Chess Fashion

Opening fashion is a curious thing. Variations will suddenly become popular after being played by a strong player and then just as quickly disappear when another strong player wins for the other side. Then years may pass before the line is rehabilitated and everyone flocks back to it because it’s good again. At least for a while.

What are the psychological dynamics of this process? Essentially most players are followers who need someone else’s approval to play an opening rather than make up their own mind about it. But not everyone marches to this beat.

In the following game White breathes new life into an ancient line of the Guico Piano which had supposedly been refuted by Lajos Portisch. The idea of playing 17.Re3 and then 18.Rh3 gains White’s queen access to the h5 square after which the pawn on e6 becomes a serious problem.

There has been further analysis of this variation since this game was played which is worth investigating, and the main reason is to develop one’s attacking skills. But don’t regard the latest analysis to be the final word, to really develop you have to think for yourself.

Nigel Davies

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About NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Besides teaching chess, Nigel is a registered tai chi and qigong instructor and runs several weekly classes.