An interview with GM Andrey Deviatkin and GM Sergey Grigoriants

April 24, 2014, 15:00

Evgeny Surov: Chess-News is on air, we are talking to GM Andrey Deviatkin. GM Sergey Grigoriants will join us a bit later. Good afternoon!

Andrey Deviatkin: Good afternoon, Evgeny.

Evgeny Surov: The topic of our conversation is mainly Fischer chess. The reason we’re talking about it is a tournament held recently in Moscow ( where both Andrey and Sergey were taking part. It was a Fischer chess tournament. However, I’d like to start with something else.
Chess-News has just concluded the survey which shows that overwhelming majority of our readers – roughly 70% – is sceptical about future of Fischer chess, at least according to how the question was formulated. Namely: “Will Fischer chess ever replace traditional chess?” The majority says no, it won’t. Andrey, how could you comment on it?

Andrey Deviatkin: Let me say at once that I’m a Fischer chess supporter, which perhaps means that I’m going to be a bit prejudiced. Anyway, first of all, 70% of the readers doesn’t seem to me exactly “the overwhelming majority”. Secondly: the question “Will it replace or not?” is rather categorical indeed. Why would one cancel traditional chess, why would one replace it with Fischer chess completely? We should talk about something else, namely creating a parallel calendar of events, organizing more and more Fischer chess competitions.
But in any case, there will always be those who prefer classical chess. The moment when no one preferring traditional chess to Fischer chess remains on Earth is unlikely to come.
The same is about Russian draughts – which has been basically solved – and about chekers, which has been solved by a computer without any “basically”. I’m sure that avid fans of these games still exist, they will play their favorite games till the end of their lives. […]

Evgeny Surov: Okay. Let me remind the audience that Andrey Deviatkin is the person who has decided to give up playing in traditional chess tournaments. […] Andrey, as far as I remember, it was already in the previous interview that you called yourself a Fischer chess supporter, so there’s nothing new in your today’s words.

(From the interview given to Chess-News a year before, on 24.06.2013)

Andrey Deviatkin: I have just come back from the chess festival in Voronezh. It’s a nice festival, by the way. One of the reasons for me to have played there was exactly a Fischer chess tournament being part of the festival. Regrettably, it is held within one day only, it’s a rapid tournament of 7 rounds “15+3”. ( However, when I was playing it, I felt young again – it was really exciting! Something really interesting was going on the board!

Evgeny Surov: So, have you become one of those who think that chess should transform into Fischer’s suggestion in the near future?

Andrey Deviatkin: Yes, I think it will happen sooner or later. Maybe not now, but, after all, we already play with Fischer clocks, so I think the time should come for Fischer chess as well.
Let me continue answering your previous question. The Fischer chess tournament was followed by a usual rapid on the next day. I joined it too, and, to be honest, I realized soon that I was simply bored. Perhaps it’s wrong to speak on behalf of the others, but during the Fischer chess event I was talking to participants, and many of them did tell me they were excited – they found it very interesting to have their brain switched on from the very first moves.

As to rapid chess… Well, who said that opening theory is less important there? On the contrary, a player would normally blitz out his first 15 moves – either he has learned them by heart or just knows where to put pieces and pawns in a typical position. It’s all well-trodden now, the plans and setups are known to everybody. Then, after the opening, a contest begins, and the contest is about who calculates better and whose concentration is more steady. That’s how I see it’.

Evgeny Surov: Okay, you say: an ideal situation would be a parallel calendar of Fischer chess events. Then a logical question comes (which has been asked by our readership a few times as well) – who is going to organize such tournaments? Do you think chess fans will really be more and more interested in this kind of chess? Do you expect rich amateurs to appear, ready to sponsor such tournaments?

Andrey Deviatkin: Well, in this connection another question should be asked: who is funding traditional chess? Because your question, as it has sounded, suggests that there are many sponsors in regular chess, while in Fischer chess there are none. In fact, however, the current financial situation is quite mediocre, to say the least. As the recent memorandum (published on Chess-News as well) between Andrew Paulson and Kirsan Ilyumzhinov has shown, Kirsan is investing his own money in chess. [See also an excellent article by Nigel Short – – AD] Can we call it a sound sponsorship? I don’t think so. At the same time, current FIDE management headed by Ilyumzhinov obviously doesn’t wish to invest in Fischer chess – as well as in many other important things, such as fighting against cheaters. So, my answer is: on the contrary, Fischer chess has better chances to find sponsorship. But it will be some different sponsors.

Evgeny Surov: As I see it, the problem is actually to attract spectators. It’s hard to explain to ordinary people why watching chess is attractive, but with Fischer chess it’s probably even harder. One has to explain: what it is, why it is interesting and why one should watch it.

Andrey Deviatkin: The problem is that a great many people think it isn’t chess at all…

Evgeny Surov: Let’s talk about it, because I’ve seen some games from the Moscow tournament, and I haven’t seen anything particularly weird in them.

Andrey Deviatkin: Me too. Not only me! No one will find anything particularly weird in Fischer chess. Of course, it does become chaotic if we are talking about blitz “3+0”. For a human player, it’s nearly impossible to play a good Fischer chess 3+0 game. Meanwhile, when the time control is longer, the games start reminding regular chess shortly after their inception. That’s why I’m really surprised when I hear something like: “It’s not chess at all, it’s an absolutely different game, even some kind of nonsense”, etc etc.
Boris Spassky has said and keeps saying that it’s the same chess, just without opening theory – as well as Robert Fischer, of course. Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian, Gata Kamsky are of the same opinion. I don’t know about Peter Svidler, but as long as he is a repeated World champion in Fischer chess, he could have said this too.

Evgeny Surov: But anyway, I think a real lot of work is needed just to make amateur players hear those opinions by great chess players.

Andrey Deviatkin: I don’t think anything enormous is required. The thing is that one should just look at the task of commenting/annotating games from a slightly different angle. Of course, it’s easy to search through databases and say something like: “The game started with the Najdorf Variation, the first 25 moves were theoretical and the players spent 5 minites each. The 26th move by White was a novelty, and now it’s +0.1 according to Houdini or Rybka”.
Of course such an approach will have to be abandoned, but what should be recalled is, for instance, old tutorials by Lasker, Capablanca, etc. I wonder how many young players have opened those books recently? The books which describe general principles of the game: development of the pieces, fighting for the center, principles of positional play, strategy basics, etc. And that’s exactly what would be interesting to hear from elite GMs, instead of references to some Svidler-Aronian game played somewhere in Wijk aan Zee!
What was really happening on the board? Why this piece was developed here and that pawn here? Why this or that decision was made during the game? I think it would be far more interesting, far more instructive.

