Looking back to Batumi: Wandering Kings

by Johannes Fischer
10/12/2018 – Kings that go walkabout on a full board are rare but charming. At the Chess Olympiad 2018 in Batumi such wandering kings could be admired in two interesting games. In Mamedov vs Shankland (pictured) the voyage of the king was defensive, in the game Hillarp Persson vs Laurusas, which won the brilliancy prize in Batumi, the white king joined a mating attack against the black king. Both games have historical predecessors. | Photo: Lennart Ootes

Learn from the Classics Learn from the Classics

Sagar Shah shows you on this DVD how you can use typical patterns used by the Master of the past in your own games. From opening play to middlegame themes.


The defensive king: Mamedov vs Shankland

2018 was the most successful year in the career of US grandmaster Samuel Shankland so far: in April he won the US Championship, ahead of players such as Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So and Hikaru Nakamura, in May Shankland won the Capablanca Memorial, and in June he followed up with a victory at the American Continental Championship. At the Olympiad in Batumi, Shankland proved that he is indeed strong enough to deserve these successes: he played board four for the US team, scored 7 points from 10 games and thus added 3½ points to his current rating of 2722. Moreover, Shankland scored in important matches.

In round 8, when the US was playing against Azerbaijan and fought for gold, Shankland won with Black against Rauf Mamedov which helped the US to an important 2½-1½ victory. In the middlegame, with a number of pieces still on the board, Shankland suddenly started to walk his king from g8 to b8 to keep it better protected.


GM Daniel King had a closer look at the game

Shankland's king's march has a historical predecessor. At the Lone Pine Open 1976 Tigran Petrosian, world champion from 1963 to 1969, won with a similar manoeuvre against the USA International Master Jack Peters.


Learning from the World Champions

With famous classical examples from the works of the giants, the author talks in detail about principles of chess and methods of play that we can use during every stage of the game.

The aggressive king: Hillarp Persson vs Laurasas

The Swedish grandmaster and author Tiger Hillarp Persson is known for his original ideas and creative attacks. At the Olympiad in Batumi he played on board two for Sweden and scored 3½/7. However, his game against IM Tomas Laurusas from Lithuania in round 7 won the prize for the most brilliant game of the Olympiad.


GM Daniel King also had a closer look at this game

This king's march also has a historical predecessor. In a famous and spectacular game played at the Tilburg tournament, 1991, Nigel Short sent his king into the middlegame from g1 to h6 to mate his opponent, Dutch grandmaster Jan Timman.


Chess trainers, again and again, emphasise how important it is to study "the classics". Games such as Petrosian vs Peters and Short vs Timman show that this advice is more than nostalgia.


Johannes Fischer was born in 1963 in Hamburg and studied English and German literature in Frankfurt. He now lives as a writer and translator in Nürnberg. He is a FIDE-Master and regularly writes for KARL, a German chess magazine focusing on the links between culture and chess. On his own blog he regularly publishes notes on "Film, Literature and Chess".


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