Kindred’s Special: Computer vs. Book Study

Recent commentary in New In Chess magazine suggests the ever increasing dependence on the chess computer to both analyze and prepare oneself for tournament play, especially at the top GM level.  As one who learned from book study, my own personal analysis of game play I reviewed, and what has found it’s way into published game analysis in magazine articles, I thought I would try to apply my theory of square count to some of the suggestions and conclusions that the writer draws from the magic of the keyboard and electronic brain.

The American chess whiz , 23-year old Hikaru Nakamura won his first Grand Slam tournament and could the fact that he wears suits or slacks and jacket contribute to this breaking out of the pack?  Afterall, Fischer’s dress suit was a Fischer trademark at tournaments as he himself matured into manhood.

An interesting game to select is between World Champion Viswanathan Anand and the newest youngster to breeze his way unto the scene of top chess, Anish Giri, one of a number of future giants of the chessboard.

White: V. Anand  vs.  Black A. Giri was contested in the recently concluded Wijk aan Zee, 2011, tournament inwhich I shall examine the opening specifically for this article.

1. d4  d5  2. c4  c6  3. Nf3  Nf6 4. Nc3  e6  5. Bg5  h6  6. Bxf6  Qxf6  7. e3  Black choses the Slav and more classic approach rather than his more frequent Indian type systems suggests hopefully to perhaps confuse his opponent with his intentions.

7. … g6!? This move seems to be finding favorable testing in recent contests. Yet, can this move really be good compared to 7. … Nd7 with the idea of …Bd6 employment of the Bishop?

8. Bd3  Bg7 Giri decides to the enter into an Indian-type deployment.

9. O-O  O-O  10. Rc1  dxc4  I really think this move is a mistake as it releases the tension and exchanges the center pawn for the c-pawn.

11. Bxc4  Nd7  Giri notes that the position now takes shape of hundreds of games featuring this position.

Here, the main question what are the salient features?  The pawn structure of white assures White a solid d4 square supported by the e-pawn. Now, lets examine the idea of Square Count as to this position. White has some moves to expand his own count by 12. e4 or he can simply set up a defensive feature of square count of protecting the b4 square and making room for the Bishop to retreat to a2 if attacked by playing the quiet 12. a3.  Most likely the computer goes for the aggressive 12. e4 which is what Anand played.  After 12. … c5! Black can strike the center pawn structure which was slightly weakened by the pawn advance.  White can then initiate a central attack after due preparation by some jump move ideas planning Qe2 >Rfd1 >e4 or maybe a timely Nfd2 > f3> e4 as a distant plan to consider.

The actual game continued:  12. e4  c5  13. d5  Nb6  14. b3  exd5  15. Nxd5  Qd8  16. h3  Nxc4 And Black obtains the two Bishops versus the Knight pair. Still, Giri here suggests completely equal is 16. … Be6.

At this point a lot fireworks got introduced into the battle but after a long struggle of ups and downs, the game position petered out to a hard fought draw.

Alekine, Botvinnik, Capablanca, Kasparov, Karpov and many others often emphasize in their writings which appeared in magazines and or books that one should prepare a launch into an attack by bringing into the fray as much armor as posssible and practical to carry out a plan.  As I point out in much of my writings, square count is a valuable tool for the student in such planned operations. In the above example, right or wrong, a viable alternative to Anand’s effort in this game would be to prepare, prepare, prepare the invasion with back-up forces prior to engaging the enemy units.  This, the computer does not convey to the learning student but must be reenforced by masters of the chessboard through the written word!

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