64 Great Chess Games
304 Seiten, kartoniert, Chess Mail, 2002
This book presents 64 exciting and instructive chess games played by correspondence. Many of these games have extraordinary depth, subtlety and beauty; some are lighter but have moments of high drama. What makes all the games different is that they were played over a period of weeks and months between opponents who were not seated facing one another.
Chess has been played by correspondence since the 18th century, with the postal service being the usual method of transmitting moves between distant opponents. The actual method of sending the moves does not change the essential nature of correspondence chess (CC) as a mode of play where hours or even days may be spent in analysing the position and selecting the best move.
Many active OTB players participate in CC too, but correspondence play particularly suits people with heavy business or family commitments, or who live in remote locations far from opponents of their skill level. The drink in the pub after the game is replaced by international friendships that develop with messages accompanying the moves.
In recent years, email has become the primary method of sending CC moves (at least in international competition), making the process both faster and cheaper (once you have access to a computer). CC played by Internet web server looks set to become the "next big thing": it is already very popular for casual games and the software may be adapted to the
requirements of championship play by the end of the present decade.
Traditionally, CC players may consult chess literature and they enjoy the liberty to move the pieces on the board while analysing and make notes of their calculations. These factors and the absence of the clock beside the board enables the CC player to create games of a much higher standard than he or she might be capable of in an ordinary club or tournament context. Deep strategies or complex sacrificial combinations can be worked out in detail, sometimes over days or even weeks, and the intended move double-checked for blunders before it is sent to the opponent.
I have aimed to make this book accessible to chess players of all standards, and to be valuable even to those players who do not play CC. When analysing games, original annotations (where available) were critically re-examined both by me and the book's editor and we made many new discoveries, in some cases overturning the accepted view of what was going on in some famous games.
The book would be over 400 pages long if I retained in the text all the openings research and critical variations which we examined when trying to find the truth about many of these games. Necessarily, in many places the variations that illustrate or support my assessments have been omitted or truncated. A few games have been left with a lot more detail than the others, to give a flavour of the depth of CC analysis at master level. If you have not yet tried CC and would like to do so, I recommend that you seek out information and contact addresses on the Internet, starting with www.chessmail.com and www.iccf.com (which have contact details for national federations) and correspondencechess.com.
In the late 1980s, database programs first appeared and soon made a big difference to openings research and preparation for individual opponents. More controversial is the use of programs which analyse positions and suggest moves to the players.
- Some CC players consider their use unethical and a few CC organisations even try to ban them, but this is unenforceable. Inevitably, many of the top players do now use analysis engines, but with caution. At the almost infinite time allowances of CC, the machine's advantage over the human in speed of calculation is nullified.
Computers are virtually flawless at short-range tactics but can give very misleading results in quiet positions, where strategy predominates, and in very deep and complex positions too, where their calculations can go wrong at the 'horizon' or where unusual characteristics of a position can cause their assessment algorithms to prefer the wrong move.
The power and weakness of the computer is seen at its most extreme in the endgame, where traditionally the superiority of the master over the aver-
age player is most evident. It is true that certain simplified positions (with only five or six men on the board) have been solved, so that a computer able to access these 'tablebases' will play perfectly. Until the late 1990s, however, most CC players did not have access to these bases, and anyway they are only relevant to a small minority of games. Most endgames cannot be reduced to such positions and many programs still play them like weak club players.
Computers have changed the nature of CC in recent years. To see this, you only have to compare such exciting games as numbers 23 and 27, in which the player with the greater imagination and tactical ability came out on top
- but where the attacks would have failed against a computer - with modern games like numbers 48 and 62 where strategy is paramount and computers give little help.
Here I quote CC-grandmaster Gert Timmerrnan from an interview he gave me just after becoming the world champion at the end of 2001.
"I do not use a chess-program to search for the moves for me. I am constantly looking for a principal running thread to give 'structure' to a game. The difference between CC-players is not made any more by tactical opportunities, but by 'seducing' the adversary into a
- for him, wrong - (positional) 'train' from which there is no escape anymore... I think that an opponent who relies only on the choice of a computer, and does not start from his own 'natural' resources, will very quickly reach his chess peak with no room for improvement."
About this book
About this book
This book is a showcase of the best of correspondence chess but I don't claim that my selection is the "64 greatest" CC games ever played. I am suspicious of attempts to rank games quantitatively.
My criteria stressed variety: a good spread of openings, players from many countries, many types of game, and a good spread in time also, but with the emphasis on the period 1990-2002. Furthermore, games had to be at least 25 moves long to qualify; I have already written a book of CC miniatures.
The sequence is roughly chronological, apart from the first game. A word is necessary about dates because CC tournaments usually begin on a specified day but take months or years to complete. It is often uncertain when a game ended and when games are first published, incorrect information is often given. I am confident the start year of all games is correct, but when I do not know (or cannot make a reasonable guess at) the end-year, I have given only the first date.
