Believe only half of what your are told and even less of what you read. Good advice not only for the uncertain times we live in today, but also for any epoch!
“Scepticism is the first step towards truth.” –― Denis Diderot, Pensées philosophiques.
A story often told is how the pre-1972 Bobby Fischer was fond of carrying a chess book or a chess magazine with him at all times of the day. Everyone noticed this. One day some brave soul asked: ”Bobby, what can you still expect to learn from chess books?”
To which Fischer answered that he did not expect to learn anything new, but that instead he got a kick out of counting the number of analytical mistakes in each book! Apparently Fischer felt it was good training…
Just this week I played over the following interesting game from the Soviet master/trainer Gregory Ravinsky (1909-1994), and it reminded me of the Bobby Fischer story.
Ravinsky loved to catch people who blindly followed published analysis without first checking it out themselves. Apparently he did this successfuly on a number of occasions.
On this particular day in 1952 his ‘victim’ was the Soviet master Georgy Ilivitzky, who unquestioningly followed an analysis by the famous grandmaster Andor Lilienthal of a certain Bronstein game from the year before…the consequences for Ilivitzky were immediately disasterous!
Ravinsky,G – Ilivitzky,G USSR-ch Riga 1952 (1-0)
Let’s take a look at this game!
A very entertaining game for us spectators(!), but a painful loss for Ilivitzky who never really had a chance.
Moral of the story: long analysis, wrong analysis! Bent Larsen often pointed out that any game that requires a lot of analysis to explain the moves’ reasoning is often embedded with small, but significant errors. Don’t be the next victim!