Thursday, June 24, 2010


Nigel Short is a character and the English GM shown in the ChessBase DVDs (both 1 and 2) prove it. Nattily dressed in a suit and sharp tie, and speaking with confidence, carefully chosen words, and impeccable diction, he's entertaining to listen to.

Today I was listening to his second volume and one of the games he discussed was his 1990 Interzonal game with Mikhail Gurevich. MG only needed a draw (Short needed a win) in the last round and chose the Exchange French and tried to trade off all the pieces. At one point he might've actually had that draw but Short's calmness was unnerving. As you no doubt have guessed, going for a draw was a bad strategy. Here's ONE reason why. When you are doing well, you'll usually continue to do well and you may as well play chess, and play for a win. Unless you have chosen that point to die on the vine, you will often win and at no worse achieve a draw (if you are a stronger than average player--but what is average?), which would have put Gurevich through... but I suspect he either didn't have a coach or he disdained his advice if he did have one. As it was he had a "string of draws" before this last game and that no doubt only made it worse as his "guard" was probably weakened.

At any rate you've probably seen this game in a number of places but now you hear it straight from one of the participants. Now I am watching and listening to Kasparov-Short 1987 in a rapid (game in 25 minutes) event. (Naturally Short won this quite slick game.) It started 1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Bg4!? 3. Ne5 Bf5. Then 4.c4 f6 (yes) 5. Nf3 c6 6.Nc3 e6 7.g3 Bb4 (Short mentioned that in order to get Garry off of his stride he wanted to "slap him around a little bit." This is hilarious stuff.

That game proceeded with Short getting a "grip" on the position and he shows how strong masters attack weaknesses, such as a backward pawn on c3. There is some good natured "mocking" asking Kasparov to "show me what you've got." Funny. A nice finish, played in a discotheque. When Kasparov resigned Short got a prolonged standing ovation! Home crowd you know since this was played in London.

If you WANT to get some "offhand" study in instead of playing mindless speed chess on the internet, I recommend studying good DVD games from ChessBase. Make sure your mind is alert and you aren't tired.

I've also been watching the White Shockers and Black Shockers DVDs. These are QUITE good! By IM Andrew Martin. Complete set at discounted prices is $89.90. If you have a Gold Card for 2010 you will pay only $79.90. Great value. 10 hours of commentary.

I will be looking at Danny King's The Squeeze later today also. In the meantime I am almost finished with the 108th issue of The Chess Reports. If you subscribe to this publication which averages 16-18 pages I think you would find it different and refreshing chess fare from anything else that is published. This issue has 10 annotated games, a further continuation of the Queen's Gambit Accepted, a review of Mike Henebry's book and a MONSTER SALE of chess books, over 90 of them. I invite you to subscribe at $59.95 and 13 issues.

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