Courage- The Essential Element in Chess

Courage- The Essential Element in Chess

Jan 8, 2019, 8:29 PM |

The following game shows two warriors going at it- from the first few moves, no compromise, but an adventure, a quest, and a question- who will win this battle?

It was my favorite player, David Bronstein, who stated: "Chess is not a battle of ideas. Chess is a war of nerves!"

In a great YouTube video covering the 1990 WC Match between Gary Kasparov and Anatoly Karpov, at one point Kasparov states that in the Soviet Union it was known that it takes three times more energy to attack than to defend.

Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian lost 30 pounds during his WC Match with Botvinnik in 1963! The match lasted 8 weeks, just 22 games, and even though there were rest days, the energy spent was enormous!

Perhaps the most famous instance of this is the 1984 WC Match between Karpov and Kasparov. By the time Camponanes stopped the match, Karpov was rumored to have lost weight and being suffering from exhaustion.

All this makes enormous sense to me...when attacking, it can be like trying to break a have to find a way, calculate exactly, or at least close, and then execute, and react favorably to all challenges and obstacles your opponent will put in your way! Not an easy task!

Some players, like Korchnoi, felt that you have to even hate your opponent in order to withstand the tension! He expresses this in the following video, called "Chess- A State of Mind". (Right at the beginning!)

According to Bronstein, it was Botvinnik who started this "method" of hating the opponent in order to galvanize your energy to the maximum. When Botvinnik defended his title against Tal in 1960, he had a unique experience: He could not hate Tal! Tal was such a nice person, even Botvinnik could not hate him!

Tal was a bit eccentric, he liked to drink and smoke, but he was a really nice human being!

In Spanish we have a refrain: "Lo cortés no quita lo valiente.", which translates approximately to "Being kind does not diminish your courage."

Certain players, such as David Bronstein, Eduard Gufeld, Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov and Andras Adorjan subscribe to a different view: they see chess as Art.

That does not mean that they are less courageous; they are still great warriors at the chessboard. But they do not feel the need to "hate" the opponent. Bronstein even calls the opponent a partner in creating a work of Art!

Andras Adorjan calls himself a Romantic, and that is one of the reasons why I am drawn to him. Not only is his chess great, but in his writings you sense a deep humanity, a nobleness of spirit, a poetic soul who happens to be very talented at this royal game.

I found the following game while looking at Adorjan's wins with Black against the English Defense. As I have mentioned in a few of my recent posts, Adorjan has published four books with the theme that "Black is OK!"

The following game (Hubner-Adorjan, 1998) is a great example of courageous chess! From the first move, the players leave known paths and embark in an uncompromising battle! It is exciting form start to finish! Take a look!

By the way, one footnote: Robert Hubner was an extremely strong GM, who played in three Cabdidates' Matches, reaching the Final (against Korchnoi in 1980-81).

                                               Hubner-Petrosian, Wijk An Zee 1971

Here are two examples of Hubner's play:

The first game (Gilgoric-Hubner, Bugojno 1982) features the Hubner Variation of the Nimzo-Indian Defense!

The following game (Hubner-Kasparov, Dortmund 1992) was played at the height of Kasparov's career, and was one of only six losses in Classical Chess for Kasparov in 1992.