Khachiyan’s lecture, plus thoughts on my style

by admin on December 10, 2014

Thanks to Gjon Feinstein and Mike Splane for telling me that GM Melikset Khachiyan has posted a lecture on about the game that we played in the recent Reno tournament. If you’re a member of (and you should be, because membership is free), go and check out his lecture.

My short description: It’s a great lecture about a not very wonderful game. I made a couple mistakes in the opening and by move 16 Melik was up a pawn and had an endgame that was simply winning. The way that he handled the technical part of the game was very instructive, and the way he discusses it in his lecture is even more so, bringing in topics like restraint, overprotecting your vulnerable points, anticipating your opponent’s plan, dividing the board into quadrants, and finally exploiting little tactical tricks when they are there. This last bit is a polite way of saying that I walked into a helpmate because of my intense time pressure.

In fact, Melik paid me many more compliments than I deserve, at least on the basis of this game! He talks about me as a wild attacker who never left the nineteenth century. I take that as a compliment! However, it’s not exactly true. I’m trying to make my game sounder, and if he had watched my games in rounds 3 and 4 he would have seen two perfectly boring, Carlsen-esque grind-it-out victories, one of them lasting 90 moves and the other 60 moves.

However, one thing I hope to never lose is my focus on fighting for the initiative at all times. So my other two games in Reno did have a little bit of the wild attacking stuff. In round 5 I won a nice sprightly 29-move King’s Gambit. And round 6, as I’ve mentioned before, was my game against GM Sergey Kudrin featuring a queen sac on move 6 (the Bryntse Gambit). Melik mentioned that opening in his lecture, and was very amazed because he had never seen the queen sac before.

Bottom line: Every game against a GM is like a free lesson, and in this case the lesson was doubled because Melik actually made a lecture about it. Thanks, Melik!


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