Evgeny Surov: Let me return to the games played recently in Moscow. I think they went exactly according to your description: the play began at once, without the opening stage. This probably led to crisis on the board quicker than usual. What is your impression?

Andrey Deviatkin: My impression is that even 20 minites per game isn’t enough to play a good game. The very first moves demanded quite a lot of time indeed, because they are to choose a strategy for the whole game. For instance, in my game against David Paravyan [a young Moscow IM, now 2500+ – AD] my opening moves were horrible [see the games at – AD]. This resulted in me having spent two thirds of my time on move 9, because I was feeling obliged to invent something to avoid the quick loss.

Evgeny Surov: Was there something offending the eye? Something ugly?

Andrey Deviatkin: There were games which started with blunders, like 1.f4 f5 2.Qxa7: the queens were on g1/g8, the a7-pawn was unprotected. Black forgot about it and lost a pawn. But this is a temporary thing – of course, if a good player plays a few games and gets a bit accustomed to Fischer chess he won’t blunder a pawn like that. Nothing else unpleasant has happened. On the contrary, the playing was real fun, and, strangely enough, I remember my games played in the tournament even better than my last classical games!

Evgeny Surov: Our conversation with Andrey Deviatkin about Fischer chess is going on, and we’re being joined by GM Sergey Grigoriants, the winner of the very tournament we’ve been discussing. This tournament has finished in Moscow last weekend, and it was not just a regular chess tournament, but a Fischer chess tournament. Sergey, how did you manage to take the 1st place? Had you done any particular preparation beforehand?

Sergey Grigoriants: No, of course I hadn’t. It was a training, friendly tournament, and the main goal wasn’t to win by all means – it was rather a kind of test. Well done by the organizers, since it was probably the first time such a tournament took place in Moscow. The atmosphere was excellent – very friendly and at the same time very fighting in chess terms.
I did have some previous experience, as I had taken part in the famous Mainz festival. It used to be an annual Fischer chess event, and an extremely strong one. So, yes, I’ve come more or less experienced, and then the things just went this way.

Evgeny Surov: Now let’s say who organized the Moscow event.

Sergey Grigoriants: As far as I know, it was Andrey Deviatkin assisted by his colleagues and friends.

Andrey Deviatkin: Yes, the idea belonged to me and also my friend GM Vladimir Belov. I’d like to thank him and also GM Nikolay Chadaev who have helped me a lot. The critical issue was to find a venue.

Evgeny Surov: The playing equipment was provided by the Chess Education Center on Begovaya street [regrettably, non-existent now in 2016 – AD], wasn’t it?

Andrey Deviatkin: Yes, it was. The games were even broadcasted live. Besides, Pavel Plotnikov [the chief arbiter – AD] took excellent photos. Everything went very smoothly.

Evgeny Surov: Yes, indeed. To be honest, I wasn’t aware that it was you who organized all that. I could guess you’ve taken part, but not to that extent.

Andrey Deviatkin: Well, running a closed event is probably a bit easier than running some large open, so I don’t think I’ve done anything extraordinary, given also that my friends’ help was really valuable.

Evgeny Surov: Sergey: do you consider this experience a positive one? Should we have more tournaments like that?

Sergey Grigoriants: Yes, it was definitely a positive experience, and in general it’s always harder to start than to develop/continue. So, especially for the first tournament, I think everything was just great. There was no shadow of a slightest controversy. The arbiter was also very competent. Yes, I do think we should develop this kind of chess. If such tournaments are held on a regular basis (in Moscow too), Fischer chess is going to be much more popular.

Evgeny Surov: But how to develop it? Any ideas? How to hold such tournaments on a regular basis, so that top-level GMs play there as well? Obviously, it will require certain financial infusion…

Sergey Grigoriants: There is a clear correlation between amounts of prize money and participation of top GMs. This is true for any kind of chess, be it blitz, rapid, classical chess or whatever. That’s why, of course, the issue cannot be resolved without sponsorship and some serious organizers. As to how to promote Fischer chess, however, I don’t think huge financial investments are required here.

Andrey Deviatkin: Sergey was right noting that it had been the first Fischer chess tournament ever held in Moscow. It’s still hard to believe it, but that’s the fact, it seems. The first tournament ever! Meanwhile, the latest major tournament, after the end of the Mainz festival, was held as long ago as in 2011, it was Kings vs Queens tournament in the USA. In 2011, that’s astonishing!
As a matter of fact, Fischer Chess is being played to some extent in the Internet, on the servers such as ICC,,
[turn-based games only – AD], and so on (, etc. – AD]. But there are no tournaments! [There are a few blitz events on some of the servers mentioned, but no over-the-board tournaments – AD].
So, my answer is that in order to promote chess, you have to organize tournaments. And to organize tournaments, you have to organize tournaments! Open Swiss tournaments, for example. I think people will come. Here in Moscow we have traditional chess Swiss events held on a regular basis which are attended by a small number of people – I remember such tournaments used to gather more participants in my youth. I think that a second or third edition of such an open Fischer chess tournament will attract, at the very least, comparable number of players.
To organize tournaments – this is the point! Not so many people at all know about Fischer chess, and many of those who know of it have a little idea of how to play it, nor they are sure how to generate starting positions – because chess sets do not include the generators. We have to facilitate it, and this is cheap and easy, Fischer chess isn’t the same as golf. Generating a starting position isn’t that difficult!

Evgeny Surov: Technically, how you did it, and how is it usually done?

Andrey Deviatkin: There is a lot of software which can generate a starting position. Besides, each of the positions is numbered. As for our tournament, the arbiter was using Fritz interface which contains the “New chess960 game” option.

Sergey Grigoriants: I don’t think there is any particular difference between running traditional chess events and Fischer chess events. The only thing that differs is the starting position. In Mainz, the problem was solved very smartly: large monitors, visible to everyone, were mounted in the playing hall. Thus, despite the large number of participants, there wasn’t a single trouble. The players were setting up the pieces themselves. Here in Moscow, positions were announced by the arbiter, and it has worked fine – but a large Fischer chess event should be equipped with a big monitor. I don’t think it’s difficult from the technical point of view, though.
Everything else is similar to classic chess.
If someone has the will to organize chess events, let’s say, in museums, he solves the task. As a result, now we see chess in museums. Same about Fischer chess: if someone who likes Fischer chess has also the will and resources to organize such events, we’ll see them along with classical tournaments. It’s all about investing in the promotion, providing the prizes, attracting strong players – same as in traditional chess. I’m sure that many top GMs will play, in case the prizes are good enough.

