Saturday, 30 January 2010

Time as a factor in chess

I've just read Chess Vibes very harsh review of "Revolutionize your Chess" by Moskalenko. As I haven't read the book In have no way of judging either the book or the review. However the reviewer correctly takes Moskalenko to task for the following quote

Advantages may change during a game, or may even be overruled by an endangered position of the king, or by the factor which has thus far been neglected in theoretical works: Time. This dynamic factor should be included in any chess system if we want to call it conclusive.

The reviewer observes that time has been considered by other recent writers, including Jonathon Rowson in "Chess for Zebras". In fact 'time' as a specific chess concept pre-dates even that with Larry Evens devoting a chapter to it in his book "New Ideas in Chess", first published in 1958.
In the chapter on time he give some opening analysis which I had not previously seen. After the normal moves of the Two Knights Defence 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d4 exd4 5.0-0 Nxe4 (D) he quotes some Soviet analysis which suggests that 6.Nc3 may be playable. He goes on the recommend the safe reply 6. ... Nxc3, reasoning that as Black is ahead material, he should catch up in time. He gives as a footnote the obvious line 6. ... dxc3 7.Bxf7+ Kxf7 8.Qd5+ Ke8 9.Re1 Be7 10.Rxe4 d6 11.Bg5 with the conclusion that Blacks faces a fierce attack. All very true, but sadly it is time (and the development of strong computer programs) that have caught up with this analysis. These days plugging this position into Fritz would quickly reveal that Black can hang on, no matter how scary the position looks.


Denis Jessop said...

In his book "The Middle Game in Chess" (Bell, 1938) Eugene Znosko-Borovsky treats "time" as one of the three basic elements of the game. As I recall, this book was not well regarded by some including Cecil Purdy.


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