Sunday, August 03, 2008
Finally surpassing the 1800 mark!
As usual it took the dutch chess federation quite some time, but now it is official: my new rating is 1819 !!
The intensive training did a lot of course to make this happen. But my choice of the Polar Bear as new opening has played a role too. This opening, which I play with both black and white now, makes my games longer. Oddly enough, this gives me more opportunity to show my tactical tricks! When I played my usual gambits in the past, I always found myself in an all or nothing situation. Often I had to trade a better position for a half or a whole point, due to time trouble. When every move counts, I often lost on time against lower rated players in search for the winning tactical trick that wasn't there at that moment, or which I couldn't find. The Polar Bear is slow and strong. It builds up a strong position anyway, even if there are no tactical tricks around at that very moment. Positional considerations take less time than calculations in an all or nothing situation. It sounds odd, but in a game that last 60 moves or so, there are a lot more chances to find a tactical trick that works than in a game of 24 moves, which used to be my average when I played gambits! Especially my results against lower rated players has gone up drastically due to this phenomenon.
Besides that, the Polar bear seems to be hard to grasp for lower rated players. It is basically an optical trick. You seem to develop slowly, even to the extent that you are lagging behind in development, but this is an optical illusion. Although your opponent can move his pieces out quickly, they are neutralized by your pawn moves. His pieces are doing close to nothing on their new position. At the same time you prepare the breaking move e4 (with white) or e5 (with black). Once the breaking move is played, you can catch up with your piece development, with a favourable pawnstructure, while your opponent is left with impotent pieces.