Evgeny Surov: Do you mean the classical time control or rapid when you are speaking about running the tournaments? Andrey has mentioned that 20 minites per game hadn’t been enough for him, even with the 10 seconds increment.

Sergey Grigoriants: It’s again the same situation as in traditional chess. Some people prefer rapid, the others like classical time control. It’s up to everyone. 10 minites per game, 20 minites per game, or much more. The matter is purely of technical nature. Everyone will feel free to choose the time control suitable for him/her, as in normal chess.

Andrey Deviatkin: In fact, the blunders I’ve mentioned and which often occurred at the end of the games, were probably unavoidable. It’s part of the game – mistakes only make it more spectacular. The main thing is to have interesting, fighting games, not some 20-move routine in the opening according to well-known patterns, followed by one trying to convert his extra pawn and the other defending. And such interesting games have in fact taken place in our tournament. So, it might have been just the matter of my taste – 20 minites per game is a perfectly usable time control. However, 20 minites/game in Fischer chess isn’t equal to the same time in traditional chess – that’s what I wanted to say. I think it’s equal to approximately half an hour, because one needs additional time to understand the starting position, to find a plan.

Evgeny Surov: Got it. It’s similar to what Grischuk has told our website once: even if the time control has nominally been shortening, in fact it has been becoming longer, because lately chess players often don’t spend any time for their 10 or even 20 first moves! As a result, they get 1 hour and a half for 20 remaining moves. Meanwhile, in Fischer chess one has to think hard from the very first move.

Andrey Deviatkin: Absolutely right.


Sergey Grigoriants: I’d like also to add that approaches towards Fischer chess have been too opposite, which wasn’t in favour of this game and its popularity. I think it comes from the end of 90’s, when Kasparov and Salov had a dispute, if I remember correctly. Their opinions were opposite and very radical. One of them said that modern chess has exhausted itself, that it’s all about learning openings, and that in general one just needs to study openings very well to win the games – perhaps the very art of playing over the board isn’t even needed.
I think this opinion is too radical and thus can hardly be agreed with, nevetheless it is partly true. The opposite opinion was no less stern: Fischer chess is for lazy, mediocre players who cannot play well and doesn’t want to work on their openings, and their Fischer chess support is just an excuse for that.
Now even from the comments on your website we can see that those two opposite approaches still exist, although they are way too coarse and radical. Of course, Fischer chess contains all the main strategic motives of the classical chess. If we hold a top-level Fischer chess tournament, the winners won’t be some accidental 2000 players. At the same time, it’s true that the players who rely too much on their openings preparation, they will have some difficulties.

Evgeny Surov: Then let’s imagine a hypothetical situation: our traditional chess has been replaced with Fischer chess, but all the players remained. Do you think the world rankings will change dramatically?

Andrey Deviatkin: My opinion is that there won’t be any dramatic changes. It will change to some extent, but good chess players can play any kind of chess – I’m talking about Fischer chess here, not about time control.

Sergey Grigoriants: I agree with Andrey totally. It will just take some time to adapt to the new game: some people will need more time, some less. But in general, all the qualities needed to play well, including an ability to calculate and play endgames – everything will stay very close to what is needed now.

Andrey Deviatkin: In fact, that’s what we’ve seen in Mainz. I think the tournament was existing for 9 consecutive years, and the top places were always occupied by top GMs, with slight corrections. For instance, Hikaru Nakamura who (it seems to me) has never been a deep theoretician, or Gata Kamsky, who has also never been fond of learning main lines – they were on top in Mainz. However, Peter Svidler, whose knowledge of openings is excellent, since his memory is phenomenal – he has also been World Champion in Fischer chess. I think this all is illustrative.

Evgeny Surov: Do you think that Fischer chess could help solve the problem of cheating?

Andrey Deviatkin: I don’t think it can serve as the universal solution against cheating. The only universal solution might be to make sure that none of the players has electronic devices during games. And even so… Well, Fischer chess, of course, can make cheating harder, because the initial position is different – but I don’t think it will solve the problem radically. Cheating is a general trouble for chess, there’s nothing to be done.


Evgeny Surov: Sergey, let’s then return to the question which I’ve discussed with Andrey at the beginning. Our website has conducted a survey which has shown that most of people don’t feel, let’s say, inspired by Fischer chess. They were asked: “Do you think Fischer chess will ever replace traditional chess”, and the majority said no, it won’t. Could you comment on it?

Sergey Grigoriants: It seems to me this answer was expectable, because even the majority of Fischer chess supporters doesn’t think that anything has to be “replaced”. Of course we all enjoy classical chess, we are accostumed to it, that’s why the question, as it was formulated, brought the predictable answer. People say no because they feel respect for the traditions of chess. Here I agree with Andrey – Fischer chess must not replace anything, nor must rapid or blitz replace classical time control.
You know, there’ve been radical opinions about the time controls as well – some supporters insisted that classical chess has been existing for too long, and it was time to replace it with faster chess. However, now all the time controls co-exist peacefully and don’t hinder each other; on the contrary, they complement each other. I think Fischer chess should have similar fate.

Evgeny Surov: I’m not sure. Summarizing our conversation, I have a feeling that even if Fischer chess could be popularized somehow in the near future, it will still remain a kind of chess appendage in the minds of people. It won’t gain the same level of popularity as usual chess. [Very strange summary by Surov. How could he conclude this from the interview? It looks rather like his predisposition than the conclusion – AD]

Sergey Grigoriants: It seems to me that the minds of modern people are subject to constant and sometimes very quick change, within days or hours. Too many things enter their minds, too many leave it. This is the modern reality. That’s why I think that the main issue is someone’s will. The question is whether there’ll be people who want to develop Fischer chess and will develop it.

Andrey Deviatkin: It’s all the more because information is now spreading with enormous speed via Internet. I agree with Sergey: something that used to take years to realize can now be realized within days, hours or even minites.
Let me also raise another aspect, namely the aesthetic aspect. Many people claim that the starting positions are ugly, that it’s some kind of nonsense, as they say.

Evgeny Surov: Some of the positions.

