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Learning from Masters: David Bronstein.

  • GM Gserper
  • | Jul 25, 2010
  • | 9683 views
  • | 29 comments

When a chess player remembers tournaments he played, the first ones that come to mind are obviously those that he won.  But in my case, when I remember the International tournament in Oslo that took part in 1994, even though I tied for first there, this is not what brings me the most pleasant memories (after all this was not the only International tournament that I won). During that tournament I had a fantastic opportunity to spend about a dozen hours with the legendary David Bronstein.  Almost every evening, after the round was over, he would come to my hotel room and we were drinking tea ( I was lucky enough to bring a very popular at that time brand of Russian tea) and talking.  Did I say talking? Well, actually it was him who was talking and I was mostly just listening. I wish I had some sort of recording device to record his wisdom.  Really, even though my ELO rating was much higher than his ( I was at the peak of my career and he was not a young man anymore) I had this feeling of awe.  The old man knew hundreds of times more about chess than I.  His constant search for new ideas on the chess board as well as outside of it was really inspiring.  He would say: " Do you think I don't know the recent developments in the Botvinnik Variation of the Slav?"

Then he would show me the latest games of Shirov with his comments. Then he would add: "Chess players are digging a grave for themselves.  We play for people and people want to see creative ideas, not a subtle novelty on move 33 that promises a slightly better endgame." He valued most the creativity and improvisation during the game. And it was way before the computers became really strong, so I can only wonder what the Man would say today, when it is very common that chess players leave their Fritzs and Rybkas to work overnight in order to surprise their opponents with their 'creative' ideas the next day.

In my opinion one of the reasons why David Bronstein is widely considered to be one of the founding fathers of the King's Indian Defense was the fact that when he extensively played this opening in 1940-1950-ies, it was practically unknown territory.  But later, when it became one of the most popular openings (thanks to the games of Bronstein), the Master himself lost much of his interest there. He kept playing it till the end of his chess career, but it was not the same new and intriguing variation anymore.  Still, I believe if you want to learn the King's Indian defense, then instead of buying the latest opening monograph, do yourself a favor.  Find Bronstein's games where he showed the World how this exciting opening should be played.  I promise, you won't regret it. Let me show you some of his masterpieces here.

(Just like in most of my articles I give you a chance to test your attacking skills, so the games are given as a Quiz.  Please remember that you can always replay the whole game from the first move if you click "Solution" and then "Move list".)

 

Comments


  • 4 years ago

    Educated_Fool88

    what a great game. Not much player like this nowadays.. 

  • 4 years ago

    VXPX17

    Nxf2!!! My favorite move ever! (second puzzle)

  • 4 years ago

    10sfriend

      Looking at Bronstein reminds me of Dick Cavett's comment to Bobby Fischer: "For some reason they [the public] expect a frail little fellow with thick glasses."

  • 4 years ago

    kastle55

    Thanks a lot David Bronstein for these beautifull playes in King Indian!

  • 4 years ago

    royplayer

    Yes indeed Mr. Pruess. Another good book that you do not see anymore is "David Bronstein Chess Improviser" by B.S. Vainstein, published by Pergamon Press. I was lucky enough to pick this book up a few years back and though not as good as "The Sorcerers Apprentice", it is still a good book.

  • 4 years ago

    IM dpruess

    i also loved the Sorcerer's Apprentice. i really felt like i got a sense of Bronstein's very special approach to chess. i reccommend it for pretty much anyone.

  • 4 years ago

    Jerryli

    Bronstein is somewhat good at black.

  • 4 years ago

    Jerryli

    He is good!

  • 4 years ago

    royplayer

    Redbishop, if you would assess the position after 1.Kg1 Qe5 2.Rd1 Ne6 3.Qf1 Ng5 you would have to agree that white is lost. Some of the positives for Black are a more secure king, a powerful, protected passed pawn on h3, a more aggressively placed queen, and after the e-pawn eventually falls black will have 4 pawns for the exchange. A average chessplayer could see that this is hopeless for White. Now take into consideration that the Black pieces are being played by, at the time, one of the strongest players in the world, and it is only common courtesy for White to resign rather than try to beat a dead horse.

  • 4 years ago

    RedbishopCro

    "@RedbishopCro after Rd1, Rxd1, Qxd1 then the pawn on e4 isn't protected anymore and white mates in 1 after Qxe4."

    What mate in one? Your pawn is hanging??? If you do that, i would probably prefer white more, rook and queen, gainst, rook an knight, hmhmhm...

  • 4 years ago

    Reyth

    I've just reached a position in one of my games where I am about to play the Bronstein-Larsen variation of the Caro-Kann (I'm secretly hoping my opponent accepts with Nxf6)! Sealed

    PS And YES my adding this variation to my repertoire was inspired by a RYBKA! :P

  • 4 years ago

    10sfriend

      Bronstein may be one of the greatest players not to have won the World Championship. In 1951, when he played Mikhail Botvinnik, the reigning World Champion, the match was drawn by a score of 12-12. Under FIDE rules, Botvinnik retained the title.

  • 4 years ago

    Hypocrism

    I am learning to play the middlegame better with help from Bronstein and his Zurich '53 text!

  • 4 years ago

    69tat

    Bronstien is not regarded as one of the most profound thinkers and writers for shallow reasons; Tal once described him as an"idol";praise indeed!

  • 4 years ago

    royplayer

    Anyone interested in more about David Bronstein should try to pick up his book "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". This will give you a keen insight into the games of this special genius. RIP David, I am sure you and Misha (Tal) are playing some interesting chess in heaven.

  • 4 years ago

    Archaic71

    vienna 1953 is not a good chess book, it might be the best chess book ever written - its as great a legacy as any player could ever hope to leave.  Bronstein truely was the wizard.

    gserper, you are indeed fortunate to have gotten to spend time with him

  • 4 years ago

    engineerilya

    @RedbishopCro after Rd1, Rxd1, Qxd1 then the pawn on e4 isn't protected anymore and white mates in 1 after Qxe4.

  • 4 years ago

    jacktherpper

    sicilian is the best defence, but it is boring too(i speak like switzerland).

  • 4 years ago

    classicmusic0505

    @ tusker

    STFU idiot, Sicilian is the best thing that ever happened to chess.

  • 4 years ago

    GabrielAndrei

    Truly a great player!

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