Evening with a GM 3


Part3: Orientation

Before sharing another game, it would be remiss of me not to mention the others present that evening. Well done to Jeroen who took a half point from the GM, despite a huge rating difference.
Warren was the least experienced of the players that evening, but he was on the brink of playing the game of the night having smoothly outplayed Petr in the middle game only to let his nerves get the better of him in a winning ending. I can see Warren’s results jumping dramatically once his studies are finished and he has more time to devote to developing his chess talent.
And let’s not forget Petr! He won the majority of games and played the best chess – no surprise! The reason I don’t give any of his wins from the evening (apart from the fact that it was blitz and my memory is rather selective) is that his wins were mainly so one sided that the only instruction to take away from them is ‘off the board’.
On that note I want to talk to you about ‘Orientation’. How was it I managed to win two games on the black side of the King’s Indian Defense, against a player much higher rated than me who had crushed me in every game where I had the white pieces? Well apart form the fact that I need to do some work on my white openings, the real question is how the success with the KID?
“… leaving them in a temporary state of disorientation similar to that which weaker players encounter every day.”
The above quote is from Cary Utterburg’s book ‘Dynamics of Chess Psychology’. It relates to what happened to Tal’s strong opponents after one of his ‘outrageous’ sacrifices. They would often play sub optimally due this disorientation he refers to.
This made me realize that the reason for my success in the KID was my familiarity with it – or rather my good orientation. I have been playing the KID for a long time and have built up many experiences which make me feel comfortable with it, even when playing quick chess. Conversely, my lack of orientation with my white openings (I’m in the middle of updating my white repertoire) lead to some embarrassing defeats!
It seems that strong players are well oriented in many more positions than amateurs, which suggests that we should steer our games towards the types of positions where we are also well oriented to ‘level the playing field’ against higher rated opposition. Food for thought!
I leave you with the second KID from the evening. No annotation since only blitz, but a cleaner game overall and if you have comments I’ll be happy to respond. Enjoy!

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