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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Scandinavian Defense (aka Center Counter Defense)

     The Center Counter Defense is one of the oldest recorded openings. Analysis by Scandinavian masters showed it is playable for Black and although the it has never enjoyed widespread popularity among top-flight chess players, Joseph Henry Blackburne and Jacques Mieses often played it and Alekhine used it to draw against World Champion Lasker at St. Petersburg 1914. And J Capablanca won twice with it at New York 1915. But then it dropped out of favor and was considered a second-class opening and a lot of games, especially miniatures, were used to discredit it.
     Then in 1979 Bent Larsen won a Scandinavian game against Karpov at the Montreal Star Tournament eplaining that he played it in order to avoid creating any weakness in his position that Karpov could exploit, adding that it was a good substitute for the Caro Kann.
     Today the defense has resurfaced, being used by many strong GMs. In this game we’re going to see Meises (yes, he did win occasionally!!) defeat attacking great, Rudolf Spielmann. What I liked about the game was that it didn’t feature any wild attacks involving sacrifices by Mieses. He took positional advantage of Spielmann’s opening inaccuracies and never left him even a sniff at counterplay. These old guys knew something about chess and often their play was a matter of preference rather than lack of understanding.

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