Beating the Grandmasters and International Masters
Mario A. Manasse, Blitz’em!
Copyright 2013 Edizioni del FaroGruppo Editoriale Tangram SrlVia Verdi, 9/A – 38122 Trento
Prima edizione: ottobre 2013 – Printed in Italy
Photo: Max FortunaArt direction: Stefano Fraone
Beating the Grandmasters and International Masters
I believe that chess played on a real chessboard, by two humans facing each other, is the real thing. But playing chess on the Internet opens infinite possibilities. I subscribed to the Internet Chess Club in 1999. Since then I have played more than 100.000 games, mostly Blitz (3 or 5 minutes per player for the whole game) or Bullet (1 or 2 minutes).
When I had the idea of writing this book I wanted to entitle
it “The Fantastic Adventures of Dave Electric on the Internet
, because one of my all-time favorite novels is “The
Fantastic Adventures of Kavalier and Clay”
written by Michael
Chabon, but I soon realized it sounded a bit pretentious. And,
after all, who knows me as a chess player? I started playing chess
in 1972, yes, fascinated by the Spassky-Fischer match. I already
knew the rules (my Grandfather taught me how to play when I
was 7 years old) but until then I had never played the game of
the games more than twice a year. Since then I became Italian
Blitz Champion (national categories) in 1997, won a lot of na-
tional Blitz Tournaments beating many GMs and IMs along the
way, and recently reached the Master rating (2200 points) on the
official chess site of the Italian Chess Federation (FSIarena.it).
Those who don’t know what Internet Chess Club (ICC) is,
can find a lot of information on the web, but in short it is a commercial Internet chess server devoted to the play and dis-cussion of chess and chess variants, founded in 1992 by Dan-iel Sleator who perfected the original ICS created by Michel Moore and Richard Nash. If you’ve got a PC you’ll have a lot of
fun playing chess there, anytime you like and with people from every corner of the world: the interface is fantastic. If you’ve got a Mac, you’ll have an inferior interface, but nonetheless worth the subscription fee. Of all the chess sites I’ve seen, I sincerely think it’s the best.
Members can watch live broadcasts of tournaments with
Grandmaster commentary, watch games involving titled play-ers being played on ICC and challenge Grandmasters in simul-taneous exhibitions, have access to libraries of games and re-corded lectures. My nickname, or “handle” as they say on ICC, is Dave Electric. Apart being an enthusiastic chess player I love to play rock music in a band, and Dave Electric has always been my nom de plume
. Now, if an ICC member connected to the site types “finger DaveElectric”, that’s what he sees:
1) Hello from a 50 years old rocker with a bunch of hits
and a thousand gigs. My guitars: Fender Stratocaster Eric Clapton, Les Paul Standard Elite, Gibson 335, Gibson Flying V, Takamine, Martin. Long live rock and roll. I love Beatles, Stones, Ian Hunter, Georgia Satellites, Inmates, Nine Below Zero, + bands that really rock.
2) I am jew, white, black, yellow, etero, homo, woman,
everybody, because my blood is red like the blood of everybody. Fight racisms of all kinds, wherever you are, whenever you can. Love is the answer, but sometimes Action is required.
3) Love, Music, Chess. Yeah. But I would add Champagne,
Truffles, Soccer and Smoking! I’m graduate in Classics (Papyrology, like my friend GM Robert Hübner) and speak English, German, Italian, Swedish, Spanish, and French. Learnt chess in 1972, my aim is becoming a chess Master (almost there, folks).
4) Favorite Players: Tal, Kasparov, Pillsbury, Marshall, Lask-
er. Can’t separate the player from the man, sorry. My studio is full of CDs and of glittering cup won in chess tournaments (standard and blitz). My teacher, master and trainer is an IM who has been the chess Champion of my Country. On ICC he’s Nemesis1963.
5) For what concerns ICC, I think it’s a bit of a drug. You
should limit yourself to four hours a day (or night). I DON’T like people who go “hehehe”, people who don’t give you a rematch, and people who tell you “lucky” if you win a bullet game. They should be banned for good.
6) Friends on ICC (all extremely nice guys with a sporty
attitude – mighty players too): akib, davethebrave, edr, fabrizio, gambitguy, last-knight, schuder, sorriso, Justin-Sane and… zantac!).
