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Member since Aug-09-04 · Last seen Apr-10-16
---My sympathies and condolences to the victims and their families of the horrific terrorist attack in Paris in November 2015. My moniker, which I have used on for 12 years, refers (as below) to an opening setup for white, as named in an old Chess Review magazine. VIVE LA FRANCE!---

My moniker comes from a Spotlight on Openings (Chess Review, 1969) written by GM Bill Lombardy. He analyzed several games with a system involving g3, f4, Nh3->f2 and called it the Paris Attack.

I learned to play chess during the Christmas holiday, 1966. I had $2.00 left over from shopping for gifts and used it to buy a chess set. I was quickly hooked! I read Koltanowski's weekly column like some people read the bible. My mother found a copy of Smyslov's Games of Chess at her work library. WHOA! Chess books...

Chess literature has been an enduring passion. My first buy was from the famous bookseller, Al Buschke. I bought Sokolsky's 1. b4, Trifunovic's Grunfelda, Bogolyubov's 1.d4 and a lovely early edition of Bilguer's Handbuch all for $26.00. The $15.00 for the Bilguer was a princely sum for a 16-year-old! I have approximately 5000 books in my collection. Although I continue to purchase selected newly published volumes, my intention is to pare down to 2000 or so. The stark reality is I will almost certainly never read nor use many of them and the market for chess books is in a slow but inevitable collapse.

I play rated tournament chess for seven years. My highest rating was just north of 2000 though I quickly fell back to the low 1900s. That was 1973 and I haven't played competitively since. I've always suspected that my affection for hypermodern openings kept me from attaining master level strength. Still, my local chess hero Master Bob Wendling, once said to me, "You play the opening like Botvinnik. Too bad you play the middlegame and the endgame like <ParisAttack>!" But, I had fun!

The high points of my chess life: Beating a Senior Master (as white, Closed Sicilian), drawing with a Senior Master after having a forced mate-in-five (as black, Najdorf Bobotsov-Browne variation), beating a former Wyoming champion with 1. e4, e5; 2. Nf3, Nc6; 3. Bd3?!, beating a three time Colorado champion with the Gurgenidze Robatsch, meeting Bobby Fischer for all of five minutes when he borrowed three of my books for his match with Larsen, a wonderful telephone conversation with Hans Kmoch, interviewing Lajos Portisch and of course the visits in New York with the delightful and knowledgeable Al Buschke. I suppose the low points were losing the state junior championship twice and accepting I would never get very good at the game. Fortunately, I was able to turn my energies to a career trading commodities and currencies. I’ve written several books on the latter subject.

The chess openings have also always been of interest, with emphasis on hypermodern sorties. Lessor used defenses I consider with untapped potential: Franco-Benoni, Polish Defense, Symmetrical Defense, Dory Defense. 1. c3 is an excellent first move - almost as good as 1. g3. ;) My ‘specialty’ for many years has been the Robatsch, especially the Gurgenidze varietals.

I also enjoy studying and identifying styles of the top players of today and yesterday. I feel I've learned the most from Botvinnik (find a target early and drill), Keres (bring your pieces to better and better squares) and Gligoric (it’s the center, stupid!). Other favorite players: Morphy, Pillsbury, Nimzovitch, Flohr, Boleslavsky, Stein, Petrosian, Fischer, Lombardy, Tal, Karpov, Mamedyarov and Ding Liren. There are many paradigms for organizing the great players’ styles. I begin by sorting them into two groups of either ‘tactical geometers’ such as Tal and Kasparov or ‘strategic geometers’ such as Fischer and Capablanca.

Generally, I think new players learn the most from the 'transparent' and 'aggressive' GMs - Morphy, Pillsbury, Tarrasch, Alekhine, Keres, Gligoric, Spassky and are wise to initially avoid Nimzovitch, Capablanca and Fischer (deceptive simplicity), Tal (otherworldly although I believe the key to his combination-rich middle games is in how he gains tempi and open lines in the openings), Petrosian and Kasparov (unless you also have a thousand eyes). But when I taught chess years ago, no one played a game - theirs or anyone else's - until they could demonstrate up to an efficient K + B + B v K mate. The endgame has all the basic chess skills and ingredients in digestible form – visualization, calculation, pattern recognition, planning, strategy and ‘chess thinking.’

I am also interested in considering the skills necessary to be a superior (>2400) chess player. I believe the core native skill is how the chess geometry is visualized and manipulated in the brain - and that to a very large degree 'you either have it, or you don't.' Obviously, I don't. My best guess is the information is processed as a language; perhaps accounting for chess, music and mathematics prodigies.

