to quickly run through all of them. Some days I have raced through thirty games. Other days, I am too busy with other things to look at any from this set. A few times, I have forgotten which game I left off with and have gone through a batch that I had seen a few days prior.

When I have finished all 588 games and pick up any of my opening monographs on the French Defense, the reference games for the Steinitz variation shall be familiar. This morning I am on Nijboer -- Visser, Hoogeveen 2002, Informant 86/284. It is game 392 in the list of 588.

*ECO Code is a trademark of Chess Informant.

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