“But where you at, I was, and where you been, I left
Utilize my experience to guide your step”
– Mos Def in “Little Brother”
I was flipping through Lars Bo Hansen’s book Improve Your Chess the other day – I haven’t played in 11 months now and I haven’t seriously studied in about as long, but I still enjoy flipping reading a chess book now and then – when I came across an example from page 96 of the book.
6k1/1prnnp1p/p5p1/3p4/3N1N2/1P2PP1P/P5P1/3R2K1 w - - 0 29)
The game is Larsen – Gheorghiu, Palma de Mallorca 1968. Hansen gives the game as an example of how to play against Isolated Queen’s Pawns, but for me, the interesting part starts here.
White played 29.g4!, and Hansen gives the comment “White prepares to open a second front, a typical theme in strategic endings; you usually need two weaknesses to win.”
The game continued 29…h6?, to which Hansen notes, “It is understandable that Black does not want to wait passively, but this merely aids White.”
I read this quote on Dennis Monokroussos’s blog about a week ago, and found it an interesting way to break things down:
“I divide chess players into six categories. The first ones are the killers. Players who, figuratively speaking, are trying to kill their opponent. The second type is that of the fighters. They try to win with all means, but it’s not necessary to kill. The third type are the sportsmen. For them chess is a sport like any other kind of sport. Number four are the ‘players’ or gamblers. Karpov, for instance, is a typical player. He wants to play any game. These four all have very strong motivation. Then we have two more, number five the artists, for whom not only the result is important, and number six the explorers.”
Yuri Averbakh was the speaker, and is one in a long line of people trying to classify chess players in one way or another. Terms like aggressive, solid, dynamic, and positional seem to float around all the time, while more recently, Lars Bo Hansen introduced the idea of four types of chess players based on how they think at the board: activists, reflectors, theorists and pragmatics.
I was never quite sure where I fit into Hansen’s paradigm, and I’m not sure where I fit into Averbakh’s system either … Maybe I should crowdsource my label?