04 December 2010

Monstrous Opening Preparation

While reading the book 'Smart Chip from St.Petersburg' by GM Genna Sosonko, I found a short passage related to chess960. I believe it's the first time I've encountered such a book reference outside specific sources on the subject. The following excerpt is from the chapter 'Grand Slam', an essay on Irina Levitina, who left professional chess and took up professional bridge. She was even more successful at bridge than she had been at chess.
You have written about [Genrikh] Chepukaitis. Chip wasn't only an incredible blitz player, he was a real chess player. He didn't care what, where, why or how much, the main thing was to play. Chess has gradually lost this quality. Real players want to play, not to laboriously study and analyze openings at home. They can't do this, or they don't want to do it, it's boring for them. Perhaps I understand them better than you do, as I'm one of those types myself.

[Blitz is] a real game, a game in the literal sense of the word, and you're playing against a specific opponent, trying to exploit more than just their chess weaknesses. That's why I really like the idea of random chess, as this could take chess back to its original purpose as a game and you wouldn't have this monstrous opening preparation.

According to my page on the World Chess Championship, Index of women players, Levitina participated in six Women's Candidate events, once qualifying for a title match which she lost to Maia Chiburdanidze in 1984. For more about her, see the Wikipedia page, Irina Levitina.

After the comment about 'monstrous opening preparation', she added, 'But even if people start playing this kind of chess, it's still difficult for me to imagine myself ever sitting at the chess board again.' The Sosonko book doesn't mention when the essay was first published, except to say that it was in 'New in Chess' magazine. The phrase 'Smart Chip' in the book's title is a reference to Chepukaitis.

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