Friday, 16 July 2010

The birth of opening theory

There was an old saying concerning opening theory "Players of today believe that modern opening theory began the day they were born. In fact it began the day David Bronstein was born". I'm not sure who originally said it (Boleslavsky? Spassky?) but in part it does suggest that players of today be mindful of what has gone before.
For example the game between Naidistch and Mamedyarov played in the first round of the Dortmund tournament started with a line thought to be bad for White for at least 14 years. Naiditsch played a sharp line against the Najdorf, although this line resulted in a loss to Topalov against Short in 1996. Where Naidistch thought the improvement was going to be is unclear, as the move he chose to move away from Topalov - Short didn't seem to change the assessment of the position. Maybe he hoped to follow one of the stem games given in the notes below, but given the strength of the players involved, improvements for Black were certain to be found. Naidistch reached a position that on the surface looked equal but he had two problems. One, only reaching equality as White is a minor victory for Black at this level, and two, it wasn't even equal, as Black had an edge in the Rook and Bishop ending, which he duly converted.

Naiditsch,Arkadij (2691) - Mamedyarov,Shakhriyar (2760) [B86]
Sparkassen Chess-Meeting 2010 Dortmund/Germnany (1), 15.07.2010

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4 e6 7.Bb3 Nbd7 8.f4 Nc5 9.0-0 Nfxe4 10.Nxe4 Nxe4 11.f5 e5 12.Qh5 d5 13.Re1 Bc5 14.Rxe4 Bxd4+ (D)
15.Kh1 [15.Be3 was Topalov's choice against Short.] 15...Qf6 16.Re1 Bxf5N [RR 16...g6 17.Qh6 e4 18.Bxd5 Bxf5 19.Bxb7 Ra7 20.Bxe4 Re7 21.Bg5 Bxe4 22.Bxf6 Bxf6 1-0 Ghassan,H (2013)-Issa,K/Beirut LIB 2007/The Week in Chess 668;
RR 16...0-0 17.c3 Bc5 18.Rf1 Be7 19.Bxd5 Rb8 20.Be3 Bd7 21.Rae1 Bc6 22.Bxc6 Qxc6 23.Bf4 f6 24.Bc1 Rfc8 25.Rf3 Qe8 26.Qh4 Bf8 27.Rh3 h6 28.Rg3 Kf7 29.b3 Rc6 30.Qg4 Rd8 31.c4 Doghri,N (2305)-Docx,S (2275)/Cannes 1997/CBM 57 ext/1-0 (50)] 17.c3 Ba7 18.Bxd5 0-0 19.Rf1 Qd6 20.Rxf5 Qxd5 21.Rxe5 Rae8 22.Bf4 Rxe5 23.Qxe5 Qxe5 24.Bxe5 f6 25.Bc7 Re8 26.Rd1 Re2 27.b3 Rxa2 28.g3 Ra3 29.Rb1 h5 30.Bd6 Ra2 31.Re1 Rd2 32.Bb8 Bxb8 33.Re8+ Kf7 34.Rxb8 Rd7 35.Kg2 Ke6 36.Kf3 Kf5 37.h3 Rd3+ 38.Kf2 b5 39.Rc8 h4 40.gxh4 Rxh3 41.Rc7 Kg6 42.Rc6 b4 43.cxb4 Rxh4 44.Rb6 Re4 45.Kf3 Kf5 46.Rb7 g5 47.b5 a5 0-1

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