Modern Twist on Ancient Knowledge
Apr 1, 2016, 7:06 PM 2
Hi! Lately, following the lead of great Masters such as Capablanca, Lasker, Fischer, Bronstein and Kramnik, I have been exploring the games of Masters from the late 19th Century.
Two books by Jimmy Adams have been indispensable in this regard; both are published by New in Chess. The book I am referencing today is "Johannes Zukertort, Artist of the Chessboard".
It is one of the best books I own, because it includes commentaries by great players of that era, such as Steinitz, Zukertort, Potter, Schallop and others. A real masterpiece!
The great thing about looking at these games of players like Zukertort is that you see the thread of knowledge passed on from generation to generation; you get to see the origin of the ideas employed by the great Masters of today.
Specifically, I am referring in this case to the fact that in certain variations of the Italian Game, Black not only allows the pin of his f6 knight by White's Bg5, but replies with Ne7, allowing White to double Black's pawns after Bxf6.
Here we have two games with this idea- the first one is the game Anand-Giri, from round 13 of the Candidates Tournament 2016.
The second game is the game Bird-Zukertort, from the Paris Tournament, 1878! So there is a difference of 138 years between these two games!
In the last few years, the elite players have been exploring openings championed by the Masters of the late 19th century, in an effort to deviate from the Berlin Defense...but this was also happening in the 1860's, because at that time the Berlin was all the rage, and in fact was considered superior to the Morphy Defense in the Ruy Lopez (3...a6)!
So Steinitz and others started playing d3 with White in the Ruy (sound familiar?) in order to avoid the heavy theory of the Berlin. Nothing new under the sun!
In the Anand-Giri game, please notice the position after move 9:
In response to Bg5, Black played c6, allowing White to double his kingside pawns with Bxf6.
Now please look at this position from the Bird-Zukertort game after move 8:
Where, in response to White's Bg5, Black replied Ne7, showing the way for the Masters of today. Enjoy!