Andrey Deviatkin: So, I think this is prejudiced by definition. For example, recently I’ve read a book which hadn’t, regrettably, been translated into Russian [nor it can be found in my native city of Moscow – I had to order in on Amazon – AD]. It’s Shall We Play Fischerrandom Chess by Svetozar Gligoric, likely the only serious book on the subject. Among other things, it describes the first tournament in Fischer chess, and also the 2001 eight-games match between Michael Adams and Peter Leko (Leko won 4.5 to 3.5).
What surprised me is that Adams, a classic positional player, said after the match: “I would like to play sometimes when queens are in the corner, on a1 or h1. I am sorry that such a position didn’t occur during our match”. We hear this from a classic positional player!
Meanwhile, another classic positional player would say that he likes the queen on c1 and dislikes it on b1. “Knights must not be on a1”, someone else would say. Yet another player would say that a knight must stay on d1, otherwise “the position is ugly”. So, this is all subjective, it reminds me of talks about music when people try to prove that some music is ‘real’ and some is not. This is a very malicious tendency which led to such composers as Shostakovich or Prokofiev being persecuted in the USSR.
[Or rock music prohibited in Muslim countries – AD]. Such opinions are prejudiced by definition, we must not be guided by them.

Evgeny Surov: Sergey, do you agree?

Sergey Grigoriants: Yes, Andrey is right. Let me also add something. Talking about key psychological differences between traditional chess and Fischer chess, there is a concept known as integrity of a game. Why some people, even really strong players, are a bit suspicious about Fischer chess? Because they are afraid of not being able to play a genuinely integral game in strategic terms – that is when you have prepared the setup and the strategic plan, and, because of this preparation, more or less have the course of events under control during the game. We are used to see it in top tournaments.
Such integrity is much harder to achieve in Fischer chess, since the situation is somehow not under the player’s control from the very first moves. Yet, this can also be considered an advantage, because you have to be independent from the very start, you don’t need to and even cannot learn well-trodden lines by heart. Those are two sides of the medal, which, ideally, should complement each other. When people are tired of abundant theoretical draws, they can switch to Fischer chess, while if they miss integral games and are tired of this chaos, they are able to return to the classical game.

Andrey Deviatkin: Chaos begets order, as the saying goes. However, I’d like to develop the topic of independent play. These days, chess is popular to big extent thanks to the opinion that it helps develop children brains.
On one hand, that’s true. On the other hand, let’s imagine the situation: a child with a certain degree of chess talent has got to a certain playing level and then has to make further progress. How should he do that? Can he avoid the opening preparation, which now means learning long theoretical lines by heart? I don’t think so. As White, one still can play something like 1.b3 or 1.g3, but if you are Black you have to learn many concrete lines by heart, which means filling your head with lumber
[as Sherlock Holmes would put it, saying that the brain is not an attic – AD].
The fact is that the amount of the lines one has to learn now is just scary! I’m not saying that we should learn nothing at all by heart. After all, there are endgames with their precise theoretical knowledge – it’s the same in Fischer chess as in traditional chess. So, what do we have here? How will chess affect the promising child?
In his age, he needs all-round development, but instead he will study mainly openings and mainly concrete computer-prepared lines. He will need it in chess only, and only in case he wants chess to be his future career. But no one can choose the career firmly at the age of 11!
In this respect, Fischer chess has a huge advantage, because it makes players think independently from the very first move, and
this is the developing effect. This means being responsible for your deeds, this means creative thinking, not some thoughtless mimicking.

Evgeny Surov: Got it. Sergey?

Sergey Grigoriants: There is one more thing I’d like to add. Yesterday, when you were conducting the survey, there were live Bundesliga games broadcasted live on Chess-News, right above the survey form. All of the 10 games were drawn! I think it says a lot, and I wonder if it was stimulating the readers to vote for Fischer chess, since it wasn’t some supertournament of extremely high importance (we remember how it went in Kazan during the Candidates). It was just a team tournament. Ten games out of ten, including Bobras – Anand on board 1, were drawn.

Evgeny Surov: That’s true, and many of them were very short draws. But there is an opinion – which, I think, one can hardly refute – that two players can always draw their game if they want. No Sofia rule or other kinds of restrictions can prevent them from doing that. Is it more difficult to pre-arrange a draw in Fischer chess?

Sergey Grigoriants: The players can draw their game if it is theoretically possible and if they want so. In football too, in any kind of sports.
Andrey Deviatkin: In any case, this is more difficult in Fischer chess, since there are no familiar patterns to bring the game to a draw by repetition. It’s hard even to get a typical position… No, it’s not just hard – it’s very unlikely. I’m talking about some kind of position with an isolated d5-pawn, in which everybody knows what to do.

Sergey Grigoriants: I’d put it another way: if one of the players needs a draw, while the other doesn’t, then it’s really harder to make it in Fischer chess, irrespective of the colour. In the tournaments such as the World Cup, White sometimes loses his first game of a 2-game match. If this is a match between 2700+ players, the loser of the first game is condemned to fail. The return game looks nonsense, because the scenario is obvious: Black would play some g6-line and try to invent something. In 95% of the cases, it wouldn’t work.
Meanwhile, in Fischer chess the things won’t be that hopeless. Indeed, there are no familiar patterns, worked out perfectly at home, to dry out the game with White.

Evgeny Surov: Does it mean that color is of no importance in Fischer chess?

Sergey Grigoriants: No, it doesn’t. White is still first to move, thus he gains some space advantage and some positional edge – but this edge is difficult to convert using familiar patterns worked out at home.

Andrey Deviatkin: In any case, the Sofia rule promoted by Danailov et al. – I’m not fond of it in traditional chess, and if it comes to important qualifying tournaments I’m just against it. However, it would make sense to forbid draw offers in Fischer chess, although this of course should be discussed. The reason is that the players don’t have to prepare for so long. The preparation will remain but it will be anything except the openings – that is, psychological, physical, etc. Thus, it’s more logical to work harder during games. […]

(Original text in Russian:; translated by Andrey Deviatkin on April 2016)

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#69 Grabinsky, Aaron (NM) FIDE: 2337 vs Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132

#69 Grabinsky, Aaron (NM) FIDE: 2337 vs Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132

Chess960 start position: 118 (NQBRNBKR)

Time control: 15+5



1. c3 Nf6 2. d4 d5 {good move, stopping e4 which would be favorable for white.}

3. Bf4 {kind of making the game a London system.}

3… g6 {Bg4 with Bh5, Bg6 idea is also good. }

4. e3 Bf5 5. Bd3 Bxd3 6. Nxd3 Bg7 7. Ne5 Qc8 {Nd7 right away was easier, kicking out the e5-knight.}

