Some interesting chess…
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
(Following up on the March 13th blog reporting on the Bulgarian grandmaster’s passing at age 83.) Originally I had planned to give a selection of tactics from Spiridonov’s best efforts, but I soon came to realize that his style of play was not conducive to combinations.
Spiridonov’s games featured more often what I would call messy and at time imperfect ‘explosions’ rather than neat little combinations. Possessing a very conservative — not to say limited — opening repetoire (in those days modern opening books were hard to come by behind the Iron Curtain), Spiridonov just did not get many attacking/combinatorial positions on the board!
Not to say that Spiridonov was not a good tactician (he was an EXCELLENT one) But it is hard to win brilliantly in 25 moves or less with the Reti! (Even though he did from time to time…)
However, what Spiridonov’s games lack in terms of flashiness, Spiridonov more than made up for with deep positional manoeuvres and creative ideas. He also possessed remarkable technical skills.
This no doubt made him a much sought after trainer and coach. Years later, when he was already living in France, he was instrumental as a coach in giving Vachier Lagrave a thorough understanding of the endgames. They worked together for 4 years.
So what I have decided to do today is instead to give a small selection of some of Spiridonov’s best explosive (and some of his worse!) games. Enjoy!
Spiridonov,N – Minev,N
Ch Bulgaria 3.3.1966
Spiridonov,N – Radulov,I
Another slow moving opening that soon leads to an explosive situation. White’s sacrifices are not really part of a combination. They are simply part of the fuse that ends in a mating explosion!
Spiridonov,N – Bobotsov,M
Ch Bulgaria 3.6.1966
This example is different from the above two in the sense that Black’s position seems to effortly collapse into chaos and disorder. It is quite remarkable how fast Bobotsov’s reasonable-looking position goes downhill. In those days Bobotsov was one of Europe’s toughest grandmasters.
I think the gem to take away from this game is the depth of Spiridonov’s evaluation of the position that arose after 21 moves. It turns out that White’s passed c-pawn (c5) is much stronger than Black’s passed centre pawn — regardless of appearances to the contrary!
To be continued in Part 2