Wish you luck?

27 Aug

This August I played a tournament in the Göteborg chess week. For me it was ages ago since I played a single Round Robin with nine other combatants.

There were a lot of ups and downs. In the end I shared third price with some others. Maybe not bad for a start, but I was not happy with the qualitiy of my play (or better to say ‘the lack off quality’). Far form it. 

One thing strikes me as odd. Before the start of the game it is of course normal to shake your opponents hands. Most of them said ‘I wish you luck!’ Luck? Wasn’t it Viktor Korchnoi who once wrote:

‘Well, if you do not check what your opponent is doing, you will end up complaining about a lot of bad luck after every game’.

I found this quote on the cover of ‘Recognizing your opponent’s resources’ (Mark Dvoretsky). So what does it realy mean when your opponent wishes you luck? Does it mean the he is hoping to make a big mistake by himself? Uh…? I don’t think so. Probably we say one thing and hope something completely different.

I said to my opponents ‘wish for a good game’. Where it is obvious that I mean: ‘I hope that you play fantastic chess, but lose in the end!’ There can be no misunderstanding about that. I certainly do not wish my opponent luck. Although some of them got very lucky in several of our games. It is the usual story, if I hadn’t… (made so many mistakes)? I would have won the tournament. But I did make way too many mistakes.

It brings us to the subject of Dvoretsky’s book. It is all about taking your opponents threats and resources into consideration. The book contains great exercise material. Recognizing my opponents resources is not my greatest skill. Time and time again I miss some of the defensive moves and threats my opponent has at his (or her) disposal. So I have to study this book from begin to end.

Today I stumbled into an example similar to the many examples in the book. See the diagram position. The diagram position is a tactic puzzle on Chess tempo (no. 95491). It is perfectly in line with the subject of Dvoretsky’s book. It is white to play and win. The puzzle seems at first glance very easy. But…? Black has some hidden resources? What do you play to win for white?

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