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Winning an ICCF game with ZERO analysis:

Sep 30, 2011, 6:27 PM 21

On ICCF where deep engine analysis drives most of your opponents' moves, it becomes paramount to be well-prepared in the opening. My own method is to create a database of all ICCF games played (they can be downloaded from the ICCF main web site). From there, I then extract the first 40 moves into a new opening book. This gives me a complete opening overview I can use to navigate pitfalls and maximize my chances against those monster machines out there.

Interestingly enough, I've found several examples of top GMs building their deeper opening lines based on ICCF games. The recent Nakamura - Anand game at the São Paulo Masters was an opening taken right out of the depths of ICCF theory. I caught people scratching their heads at the variation, and I had to clue them in that this line was actually quite normal in ICCF games, and Anand's choice was black's best scoring line on ICCF. I myself have just reached won position using purely my opening book made from ICCF games in the same opening:



In the final position, black is completely lost, and I didn't analyze a single move! All the moves came straight out of the ICCF database, which showed me that black loses 100% by the time 18.Bxc4 is played. Black should have played Anand's choice of 9...Nbd7 10.Nxc6 Qb6, which scores favorably for black, though I was prepared for that line and was fully expecting it.

So as you can see, preparation is just as important (if not moreso) than having a monster computer with houdini or rybka churning out moves. Without a solid ground of preparation, you can lose the game before your computer can save it, like the above poor guy.

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