8. Nb3 {with Nd2, Nf3 to follow}

8… Nb6 9. Qc2 O-O 10. O-O-O {White wants to play for an attack with g4, etc.}

10… Nbd7 11. Nd2 Nh5 12. Ndf3 Nxf4 {maybe f6, trying to play e5 is better for black to try to gain some counter-play.}

13. exf4 Nxe5 {again f6 might be better.}

14. Nxe5 c5 {a good move that white missed. Now, black should be equal.}

15. h4 {White didn’t want to play dxc5 and weaken the e5 knight’s support.}

15… cxd4 16. cxd4 Qxc2+ {Bxe5 was interesting. If fxe5, then Qg4 hitting the g2 pawn and threatening Rc8. Black might be better here.}

17. Kxc2 {Now it’s equal.}

17… Rc8+ 18. Kd3 Rc7 19. Rc1 {White thought it best not to allow a doubling on the c-file.}

19… Rfc8 20. Rxc7 Rxc7 21. h5 {trying to play on the king-side, but there’s really not much.}

21… Bxe5 22. fxe5 Kg7 {g5 straight away was interesting.}

23. f4 e6 24. g4 h6 25. Rg1 {trying to play f5.}

25… Rc6 26. f5 exf5 {even g5 right away is fine }

27. gxf5 g5 28. f6+ {slightly inaccurate. It was better to leave the pawn on f5, keeping the black king out. White missed black’s king march to f5.}

28… Kf8 29. a4 Ke8 30. Ra1 {being as annoying as possible, as white can’t just sit and wait. Ra3, Rb3, and Rb5, targeting the weak d-pawn is white’s idea.}

30… Kd7 31. Ra3 Rb6 {good move, forcing b3 which is annoying.}

32. b3 Ke6 33. a5 Rc6 {Rb5 is much better I think, when it should be a draw. Notice then black can’t really make progress as if the king goes too far forward, then e6! wins.}

34. Ra4 {Now white gets what he wants.}

34… Kf5 35. Rb4 b6 36. Rb5 Ke6 37. Kd2 bxa5 {probably helping white a bit, but black was rather short on moves!}

38. Rxa5 Rc7 {a6 is much safer, limiting the white rook.}

39. Kd3 Rb7 40. b4 Rc7 {now, black is unfortunately losing the thread. He has been driven into a passive position after some inaccuracies.}

41. Ra6+ Kf5 42. Rd6 Kg4 {Kf4 maybe, but black’s position is getting bad. The white pawns are stronger than black’s king-side pawns.}

43. Rxd5 Kh3 {Kxh5 would have held a bit longer, trying to stay close to the middle with Kg6, Kf5.}

44. Rd8 {Now it’s over.}

44… g4 45. Rg8 g3 46. d5 {White can sac his rook for the g-pawn if need be, and the passers in the middle easily beat the rook.}

46… g2 47. e6 fxe6 48. dxe6 {Good game though! Was probably a draw if black played Rb5 move 33, or a6 move 38.}

{ Black resigns } 1-0

(Annotations: Aaron Grabinsky)

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An interview with James Plaskett (GM)

chess959: I would like start with a very tricky question: Which one is a chess variant: Chess960 or SP#518 (RNBQKBNR)?

plaskettJames Plaskett: Oh my… Both I’d say! The latter…maybe not. I understand what prompted Fischer to seek a variant of the game.Seirawan has even invented SeirawanChess. But… Maybe It’s some kind of lost cause.







chess959: Bobby Fischer was a genius and so often he used language in a way that we are not familiar with. We think we understood him but actually we were not listening, we were just operating off our own assumptions of what we think he meant. One of the biggest controversies is what Bobby meant when he talked about “pre-arranged” chess games…..

It sounds like match fixing……..I used to get confused about what Bobby was talking about. But Bobby was talking about “pre-arrangement” in the sense that both players have organised what they are going to play on the board before they get there (independently from each other).

The idea of “pre-arrangement” is that as Bobby noted, it should be stated up front (acknowledged rather than blindly accepted). What is the difference between playing from an opening book in your mind, compared to if both players actually used a physical opening book as they were playing through the opening?

James Plaskett: You ask players openly using opening books… well something akin to that happened in Kasparov´s Active Chess idea i.e players openly consulting computers during play.

chess959: Advanced chess.

James Plaskett: Yes. Sounds a bit daft to me. Fischer was a chess genius yes but his celebration of the 9/11 atrocities was vile.

chess959: If there was a physical book, everybody would be clear about what is happening. As it is now, the book is in human memory. But what is the difference?

James Plaskett: Theory is updating all of the time. That could be the difference…

(Off the record) me: James what kind of response is this? Are you serious?

chess959: We now know that some people intentionally misdescribe chess960 as a chess variant. What could be the main reason for this?

(Off the record) me thinking: He won’t answer this question and will try to say something else. And here it is…

James Plaskett: It is a chess variant.

(Off the record) me thinking: He started to defend SP518. But no chance. The truth cannot be hidden anymore!

James Plaskett: Random starting positions. A few yrs ago I even played a FischerRandom event in Murcia, near my home. I finished 2nd.

chess959: James,,, please! (Note: Finally I lost my patience.)

James Plaskett: eh?

chess959: Ok, here is another try.

James Plaskett: Yes sir!

chess959: Carry out this simple thought experiment that questions our Chess centric way of thinking: “In an alternative reality, hundreds of years ago the game of Chess960 was invented. Then late in the 21st century, a small movement began to only play SP518 (Chess). But players all around the world asked the simple question, why would you want to dumb down Chess960 like that?”

AND Chess (SP518) is a variant of Chess960 and so are the other 959 positions. There is no difference that I can tell. Chess960 is not a variant. It is a generalised set of rules that determine all the possible positions of pieces on the back rank without violating any past rule. Not a single rule of chess is violated in the process, not one.

James Plaskett: NO INDEED not… except the position of the pieces at the start… but; so what? Tactics, strategy, ending technique affected? Not at all.

chess959: Indeed.

James Plaskett: I’m quite enjoying it, even.

chess959: Most chess960 games after 10-15 moves, will look like a classical chess position. You won’t be able to easily determine how the game originated.

James Plaskett: Quite.

chess959: And last one: If the purists are so insistent that chess 960 is not “real chess”, why did we let computers rule the analysis of classic chess?

