Breaking Chess Principles

Breaking Chess Principles

The more experienced we are in chess, the more subtle our understanding of the game is, and the easier it is for us to tell which move is good without even calculating the variations. It’s a mixture of feelings, experience, knowledge of the key principles, and correct evaluation of the position. However, there are situations where we suddenly may (or even have to) make moves that look dead wrong from the conventional point of view.

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WGM Anastasia Bodnaruk (2372) - WGM Natalia Pogonina (2501)

In round 5 of the '09 Russian Superfinal, I faced WGM Anastasia Bodnaruk who likes to play the Four Knights game. The encounter between her and GM Tatiana Kosintseva was a shocker for me since Tatiana chose the very same rare line (4…Bd6) that I have been recently studying! Therefore, I now knew that I wouldn’t be able to surprise my opponent with it. However, after briefly examining the game, I came to a conclusion that White had no real advantage in the opening, even though she won (Black blundered in a winning position due to lack of time). This is one of the caveats of playing the lines with the highest winning percentages: you never know if the result had anything to do with the opening at all!

So, I decided to play the same variation against Anastasia anyway:

 

A typical illustration of the "masters know when to break the principles" saying. Smile

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