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Friday, May 7, 2010

Never Trust Anybody

Writing in the book Practical Chess Analysis, Senior Master Mark Buckley advised that when studying annotated games you should always challenge the annotator. Maybe the annotator is right and maybe he isn’t, but in either case it behooves you to make sure you understand why he is…or isn’t

I learned years ago not to trust published analysis, so in the following game against one of Queen Alice’s top-ranked players, I ignored my own advice. I trusted two players of the caliber of Shirov and Sokolov. If Sokolov allowed the capture of his B on move 9 and Shirov refused the gift, then its capture must be bad…right? I should have checked it out; my opponent did.

I’m nowhere near as strong as Sokolov and Shirov of course, so I may have come to the conclusion that the capture of the B is bad for White. In fact I probably would have because I’ve seen many games where Black’s attack is based on allowing the capture and it was successful. That’s not the point. I should have at least looked at it instead of making the assumption that all was well until we got out of the opening database. Truth is, I'm not sure at what point I was going to start looking for an improvement for Black.

During the game I actually considered White's playing 10.dxe5 and 11.Bg5, but ignored it because I was prejudiced by the db result. Another old fault: analysis based on the result. I’m afraid I wasn’t very objective in this game.

This game was a sad lesson relearned. I admit it. I was lazy.

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