James Plaskett: Rule it? They are engines for perfecting commentary AFTER the games, Señor.

chess959: Don’t you know supercomputers for opening preparation?

James Plaskett: They are used there, too.

(Off the record): I think James is a good guy, but lack of knowledge about computers invasion to human chess. Here Ian Rogers, reported from Sofia, Bulgaria, 2010:

“World Championship games are expected to last four, perhaps even six hours. This one was over in little more than two. The Indian World Champion was destroyed; nay, humiliated. On Bulgarian television that night, Topalov explained that the entire game had been prepared by him and his team at home; he didn’t need to find a single original move to score a simple first game victory.”

chess959: James, Chess960 is not a variant of chess. Chess960 is a generalization of chess. Do you agree?

James Plaskett: And, over the last 25 years people are less and less happy about that. I’ll go along with your definition of Chess960.

(Off the record) me: See? He is a good guy, when vital information given to them (GM), they will understand it. Most of them spend entire life to chess. I have full respect to them even to Kasparov (number 1 enemy of pure human play a.k.a chess960)

chess959: James, thanks for your time.

James Plaskett: Pleasure. Adios.



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#67, 68 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Plaskett, H James (GM) FIDE: 2438

#67 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Plaskett, H James (GM) FIDE: 2438

Chess960 start position: 823 (RKBNQRNB)

Time control: 15+5



1. Nf3 b6 2. g3 Bb7 3. d3 g6 4. Bd2 e5 5. Bc3 f5 6. b3 d5 7. Bb2 Nc6 8. a4 Nf6 9. h3 Qe6 10. Ng5 Qd7 11. f4 e4 12. dxe4 fxe4 13. Ne3 h6 14. O-O-O hxg5 15. fxg5 Qe6 16. gxf6 Bxf6 17. Bxf6 Rxf6 18. Nxd5 Qe5 { Draw } 1/2-1/2


#67 Plaskett, H James (GM) FIDE: 2438 vs Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132

Chess960 start position: 733 (RKNBQNBR)

Time control: 15+5



1. h3 e5 2. Bh2 f6 3. e3 Bd5 4. Rg1 b6 5. d3 Bb7 6. Nd2 d5 7. Ne2 Nd6 8. Nc3 c5 9. f4 exf4 10. Bxf4 Bc7 11. Bf3 Qe6 12. O-O-O O-O-O 13. Kb1 Kb8 14. e4 d4 15. Nd5 Bxd5 16. exd5 Qxe1 17. Rgxe1 Ng6 18. Bg3 Rhe8 19. c4 Nf5 20. Bxc7+ Kxc7 21. Ne4 Nd6 22. g3 Ne5 23. Bg2 Re7 24. Nxd6 Kxd6 25. Rf1 a6 26. Kc2 { Draw } 1/2-1/2

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#64, 65, 66 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Gombac, Jan (FM) FIDE: 2250

#64 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Gombac, Jan (FM) FIDE: 2250

Chess960 start position: 754 (BRKNNBRQ)

Time control: 15+5



1. b3 e6 2. Bb2 d5 3. e3 Nd6 4. Nc3 Nc6 5. Nf3 Be7 6. h4 O-O-O 7. Qh3 Kb8 8. d4 g6 9. a3 b6 10. Ba6 f5 11. Ng5 Qf6 12. g3 h6 13. Nf3 Ne4 14. Qf1 g5 15. hxg5 hxg5 16. Nxe4 fxe4 17. Ne5 Bd6 18. Nxc6+ Bxc6 19. a4 Rgf8 20. Rg2 e5 21. a5 exd4 22. axb6 axb6 23. Bb5 Bb7 24. Ba6 Be5 25. Bxb7 Kxb7 26. Ra1 Ra8 27. Qb5 c6 { White resigns } 0-1



#65 Gombac, Jan (FM) FIDE: 2250 vs Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132

Chess960 start position: 638 (RNKQRBBN)

Time control: 15+5



1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Ng6 3. f3 f6 4. d4 exd4 5. Qxd4 Nc6 6. Qd2 Bb4 7. Bb5 a6 8. Ba4 Qe7 9. Bf2 Qe5 10. O-O Bc5 11. Ng3 O-O-O 12. a3 Nge7 13. Rad1 Bxf2+ 14. Rxf2 g6 15. f4 Qc5 16. b4 Qa7 17. Nd5 b5 18. Nxf6 Rf8 19. Nxg8 bxa4 20. Nxe7+ Nxe7 21. c4 h5 22. e5 h4 23. Ne4 Nf5 24. c5 { Black resigns } 1-0



#66 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Gombac, Jan (FM) FIDE: 2250

Chess960 start position: 947 (BRKRNNQB)

Time control: 15+5



1. f4 b6 2. g3 d5 3. b3 g6 4. Bxh8 Qxh8 5. Nf3 Nd6 6. d3 Nd7 7. N1d2 e5 8. fxe5 Nxe5 9. Nxe5 Qxe5 10. Nf3 Qc3 11. Qd4 Qxd4 12. Nxd4 c5 13. Nf3 d4 14. Nd2 Bxh1 15. Rxh1 Re8 16. Re1 Rb7 17. Nc4 Nxc4 18. bxc4 Rbe7 19. Kd2 Kc7 20. Rbd1 Re3 21. a4 a5 22. c3 dxc3+ 23. Kxc3 Rxe2 24. Rxe2 Rxe2 25. Rf1 f5 26. g4 Re6 27. gxf5 Rf6 28. Re1 gxf5 29. Re7+ Kd6 30. Rxh7 f4 31. Kd2 f3 32. Ke1 Ke5 33. Rh4 f2+ 34. Kf1 Rf3 35. Re4+ Kf5 36. Re2 Rxd3 37. Rxf2+ Ke5 38. Rb2 Rd6 39. Re2+ Kf4 40. Kg2 Rg6+ 41. Kf2 Rh6 42. Kg2 Rd6 43. Kf2 Rd4 44. Rb2 Rxc4 45. Rxb6 Rxa4 46. Rb5 Ra2+ 47. Kg1 c4 48. Rc5 Kf3 49. Rf5+ Ke4 50. Rc5 Kd3 51. h4 c3 52. h5 Ra4 53. Kf2 Ra2+ 54. Ke1 a4 55. Ra5 Ra1+ { White resigns } 0-1

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#62 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Grabinsky, Aaron (NM) FIDE: 2337

#62 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Grabinsky, Aaron (NM) FIDE: 2337

Chess960 start position:  260 (NBBRKNQR)

