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Understand The Position 23: Start-End

GM Ján Markoš | November 2, 2011 – 12:01No Comment | 852 views
Understand The Position 23: Start-End

Imagine that you come to theater to watch the opera. Well dressed, odorized, you are looking forward to the three acts of a top culture. However, actors are including only the first two scenes of the first act, followed by the last three scenes of the fourth act. The center has disappeared somewhere.

Translated by: Dusan Turcer

That feeling I had when I recently watched the game Jakovenko – Gelfand. Both rivals run through the opening and the middle game very quickly and already twenty minutes after the start of the round, the following position appeared on the board:

Jakovenko – Gelfand, after 36th move of Black


Only at home I found out that this position was already played in spring in Kazan. It occurred in the game between Radjabov and Kramnik. Radjabov, playing as White, delivered a perpetual check to the black king. Apparently, Jakovenko had the same position on the board at home, because he kept playing very quickly:

37.h3! Novelty. Rather late than never…

37…Dc2 38.De8+ Kh7 39.d5 Df5 40.De4 Dxe4 41.fxe4

Only now – after the time control – the opponents started to think. Thanks for the bonus time they had even more time on the clock than at the beginning of the game. The ending is particularly interesting. Computers consider it as balanced, but it is not so clear at all. Both sides benefit from the connected passed pawns, which is a power that is not possible to eliminate by a passive play.

What counts here is skill in promoting your own sprinters. Jakovenko had shown more of it in this game and won by gaining one tempo more than his opponent. There is no place for a deep analysis here, so let’s take a look at the technique of the Russian player, just like you watch the movie:

We have the saying in Slovakia: “Amateur marvels, master is surprised.” I don’t know what the game-viewers amateurs, who came to see the European Club Cup from the surrounding areas, thought of such a game. They were quite astonished, probably.

I am also wondering, but for some other reasons. For example, I am seriously wondering, what joy these two players could actually have from the game, in which the first 40 moves were coming from their memories, because they discovered them at home, using a computer. I am also brooding over the question, what encyclopedic knowledge the best players actually have. Do they have a dozens of pages with various lines printed on the nightstand and they are learning them by heart?

My impression is already expressed in the title. Someone has stolen the middle game here. And not just in terms of a sequence of moves. The middle game is something central and important. The center of human is heart. The middle game is also something like that – sort of sense and the reason why we actually play this board game…

This post is also available in: Slovak


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