Methods A, B, C and D

I wonder if it is true that doubt is
the first step towards knowledge?

It is logically assumed that there is one strongest possible move in every position in a chess game, except when you can check mate your opponent in two or five ways.

In their quest for truth, chess players employ their knowledge and their specific view of chess. They are firm in their belief that their own style is the right one, the one that will bring them closest to the truth. Knowing what the aim of the game is, one may ask whose style is the right one: Tal's, Karpov's, Fischer's...?

The creative genius is no respecter of monuments: he does not build on; he starts from scratch. Fischer questioned everything established truths as well as discarded speculations.

He delved into the heritage of past generations. Fischer was not looking only for the odd pearl that had rolled under the carpet. Every old chestnut came under his minute scrutiny.

With the exception of the German Bisguier, who was the first to write a book on the theory of chess openings, all the other authors on the subject copied much of their material from one another, including mistakes which like a hereditary disease were handed down from one generation to the next.

Partly as a result of the awe in which a book is held as a source of truth, and partly because it is easier to learn than both learn and verify, a Fischer had to appear before the many dormant variants should come back to life. What was needed was a sharp and discerning eye, and the kind of patience and energy that move mountains.

He thus resurrected such variants as are described in the heaps of theoretical manuals as "... Black brings his game back on an even keel with any of the variations A, B, or C".

At the 1966 Chess Olympics in Havana, when Fischer first used such a variant, Portisch applied variation A, Gligoric variation B, and the Cuban Jimenez variation C. All three of them lost.

Years have gone by, and the Havana Olympics are gradually falling into oblivion. But this particular series of wins I am not very likely to forget. Several years later, Unzicker tried variation D in the same position. Fischer's win in that game was hailed to be the best in the eleventh volume of Chess Informant.

Fischer cleverly plays all kinds of positions: from the highly complex to the highly risky ones. No one has ever accused him of playing less well in certain positions, a charge that can be laid at virtually any chess player's door. This is why so many people believe that it is his conception and his style that are the closest to the absolute truth in chess.

By A. Matanovic


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