If you're a chess player, you've probably heard the hackneyed phrase "it's only a matter of technique" a million times before. In fact, I bet you've probably even been on both sides of the coin when it comes to this "technical phase" of a chessgame. I even will go so far as to say that you regard this phase as, excuse my language, "humdrum," "boring," "monotonous," "scientific," "the death of chess" (did I exaggerate here?) etc. However, with this article, I would like to try to convince all of you that, in actuality, technique is just as creative as Tal's sacrifical melees, and, in my opinion, even more beautiful.
Mikhail Moiseevich Botvinnik (1911-1995, 6th World Champion) was generally known as a boring, technical player. Even Bobby Fischer lauded the founder of the Soviet school as the most "exact" World Champion in history (and we all know how he admired Capablanca!). In the chess world Botvinnik amazed the public with his seeminly logical, simple, and "technical" (oh the horror!) style of play. Here is one example of his greatness:
However, technique is not as straight-laced as one might think. Please, take the following position as an example:
Play it over once more if you would like. If you played purely "technically" (leave black with the bad bishop) you may have cost yourself half a point. However, Petrosian's "technique" was creative (one could say magically mysterious to logic) and brought him the victory.
So, next time you hear it's "only a matter of technique," don't fret!