What would you do?

PeterDoggers
PeterDoggers
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0 | Chess Event Coverage
Kasparov vs USAYou'll probably remember the 13-fold repetition in the game Bok-Van Wely at the Dutch Championship, two weeks ago. Afterwards Van Wely was fuming that his young opponent didn't use the opportunity to get more experience in a real fight. As GM Luke McShane pointed out, something similar happened in a clock simul between Kasparov and the USA in 1988.

What would you do, when you played the world champion in a simul, with the white pieces, and you have the possibility to repeat moves in a theoretical position? Would you go for it, being able to tell your friends that the man couldn't beat you? Or would you consider it bad ethics, like Kasparov, who argued that the White player should always play for a win?

In his June 10 column for the online version of the Daily / Sunday Express, GM Luke McShane picked up the Bok-Van Wely story, and demonstrated a clear parrallel with the 1988 clock simul between then World Champion Garry Kasparov and the USA, held in New York City. This event was beautifully depicted for TV and can now be found on YouTube in three separate videos (due to YouTube's 10-minute limit).

The second video shows Kasparov being clearly upset when IM Daniel Edelman goes for the draw in the well-known Sveshnikov sequence 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e5 6.Ndb5 d6 7.Bg5 a6 8.Na3 b5 9.Nd5 Qa5+ 10.Bd2 Qd8 11.Bg5.

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McShane argues that a simul and a tournament game are quite different situations.

My opinion is that forcing a well known draw (when there are more interesting options available) in an exhibition game like a simul really is spineless. Bok's decision certainly wasn't brave, but is harder to judge. Apparently he was aware that he could play on with h2-h4, but wasn't familiar with the position. I'm sure his opponent was, and that's a serious handicap against a stronger player.

I've occasionally gone into games eager to face my opponent's lines A, B or C, but accepted that if he chooses D then I'll be content with a draw. Maybe Bok was tired that day, or judged that his overall tournament would benefit from a draw. Any competitive player can sympathise with those feelings. As for gaining experience, Bok probably learned more about chess psychology from this game than he ever would have normally!


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