The Amateur Eye – Tension in Chess

One of the greats at chess play was Jose R. Capablanca.  Many games that I studied included the period of the early 1900s on.  In 1916 a very interesting game between the attacking master D. Janowski and Jose R. Capablanca took place in New York City.

Why I choose this game is, for each student, seen two forms of tension unfolding…immediate tension and distant tension.  And for the joy of chess, the student learns that great games provide entertainment and instruction regardless of time elapsed,

The fruit of this game emerges soon after 1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 c6 4. Nc3 Bf5 5. Qb3 (more apropos was perhaps 5. c:d5 here or even the next turn)  Qb6 6. Q:b6 a:b6 7. c:d5 N:d5 8. N:d5 c:d5 9. e3 Nc6 10. Bd2 Bd7!

Typical Capablanca! His aim is to support jump moves >…Na5/ b5/Nc4 and, if a trade occurs, recapturing with b:c4, gives Black pressure against the a & b pawns.

I believe this game and others of that period helped to mold my square-count theory. 11. Bb5 seems more apropos to that end.

11. Be2 e6 12. O-O Bd6 13. Rfc1 Ke7!!  Another way to connect his Rooks where the King can play a more active role.

14. Bc3 Rhc8 15. a3? This weakens the b3 square unnecessarily and the Knight pressures it with…

15. … Na5!  16. Nd2  f5 Attacking the central pawn structure and signaling the idea of play on both wings.

17. g3 b5! 18. f3 Nc4 19. B:c4 b:c4 20. e4 Kf7 21. e5  Closing the center to release the tension. But as square-count shows, Black is in good shape to increase power on both sides of the board without worrying about any central counter attack.

Here, distant tension comes into play after 21…Be7 22. f4 b5! 23. Kf2 Ra4! 24. Ke3 Rca8 25. Rab1 h6! 26. Nf3 g5 27. Ne1 Rg8 28. Kf3 g:f4 29. g:f4 Raa8 30. Ng2 Rg4 31. Rg1 Rag8 Capablanca keeps Janowski ever on the defensive, battling both Q & K sides with immediate tension on the g-file. Now, he switches back to the Q-side.

32. Be1 b4 33. a:b4 Ba4 34. Ra1 Bc2 35. Bg3 Be4+ 36. Kf2 h5 37. Ra7 B:g2  38. R:g2 h4 39. 46. R:e6B:h4 R:g2+ 40. Kf3 R:h2 41. B:e7 Rh3+ 42. Kf2 Rb3 43. Bg5+ Kg6 44. Re7 R:b2+ 45. Kf3 Ra8 + Kh7 White resigns in lieu of coming on the ..Ra3 mate threat.

 ***    CHESS MARCHES ON ***

Now and then I get comments from readers voicing other interesting mind games.  My favorite has always been chess.  It has a rich history; tactics abound; a mirrored hosting of variety featured openings exist with many variants regularly arising from talents around the world backed up by literature.

A recent Chess Life titled:  CHESS: A GAME FOR LIFE shows the diversity of those bitten by the chess bug. I quote from the following of one youngster who obviously was so bitten.

“I started playing chess five years ago when I was six years old. The Dinosaur Chess app was my favorite game. I then started playing real chess with my daddy…Mommy took me to the International Chess Academy near my home.  I started taking lessons and playing in tournaments. My twin sister did too, but she didn’t like it. I am shy but with chess I feel comfortable and happy.  We get to travel to fun places like Florida and Tennessee. One of my favorite things about chess is that you can be losing terribly but there is always a chance to win.  My mommy thinks chess helps me understand and learn that it is important to never give up and always try to learn from my mistakes. Sometimes this is hard for me. At the last nationals, I missed a game because my daddy read the schedule wrong. I was so sad and just wanted to go home.  But I didn’t quit, and I still had fun with my friends. The next tournament I did amazing and reached my personal goal of a 1500 rating.  Chess teaches me to never give up. Plus it’s fun and I have really good friends in the chess world.” – Grant Goldman.

This story is told again and again among the many thousands of chess kids who compete in this game.  The rating system is a key incentive to many who play to improve and have goals to climb the ladder classes.

The Russian Bear once bragged that their great skill was partly due to their communist system and that America would never produce similar talent. The results of the USCF and chess programs in the schools, kid clubs and individual joy has built a huge group who settle in Western societies.

GM Garry Kasparov, a former candidate opposing V. Putin for President of Russia has visited often to the USA and been a great inspiration in the development of chess interest and values and joined by many who immigrated to settle in the USA from many Lands.













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