Tuesday, 11 December 2018

The Manchester school of chess - lesson 1

I realise it's been a while since I've posted anything on the site, so I thought it was about time I shared with you some of the wisdom I have learned from my sojourn in the North. I feel chess has been crying out for a new set of guiding principles for the modern age, now the writings of Nimzowitsch and Botvinnik have been shown to be unsound by computer analysis. Just like My System therefore, I intend to share with you some average to poor chess advice, but given in a sufficiently insulting and sarcastic style that people will hopefully be tricked in to thinking it is insightful.

We'll start with an illustrative example from my game yesterday against Banbury. For those ever alert for spoilers I shall avoid telling you the result of the match, partly so as not to pre-empt Dave's report, but mainly because I'd left before the end and, since the league website is currently down, I can't check what it was.

The game began with what seems to me the fairly standard opening presented below, and I will leave you to consider white's optimal 9th move.

I have no doubt all our club members are strong enough to rule out the obviously incorrect approach of developing a second piece; it is clearly too early in the game for that, as I realised at the time.

A future post in this series is likely to cover the more advanced topic of the importance of undeveloping pieces, but sadly I can't bring that to you this time since 9. Ng1, with the threat of f3, although a tempting and logical move, doesn't quite succeed in trapping the black knight on g4.

In the game therefore, I followed another principle we are likely to return to later, namely that it is usually better to develop 1 piece twice than 2 pieces once, and played Ng5. This is a decent enough move that leads to a complicated position which I won fairly swiftly (28 moves), whilst never being worse at any time by more than -1.9 as a computer evaluation, which frequent team mates of mine will know is a comparatively successful outing for me.

However, my computer, ever keen to mock my best efforts, suggests that the best move in the position above is in fact 9. dxc5, giving up the e5 pawn and the centre in return for playing b4 and getting a large queenside pawn majority. Not an obvious decision, unless of course you remember the first principle of the Manchester school of chess:

"It is better to make 8 pawn moves in 9 rather than 7 pawn moves in 8."

A lesson I shall make sure not to forget in my future games, and one I advise you all to remember as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment