Sunday, July 19, 2009

My Great Pretentiousness (or, Damn the Pronoun Agreement, Full Speed Ahead!)

Thumbing through some of Kasparov's My Great Predecessors got me idly thinking about, even at my vastly inferior level of play, which of the World Champions I most resemble in terms of style. I'm sure they would all resemble such a remark.

Perhaps I should instead write about which of the World Champion's playing styles I most strongly identify with.

I can barely combine myself out of a wet paper bag, so out went Alekhine, Tal, Spassky, Fischer, Kasparov, and Anand. I have long greatly admired the endgame and other successes of Capablanca and Smyslov, but my style might be closest to Petrosian's (although after my savage attacking loss to him in the Reubens-Landey, I think I will never persuade Farzad Abdi of that).

Giving an opponent the torture treatment:

After the game, Dick grunted that it was just the kind of game he hates, where I dictated the pace and he was always defending. It's certainly pleasant to hear that your opponent felt they were under your thumb the whole game, but I was still miffed that I hadn't won, having labored under the mistaken impression that I'd had a meaningful edge for most of the game. One of Joe Shipman's (excellent) 1989 Chess Horizons opening analysis columns stated that 10...Bxe4 is equal, but I didn't know that at the time of the game. It would be great to have enough Petrosian-like python technique to be able to squeeze more points out of opponents (ah, Pars-s-seltongue).

In the recently completed Weaver Adams tournament, I had what might have been my most smoothly flowing Petrosian style win ever (sorry, John, but anyway we both made it to the Reubens-Landey). I dictated play all over the board, and in this game I did squeeze the point out.

If it is at all accurate that I align myself with Petrosian, Spassky being Mike Griffin's chess hero may partially explain why our chessboard battles to date have been full-blooded struggles, given the 2 slugfests those giants fought for the World Championship.

Does your play resemble that of any World Champion? Come join me in inciting World Champions, or their spirits, to resemble remarks about shared chess styles. Maybe we can get one of those who has passed on to rise up again -- Korchnoi may be looking for another spiritual opponent (although I doubt Petrosian would be his top choice!).

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