The Raw Diet

In the reality of our lives we are much more than any one thing that we do. We may lay bricks under the hot sun by day, but come alive in front of a canvas each night. Every one of us is moonlighting somehow; this dualism is what makes humanity special. A crab crawls across the bottom of the ocean and that’s it. His being is tied up in routine behavior. He would not walk on land even if he could.

Within our “chess lives” what we become is a definable quantity. Our chess identity is more or less a function of what we study. Feeding the machine the right food then is essential. I am giving myself the equivalent of a “raw diet” today. I’m getting back to the basics of chess, principles and simplicity. I won’t pollute my brain by looking at my dragon chess set, it’s back to basics.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 e6 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bxf6 Qxf6 7.Qb3 Nd7

I’ve selected this as white since I put the queen on b3 in fighting the Grunfeld. This Moscow Semi-Slav sees white without the bishop pair but with decent central control and development. What I realize is that white doesn’t have to win before the endgame just because he could be slightly worse. He’ll need to convert his dynamic advantages into a strategic weakness for black. The burden isn’t such that white has to checkmate black in the opening. This is something that’s easy to miss.

8.g3 dxc4 9.Qxc4 e5 10.O-O-O Be7 11.Ne4 Qf5 12.Qc2 O-O

I rather like the knights in the middle, supported by pieces. Who says you need outposts? G3 and Bg2 work well with the coordination of other pieces. It’s interesting to see how white tries to improve his position. He is comfortable but can lay claim to nothing significant. Korchnoi will have to demonstrate that white can get away with simple play.

13.Kb1 exd4 14.Nxd4 Qa5 15.Bh3 Nf6 16.Bxc8 Raxc8 17.Nxf6+ Bxf6

18.Nf5 Rcd8 19.f4 Rxd1+ 20.Rxd1 Rd8 21.Rxd8+ Bxd8 22.a3 Qd5 23.e4

White has managed to keep a small advantage, and a plan. Despite the worse minor piece his pawn structure is great. Pawn chains get better as they lengthen.

Qd7 24.e5 Be7 25.Kc1 g6 26.Nd6 Bxd6 27.Qd2 Kf8 28.exd6

Ke8 29.Qe3+ Qe6 30.Qxa7 Qe1+ 31.Kc2 Qe2+ 32.Kc3 Qe1+ 33.Kc2

1/2-1/2 Although Korchnoi could not beat Breev but he took no risks. The late Bent Larsen was a master at “playing for two positive results,” a situation where you can’t lose. When you know you can’t lose a position you are better poised to take chances to win it.



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