This also might explain why hundreds of books written on 'tactics' have done so little for so many. Pattern recognition is dependent upon the core 'visualization' skill. While such efforts as classifying patterns and tactical motifs may be interesting - they are descriptive not predictive. This is also the problem with most chess annotations. Solving tactical problems (lots of them!) is a constructive exercise, but the value of same will be limited by the native visualization abilities of the solver. Practical Chess Analysis by Buckley is one of the few books offering 'train your brain' ideas for the core visualization skill.

I rank the Best of All Time: 1) Fischer, 2) Lasker, 3) Capablanca, 4) Karpov, 5) Kasparov, 6) Alekhine, 7) Botvinnik, 8) Tal, 9) Rubinstein, 10) Petrosian. My rankings can change quickly. If I go over Petrosian's games, for example, he'll move up a couple of notches! Of course such lists are extremely subjective; fun, but somewhere between silly and meaningless - "Who is the poorest billionaire?" What are the criteria, how do you quantify the criteria and matrix of relationships between them? What the world needs now is non-commutative multiplication. Soon we will have engines emulating historic players with current book knowledge and the problem will be solved…or, will it?

My nine Game Collections:

1) "Through the Years" - 200 games I have found most interesting and/or instructive.

2) "Triumphe die Hypermodern Schachpartie" - 150 games showing the six 'themes' representing what I call the tapestry of hypermodernism. I've also cataloged variations and noted hybrid motifs in my favorite defense, the Robatsch, with illustrative games.

3) The Spassky Battery – A ‘motif’ I identified some years ago while playing over the games of Boris Spassky.

4) The English According to... How different masters have played the English Opening.

5) The French According to ... How different masters have played the French Defense.

6) The Sicilian-Najdorf According to... How different masters have played the Najdorf.

7) The Caro-Kann According to... How different masters have played the Caro-Kann

8) The Ruy Lopez According to... How different masters handled the white side of the Closed Ruy Lopez

9) The Sicilian Scheveningen According to...How different masters handled the black side of the Sicilian Scheveningen.

I've concluded classical chess is in its winter years though at 65 I am also; it won't matter much to me what the game's status is in 20 years. I do not think 960 or other varietals - even were they accepted - could stay Moore's Law and increasingly sophisticated heuristic algorithms such as Monte Carlo sampling.

With AlphaGo's mauling of Lee Sedol, it appears Go is cooked - an event not generally anticipated for 10 years more by the experts. Apparently Alpha's combination of neural networks and Monte Carlo is a huge breakthrough in AI. Still, Go has some flexibility by adding lines - perhaps we will see more study now of 23 and 25 line Go.

Sadly, no such 'quick fix' is available for chess. I've played on a 10 x 8 board with an extra piece between the B & N. The 'Underdog' as it was named by Eugene Salome is similar to the older 'Boatman' which moves two squares diagonally and can jump as a N. While a battery of Q-B-U can be potent - it really doesn't increase the computational space enough to matter. With the experimental freezing of light, true quantum computing cannot be far away..."It’s new day, it’s a new way" - Grace Slick at Woodstock. I am very happy I was around for the game B.C. - before computers!

My ‘chess projects’ are 1) Completing the Fischer-Spassky 1972 games with annotations from the 35 sources I have available and, 2) A multi-volume work on the Robatsch. The former may evolve into 'Chess En Masse' - a website with the capability of analyzing and simultaneously displaying game variations/sub-variations/sub-sub-variations based on a chess program, Chessalyzer, I wrote some years ago. The latter a project I had planned with the late opening guru, Jim Bickford.

All in all, Chess has been a wonderful lifelong friend. The $2.00 I spent that late December back in '66 was a great investment, indeed!

