Tal v Botvinnik Game 1 - useless analysis

korotky_trinity
llama47 wrote:

I had the same experience as a 1300 player who had seen this advice everywhere "analyze GM games to get better"

What they don't tell you is at that level exactly the wrong way to go about it is to try and understand every move. It will only lead to endless frustration... and how could it not? It's literally a GM game, if you could actually understand the best moves of a GM game you'd be near GM level yourself.

Instead, at 1300, look at GM games the way a new art student might look at painting by the old masters, or the music student may listen to a famous player... or since you mentioned basketball, the same way a new player might watch NBA games. Not to understand every detail, but to get the broad strokes.

In chess this means something like note the name of the opening, but other than that just ignore the first 10-15 moves. Once you're in the early mid-game pause for maybe half a minute, and guess which area of the board each player will play on. There are only 3: kingside, center, and queenside. Then go over the next 20 or so moves quickly. At some point in the early endgame, pause for another half minute, and guess which pawns the players will try to promote, and which will be targeted. Not only will the targeted pawns be impossible to defend (or inadequately defended) they can also be attacked by the enemy pieces and/or king.

You can also pause at anything you find interesting not confusing! Ignore confusing moves. Pay attention to ideas you think you might use in your future games. It could be a new opening, or an attack or tactic or endgame idea. Kd1 in the Tal game could be something like "I don't understand it, but apparently that's an option sometimes, ok, neat."

So you note the opening, note one interesting thing, pause at some point in the early mid game, and pause at some point in the early endgame.

Doing this, looking at one game might take 5 minutes... and honestly it wont tell you much, but as you look at more and more games you'll start to get better at predicting which area the players will play on. You'll start to recognize common patterns of development, attack, defense, etc. To help out, select games in groups of 10 or more where all games have the same opening.

As you get better, maybe around 1600, you can add questions like "ok I think white will play on the kingside... but how? Pawns or pieces? What pawn break will he use or maneuver a certain piece?" You predict it and then you watch it unfold... again you'll usually be wrong at first, but the more you look the more you'll develop an intuition.

And that's what it's about, it's about developing an intuition for what a good game looks like. To learn the gritty details buy a book that specifically addresses them. Like a book on strategy or endgames or attacking.

That's absolutely true. I don't understand many moves in GMs games.

In this game... for example... I can't understand why Botvinnick didn't make the castle.

Antonin1957
JamesColeman wrote:
Antonin1957 wrote:

For the game I referred to at the beginning of this thread, it would have been much better to say:

11.Kd! 

(Removes the threat of ...Qxc3+)

 

Sorry, I didn’t mean any disrespect in my earlier comment, I’d assumed you’d at least seen that the move dealt with the threat of ...Qxc3+ (again, no disrespect intended) and it was upon that basis that i was basing my answer (that both Kd1 and other options have their own pros and cons). 

Understood. 

In his preface to the game, Karolyi says that one hour before the game, Tal's trainer/second Koblencs left Tal to "give his protege some peace." He then returned to his own room and "decided to check Euwe's publication on the latest opening developments." He found an article "featuring a Kd1 idea that had been played in the 1959 Candidates tournament." Then, half an hour before the game, Koblencs "hurried back to Tal's room and showed him the idea. 'Crazy variation, isn't it?' Tal commented." Koblencs then advised Tal: "If this variation occurs, play quickly to make him think that this line was a central part of our preparation!"

My point is that if the move was obvious, was there really a need to rush back to Tal's room and point it out to him? I would think a second would be most useful by alerting his player to possibilities that were not so obvious. If I was Tal's second, and I rushed back to his room to alert him and advise him on a variation that a player of Tal's genius should easily see on his own, I would expect Tal to respond with a grin:  "What am I paying you for? Tell me something I don't know!" 

There should be no need to warn an elite level player like Tal of obvious threats. But if Koblencs felt a need to point it out to Tal, a player of my limited ability could certainly benefit by having it pointed out.

Antonin1957
llama47 wrote:

I had the same experience as a 1300 player who had seen this advice everywhere "analyze GM games to get better"

What they don't tell you is at that level exactly the wrong way to go about it is to try and understand every move. It will only lead to endless frustration... and how could it not? It's literally a GM game, if you could actually understand the best moves of a GM game you'd be near GM level yourself.

Instead, at 1300, look at GM games the way a new art student might look at painting by the old masters, or the music student may listen to a famous player... or since you mentioned basketball, the same way a new player might watch NBA games. Not to understand every detail, but to get the broad strokes.and honestly it wont tell you much, but as you look at more and more games you'll start to get better at predicting which area the players will play on. You'll start to recognize common patterns of development, attack, defense, etc. To help out, select games in groups of 10 or more where all games have the same opening.

I think it is possible to understand the best moves of a GM game--after the fact. Chess principles are chess principles. The truly great players can violate those principles and get away with it, but the pieces have the same capabilities for them, and the objective of the game is the same for them. 

