The Pleasure of PGN
As I write this, a fierce Nor’easter is blowing outside. Is there a better time to selfishly indulge oneself in his favorite hobby? Of course not.
Chess is my ‘go to’ game. However, that does not mean my first inclination is to sit down and actually play a game – I can do that anytime I want. Rather, when I’m in the mood for more relaxin’ and less fightin’, I prefer to pour myself a glass of Port and watch other people do the strugglin’.
Chess is blessed with an ingenious system known as Portable Game Notation, or PGN for short. This allows every game to be precisely recorded, move for move, and easily replayed on a vast assortment of chess programs or upon an old fashioned chess board. I can honestly say that but for PGN, I would not be such a Chess addict. After all, lots of games are fun to play, but only Chess has a massive archivist community - one that spans the ages from the 15th Century to the present - that takes great pride in recording just about every notable game and carefully annotating them for the benefit of all wood pushers. In other words, every Chess player can tap the wisdom of the ages.
But it is about more than that for, in addition to the great games of the masters, every humble pawn pusher can record their own games to share with the world. It is a unique advantage of the Chess community that before sitting down to a game, you can often ferret through your opponent’s past games and look for an exploitable Achilles’ heel (we learned this trick from the masters ). It can also be fun just to post your games as battlefield trophies (as I am plenty guilty of ). Take PGN, combine it with a good analysis program, and every Chess player has their own private War College with which to perfect their 64-square martial acumen.
Below is the PGN for Game 2 of the World Chess Challenge between America’s adopted son Gata Kamsky and Bulgaria’s ferocious Veselin Topalov. I find this game interesting because of the wild opening moves and how Topalov turns the table on his foe and snatches victory from the jaws of defeat.