>> Click here to see parisattack's game collections. Full Member

   parisattack has kibitzed 3659 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Apr-06-16 ChessBookForum chessforum
parisattack: <TheFocus> - The door is always open to you here, my friend! <Perfidious> Thx! Regards ...d5, ...Qd6 - I played five games against it, three wins, draw, loss. The loss was to 2400 player... The main-main line to me is 1. b4, d5; 2. Bb2, Qd6; 3. a3, e5; 4. Nf3, Nd7 (I
   Jan-01-16 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (replies)
parisattack: Happy New Year to <Shak>, <MamedyarovFan> and all Shak's <fans>. Let's hope he can put it together this year for a stronger run towards 2800!
   Jan-01-16 Michal Krasenkow (replies)
parisattack: He was also one of the first to work with the Neo-Gurgenidze Robatsch where black plays ...Nh6 before ...h5 and attacks the center with ...f6. A Skripchenko vs M Krasenkow, 2002
   Jan-01-16 TheFocus chessforum (replies)
parisattack: <TheFocus: <parisattack> Thank you and the same to you and yours. Look for an e-mail from me regarding Gyula Breyer. Take a look at a collection I am compiling for future use:Game Collection: Breyer, Gyula: Chess Career.> Cool beans! I have to take an early flight to
   Jan-01-16 wordfunph chessforum (replies)
parisattack: Happy New Year <Wordfunph>! I hope 2016 is happy, healthy and prosperous for you and yours.
   Dec-28-15 F Berkes vs K Szabo, 2006
parisattack: Good spot <Shams>!
   Dec-28-15 Shams chessforum (replies)
parisattack: Hi <Shams> - My issue is more that it is somewhat 'messy' to play. Does the book discuss Berkes idea of an early Qc2? F Berkes vs K Szabo, 2006 I suppose the logical/positional way is still 4. e3. Gligoric's games with it in I Play the Pieces are very instructive. I hope
   Dec-16-15 Robert James Fischer (replies)
parisattack: Ina Balin.
   Dec-07-15 Chessgames Bookie chessforum (replies)
parisattack: I think your theory is sound <wallytherhino>. I would add (sort of a corollary of 3 or a summary of all your points) that the top players today are risk-adverse. I believe the engines to some extent are responsible.
   Dec-06-15 parisattack chessforum (replies)
parisattack: Bird's Opening Books The first opening I played, encouraged by Lasker vs J Bauer, 1889 . I lost a lot of bishops trying for that 2B mate until Fine’s Middlegame in Chess set me straight. Deppe – From’s Gambit Hodgson - Trends in the Bird's Opening Lakdawala – Bird’s Opening: ...
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

Chess Openings and Chess Books

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 20 OF 34 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <Phony Benoni:>

Sometimes strange things work OK - at least once. I beat an Expert long ago in an (old) main line Robatsch: 1. e4, g6; 2. d4, Bg7; 3. f4, d6; 4. Nc3, c6; 5.Nf3, Qb6; 6. Na4, Qa5; 7. c3, b5

Thanks for checking in. Your thoughts on the best non-WC player (above)?

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I got my order from <BooksfromEurope> today.

All good:

<Chess Duels> - Seirawan

<The Reliable Past> - Sosonko

<Smart Chip from St. Petersburg> - Sosonko

<Pirc Alert!> - Alburt (I ordered this one because Alburt had a lot to say about it in <Three Days with Bobby Fischer>

<Curacao 1962> - Timman

I will let you know what I think about the Pirc. I will probably instead choose the Robatsch lines as a good all-arounder for e4 and d4. I used to play it in the 1980s due to the influence of Seirawan and Suttles. That and the French should be my main-line defenses.

Don't think I could stand playing the Caro-Kann anymore, and I was never a Sicilian player, nor do I plan to play 1...e5 in reply to 1.e4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <TheFocus: I got my order from <BooksfromEurope> today.>

I really like the Sosonko trio; great reading! Curacao also excellent, very thorough.

Good luck the Pirc. Be sure you don't play over Karjakin-Ivanchuk! :) I just has much better success with the Robatsch - old main line and esp Gurgenidze the latter my specialty.

For 1. g3 and 1...g6 of course the Suttles trio and also Gerzadowicz's trio.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I will look for them.

Been meaning to get the Suttles trio from Brandreth. He offers a discount for buying all three. With low shipping, about $2-3.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Be sure you don't play over Karjakin-Ivanchuk!>

Ooh, that's an ugly game.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <TheFocus: <Be sure you don't play over Karjakin-Ivanchuk!> Ooh, that's an ugly game.>

It ain't pretty! A Pirc player reality check tho in truth Chucky played a very dubious line.

It is like when I start thinking about playing the Benoni again - I go over Gligo's wins against it in his Pieces book - and the fever soon passes.

For Robatsch - 1) List of books on the Robatsch opening forum and 2) Hippo Rises (Martin) lots of fun if optimistic.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Books on the Robatsch
Also quite a lot of material in: 1) Myers’ Opening Bulletins, 2) Rand Springer magazine and 3) Kaissiber magazine. Five of the little ‘Trends’ booklets on the ‘Modern’ Defence.

No particular order:

Tiger’s Modern – Persson
Modern Defence – Speelman/McDonald
The Hippopotamus Rises – Martin
Black to Play and Win with 1. …g6 by Soltis
Winning with the Modern by Norwood
The Modern Defence by Hort
The Modern Defense by Smith/Hall
The Modern Defence by Keene/Botterill
The Modern Defense by Chess Digest
The North Sea Variation by Bickford
Averbakh system by Thomas
Modern Defense Averbakh Lines by Schiller
New Ideas in the Rat by Schiller
Die Robatsch Verteidigung by Warzecha
Die Eidechse 1. …g6 und gewinnt, 3 volumes.
Konigs-Fianchetto - Schwarz
Sniper - Story

The Robatsch has always been my favorite black defense. If anyone can add to this list, it would be appreciated!

