Fritz Analysis of 'The Modern Openings in Theory and Practice' by AP Sokolsky

Jan 4, 2014, 2:56 PM |

In 1976, or there abouts I won first prize in the lowest section of a chess congress.  I was 10 years old and I won some money.  Immediately I headed to the bookstall and brought a book on openings. It was "The Modern Openings in Theory and Practice".

I played through some of the games, learnt some openings by heart and increased in confidence as a player. I was never a good player but I did progress to a decent county standard by my late teens.

On reflection, like most juniors I won most of my games through persistence and tactics.  Being self-taught, my technique was poor and my chess library did not help me improve this aspect of my game.

Twenty years ago I stopped playing chess and took all my books to a charity shop. However, since coming back to the board I was delighted to grab a second hand copy of my first chess book. And now that I am older I intend to study it with the help of the Fritz computer programme.

The second chapter is titled "Central squares" and the first square is d5.

Ok - And now for Fritz...What does the machine make of Botvinnik and the d5 square.

First, Sokolsky has it right - in the diagram position white has a big adavantage (+0.94).  The weak pawn on b6 is targetted, but the best defence is not the awkward looking Rc6, but Bxd4.

That said, the next few moves - shuffling the pieces around do not see much improvement in whites position - because he lacks an accessible target.

It may not be much fun, but blacks task is to sit and wait - the breakout by b5 loses him the game.

My book may be teaching the control of central squares - but the main lesson here is for the defender.  Patience can be a virtue.

But for the attacker, I feel the same frustration as I did as a kid.  It is no small achievement to build a fantastic position and to the dominate the board - but does that mean you will win or rather should you just hope that your beleagured opponents does the decent thing and decide to die gloriously.