Na7!! Three games and some thoughts on the players who won them.

Na7!! Three games and some thoughts on the players who won them.


A very quick( for me ) post today ( yep, I put too many 'War and Peace' scale articles on here ) with an original idea linking some games and some thoughts on the players who played them. It kind of compliments two of my earlier posts, my Barcza Knight ballet - that no-one seems to have really understood!- and the Bh7ch one.

If anyone out there knows of other games with the idea, or has managed to play it him/her self, please post the game in the comments. I would love to see them. Thanks in advance.

First up, one of my three great teachers. Paul Keres. GREAT player, special man, and one of the truly brilliant annotators. (At some point I actually will get round to doing a post on my favourite annotators, and throw it open to reader contributions. maybe when I retire in a few years time) My local library had Keres' three volume work on his best games. 


I spent hours with them as a total novice, going over every word, move, note, variation, idea, etc. For me - as a 'Chess Evolutionist', Keres is a link in what I think of as the chain of stylistic purity. Those players who, in the context of the way that chess was played in their eras, achieved the ideal all round chess style. De Vere, ( If you have not read my article on him, please do yourself a favour and go take a look. It is a sad story of possibly the greatest talent of his era[other opinions are available!] and you can find it here:-  Nope - haven't learnt how to do hyperlinks yet - education welcomed!!)

O.K. Back on topic! De Vere - Charousek - Rubinstein - Keres - Spassky - Ivanchuck - Anand. That is my chain. Who will be next?

In this game, against a player who was, at the time, considered a major challenger to Alekhine's World Championship, Keres played what he described, in the above books, as  'the most original attacking move of my entire career'. 

A picture that I have used elsewhere, from the book in my previous article, to link the previous game with the next one - also given there, to which I have added some notes.

nullBarcza and Keres at the European Team Championship in 1961.

A couple  of things to say about Gedeon Barcza, whilst I am in a chatty mood! In the words of Eduard Gufeld he was 'a Grandmaster when it meant something'. His style is not to everyone's taste, but, to those of us who love endgame play, his games are a delight. He also had a peculiar talent for Knight maneuvers. His weakness was that he was one of those players who was much stronger with White than with Black. Young players are probably really bored with my advice 'study endgames', but the fact is that it is good advice! I recently saw a game on this site, in a post of chessters, where a player managed to lose a won ending because he did not know a very basic endgame idea.

However, this game despite the quiet opening, doesn't in effect get to an endgame.

And so on to the man in a hat in the header photo. Vasilly Ivanchuk. Having actually known one, I am very remiss to use the word 'genius'. In my '10 favourite books' post :-  

I give the opinion that if anyone in chess history deserves to be called a genius, it is Philidor - he will be in the 'favourite annotators' post! In chess, many players have been described as a 'genius'. In the modern era of chess there are many wonderful players. I am a chess historian, but I do not disregard what is happening today. If we take the statement that' half of  the people who have ever lived are alive today' and apply it to chess, then, depending on how you want to manipulate the numbers, certainly a quarter of the greatest chess talent in the history of the game is active today. 

I have expressed the opinion elsewhere that, notwithstanding the presence of Kasparov, Karpov, Kramnik, Anand, etc,  if Ivanchuck had had Simagin as his second he would have been World Champion. He is an extraordinary talent, and. in my opinion, one of the few players in history worthy of being described as a genius. A collection of his 'best games' would probably encompass 5 volumes of at least 100 games each, with many more games of true quality not included. I remember sitting watching a 'Master Class' , from one of the Gibralter events, I think - HELP!! - where he started off with one game, got distracted and went into another, and so on. There is more chess in his head than everyone who reads this put together will ever experience. One writer coined the phrase - apologies for not rememering the source 'Planet Chucky'. We are lucky to have him amongst us in the modern age.