With the recent WC games under way, people like myself are complaining of the "boring" nature of the games.
Chess fans throughout history want to watch exciting, attacking games where things hang by a hair and the outcome of the game is uncertain....
But now, with top players having both great technique and prodigious memory, the qord at the top is "CAUTION"....any imperfection can be exploited by your opponent.
Add to this the fact that every fan is inspecting the game through a microscope (engine), and Houston, we have a problem. How to make chess more exciting?
Well, I am reminded of a game between Spassky and Rashkovsky in the 1973 USSR Championship. It was said that, right after the game, when the players got up from their chairs, you could not tell by their faces who had won and who had lost! Such was the effort expended by both! Here is the game!
Rewind back to the Candidates' Tournament in Zurich, 1953....
This is a tournament where many great positional battles took place....it was a testing ground for the Nimzo-Indian Defense...there were plenty of Queen's Gambits, Catalan Opening, some King's Indian Defense games...
So, in round 1, what does Bronstein do? He plays a Benko Gambit, and beats Taimanov with it! check it out!
One of the most exciting games in that 1953 tournament was Kotov's win over Averbakh...with a spectacular Queen sacrifice!
Kotov, playing Black, uses the Old Indian Defense, which often transposes to a King's Indian....but take a look at this game!
My next example, and the game that inspired this article, is from a few days ago, at the European Cup.... Papp, playing Black, chooses the Indo-Benoni, and speculates that his long-term initiative will more than compensate for any positional/material losses...and he is right!
So, in conclusion, exciting chess implies risk taking, no matter what opening you play. Let us hope the players in the WC take some risks....
Let us look briefly at Nezhmetdinov, who was one of Tal's trainers for his successful WC Match against Botvinnik in 1960:
Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov
Or this game, which made headlines around the world!
And lastly, when Tal was asked what was the happiest day of his life, he replied that it was the day he lost the following game to Nezhmetdinov!
From the same year as the Spassky-Rashkovsky game (1973) we bring you Eduard Gufeld's immortal game, his masterpiece, which he calls his "Gioconda" (Mona Lisa):
And here is a game from 1834, by La Bourdonnais, one of the pioneers of modern, positional chess. can you recognise his influence in modern games? Take a look!
Let us not forget also Kasparov's Bombshell Move (..d5!) against a Maroczy Bind in game 16 of his WC match with Karpov in 1985! Exciting chess!
"After ten rounds, Ljubojevic and Mecking were leading, each with 7 1/2 points. Unde the circumstance one might have expected conservative play from Ljubojevic in round eleven, especially with the black pieces. However, to the surprise and delight of the chess world, Ljubojevic chose an extremely sharp and risky variation of the Alekhine defense, following his prepared variation up to at least move fifteen. Towards the end Bronstein was extremely short of time whereas the nearly imperturbable Ljubojevic had consumed less than an hour for the whole game! The result was a hair-raising sacrificial struggle for which Bronstein was awarded the first brilliancy prize."-Jan Timman
"Another Bronstein Idea"
by Paul Keres
If I were asked to name that modern grandmaster who develops the most ideas, I would not mention Fischer, Spassky, Petrosian bu....Bronstein! The question does not concern only new ideas and variations on the chessboard, but also many other aspects of the game. Of the many Bronstein suggestions to make the game more lively and interesting, we would mention the recording of time used for every move, giving both opponents half an hour to finish the game after the first control, limiting the time for the entire game to about an hour, providing national cup competitions in the form of short matches (the USSR Cup was already held in 1970 and it was won by Bronstein!) and many other ideas.
The latest Bronstein idea concerns World Championship contests. We already have the Junior World championship, the Student Team World Championship, the men's and women's individual titles, the men's and women's team titles.....But why not the Senior World Championship?, asks Bronstein. His idea is to invite to such a tournament all grandmasters over the age of fifty who have participated in at least one Candidates' Tournament or Match. The proposal has its logic and perhaps one of the forthcoming FIDE congresses will deal with this question.
But the most interesting and valuable ideas to come from Bronstein are still produced on the chessboard. I had the pleasure of following his games at the Petropolis Interzonal Tournament and of his magnificent fights I would especially mention the brilliant game against Ljubojevic.
The Rook sacrifice on move 16 in this game is really surprising and while I was watching the game it took me quite a lot of time to find the point of it. It is no wonder that this game was considered the most beautiful of the tournament.
During the progress of the Bronstein-Ljubojevic game, I was not quite certain whether Bronstein's Rook sacrifice was an improvisation or a product of careful home preparation. And still I do not know the answer to that question. Up until move 14 the game between Ljubojevic and Honfi from the 1971 Cacak tournament was repeated, ending in a short victory for Ljubojevic (White). Here Ljubojevic plays the variation with Black! He had an improvement in mind on the fourteenth move, leading to that wonderful Rook sacrifice on move sixteen.
Did Bronstein find this all in home analysis? We can only guess. (It was all conceived during the game!- Tom Furstenberg). Anyway, here I must recall the famous Bronstein-Tal game from the Riga 1968 tournament, where Bronstein explained his most surprising Rook sacrifice by saying that he "could not miss the opportunity" to make such a move against Tal! Because we know Bronstein we may guess that he also decided on the Rook sacrifice during this game- to make it more interesting, more complicated, more distinct from the other games.
Whatever the cause, the result is a wonderful fighting game and one of the most interesting games between leading grandmasters in recent years.
Bronstein an Ljubojevic are representatives of different generations, but their style of play shows similarities: sharpness, lots of ideas with a slight inclination towards the bizarre. In the end none of them played a significant role in the Interzonal Tournament. However, when this game was played, Ljubojevic was leading with 7 1/2 out of 10 and Bronstein, with 5 pooints, hovered somewhere in the middle of the pack.
With this in mind, Ljubojevic's choice of opening should be admired and considered courageous. Being Black he does not strive to get an equal game-quite the contrary, he initiates a sharp game right from move one. However, in Bronstein he has found a worthy and equal opponent.
Nowadays grandmasters usually play the Alekhine Defence with the quiet 4.Nf3, which in most variations gives White a small but tangible advantage. Bronstein however picks up the gauntlet and chooses the old main variation of this defence, which promises a sharp game with chances for both players. This promise comes to full fruition in this game. I have anaylsed extensively the opening, not only because it is interesting and has been hardly examined in depth before, but also because the crisis already erupts in this part of the game.