Time control: 15+5



1. Nb3 b6 2. d4 Ba6 {e2 looked weak in some positions.}

3. c3 c6 4. Nfd2 d5 5. Nf3 {Bd3 was worth considering, in view of how strong black’s bishop later becomes.}

5… e6 6. Bg5 {maybe g3 and Bf4 is interesting, as well.}

6… Rc8 7. Bh4 {same idea, but a little slower. The rook wanted to go to c8 regardless.}

7… Nd7 {swinging round to f6, eyeing e4 is natural.}

8. Bg3 f5 {The ensuing “stonewall” set-up is probably favorable for black, as the Nb3 is misplaced and white’s e2 pawn is still a problem.}

9. Bxb8 Rxb8 10. h4 {g4! is worth considering. White’s attack might yield him some open king-side lines, activating his light-squared bishop and queen. Also, Bd3 is again, worth
looking at.}

10… Qf7 11. Qh2 {nice maneuver by white nonetheless, eyeing e5.}

11… O-O 12. Ng5 {maybe Ne5 is better, looking to trade pieces.}

12… Qe7 13. f4 Nf6 14. Qg3 {Again Bd3!}

14… Nc7 {aiming for b5 (or e8) and d6 with full control over e4.}

15. Rd2 {Illustrating how powerful black’s bishop is. White struggles to get castled.}

15… Nb5 16. Rc2 {Qe3 or 0-0 might be better, the rook could probably go to d1 later, keeping the light-squared bishop more active. Also, it is more prone to hits down the c-file.}

16… Nd6 {threatening h6, and a knight to e4.}

17. Nd2 Rbc8 {eyeing c5 with some pressure.}

18. Rc1 c5 {now cxd4 is a threat.}

19. e3 {now things are turning sour for white. His king is stranded due to black’s monster on a6.}

19… Kh8 {maybe not the best by black, Qe8 immediately is more pointed.}

20. Ndf3 h6 21. Ne5 Qe8 {yea, here the king should just be on g8.}

22. Nh3 Kg8 23. Nf2 Qb5 {here black should be close to winning.}

24. Bd3 {Maybe a knight to d3 covers b2. Then if c4, Nb4! and white is hanging on. It’s still unpleasant though.}

24… Qxb2 25. O-O {finally castled, but alas, too late!}

25… Nde4 {and in black storms, a loss of material is inevitable.}

26. Nxe4 Nxe4 27. Bxe4 {If the queen moves then just Bxd3 and Qd2 and white’s pawns fall quickly.}

27… Bxf1 28. Rb1 {more or less equivalent to the alternatives.}

28… Qxc3 29. Bxd5 exd5 30. Rxf1 cxd4 {yea, this is over. So, earlier white should have probably have traded the light-squared bishops to avert some of the pressure. The structure that came about is very static, but in some lines, white can be quite justified in going g4! With king-side pressure. }

{ White resigns } 0-1

(Annotations: Aaron Grabinsky)

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#59, 60, 61 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Kundin, Alexander (IM) FIDE: 2320

#59 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Kundin, Alexander (IM) FIDE: 2320

Chess960 start position: 465 (BRNBNKRQ)

Time control: 15+5



1. b3 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. d3 b5 4. e3 c5 5. Ne2 g5 6. Be5 Rb6 7. h3 h5 8. Ng3 h4 9. Ne2 Nd6 10. Bxd6 Rxd6 11. d4 Bb6 12. Ne5 Ne4 13. Nf3 Rf6 14. Rc1 Qh6 15. Qh2 Qh5 16. Qb8+ Kg7 17. Qe5 Kf8 18. Qb8+ Kg7 19. Qe5 Kh7 20. c3 Rxf3 21. gxf3 Nd2+ 22. Kg2 Qxf3+ 23. Kh2 Qxf2+ 24. Kh1 Qf3+ 25. Kh2 f6 26. Bc2+ Kh8 27. Qxe7 Ne4 28. Bxe4 dxe4 29. Nf4 Bd8 30. Qf7 Qxe3 31. Qh5+ Kg7 32. Qg6+ Kf8 33. Ne6+ Ke7 34. Qxg8 Qd2+ 35. Rg2 Qxc1 36. Qxd8+ Kxe6 37. Qxa8 Qf4+ 38. Kh1 Qf1+ 39. Kh2 Qf4+ 40. Kh1 Qf1+ 41. Kh2 Qf4+ { Draw } 1/2-1/2


#60 Kundin, Alexander (IM) FIDE: 2320 vs Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132

Chess960 start position: 145 (BNRBNQKR)

Time control: 15+5



1. e4 Nc6 2. b3 e5 3. Nd3 Bf6 4. Bg4 Rd8 5. Nc3 Nd4 6. Nd5 d6 7. f4 c6 8. Ne3 c5 9. c3 Nc6 10. Nd5 exf4 11. N3xf4 Be5 12. Ne6 { Black resigns } 1-0


#61 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Kundin, Alexander (IM) FIDE: 2320

Chess960 start position: 354 (BNRKRBQN)

Time control: 15+5



1. f4 b6 2. g3 f5 3. b3 g5 4. Bxh8 Qxh8 5. Nc3 gxf4 6. gxf4 Bh6 7. e3 e5 8. Ng3 Qf6 9. Nge2 c5 10. fxe5 Qxe5 11. Qg3 Qxg3 12. hxg3 Nc6 13. Bh3 Ne7 14. Rf1 Rf8 15. O-O-O Rc6 16. Rf2 Rg6 17. Rdf1 Rg5 18. e4 Ke8 19. exf5 d5 { Draw } 1/2-1/2


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An interview with Aaron Grabinsky (NM)

chess959: I would like start with a very tricky question:


Aaron Grabinsky: Sure.







chess959: Which one is a chess variant: Chess960 or SP#518 (RNBQKBNR)?

Aaron Grabinsky: SP#518? though not exactly sure. What exactly is SP#518?

chess959: The chess we already knew: Rooks at the corner…

Aaron Grabinsky: oh, lol, then no, chess960 right? yea, chess960 would be the variant

chess959: Just think about it for a moment.

Aaron Grabinsky: Okay :) I guess in a funny way, SP#518 would actually be the variant.. huh, never thought about it that way.

chess959: We now know that some people intentionally misdescribe chess960 as a chess variant. What could be the main reason for this?