No player has more than three games in the book and only Timmerrnan has more than one win. I also avoided (with one exception) games that have appeared in previous books that I have written, and games due to appeal' in ICCF's jubilee book. I also excluded games from the USSR CC Championships, because a book on that important series of events is being written for Chess Mail at present.
Because I wanted to be able to say something new about every game, I also excluded a few masterpieces that have been very well dealt with by certain
players in books that I recommend in my bibliography. In particular, it is exceedingly difficult to write notes on games by Grigory Sanakoev and Jonathan Edwards that can compare with their own.
Certain games are classics which demanded to be included "warts and all": in particular, Games 13, 19 and 24. Moreover, no chess game would ever be won if the loser did not make a mistake or two, and few 'sound' draws have the same interest as a good decisive game (Game 16 being a notable exception).
In order to arrive at the final 64 games, many apparently strong candidates fell by the wayside when subjected to 21st century scrutiny. Hitherto unsuspected blunders, overlooked defences and missed wins were revealed. Such discoveries usually meant a game had to be rejected, but sometimes the reasons why errors were overlooked by the players are in themselves instructive.
So the book does include some less-than-perfect games of an unusual character, such as Game 20 (still fascinating although it should not have been a draw) and Game 32, which was the subject of a notorious controversy. The very best games, however, are probably those in which the loser puts up strong resistance and is outplayed without making any obvious mistake except, perhaps, an unwise opening choice. If I have to pick a 'Top Ten', I offer this subjective selection: 1, 25, 26, 43, 47, 48, 49, 56, 60 and 61.
1 hope that readers will derive as much enjoyment and benefit to their practical play from reading this book as I have done from writing it.
008 Symbols and Abbreviations
009 1 J.J. van Oosterom - G.J. Timmerman, Wch15 Final, 1996
013 2 City London - City Vienna, intercity, 1872
019 3 G. Nielsen & W. Nielsen - A. van der Linde, friendly, 1875
024 4 W. Steinitz - M.I. Chigorin, thematic match, 1890
030 5 G. Maroczy - A. Csipkés, Hungary Ch, 1893
033 6 K.K. Betins - E. Shiffers, Shakhmatny Zhurnal, 1894
036 7 J.S. Hale - M. Morgan, Continental tourney final, 1896-7
040 8 R. Mikulka - F. Chalupetzky, Schweizerische Schachzeitung, 1910
044 9 A. Becker - F. Redeleit, Wiener Schachzeitung, 1914
048 10 T. Demetriescu - F. Becker, friendly postal, 1919
052 11 Alekseev - V.V. Ragozin, USSR, 1929
056 12 R. Rey Ardid - H. Geiger, IFSB Ch, 1932
060 13 N. Johansson-Tegelmann - R. Rey Ardid, Sweden-Spain, 1933
066 14 P. Keres - E. Weiss, IFSB Ch, 1935
070 15 C. Meyer - G. Stalda, Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1936
074 16 P. Keres - E. Dyckhoff, IFSB EU-OL, 1935-37
082 17 F. Herzog - M. Vidmar, IFSB ch, 1936-37
086 18 G. Barcza - J. Balogh, Hungary Jubilee, 1943
090 19 C.J.S. Purdy - M. Napolitano, Wch1 Final, 1950
098 20 T. Sanz - K. Gumprich, Dyckhoff Memorial, 1954
105 21 Y.B. Estrin - H.R. Rittner, Ragozin Memorial, 1963
109 22 P. Dubinin - A.M. Konstantinopolsky, Ragozin Memorial, 1963
114 23 M. Jago - J.E. Littlewood, England tt, 1964
120 24 A.Sundin - E. Andersson, WT/M/974, 1964
124 25 Y.B. Estrin - H. Berliner, Wch5 Final, 1965
135 26 H.R. Rittner - V.Simagin, Eberhardt Wilhelm Cup Final, 1966
140 27 C.H.O'D. Alexander - P.H. Clarke, England tt, 1969-70
144 28 R.Z. Altshuler - S. Gilezetdinov, USSR Cht, 1971