7) WWW.DAVEELECTRIC.COM HEAR MY MUSIC, BUY
MY LATEST CD “STILL ROCKING!” YOU’LL LIKE IT! THANK YOU FOLKS, LOVE TO YOU ALL.
A funny presentation, isn’t it? Apart from my age and languag-es, it’s all true.
Since I discovered chess and began to study it, I haven’t
played anything else. No more electronic games, no cards, no draughts. Nothing could be compared to chess, nothing made me so happy. I devoured (and still do) hundreds of chess books, looking at every single game on my wooden chessboard: I think that going through a chess game can be like living an exciting adventure. Before writing this book I asked myself: “What do you really like in a chess book? What do you expect from a chess book? How would you like a chess book to be?”
I answered Entertainment to the first two questions and Enter-
taining to the third. And that’s exactly the aim of this book: king hunts, checkmates, brilliant moves and variations, blunders and mistakes, light notes, humor. In one word: fun. I’m respon-sible for all the mistakes in English, Fritz and I are responsible for all the mistakes in the analyses . I sincerely hope you’ll have a good time as I had playing and commenting my games. They are not necessarily the best I played on the web, but are the ones that made me laugh out loud (lol) and that I felt the urge to print immediately after their completion. If they’ll be somehow useful to you, dear Reader, please let me know.
(A.k.a. Dave Electric) Milan, January 2013
“Chess, like music, like love, can make men happy
” said the mighty Tarrasch. Well, as I became an official Sommelier of the Italian Sommeliers Association (A.I.S.) after four years of hard study and wonderful practice, I would add one more thing: wine! But if we could say that chess is deep, profound and mysterious like Love, in my opinion Blitz is carnal, satisfying and exciting like Sex.
Winning a Blitz Tournament gives you the same joy of spend-
ing an afternoon making love with your (favourite) partner. When I started playing chess seriously at the beginning of the Seventies, Blitz games in Italy were much of a club affair. At the glorious Società Scacchistica Milanese
in the heart of the old Milan, they held a Blitz tournament every Tuesday night, an event which gathered 20-30 aficionados
including myself. Blitz (“Lampo”
in Italian) was played with the wooden Garde
clocks at 5 minutes per player: no time increments in those times. A funny rule was that if your opponent didn’t notice that his King was under check and didn’t do something about it, you were allowed to capture his King and instantly win the game!
Even if I was an inexperienced and weak player, I succeed-
ed in winning a lot of Tuesday tournaments to the astonish-ment and surprise of the participating Masters. I already had a “pendant” for Blitz! While some International Masters took the habit of playing Blitz outside the tournament halls to earn some money (they played at time or piece odds), Bobby Fis-
cher dominated the first unofficial World Blitz Chess Champi-onship in Herceg Novi (Yugoslavia) on 8 April 1970.
In a letter I sent to the New in Chess
magazine which they
graciously published, I shared my memories of the Grandmas-ter and Gentleman Robert Hübner, when he visited the above mentioned Scacchistica Milanese. (In fact I brought him there ). He spent three hours playing Blitz simultaneously on two boards with one minute against five, beating all the club’s players and without losing a single game. Another fantastic Blitz player was Mikhail Tal, “The Magician from Riga”. Every chess fan knows that notwithstanding his illness he more than once escaped from his hospital to play Blitz, and that’s only one of a hundred reasons to love him.
Garry Kasparov was a demon Blitz payer and nowadays
there are many: Carlsen, Anand, Grischuk, Morozevich, etc. While in the past some illustrious theorists and players (Bot-vinnik for example) thought that playing Blitz could affect your way of playing “normal” chess, today Blitz is generally consid-ered a good way to train and to prepare for the eventual “time scrambles” of a tournament game. Yet some people still think that Blitz chess has NOTHING TO DO with the Royal Game.
I don’t agree of course. In my opinion Blitz IS chess in its
happiest, most thoughtless (!!), lightest form. Let’s make an ex-ample. In a recent Blitz game (3 0) played on ICC at the end of January 2013, after 34 moves of a Dutch Defence, White (TheYellowBandit
, 1892 rating points) and Black (myself, 1963), reached the following position:
Moving his Bishop from c4, Black had just played the strange 34…Be2?!
(34…Qxd4 was the right move) and in this even
position (Fritz’s evaluation is 0.00), White was very happy be-
cause he thought he would gain White’s Bishop with a pin and
immediately played 35.Re1??
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