Thursday, May 30, 2013

On Another Level

By the time I cranked up the old ‘puter yesterday and took a look at the position in the game between Kasimdzhanov and Kamsky 17 moves had been played and Black had thrust the pawns in front of his King forward. Since I thought Gata had the Black pieces I figured the names had been transposed. But no, Gata had essayed the Leningrad Dutch! Oh happy day! I told the Legendary Georgia Ironman that Gata was playing to win, for just as moving the c-pawn forward two squares after white opens with 1 e4 signals the intention to fight and play for a win, moving the f-pawn forward two squares in response to 1 d4 signals the same thing, only much LOUDER! Gata won the game rather easily, setting up a meeting with Hikaru Nakamura the next day. Since Hikaru would have the Black pieces I told the Ironman my prediction was that he would probably respond to Gata’s 1 d4 with f5! Alas, Gata did not give him the opportunity because he opened with, “Best by test,” 1 e4! This sent a signal to the other players that Gata Kamsky was here to win the tournament, whatever it takes. You go, Gata! Nakamura has previously played the Leningrad Dutch. It seems suited to his style, as does the Najdorf Sicilian, yet he plays them rarely. I would like to ask him why he does not play them more. Since he told me he read the BaconLOG, I decided to resume writing just so I could plant a seed in his noggin. I seem to recall Hikaru, my favorite player (Sorry Svid, I know you listen to Bob Dylan, but…), mentioning he was the only top player playing the Leningrad. It would seem that is no longer the case. If anyone out there in reader land can get a message to Naka, please tell him he should replay every Leningrad Dutch played by Vladimir P Malaniuk, who has played the Leningrad almost exclusively. I can only imagine the improvements Hikaru would make to some of the variations. I already have a name for the future book that would come out of his research: The Next Generation Leningrad Dutch, by Hikaru Nakamura! Gata beat Naka’s French today. Hikaru left his knight on h6 to be taken and Gata obliged him. Allowing the pawns to be ruptured like that would not have occurred when I first began playing. If I, or anyone, would have tried something like that he would have been ridiculed unmercifully. A chess teacher would point out exactly why such a thing is not to be allowed. Yet Hikaru had the opportunity to move the knight to f5 but eschewed it. Like Dierks Bentley, I would like to know what he was thinking. The game has changed. It is not your father’s chess anymore. “The game is the same, it’s just up on another level,” Bob Dylan wrote in the song “Po’ boy.”

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