I can't hope to see many moves into the future, as many of the great ones seem to do. But anyone who understands the basic principles of chess can understand what the elite players are trying to accomplish with a particular move if the purpose of that move is explained. "Opens up this file." "Puts pressure on g7."  "Is the beginning of a coordinated attack on h7 that will eventually involve the knight on c3, the bishop on e2 and the pawn on g4." Whatever. 

It does the average player no good when the analysis wanders off into a discussion of what line said elite player (or, worse, some other elite player) played at a tournament in Belgrade in 1952. Or even worse, a discussion of several alternate lines somebody played in Oslo in 1956, somebody else played in West Berlin in 1963, and somebody else played in London in 1971.  That's what notes are (or should be) for.  

I think there is a great deal of arrogance in a lot of chess writing. I am sure a lot of it is unintentional. I have often described it as "experts talking to each other." I suppose many of them don't even realize they are doing it. But it is a fact that most of the chess-playing public, those of us who subscribe to the magazines and spend our hard-earned money on the books, are not experts. Many are beginners, many are just ok players, many are old folks who have played off and on for a very long time. Many people who don't play chess think of it as an elitist game. If they read some of the commentary here on the chess.com forum, they would have good reasons to think that, because there are a lot of arrogant jerks here.

Someone pointed out that Karolyi's books seem to be aimed at players of a much higher level of skill than most of us have. That's a shame. I already bought the first 2 volumes of his "Mikhail Tal's Best Games" series, because I enjoy Tal's games very much and I'm fascinated by his life and all-too-brief reign as World Champion. Maybe I wasted my money. Still, Karolyi does provide some interesting details about Tal's preparations for various matches, so I will continue to study the books and play through the games.

 

llama47
Antonin1957 wrote:
llama47 wrote:

I had the same experience as a 1300 player who had seen this advice everywhere "analyze GM games to get better"

What they don't tell you is at that level exactly the wrong way to go about it is to try and understand every move. It will only lead to endless frustration... and how could it not? It's literally a GM game, if you could actually understand the best moves of a GM game you'd be near GM level yourself.

Instead, at 1300, look at GM games the way a new art student might look at painting by the old masters, or the music student may listen to a famous player... or since you mentioned basketball, the same way a new player might watch NBA games. Not to understand every detail, but to get the broad strokes.and honestly it wont tell you much, but as you look at more and more games you'll start to get better at predicting which area the players will play on. You'll start to recognize common patterns of development, attack, defense, etc. To help out, select games in groups of 10 or more where all games have the same opening.

I think it is possible to understand the best moves of a GM game--after the fact. Chess principles are chess principles. The truly great players can violate those principles and get away with it, but the pieces have the same capabilities for them, and the objective of the game is the same for them. 

I can't hope to see many moves into the future, as many of the great ones seem to do. But anyone who understands the basic principles of chess can understand what the elite players are trying to accomplish with a particular move if the purpose of that move is explained. "Opens up this file." "Puts pressure on g7."  "Is the beginning of a coordinated attack on h7 that will eventually involve the knight on c3, the bishop on e2 and the pawn on g4." Whatever. 

It does the average player no good when the analysis wanders off into a discussion of what line said elite player (or, worse, some other elite player) played at a tournament in Belgrade in 1952. Or even worse, a discussion of several alternate lines somebody played in Oslo in 1956.  That's what notes are (or should be) for.  

I think there is a great deal of arrogance in a lot of chess writing. I am sure a lot of it is unintentional. I have often described it as "experts talking to each other." 

Someone pointed out that Karolyi's books seem to be aimed at players of a much higher level of skill than most of us have. That's a shame. I already bought the first 2 volumes of his "Mikhail Tal's Best Games" series, because I enjoy Tal's games very much and I'm fascinated by his life and all-too-brief reign as World Champion. Maybe I wasted my money. Still, Karolyi does provide some interesting details about Tal's preparations for various matches, so I will continue to study the books and play through the games.

 

"This move is good because it centralizes the knight"

"This move is good because the rook goes on an open file"

These sorts of comments are the basics of positional chess... since most players confuse positional and strategic here's a quick review:

Tactical is short term forcing
Positional is short term non-forcing
Strategic is long term plans

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The point I'm making with this post is that not all moves can be explained positionally. Some moves can only be understood tactically or strategically. Very confusing moves are a combination of all 3, and you have to explore many lines and understand many things before you can even grasp the basics of the idea... in other words some moves are simply beyond the understanding of most players.

That doesn't mean a coach can't attach some trite adage to every single move, in fact that's pretty easy to do, especially because the low rated player wont know enough to challenge it. But when many lines are given, or even the history is given (such as ____ was played in 1957) this is not arrogance or bad teaching, it's simply as you said, it's instructional material for higher rated players.