2 positional games in the Scandinavian, & Announcement
In the last 5-6 years, I had acquired somewhat of a reputation as an openings-based type of player who relies significantly on "having a powerful serve", as my friend Junior Tay likes to say. Additionally, my aggressive style has led GM Wong Meng Kong to call me a "glorified hacker" which I shall positively receive as a compliment.
Back in the good old days however, I had a much more practical street-style and that approach took me to 2350 until I started losing game after game against stronger opposition. I would play unorthodox lines such as 1...Nc6 against both 1.e4 and 1.d4, and the c3-Sicilian when it wasn't as explored as it is today. As a result, my play tend to be a lot more creative which also means my results were extremely unstable!
Once in a while though, I would leave behind my hacker image and play in a lot more mature fashion and I will demonstrate 2 games against the Scandinavian where I managed to successfully do so.
Coincidentally, both games were decisive after I placed a major piece on the d4-square, and both games involved positional subtleties and nuances, something which is quite alien in my game even now. I had the chance to review these games recently and realised that many of my assessments then were wrong.
The first game was against IM Tu Hoang Thai, the twin brother of GM Tu Hoang Thong. At the time of writing, both players were actively coaching in Singapore and were a fearsome duo in the local tournament scene. This win was extremely important and propelled me to clear 2nd prize at the 2004 Cairnhill Championships.
A year later, I had the opportunity to cross path with IM Tan Lian Ann, a legendary figure in the local chess scene. Much to my surprise, the same opening variation surfaced and I managed to conduct and win the game in an almost alien-ish positional style. However, the game was not as flawless as it seems and Black missed a chance to fight for counter-play in a position where its least expected...
As readers might have noticed by now, Chess.com has kindly made me a top blogger and on top of that, I will be writing book reviews here on a quarterly basis. In case you've missed them, you can see my first 2 reviews here and here. Apparently, one of the Editors of Modern Chess had highlighted some of my findings to Marin and they have taken some of my constructive feedback very positively and would be publishing an update on some of the omissions that I've found. It is always nice when publishers take the time to respond to queries and are also open to making corrections instead of being defensive about it.
Till next time!