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is chess in the Olympics

  There is currently no chess in the Olympiad. The Chess Olympiad is a chess competition officially organized by FIDE since 1927 and takes place in even-numbered years. Before World War II the event was occasionally held every year. There was also an unofficial Chess Olympiad series that ended in 1976. Although chess is covered in the sports sections of many newspapers around the world, it is not one of the recognized sports in the Olympic Games. However, FIDE is now a member of the International Olympic Committee and follows its rules. This means that chess could one day become an Olympic event, although most knowledgeable observers say this is unlikely. The World Chess Championship is a competition held annually by the international chess organization FIDE to determine the World Champion of chess. Both men and women are eligible to participate in this championship. The World Champion does not have to be the player with the highest Elo rating: the 2006-2007 World Champion, Vladimir Kr

Game Analysis #18: Tragedy of Time, Nimzowitsch Defense: Scandinavian Variation

There is a limit to how far you can push the boundaries of unorthodoxy. If you break the principles of logic and solid conventional chess strategy, then you better have the balls and the right amount of insanity to pull it off. Creative tacticians like Tal or Jobava can sometimes get away with crazy, offbeat chess but not always. So if you’re serious and you want to play in high levels, I think it would be best to stick to the principles.

Mikhail Tal by nirm93 on deviantart
We can’t all be geniuses. Even geniuses can fail but they are not easily deterred because that’s how they think. They try something out of the ordinary to test its validity and if it works, it works. If it doesn’t, they can easily move on to the next thing. Ideas fuel our minds and for geniuses, their minds are always full of ideas.

However, I think the fact that Fischer, in his later years, became so hostile to mainstream chess shows the conflict of a tortured genius. Since their minds think outside the box, they want to push the limits and always try something fresh. They’re not satisfied with rote memorization of moves and variations. That’s why he developed Fischer Random which is now called Chess 960. It’s his way of breaking away from the mold. But it might also be his way of asserting his dominance over everyone else. Maybe, he feared that once people have studied and analyzed thousands of games, he will no longer be at the top. Everybody else would have that chance. Even then, it would still take a lot of time, talent, and effort to reach their levels. And not everyone would have the patience or perseverance to get there.

Anyway, there is a difference between unconventional approaches and foolishness. In my previous analyses, I often criticized my play harshly. But that’s only because I did not know any better at the time I played these games. Now, I have gained more knowledge, insight, and experience. I can see a lot more happening in the board that I wouldn’t have noticed before. I can calculate and predict moves better. And I can also make critical decisions in strategic planning such as coming up with candidate moves, assessing imbalances in the position, and taking stock of my advantages and how to maximize them.

In this game, there is one part that I feel was the turning point for me. I could have hung on had I made a better move but that didn’t happen. That move was 10. Nc3. I know that I have been slightly worse even before this and that all started with the dubious move 5. Qf3. But I was able to hold on. I think my opponent could have punished that move even more but he didn’t. So we’ll start discussing from 10. Nc3.

This move is bad because it obviously loses a pawn. Now, this position looks bad but it’s not hopeless. There are various ways of replying. One of the things that you need to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t play into the hand of your opponent. I know that I am two pawns down at this point but the move Bxc2?? is a blunder because of the move Nxc2+ forking the king and rook. This requires just a little bit of foresight and calculation but I was young, I didn’t know any better.

I had a chance to alleviate some pressure at one point in the game. That was after my opponent made a mistake, 21… e4. If I had done fxe4 instead of the Nb6+ then it would have been slightly bearable. Of course, Black has the advantage but White could have a fighting chance. However, in an evenly matched game, the chances of that would be very slim. In any case, had that happened, I would still be down an exchange, my rook for one of his minor pieces. And in an endgame where there are pawns on both sides of the board, it would be difficult to defend with a knight. Following the game continuation, I am down a piece.

A general rule of thumb to remember when you are down a piece is to get rid of all the pawns. The rationale is that it would be easier to draw since you don’t have to worry about promotion. The one who is up a piece needs to exchange all the pieces because it’s easier to just focus on the pawns and queening. I did not know that kind of strategy back then so I was shuffling aimlessly on the board. Apparently, my opponent did not know what to do with his advantage either. So we were just running around the board. I lose a few more pieces. However, the tragedy of this game is that I won because my opponent forfeited on time. My opponent simply used up more time and paid dearly for it in the end.

Whenever you win a game because of time forfeit, it really depends on how the game went. If your position was completely winning, then there’s no burden. But when you were at a worse position and had little to no chance of turning things around, then it’s not a win you can be happy with. But you take the result humbly and gracefully whether you lost or won because that’s the reality of this game. Time management is part and parcel of chess. When you are running out of time, it puts pressure on you psychologically, emotionally, and even physically. That’s part of strategy and the psychological warfare in chess. At the end of the day, it is a competition and if you’re lacking in one thing or other, that could mean the end. So you try to improve on your weaknesses and bank on your strengths.

I’m not saying that you should just play your moves and rush through the game. You still need to think about the moves you’re playing. But you have to balance between great strategy and great time management.

Two things we can learn from this game:

Don’t be reckless with unorthodox moves.
More often than not, that will lead you to trouble. Novelties are always good because that shows creativity and an effort to continue improving in the game. But experimenting can cost you, so you better be prepared. Otherwise, it will be very difficult.

Be wise with your time.
At the end of the day, this game is a competition. Anything can be used to your advantage. A win can be pulled from under you if you don’t pay attention. Play with everything in your arsenal as long as it’s within the rules.

Also, just have fun. This is a game after all. You shouldn’t take the fun out of it just because you take the competition seriously.


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