Understanding before Moving 134: Chess history in a nutshell (16)

by ChessBase
7/16/2023 – Herman Grooten is an International Master, a renowned trainer and the author of several highly acclaimed books about chess training and chess strategy. In the 134th instalment of his ChessBase show "Understanding before Moving", Herman continues his series "Chess history in a nutshell" and looks at the legacy of Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch. | Photo: Pascal Simon

Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2 Key Concepts of Chess - Pawn Structures Vol.1 and 2

In this two-part course the emphasis will be on typical pawn-structures.


Siegbert Tarrasch (1)

A player who had a major influence on contemporary chess strategy was Dr. Siegbert Tarrasch (1862 - 1934). Tarrasch, along with world champion Lasker, can be seen as one of the founders of putting Steinitz's teachings into practice.

While Lasker was able to successfully apply Steinitz's ideas in his own games, Tarrasch succeeded in casting the old master's principles in a kind of scientific model. This can be found in his textbooks Dreihundert Schachpartien and Die moderne Schachpartie, published in 1895 and 1912 respectively.

To show that his system worked in practice, Tarrasch often appeared on the international stage. He won many major tournaments, of which the Vienna tournament of 1898 was probably the finest of his career.

Of the 19 participants in this tournament, which lasted no less than 36 rounds, only Lasker was absent. Tarrasch finished first with the American Pillsbury, but he won the tiebreak.

Tarrasch was often criticised for his dogmatic approach to chess. Nevertheless, some of the guidelines he formulated, such as "the rook belongs behind the pawn", are still valid today.

Tarrasch's name is also enshrined in a variation of the Queen's Gambit (1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5) which bears his name. And the line 1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3. Nd2 also bears his name.

In the video we see two characteristic games of Tarrasch's in which he shows active piece play. In the position below, White is already very active, but he still managed to surprise his opponent with an unexpected move. Can you guess it?

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