Monday, June 11, 2007

Blitz analysis

The Soviet IM Rashid Nezhmetdinov once wrote that analysing blitz games is "stupid." Assuming, of course, that one can even remember them accurately.

The charge of stupidity may have been true back in Super Nezh's day but the internet has changed everything. Today's avid player can retrieve a complete score of every game he has played online, whether at slow, blitz, or bullet time controls. And many a nagging question can be answered by plugging the moves into Fritz or one of its cousins and pushing a button.

I have to confess that today I gave the top-rated engine Rybka a position from one of my internet blitz games and asked it to show me the mate that I knew must be there but could not find in the 36 seconds I had left on my clock.

I have White in the first diagram and it is my move. Many players will recognise this as a position from the Sicilian Dragon and the more experienced will see that White has good attacking chances. In the game I started off well enough but ran short of time and had to take a draw...

1.Rg5 Qb4 2.Rxh5! Rxc3 3.Qh6+ Kf6 (second diagram)
With time running down I decided to repeat moves with 4.Qg5+ and 5.Qh6+. Believe it or not, the far-sighted point behind Rybka's move is the opening of the d-file for White's rook.
4...dxe5 5.Rf5+! Bxf5 6.Qg5+ Kg7
Black's last few moves have all been forced.
7.Nxf5+ Kg8
Other moves are no better: 7...Kh7 or 7...Kh8 allow 8.Qh6+ and mates, while 7...Kf8 runs into 8.Qh6+ Ke8 9.Qh8# -- thanks to the rook on d1!
8.Qh6! gxf5 9.Rg1+ Qg4 10.fxg4
and White wins easily.

Did I learn something from this analysis? It feels like I did, if only because playing the Sicilian Dragon demands a good sense of White's attacking resources. On the other hand I'm quite certain that I would have found the winning line in a tournament game, so from that perspective the instructive value is rather diminished.

I have to conclude that the only way to find out if analysing blitz games is instructive is to try it and see what happens.

No comments:

About Me

My photo
Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, Canada
National master (Canada) since 1984. B.C. Champion 1977 and 1984. Runner-up 1991 and 2002. B.C. Open Champion 1972 and 1982. B.C. U/14 Champion 1964-65-66. Mikhail Botvinnik once wrote that publishing your analytical work forces you to be accurate because it exposes you to criticism. Hence this blog.