Some of Ilan's

Dec 26, 2013, 10:14 PM |

First, I should continue with some second thoughts, regarding David C.'s strengths.

"Scanning for a scam," said David, speaking of his aggressive style, his tendency to search for a fast win directly against the king. - and you probably don't need to have been there to hear his familiar sceptical tone and humourous self-deprecation.

Now, the word "scanning" is entirely apt, actually, for what chess players do. In contrast, computers consider everything.  Mere humans have to go with what looks reasonable, then consider that as deeply as they can, within the limits of time & energy.  Time & energy aren't what limit computers: computer programmers and programming languages limit computers.  So try as he might, David can't really put himself down with the word "scanning".


If a "scam" is mostly a fast & dubious way of making money, then is David, umm, in too much of a hurry to win his games?  And tbis is funny, too.  Is Courtney dressing himself up as a white-shoe kind of real-estate rogue, maybe?  I like it, David!  Or smooth like a  rat with a gold tooth?  Is this the man we try to take on when sitting down with a coffee beside the board?

 Yes, David, that's what we have both come to think of your playing style; and I think it's incorrect to cultivate a predilection towards the fast mate, as that is what chess is only sometimes.  Other times, the strengths and weaknesses of one's position are elsewhere, even on the extreme opposite side of the board.  It is possible in some variations of queen's pawn openings to win a game while castled king-side by doubling your rooks on the a-file.  Your predilection shows even in the last game we played, in which as you said you deliberately played in an unusual manner - more conservative perhaps?  cautious?  thorough, maybe?  all of those things, I think; but even so:

In this position, you actually blundered away your knight, playing 1...Nd3, which fails to 2.Bc2.  You had overlooked that bishop, as you had done previously, because your vision in some sense contracts to the few pieces which interest you.  YOu aptly call this a kind of "myopia".  I wonder whether playing lots of fast games with a clock might assist you to gain a fuller sense of the overall positional characteristics of this difficult game, chess?  That's what I had wanted them for.  You could experiment with games that aren't too fast.  Say 15 minutes each, or 10?  Make it comfortable & pleasurable, but also add the excitement of pressure.  Hmmm?


Your predilection also shows in the disposition of your pieces, queen & white-squared bishop on the king's side & over-extended.  You overlook the actual & potential strengths of your queen's rook and your bishop on g7.  You overlook also the weakness of your e8 square, and the absolutely essential task of reclaiming that square from white's bishop on a4.

And so at last to Ilan.

Ilan shows this whole-of-board sense in a fine way in his last game with Jeddah. Although he had lost a piece and was at a significant disadvantage in that respect, he had been fighting back very well:

In this position, Ilan is threatening 1.... 2.Rd8+ RxR 3.RxR+ QxR 4.QxQ# .  Jeddah had wanted to play 1...Bb6 which does stop the mate, but I was kibbitzing -sorry Ilan! feel free to object- and she chose 1...Be7 instead.  That forces swap-off, of bishops at least, and so the pressure on d8 is eased. 


However, Ilan has been playing the game a piece behind for some time, and doing so rather well.  He shows a good sense of Jeddah's weaknesses, and a good sense of maximising his chances by using his pieces to greatest effect.  I think a little more may have been made of Jeddah's error in surrendering the h-file.  The white queen may usefully have gone to that file, perhaps?  Or the white rooks?


This is enough for now!