Dog Eats Bunny! My OTB Game Against a Polish GM!

Dog Eats Bunny! My OTB Game Against a Polish GM!


Chess can be very embarrassing! In that respect it is very similar to music. You play a wrong note, and EVERYONE hears it. You are completely exposed, and the whole world can judge your performance.

Recently I went to Iceland for vacation, and to play one OTB game in the Icelandic Club Championship.

I really did not want to play, because this year I did not have the time or energy to prepare.

In contrast, last year I spent three months preparing to play 2 games, and that included a week in Iceland with a few blitz sessions against two strong players.

But my dear friend and host, Suren, somehow convinced me to play just one game. I was assured that it did not matter if I won or lost! This became true when we heard from the team captain, who informed us we were going to play the best team in the League, AND both Suren and I would play in the 2nd tier. We usually play in the third tier, tier C. This time, we were boards 4 and 5 in tier B. We would be facing mostly GMs and IMs. In our usual tier C, we would play people at our own strength level, what in the US we call "Experts"......

Chess is a mystery to me. It is also a wonderful experience. Some players, I tell you, you can feel their spirit in their moves!. Their artistry (Chigorin, Bronstein, Tartakower, Rubinstein, Reti), their warrior nature (Korchnoi, Kasparov), their sense of caution (Petrosian) or controlled chaos (Ljubojevic, Velimirovic), the utter brilliance in opening up a "closed" position (Tal), their resilience (Karpov)......

In that sense, chess is again similar to music. You can hear the same piece performed by different artists, and the soul of the artist, the musicality that they bring onto this Earth, can be felt in their interpretation.

I do not know if that sense of artistry has been lost almost completely at the elite level, because of computer preparation.

What I CAN tell you is that my understanding of chess is extremely limited, in terms of overall depth of concept and positional understanding. I mean, I know some basic stuff, like getting open files for the rooks, diagonals for the bishops and good squares for the knights. But the deficiency in my chess formation and culture is very evident in the following game.

My opponent, a Polish GM, had Black, and after 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6, I decided to avoid the main lines of the Najdorf (or Dragon!) by playing 3.d4 cxd4 4.Qxd4. This is a line I used to play in blitz games in the 70's! So there was some "residual" memory about the type of game I could get as White.....maybe a Maroczy-type setup, where I could apply a bit of pressure to my stronger opponent!

But my opponent blew my mind with one of his opening moves, and in one of the main variations, I could not judge the resulting position accurately (in positional terms), so I avoided this main variation, and everything started going downhill from there.....