19 JULY 1957, Page 42


(1st Prize, Van Dijk Memorial Tourney, 1956)

BLACK (12 men) WHITE (7 nico)

wnirs to play and mate in two moves: solutions next week. Solution to last week's problem by Williams: R-R 4!, no threat. This is a classic early example of the mutate or change-mate problem. I leave readers to work out the variations for themselves.

STYLE (2) In the last article I described the first three 'schools' of chess in modern times with keywords attack, development and manoeuvre respectively, culminating in Capablanca the most flawless player, perhaps, of all time (though not the most creative): three more major developments will bring us up to date.

First the 'hyper-modern' movement of the Twenties led by Rtti, Breyer and Tartakower, curiously (and consciously) paralleling the iconoclastic movements in the arts of the same time. Up till now certain principles —that of rapid development and occupation of the centre squares—had been taken as axiomatic; these were now challenged by the new school, which main- tained that in close positions what was important was not so much quick development as the ultimate occu- pation of the best squares and that, as regards the centre, instead of occupying at once one could control it from a distance (e.g. by Fianchetto) and then under- mine the opponent's central position. These develop- ments met with much the same reception by the general chess public as, say, cubism by members of the Royal Academy, but in chess there is (fortunately) the objective test of practical play and this showed that although the claims of its adherents were exagger- ated, the new school had made a contribution of real value to the game. Following this, in the late Twenties and Thirties, there was a period of 'integration,' in which the new discoveries became part of the technique of the fully equipped master to be used as and when appropriate. This period was dominated by Alekhine, equally at home in positions of all types and any school and dazzlingly fertile in ideas.

Finally the postwar period, inspired and led by the Russian players, for which the keyword is 'dynamism.' In the early days of chess nobody paid much attention to positional considerations; one just went for com- binative attacks and pawn formations had to look after themselves. As players got better, however, more and more importance was attached to the permanent features of positions, such as the pawn structure, and players became less and less willing to accept positional weaknesses for the sake of tactical advantages. The school of young Russian players has reacted against this and has shown that if a position has good dynamic features (i.e. tactical chances of one kind and another), static weaknesses (e.g. in pawn structure) can be accepted since vigorous exploitation of tactical chances will lead to advantages at least compensating for the structural weaknesses. This has led to a flood of discoveries of new lines and revival of discredited lines in the opening which has rejuvenated the whole game.

So the wheel has, in some sense at least, come back full circle. What will come next? I should be a better player than I am if I knew; all I am sure of is that there will be new developments—thank goodness.