147 29 T. Mueller - N.A. Preo, NAICCC-1, 1971
150 30 H. Heemsoth - C.S. Hunter, CCOL7 Final, 1973
156 31 V. Zagorovsky - E. Arnlind, Wch8 Final, 1975
159 32 J.S. Morgado - Y.B. Estrin, Wch10 Final, 1978
164 33 J.A. Muhana - J.S. Morgado, Wch10 Final, 1978
167 34 I.A. Kopylov - S.I. Korolev, Dobrovolsky Memorial, 1981
171 35 H. Tiemann - A. Khasin, Finjub-20, 1981
175 36 E. Arnlind - K.B. Richardson, Axelson Memorial, 1984
179 37 M. Neumann - G. Lambert, WT/M/GT/221, 1987-90
183 38 J. Penrose - R. Goldenberg, Wchl3 Final, 1989
188 39 O. Ekebjserg - G.J. Timmerman, NBC-25, 1991
191 40 P.J. Sowray - G.C. vanPerlo, CCOL11 Final, 1992
195 41 J. Sloth - K. Honfi, CCOL11 Final, 1992
198 42 G. Gottardi - V.N. Gritsaenko, Konstantinopolsky Memorial, 1993
202 43 G. J.Timmerman - U. Andersson, NPSF-50, 1994
206 44 V. Milvydas - S. Muravyev, EU/MSM/V prelims, 1994
210 45 G.K. Sanakoev - T. Oim, Wchl4 Final, 1994
213 46 H-M. Elwert - H-E. van Kempen, Wch 3 /4-Final, 1995
218 47 M.M. Umansky - H. Burger, H-W von Massow Memorial, 1996
221 48 V-M. Anton - D.D. van Geet, H-W von Massow Memorial, 1996
225 49 E.B.H. Bang - M.M. Umansky, H-W von Massow Memorial, 1996
228 50 J.R. Vitomskis - J.J. Carleton, WchlS Final, 1996
232 51 J.J. van Oosterom - R.I. Reynolds, WchlS Final, 1996
237 52 C. Leotard - G. Rotariu, Amici Sumus GM, 1998
241 53 J. Hector - C. Hansen, Korning Memorial, 1998
246 54 P. Hardicsay - H-W. May, Hungary-Denmark, 1999
251 55 M. Zavanelli - J. Canibal, Reg Gillman Memorial E, 1999
257 56 G. Kasparov-The World, MSN Internet Challenge, 1999
265 57 A. Haugen - C.A. McNab, EU Cht6 preliminaries, 1999
270 58 V.V. Palciauskas - V. Andriulaitis, L1T-USA, 1999
275 59 I. Firnhaber - D. Schade, German CC League, 1999
278 60 T. Hamarat - E.B.H. Bang, Wch 16 Final, 1999
284 61 O.V. Rause - R. Alvarez, CAPA-X, 1999
289 62 H. Tarnowiecki - J.J. van Oosterom, Millennium Email, 2000
293 63 Yin Hao - The World, Internet, 2001
298 64 T.D. Harding - A.P. Borwell, ICCF Officials IM-A, 2001-2002
302 Select Bibliography
303 Index of Openings
304 Chess Mail Publications: Information
Tim Harding, Herausgeber der Zeitschrift ChessMail, ist einer der führenden Fernschachjournalisten. Für sein Buch hat er 64 der aufregendsten Fernpartien aller Zeiten zusammengestellt, darunter das telegrafische Match Steinitz-Tschigorin (1890) und die Internetpartie Kasparow gegen die Welt (1999). Die Mehrzahl der Beispiele stammt indessen aus dem Fernschach-Turnierbetrieb.
Die Partien sind mit Sicherheit auch für den Nahschachspieler interessant, die Kommentierung ist gut bis sehr gut. Die Einführungstexte geben einen Einblick in die Fernschachgeschichte. Für die analytische Qualität sorgt die Mitarbeit von GM Baburin und Fernschach-IM Jonathan Tait. Im Unterschied zur teilweise üblichen Praxis bei Samplerwerken wurden alle Kommentare gegenüber früheren Veröffentlichungen überprüft und überarbeitet. Ein kleiner Kritikpunkt ist der sehr dünne Pappendeckel. Naturgemäß kommen Taktikfreunde am meisten auf ihre Kosten, hier ein typisches Beispiel:
K. A. Sundin - E. Andersson
corr. WT/M/974, 1964
Stellung nach 22... a7-a5
Es droht 22... a4 mit Damenfang. Aber Weiß lässt sich von solchen Kleinigkeiten nicht beirren:23.h5!! a4 24.h:g6 f:g6 25.Sg5 a:b3? Harding gibt - neben etlichen anderen Varianten - 25...De8! 26.Lg7! h5! als beste Verteidigung an, nach 27.D:c4! d:c4 28.Tbg1 Sd5 29.g:h5 g:h5 30. f7+ D:f7+31.D:f7 K:f7 32. T:h5 behält Weiß Druck, hat aber keinen forcierten Gewinn. 26. f7+! 26.Lg7? Sd2 27.T:h7 Se4+ 28. d:e4 d:e4 29.Tbh1 e3+! und D:h1 26...Kh8 27. S:h7 b:c2 28. Sf6 c:b1D 29. f8D+
Stellung nach 29. f7-f8*+
und 1-0 wegen 29...T:f8 30.Lg7+! K:g7 31. Th7 matt!
Harald Keilhack, Schach 08/2003