Monday, March 07, 2005
The game that changed me
This is the very first game of Nezhmetdinov that I saw. A game that made a deep impression on me.

[White "Kosolapov N"]
[Black "Nezhmetdinov R"]
[Result "0-1"]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.d3 d5
5.exd5 Nxd5 6.Be2 Bb4 7.Bd2 O-O 8.Ne4 Be7
9.O-O f5 10.Ng3 g5 11.Ne1 Nf4 12.f3 Bc5+
13.Kh1 Rf6 14.c3 Be6 15.Nc2 Rh6 16.Be3 g4
17.Bxc5 Qh4 18.Bg1 Qxg3 19.Ne1 Bd5 20.b4 Nh5
21.Bf2 Qf4 22.fxg4 Qxh2+ 23.Kxh2 Ng3 24.Kxg3 f4 0-1

The style of play illustrated by this game was so alien to my positional sensibilities that it left me gasping. I dont think that until mate Mr. Kosalopov here knew what was going on. Otherwise, why play on? why not resign if the mate was foreseen? Until that pawn was moved to f4, hope was even entertained maybe. Why not? he was up a queen. Or maybe he's in shock? Just like I was. I was so used to seeing games in which the players goal was some positional advantage, the 7th rank, open files, etc.. that seeing chess like this was deeply unsettling. I mean, you know, the games between us patzers is like this - always hunting for the scalp of the enemy king. But to see it from a master? Being presented with games after games of grandmasters, I thought that maybe for the higher levels of chess, patzer-like king attacks are not done anymore.

Until I saw this game, until I knew about Mr. Nezhmetdinov. I've seen sacrificial attacks before. But not like him, no, never like him. The sheer aggression of the moves, the brutality - I could almost see (excuse the language, but I cannot think of no other) a primeveal shouting in triump over the body of a rival. His hands holding a bloody club. The rival, face down and bleeding. Raargh! He shouts.. Raaaarrrggghhh!!! I tell you, this player does not invoke images of a "sensitive artists and subtle instruments of immeasurable profundity"

I mentioned before that I play blindfold chess. To be precise, I dont actually play blindfold OTB, but I play thru entire games in my head. Mr. Nezh's always cause me headaches. Often, I would think that I made a mistake in visualization. "Did he really move that? But the rook is hanging!", or "A sacrifice? Here? But the enemy defenses are concentrated right now, this can't be right" Only to find out later on that indeed what I saw was true. Only to find out that indeed mate was delivered seven moves later. His are the games I was referring to when I said that GM games dont seem to follow the rules. In them you will see badly wrecked pawn structures, mysterious queen moves, time seems more important than material. After a few of his games I came to expect that he would hang something. Time and again, an opponent would threaten a piece, and he would just ignore it. It always seems a mistake, yes it is a very costly mistake - for the opponent. Time and again he would demonstrate this. I would watch in horrified fascination as the opponent "wins" material. Only, the material will cost a tempo. And next thing you know, a queen was sacrificed and the king mated. Just like that.

Playing over his games, One cannot help but notice that in his combinations he seems to have worked out all the moves before. That it was all part of some grand combinational plan. One does not get the sense that they are ordinary. No, not an ordinary three move cheapshot. The tactics of a pretender. No, His is the single note hanging above,unwavering.

"As so often in open games, winning material is a mistake" - Rashid Nezhmetdinov

I wish I could play like him. If I could succesfully devise and plan a very deep combination just once in my life, My chess career would be complete.

I am faltering on the circles. The other day, while checking the solution, I inadvertently saw the next problem's answer. A thirteen move combination? I cant possibly solve that monster. Ive not done the exercises yesterday because of it. Maybe I'll just skip that problem and go on.
posted by Nezha at 11:49 PM | Permalink |


  • At 3:42 AM, Blogger Temposchlucker

    3 years ago I decided to forget about all the rules and looked for tactical openings. I found a book about the Kings Gambit by Joe Gallagher, who is a very aggressive-playing grandmaster.
    Opposite to what they advise I learned all variations by heart. Without understanding them. With Bookup that's simple.
    When I started to play I often started to gasp. "what for a position is this? What's going on here?" This harsh method is a fast way to learn what's the essence of a position: you have to think for yourself. Afterwards you can lookup what you should have played.
    Because emotion comes in you never forget that line anymore!
    You learn that you can win a game even by playing moves in the opening as Kf1, Kd1 or Kf2. Moves that are not uncommon in the Kings Gambit.
    So by breaking the rules based on calculation gives you more possibilities.
    When you win this way you feel like a boxer who just K.O-ed his opponent in the first round. Very satisfying!