Learn From The Masters: Simagin... One Of The Most Underrated Players In Chess History?
Unfortunately, Google Images does not have very many pictures of Mr. Simagin, so TablaDeFlandes (source) gets some special credit. Pretty sure Simagin is middle

Learn From The Masters: Simagin... One Of The Most Underrated Players In Chess History?

Apr 8, 2018, 11:29 AM |

That question could be up for debate... as I probably have many more "hidden treasures" out there to study!

Oh... I forgot... welcome to my blog! Again.  That's right, you're back here! So... what's this blog about? Who on earth is Simagin? 

Well, if you follow the comments section on my blog, you will note that one of my loyal followers is @simaginfan. Big shout out to you, he is a fantastic and unique chess guy, and I would encourage you to check out his blogs! Yes, they are super long, though in my opinion, he has all the makings of a professional chess writer.

Anyway, you might think @simaginfan is some random username... but it's not! Vladimir Simagin was a Russian talent who for some reason or another did not play much outside of the USSR. He did post good results against chess titans like Korchnoi and Petrosian. Feel free to check out his post where he commentates more on Simagin! 

As you may notice, I am attempting a comeback at posting master games, in hopes that this (chess) amateur writer and the readers can learn a thing or two. How do I choose who to analyze? I have a list of famous chess players. I started with the world chess champions, and thanks to some helpful suggestions, I was able to add some more non-champion players. I randomly picked a number, and Mr. Simagin was indeed the player selected!

Here is how this post will be structured: We will look at the game with no notes or annotations. After the game is displayed, I will create separate diagrams highlighting key moments from the game. Wish me luck!:

The opening consisted of pretty standard stuff, however, I want to jump to what I think was the first interesting moment of the game after Black played 10... c5. It's a general principle in the Queen's pawn opening to meet c5 with d5. However, that type of move is not safe to play here without some caution due to the tension in the center.

The Benoni, for example, goes 1. d4, Nf6 2. c4, c5. In this position, 3. d5 is perfectly reasonable to play, because White is extremely solid in the center already. Let's dive into the ramifications of a premature d5:

Let's look a few moves further into the position. I will make a quick note that 17. a4! was a good move and typical idea to slow down Black's counterplay on the Queenside. We shall look at the position where Black just played 21... axb5:
It is in this position that White played the mysterious move 22. Bg5. For chess veterans who still have a lot to learn (like myself), this move does come to us as ironic. Why would White chose to trade his good Bishop for Black's bad one?? This is a good opportunity to come up with a solution yourself... the computer won't tell you! Scroll down to see the answer:
Answer: It is worth noting that due to White's double-Rook position, White really wants to get Re2 in, dominating the seventh rank. And guess who's the only piece defending that square? Sounds simple, right? That's what good players do: they play seemingly weird moves with a simple idea in mind! 
Let's fast forward a few moves where Simagin builds his positional advantage, and we shall end the article with some nice elementary tactics by the Soviet Grandmaster. 
A nice combination that could have happened. Our last puzzle will be if Black played 32... gxh6 instead of Rg8:
I was glad to give you some free tactics puzzles (both of these could be on tactics trainer!), but most of all, I hope you enjoyed the great game played by Vladimir Simagin!
As I mentioned earlier, I will (likely weekly) pick a master to select one of their games and analyze on this blog. Let me know if you have any suggestions on players or even games to look at! Also, let me know what you think of the format!
See you soon!