Yesterday while answering a thread on chesspub.com I discovered that a game I played in the 90s was in the ChessBase database. Interestingly I seem to have improved on games 90-100 years before then, played by Spielmann (mentioned in my previous post) and even Lasker!
With my rating of 2016 I just qualified for the preliminary round of the U.S. Correspondence championship: a rating of 2000 or higher was necessary. In my group I was the bottom seed, and my innovation was against the top seed, a 2300-plus player.
I996 of course was before the day of extensive databases and ultra-strong computer programs. Further throwing me and my opponent on our own resources was that, rather than using a defence to the Spanish on which there was however a fair bit of material, I used it's "deferred" version: the Deferred Schliemann.
About all you needed to know about the Deferred Schliemann is, unlike the Schliemann proper, to respond with d4. But all the evaluations in White's favor were based on Black responding ...exd4 rather than ...dxe4 as in the comparable line in the Schliemann proper.
My primary resource then was the chapter on 4. d4 against the Schliemann proper in Shamkovich and Schiller's book. To my surprise, I found that Lasker had played the Black side of this!
It was after White's Bg5 in the comparable line of the Schliemann Deferred that I set out to vary from Lasker.
Checking ChessBase I seem to have been the first to play 7...Bd6 in the above position in the Schliemann Deferred. There are only a handful of games, but in 2005 a sub-2400 player drew a 2550+ GM with the line:
In the same tournament, against the next highest seed against whom I had Black, another 2200+, I played the comparable 7...Bd6 concept albeit against the more testing 7. 0-0. This game is in ChessBase too, as are all (my) games from this tournament, but in this instance the database reveals my move was not an innovation however. Interestingly though, against 7. Bg5, and since it is the Schliemann Deferred and not the Schliemann proper, rather than Lasker, it is actually Spielmann I am varying from, though I did not know this at the time, resources on the Schliemann Deferred being almost non-existant before the advent of databases.
Mine and Spielmann's games actually transpose after his ...Be7 and my ...Bd6 because we both respond to Nc3 with ...Bb4? His opponent, like Lasker's, did not follow up with my opponent's correct f3 concept. So probably more credit belongs to my opponent than anybody, for improving over both Lasker's opponent and Spielmann's opponent.
Nevertheless Spielmann's games are usually a delight and no serious chessplayer should be without his Art of Sacrifice in Chess. I'm not sure if this one is in that book but Spielmann does win in a mere 28 moves:
Discovering my game is in ChessBase has been a rewarding revelation. Even a 2000-player can dare to improve over a World Champion!