Thursday, 29 January 2015

Open board vision

One of the attractive features of chess is the size of the board. 8x8 is the perfect size as far as I'm concerned, for two main reasons. Firstly, a bigger board would tip the knight versus bishop battle in favour of the bishop, rather than the balanced battle we have now. The second is that the size seems to allow us to visualise future moves, which might be more difficult if the board grew larger.
Of course not all of us can do this with a high degree of accuracy. Calculating on an open board (ie lots of open lines) is something I find fraught with difficulty, especially when trying to checkmate an opponents king. Having an enemy king surrounded by pieces often makes it easier to find the mate, while too many escape squares can be a nightmare.
One player who seemed to have little difficulty in doing so was Bobby Fischer. I've seen a couple of games of his where he has sacrificed material while pursuing the king, with a mate in X (where X is often quite large) to follow. In the following, well known game, he takes advantage of his opponents failure to castle. 16.Rxf8+ is the star move, although Fischer may have seen this coming when he played 13.f5

Fischer,Robert James - Dely,Peter [B88]
Skopje Skopje (4), 1967

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