19 January 2007

'Psychology in Chess'

Today I found a used copy of Krogius's classic at the local chess shop Marchand.be. I've bid on this book several times on eBay, only to be outbid each time. Why didn't I bid more? Because everything has its value, and I didn't want to pay THAT much.

Since Lasker was the first great player to play according to his opponent's style, the book is relevant to my current series of posts on Lasker's Moves that Matter. Krogius quotes Lasker (p.6) saying, 'A game of chess is a contest in which a variety of factors apply, therefore it is extremely important to know the strengths and weaknesses of the opponent. For instance, Maroczy's games show that he defends cautiously and only attacks when forced to do so; the games of Janowski show that he may have a won position in his grasp ten times, but as he is reluctant to finish the game he is bound to lose it in the end. We can see that much can be obtained from the attentive study of the adversary's games.'

Later in the book (p.177), Krogius presents a study of Lasker's games against nine strong opponents. In his first game against these players, he scored only 50% (+2-2=5). In later games against the same players he scored 42 out of 63, or 67%. Thus, concluded Krogius, 'it was very important for Lasker to study his opponent through direct contact'.

It promises to be a good book for reading without a chess board. A Chessville article, My Chess Psychology Bookshelf by Rick Kennedy, has a list of the chapter titles.

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