Inspiration and Cheap Imitation

Inspiration and Cheap Imitation

NM SamCopeland
Sep 14, 2013, 7:48 AM |

Inspiration is usually a very positive thing in chess. In being exposed to examples of quality games and patterns, we hope that we too might execute similarly inspiration play. On rare occasions though, inspiration can lead to poorer play. For example, when I first studied Vukovic's classic "The Art of Attack in Chess", I spent nearly every ensuing game trying to engineer a "Greek Gift" AKA Bxh7+ sacrifice as in Vukovic's excellent examples. Many times I worsened my position because I was imposing my desires to play a classic sacrifice on a position that was not suited it.

In the following game, Konstantin Landa plays a beautiful game and absolutely demolishes Shaposhnikov's kingside.

I think the reader will agree with me that Landa's game is quite beautiful. I annotated it when I first saw it many years ago, and it left a strong impression on me. In the following game, I was playing a lower rated player, and I tried to imitate Landa's play. Unfortunately, the position is not identical, and the ensuing sacrifices are at best good for a balanced position. In fact, I achieved a worse position, and only won after mistakes from my opponent. What is worse is that I knew the sacrifices were less promising, but I opted for them anyway because I couldn't resist the temptation of imitating Landa's play.

In summation... "The encounter was a victory, but I think we've shown it as an example of ... what not to do."