In last months Elite Hotels Open, in Växjö, I played a reasonable tournament and in the last round I found myself facing the sympathetic Yuri Solodovnichenko, on board 2, with the Black colours. I have lately been working extensively on my repertoire with Black, but with only half an hour to prepare I did, for a moment, lose my confidence and decided to play something that “I know well”, ergo the Modern. I knew that Yuri has a favourite line that I wasn’t afraid of, so it seemed like a good idea. Instead of repeating the this line, my opponent played something that I had previously not even considered as critical. I followed my own recommendation, but after just a few moves my position started to deteriorate, fast, and it became a horrible game for me. It was a hard way to discover a flaw in my views on the Modern, but now I feel obliged to share it with other Modern afficionados:
There have been so many interesting games at the beginning of the year that it has been hard to decide on a single one that stands out. However, in the end, I felt that the game below impressed me more than all the others. It is the first game of the final series of the 39:th Kisei Title Match. Iyama Yuta plays the Black side against Yamashita Keigo:
Lately I have been watching the televised NHK Go tournament on youtube (the latest game can be watched here) and although I don’t understand more than ten words in japanese, I find it very relaxing. The tempo of the games gives you time to think for yourself before the next move is played and the comments are quite understandable even for someone who doesn’t get the language. This is something that worries me with the new DVD culture in chess. If you only use DVD:s as a source of information, there is a risk that you will become passive and instead of learning how to think, will learn not to think.
The World Champion has tried out the Modern Defence for the second time within a month and I feel it is my responibility to comment on this game since it follows my main line in “The Modern Tiger” up to move 8.
I am kind of hoping that this initial setback will not make Magnus abandon the Modern. I lost my first three games in this opening and it was only when I returned to it (a year later), that I got it right. Post Script: I now see (after having it pointed out to me by a friendly reader) that it was much more difficult to evaluate 19…Rab8, than I originally thought. It bears witness to how little we sometimes see from the side lines and how easily we… well, hrrm, I, fell into a false narrative. I shall try to do better next time.
This year’s Rilton Cup turned out well for me. It was not because I played very well, but rather due to the fact that I was a bit lucky and then didn’t make a mess of it in the later rounds. In the sixth round I managed to win a King’s Indian with the black colours against Maxim Turov and then in the seventh I got the chance to play the same side of the same opening against Mihail Krasenkow. It was clear to me that whatever happened I would always know less of what was going on than my opponent did. Maybe my real advantage was that I would not know how bad my position really was?
I’ll be back soon.