Karpov - A 'Very Strong Amateur'

NM ih8sens
Nov 16, 2015, 6:58 PM |

So I'm sure some of you have figured it out by now, but for those who haven't, NM Linlaoda and I do some training work together every once in a while.  I figure training with somebody of similar strength is often beneficial.

Anyways, it came up that while my opening prep has always been a priority, and my NM title was almost entirely because of GM Mueller's 14 separate Chessbase DVD's on the endgame, I really haven't studied the middlegame since Silman's book which is basically geared towards class players.

All that said, what kind of books/trainers are there for Masters to learn from?  I mean, we want to get better too!

Well, Linlaoda pointed me towards Jacob Aagaard.  I'd heard of his stuff but never really investigated it for two reasons.  One: there are some tiny little problems in his Queen's Indian DVD (there's my opening prep betraying me lol) and Two: His books have ugly covers.  Yeah that's right, I literally judge chess books by their cover.

That said, I started studying his stuff and he said something that's interesting.  He said that because of computers and opening preparation, Karpov is no longer a true professional but rather a "Very very very strong amateur".  

It's an interesting thought!  Does chess no longer have an "opening" phase?  In high level chess has the opening and early middlegame been replaced by an "Engine preparation" phase?

I think so! So many chess games involve using computers to gain a slight advantage in the early middlegame and then transitioning into a favourable/winning endgame as a result of the superior prep...

Your thoughts?  Is the opening becoming more important than the middlegame due to computers? Is Karpov no longer a threat to the top players?

Interesting stuff...