Monday, March 29, 2010


When one gives advice it's a good idea to practice it yourself.

Thus, on Day 2 I looked at the next game in the French Advance section of Moskalenko's Flexible French (don't worry, over time I will look at other openings but the process given here is the same). It was Shirov vs. M. Gurevich.

Another terrific game. The subtleties where not just in the very extensive notes (which I only partially went through), but in the main moves themselves. And I did look into ...f6 in the French by John Watson in Dangerous Weapons The French Defence. It will take MORE study to know EXACTLY (is that possible?) to know when ...f6 is viable.

Moskalenko has proposed two very interesting games so far for his "lead articles." At one point Shirov does play ONE move which I do not understand (at all) and Moska doesn't get it either. It was possibly his undoing IF it was a wasted tempo.

Why read the extensive notes? Well, the answer seems obvious but if it is not, here it is: Your opponents are not going to play Shirov's moves and the reason for that is it is hard to get most of them to open a DVD or a book anyway. But, as you go up the ladder you will have opponents who DO know something or two about the Advance French OR it may be that the only opening they know much at all about IS the French Advance from the white side (even masters have run into this problem). I've faced both scenarios.

The "sideways" moves they play are often covered in the notes. Moskalenko's notes (except for that stupid one shot pistol featured as a graphic weapon) cover the sensible and sometimes the weird. Even stronger players don't play MAIN lines most of the time. Korchnoi, for example, seldom repeats himself even IF he knows the main lines (he expects his opponents will know them too).

In my case the notes contain those "what if" moments where I might wonder why White didn't do such and such. Sometimes they warn me that BLACK shouldn't play a certain move! Chess certainly is not one-sided.

So today I will play Game Three: Sveshnikov - Moskalenko 1993. I know it ends in a draw and those are not as exciting (for me) but yet they are necessary. In this case necessary because, after seeing Game 1, I realized that unless Black has a specific idea of what to do, White just prevents Black from getting ANY play and runs over him. But when Black's "correct" plan unfolds, White loses, move-by-move in the long haul. (NOTE: And I did pick up a tip in Black's way of preventing a Knight from being lost on the a-file.)

While I do wonder what Moskalenko has been doing since 1993 to now, I can often find the answer IN the notes as White keeps struggling to try something different and FAILS to get any traction. Is this why we don't see many games in the Advance French these days at the higher levels? (Just between you and me, when I play less than masters I've seen the Advance French frequently, more than any other white-side French).

SUMMARY: by playing one game per day (or more on the weekend) I hope to pick up some tips, some "feel good," and participate in some action for the near future. I'll do this from the white side too when I look at WOJO's systems with 1. Nf3.

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