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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Idiot Combinations

  In his book, Reassess Your Chess, Jeremy Silman mentions something he calls idiot combinations. An idiot combination is when you play a flashy series of moves not because of their great strength but because they are pretty and you look good doing it. I'd change that to read 'you think you look good doing it.' He gave an example of a Q sac. Your opponent has four replies. Three lose but the fourth refutes it. His advice is to always expect your opponent to find the best move. One day I finally figured that out; if I can see something, so can my my opponent! You have to ignore the fancy Q-sac and play something else. Another type is the one he demonstrated in this famous Alekhine vs. Junge encounter from Warsaw, 1942.

The following game is one of my own early efforts at creating an idiot combination. I have several games in my database where I played similar sacrifices around the time this game was played which seems rather odd. In any case, in this game against an college student from Kansas who at the time was rated near 2000 OTB and later went on to become state champion, I went for complications instead of being content with just playing solid chess. The game got really complicated and neither of us were up to the challenge. At the end, even though I was theoretically lost, I should have played on. I have vague recollections of sitting in my apartment staring at the final position and being disappointed that my 'brilliancy' had failed, so in a fit of discouragement decided to resign.

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