Schooling the Teacher (Rubinstein Schools Tarrasch!)
Siegbert-Tarrasch/ Akiba Rubinstein

Schooling the Teacher (Rubinstein Schools Tarrasch!)


It is not uncommon nowadays to read that tactics is the solution to becoming better at chess. To a certain degree, this is true, as one of the most common problems among beginners is tactics, in all its ramifications, from pins to forks to short tactical sequences, etc.

Unfortunately, too much emphasis on tactics can lead to a one-sided, myopic approach to the game of chess, which is deep and multi-dimensional in its nature.

Understanding the strategical importance of pieces, knowing what kind of positions are suitable to the realization of a positional advantage, and knowing which pieces to exchange and why; these are some of the strengths of the Great Masters of the past, and ones which are necessary to acquire if one is to improve at chess.

This is one of the reasons why the great Capablanca recommended studying complete games of the great Masters, and not just the opening. A clear understanding of positional play is necessary, along with tactical skill. 

Tonight, leafing through Minev's extraordinary book on Akiba Rubinstein,

.....when I came along the game Tarrasch- Rubinstein, San Sebastian 1912. Now, 1912 was Rubinstein's best year: he won 4 major tournaments between February and September.

The game featured in this blog post is one that shows Rubinstein's greater understanding, resulting in an instructive ending. Looking at the lifetime record between Tarrasch and Rubinstein, I discovered the surprising fact that their rivalry is one sided: Rubinstein has 8 wins, zero losses and 12 draws against Tarrasch! I did NOT expect that kind of score, given how respected Tarrasch is!

Here is the game, and note Kmoch's explanation after Black's 33rd move, which shows an understanding that goes beyond calculation of variations.

Enjoy! Best wishes to everyone!