What makes a game instructive?
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The summer is upon us and a great many tournaments are to take place between now and September, taking advantage of the school break, vacations and fine weather. One tournament that is a real tradition by now (the 25th anniversary!) is the Pula Open.
It started on the 18th and continues until the 25th. Check out the link above for live games, downloads and much more! The game below was played at the Pula Open and is between the Hungarian GM Antal and the French master Maleki.
What makes a game instructive? Good question, though the answer may vary from player to player , depending on his style and tastes. For me, an instructive game is like a good story: there are well-developed characters, a well defined plot and a few colourful twists before coming to a (hopefully) inspired ending.
And an instructive game should be able to teach something to whoever plays it over. Or atleast be able to re-inforce some important principle or thematic idea. There should be atleast one or two critical positions that the reader can easily recognize: such positions provoke the reader to pause and to ask himself what he would do in this situation if he were playing right now?
An instructive game touches something inside of you that reminds us of why we play chess in the first place! While not every game (naturally) falls into this category, equally true is that the game need not be played between a Carlsen or a Topalov. Every player–regardless of his playing level–aspires to and is occasionally able to play a game that another player would appreciate, and learn something from.
The opening was a Sicilian and White’s last move (11.f4) offers Black a pawn (b2)–a typical play in this opening. Ofcourse, there is some risk involved (a pawn is a pawn), but White is counting on his development edge to justify his gambit. Black, for his part, can play it safe with 11…d6 and then castle with a normal type of game…
But chess is about the decisions we are faced with and our manner of coping with the details. Black , after some thought, chose to take White’s gambit. It turns out that he had made a miscalculation (not seeing that White’s later Ne4 was also threatening to trap the Queen!) and he lost his right to castle, stranding his King in the centre.
Black is terribly undeveloped! White must seek a way to break into the Black position, this being the only way to prove the superiority of his pieces. White played the energetic 17.f5!, opening up the f-file. Black defended as well as he could, but the resources of an uncoordinated game are usually not very effective against precise and energetic play.
White played a surprising and very elegant Rook sacrifice , leaving Black’s King helpless, arriving at the following position at move 22:
White has a forced mate in 7-moves! Do you see it?