The consultation game of the century

by ChessBase
3/19/2008 – Imagine a game with Anand, Kramnik, Topalov, Gelfand and Leko on one side, and Carlsen, Aronian, Morozevich and Ivanchuk on the other. A game like that would be a real event, something we'd all love to see – especially in a lively opening. In 1952 a game of this sort took place. Our lecturer Dennis Monokroussos describes it in his Wednesday night lecture.

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Dennis Monokroussos writes:

In this consultation game of the century the White side starred Yuri Averbakh (a Candidate in 1953), Efim Geller (a many-time Candidate, who enjoyed a career plus score in his games against world champions), Tigran Petrosian (World Champion from 1963-1969), Mark Taimanov (two-time Candidate), and after a while they were joined by Mikhail Botvinnik (the World Champion) and Vassily Smyslov (who drew a title match with Botvinnik in 1954 and beat him in 1957). What a team! The Black team didn't have any world champions, but they too were loaded heavy hitters: Paul Keres (many times a Candidate, and on the short list of the greatest players never to become champion), Alexander Tolush (the "weakie" of the bunch, but a very strong GM), Alexander Kotov (a Candidate in 1953, and the decisive winner of that year's Interzonal), and Isaac Boleslavsky (who had tied for first in the 1950 Candidates).

These greats combined to produce a really fascinating game, one deserving of our attention as we continue our series on the Nimzo-Indian Defense. Last week we scratched the surface of the 4.Qc2 systems, which are often characterized by a battle between White's long-term prospects with the bishop pair and Black's short-term initiative. In this week's game, we take a look at a radically different White approach, the Saemisch Variation with 4.a3. Here the long-term factors are in Black's favor (thanks to White's shattered queenside structure after 4...Bxc3+ 5.bxc3), while White is the one pursuing the initiative. White can build a big pawn center in the hopes of using his extra space to build a kingside attack, but he'd better hurry before his c4 pawn dies and the enemy crashes through the queenside.

That's just the sort of battle we're going to see, and with such impressive intellectual firepower on both side, you can bet the action and the ideas will be top-notch. Join me tonight - Wednesday night - as we review this almost unknown gem from 1952. The show is free and starts at 9 p.m. ET (3 a.m. CET), and if you're new to watching broadcasts on the playchess server you can find full directions here.

Dennis Monokroussos' Radio ChessBase lectures begin on Wednesdays at 9 p.m. EST, which translates to 02:00h GMT, 03:00 Paris/Berlin, 13:00h Sydney (on Thursday). Other time zones can be found at the bottom of this page. You can use Fritz or any Fritz-compatible program (Shredder, Junior, Tiger, Hiarcs) to follow the lectures, or download a free trial client.

You can find the exact times for different locations in the world at World Time and Date. Exact times for most larger cities are here. And you can watch older lectures by Dennis Monokroussos offline in the Chess Media System room of Playchess:

Enter the above archive room and click on "Games" to see the lectures. The lectures, which can go for an hour or more, will cost you between one and two ducats. That is the equivalent of 10-20 Euro cents (14-28 US cents).

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Dennis Monokroussos is 41, lives in South Bend, IN, where he teaches chess and occasionally works as an adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of Notre Dame and Indiana University-South Bend.

At one time he was one of the strongest juniors in the U.S. and has reached a peak rating of 2434 USCF, but several long breaks from tournament play have made him rusty. He is now resuming tournament chess in earnest, hoping to reach new heights.

Dennis has been working as a chess teacher for ten years now, giving lessons to adults and kids both in person and on the internet, worked for a number of years for New York’s Chess In The Schools program, where he was one of the coaches of the 1997-8 US K-8 championship team from the Bronx, and was very active in working with many of CITS’s most talented juniors.

When Dennis Monokroussos presents a game, there are usually two main areas of focus: the opening-to-middlegame transition and the key moments of the middlegame (or endgame, when applicable). With respect to the latter, he attempts to present some serious analysis culled from his best sources (both text and database), which he has checked with his own efforts and then double-checked with his chess software.

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