28 September 2008

Chigorin -> Romanovsky -> Kotov

At some point during the last few months, my posts on the Soviet School morphed into a series of posts with label Ratings. While rummaging through various references, looking for a suitable subject to get back on topic, I ran into this quote from Kotov and Yudovich's 'Soviet School of Chess', in the chapter titled 'Main Features of the Soviet School' and section titled 'Positional Intuition' (p.105):-

Dr. Tarrasch, as we have already noted, tried to lay down a series of rules to be followed in setting up positions. His object in formulating and popularizing these rules was to establish what he called the 'modern' theory of chess.
Life itself, however, refuted Tarrasch's dogmatic laws such as, for example, 'a Knight at the edge of the board is always poorly placed', 'a Knight for a Bishop is always an advantageous exchange', etc.
Chigorin, and later Alekhine, always insisted that the specific features of each position had to be taken into account, that concrete variations should be examined and calculated.
Soviet players have taken the road indicated by Chigorin, for only this approach to chess leads to genuine creative thinking and competitive success. The older generation of masters, who were the link, as it were, between Chigorin and the younger generation, trained the young players to apply the specific view of positions.
When, for example, Alexander Kotov felt in 1936 that he had reached a dead-end in the solution of positional problems, Romanovsky advised him to analyze the splendid games of the Chigorin vs. Tarrasch match, and, by studying the notes of the two grandmasters, elucidate the difference in their views on chess and the superiority of Chigorin's creative approach.
The Chigorin - Tarrasch match was played in 1893. Never having studied any of the games in the match, I decided it would be worth another detour from the main topic. In addition to clues on the foundation of the Soviet School, the match offered a sharp clash of differing styles and was played between two leading challengers for the World Championship in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Sounds very interesting, Mark. I would definitely like to know more about Chigorin and his role as a father of Soviet Chess. Aside from a preference for knights, I know nothing about his style.