Aaron Grabinsky: Maybe because chess960 isn’t as popular as SP#518? that would be my guess, so people assume it’s the variant.

chess959: That’s the point. People assume it a chess variant. But it is not. Chess960 is a generalization of chess. If Chess960 were a variant of chess, then chess could not be a position within the variant. But it is! Chess960 encompasses chess. We have a chess centric point of view I think.

Aaron Grabinsky: yes :) chess 959 doesn’t include normal right?

chess959: Yes, chess959 means no more SP518

Aaron Grabinsky: yea, well that makes sense, about the variants, I mean,,, which is which

chess959: Carry out this simple thought experiment that questions our Chess centric way of thinking: “In an alternative reality, hundreds of years ago the game of  Chess960 was invented. Then late in the 21st century, a small movement began to only play SP518 (Chess). But players all around the world asked the simple question, why would you want to dumb down Chess960 like that?”

AND Chess (SP518) is a variant of Chess960 and so are the other 959 positions. There is no difference that I can tell. Chess960 is not a variant. It is a generalised set of rules that determine all the possible positions of pieces on the back rank without violating any past rule. Not a single rule of chess is violated in the process, not one.

Aaron Grabinsky: hmm, I didn’t know about that! I’ve always played chess, lol.. Pretty new to 960

chess959: But you’re playing so creative…

Aaron Grabinsky: But it sounds cool! Yes, thank you! I actually like chess 960 better!,,, in a way

chess959: I can only compare your games with Sergey Volkov (GM) or very strong FM Jan Gombac: my main training partners currently.

Aaron Grabinsky: How did they compare?

chess959: I mean the quality of your playing very close to GM level.

Aaron Grabinsky: Cool :) that’s nice, minus the theory advantage in normal chess. I’m much closer to GM level then… well, that’s interesting.

chess959: Bobby Fischer was a genius and so often he used language in a way that we are not familiar with. We think we understood him but actually we were not listening, we were just operating off our own assumptions of what we think he meant. One of the biggest controversies is what Bobby meant when he talked about “pre-arranged” chess games…..

It sounds like match fixing……..I used to get confused about what Bobby was talking about. But Bobby was talking about “pre-arrangement” in the sense that both players have organised what they are going to play on the board before they get there (independently from each other).

The idea of “pre-arrangement” is that as Bobby noted, it should be stated up front (acknowledged rather than blindly accepted). What is the difference between playing from an opening book in your mind, compared to if both players actually used a physical opening book as they were playing through the opening?

Aaron Grabinsky: Well, I suppose it would be more beneficial to use the one in your mind,,, as your memory would be stimulated. But, I’m a little confused, lol. Physical opening book?

chess959: It means the books you can open in your OTB games.

Aaron Grabinsky: Oh, I’d say the difference is sight vs memory.

chess959: In Chess960, memorization is laterally spread rather than longitudinally deep.

Because there are small subsets of critical start positions that need to be memorized in Chess960, players will memorize variations laterally across a subset of positions rather than longitudinally deep in one position as we do in traditional chess. Therefore the overall memory burden is no greater than traditional chess. In fact I can predict already that in future generations of Chess960 players, the total quantity of memorization that we now see in traditional Chess (SP518) will be exactly mirrored in Chess960. There will be great benefits in memorizing certain start positions. However, this practice of memorizing openings will never be at the expense of general creative over-the-board opening play as we see today in traditional chess, because the memory task in Chess960 is so monumental that conceptual thinking in the opening will always be the dominant mode of thinking.

Aaron Grabinsky: This sounds like an improved form of chess, it could be the future! Very interesting.

chess959: Exactly. It is the future.

Aaron Grabinsky: It might just replace chess.

chess959: You are a smart guy.

Aaron Grabinsky: In fact, I think it will! cool :)

chess959: But there is one problem: and a big one.

Aaron Grabinsky: What?

chess959: Very very big one: MONEY

Aaron Grabinsky: How so?

chess959: Sponsors and current chess oligarchy.

Aaron Grabinsky: Oh, well it will have to be advertised and promoted and I hope it will come through though.

chess959: Ok Aaron. Thanks for talking to us.

Aaron Grabinsky: Well, I really like 960! Thanks for being interested in it and introducing me to it more :) Good talking with you too, and see you Tuesday for more 960! :)

chess959: yeah,,, have a good day!

Aaron Grabinsky: okay, cya later! you too.

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#58 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Grabinsky, Aaron (NM) FIDE: 2337

#58 Yuce, Aytac ICCF: 2132 vs Grabinsky, Aaron (NM) FIDE: 2337

Chess960 start position:  819 (BRKNQRNB)

Time control: 15+5



1. b3 b6 2. Nc3 g6 3. Nf3 e5 4. d3 {e4 is probably better. Allowing black to get total central control cannot be right. Now when black plays d5, e4 will be met with d4! and white is cramped.}

4… d5 5. e3 {even here, e4 is probably to be preferred, as white’s severe lack of central space will begin to tell quite soon.}

5… f5 {mine as well grab more space! Black enjoys a clear edge here.}

6. Qe2 {Nd2 and e4 for white is interesting. If black plays e4, then d4 limits the damage and white shouldn’t be doing to badly.}

6… Nf6 7. O-O {Staying on the queen-side is probably better.}

7… Nf7 8. Nd2 Qe6 9. g3 {d4 or f4, trying to force a locking of the center is safer, maybe then later g3.}

9… O-O-O {of course, playing for a quick attack on white’s king is the easiest way to win here. White’s opening play was a bit too passive.}

10. Nb5 {even here, d4 or f4 is better, trying to shut down black’s fluid center pawns.}

10… a6 11. Nc3 {Na3 even with c4 idea might be a better way to go, although at this point it’s probably too late. White has just lost too much time.}

11… h5 12. Na4 g5 {this attack should be decisive.}

13. c4 {e4 is more annoying for black, even then f4 for black looks strong. Then exd5 and white might be able to use the e4 square for defense.}

13… g4 14. cxd5 Ng5 {a cool move :)}

15. Rfe1 {better is e4 when it is highly unclear, but black remains on top.}

15… Bxd5 16. Bxd5 Qxd5 17. h4 {alternatives do not help, d3 is hanging at the very least, when black will be technically winning anyway.}

gxh3 18. Kh2 {f3 or e4 avoid mate, but the result is not in doubt. Black simply takes d3 and has a winning position with two extra pawns and better pieces. So earlier, white definitely had to be more aggressive with his stakes in the center. The huge amount of space that black was given, and thus the flexibility he enjoyed, spelled white’s doom. } { White resigns } 0-1

(Annotations: Aaron Grabinsky)

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