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <paris> Thank you for that handy list.
Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: BTW - The first game in Gerzad's Journal of a Chess Master is a nice Paris Attack.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <parisattack> There's no doubt in my mind that the strongest player not to become World Champion is Magnus Carlsen.

OK, I know what you mean.

I'd add <Maroczy> to the list; he could have been just as big a challange for Lasker as Schlechter was.. And there certainly should be a few modern additions in the 30 years since Korchnoi came so close, though it might be too early to judge them as yet.

Several factors to be considered:

1) Versatility. The ability to excel in mixed tournaments, strong tournamments, and matches. These require different strengths, and the greatest player needs them all. Karpov and Kasparov are examples of this.

2) Psychology. At the very top, there's not a lot of difference skillwise. The psychological factors become very important, particularly the ability to overcome your own weaknesses while exploiting those of your opponent. This was Lasker's great strength.

3) Sometimes just blasted luck. Euwe was in the right place at the right team, peaking when Alekhine was slipping just enough. Capablanca was undoubtedly good enough to win the title any time, but it was especially easy to reign when Lasker was no longer Lasker and Alekhine not yet Alekhine. But this is usually a negative factor. Korchnoi had the misfortune of reaching his peak the same time that first Spassky, then Karpov were just a teeny bit better.

4) The all-consuming desire to win. Think Alekhine and Fischer. This isn't chess, it's life, it's existence.

Now, by definition the "also-rans" must fail, or at least not excel in one of these areas. But who did the best?

I think my vote would go to Korchnoi. He had the versatility to excel in all types of events, the ability to defeat his opponents psychologically, and the all-consuming desire to win. Unfortunately, he had the bad timing I mentioned earlier. And in the final analysis, his drive was essentially negative, rooted in conflict, and sometimes seemed to consume him before it did the opponent.

Versatility trips a lot of these players up. You need to win mixed and strong tournaments to become a contender, then win matches to become champion. Not everybody can do both. I see Pillsbury, Nimzowitsch, Stein and Larsen as tournament specialists who would not do as well in matches against equals.

As for psychology, the problems of players like Rubinstein and Nimzowitsch are well known. As great as they were, it's hard to imagine them standing up to the pressure of a long match. Keres' continual second-place finishes may be part of some deep-rooted psychological factor as well.

The drive to win would afflict players like Maroczy or Schlechter. This also hurt Bronstein as time went on, as he began pursuing beauty and originality. Can't do that and become world champion. (I would maintain that Tal's early style was more geared toward winning, and beauty a nice adjunct.)

As for blasted bad luck, one thinks of Reshevsky and Keres caught in Cold War conflict, Lasker's rivals not getting a chance at their peak, Pillsbury's early illness and death, and all those other great players who were second-best when someone else was officially first..

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Wonderful contribution, <PhonyBenoni>!

I think the Match/Tournament issue does indeed throw out several prospects.

If the latest physics is correct then perhaps those players with bad luck had their turn at WC on another string!

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: I suppose my criteria has run something like this:

Given the player at his peak (say Nimzovitch in 1929, Rubinstein in 1914, Flohr in 1933) had he been able to play for the championship at that time - could he have won?

Not a very meaningful criteria as I consider it...

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <parisattack> Using that criteria, here are some I think would have have a good chance.

!) Keres against Alekhine following AVRO 1938, a Keres near his peak and not yet scarred by the war and its aftermath. Fine would also have had a good chance, and probably Reshevsky or Botvinnik as well.

2) Reshevsky in the early 50s against Botvinnik. Reshevsky was a strong match player who couldn't quite qualify in the Soviet dominated tournaments, whether there was collusion or not. I think there may be a stylistic reason at work here.

Reshevsky's weaknesses were time trouble and opening preparation. The first was never going to be cured. But opening preparation can be easier in a match where you need only study a few lines in depth, instead a tournament situation when you must study something different every day.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: I concur on Keres and Reshevsky - and thank you for opting in to my somewhat fanciful criteria. I do especially think Reshevsky could have beaten Botvinnik circa 1952-1955 or so.

As to Fine, yes, he may be included but I have a difficult time warming to his play and the sour grapes that run through his otherwise excellent annotations.

Let's not forget Kashdan - assuming the match could have been played in say June of 1932 or so. ;)

Jun-23-11  crawfb5: As far as speculative criteria go, yours are not so unreasonable. I'm not sure either Fine or Kashdan ever had the drive of Reshevsky, even at their peak. Reshevsky was an incredible fighter, and you need that to succeed in a WC match. Sammy would have needed a lot of help with his openings against Botvinnik, but a good second or two might have been enough.

I recall reading somewhere that Reshevsky explained his time trouble by saying something to the effect of, "I spend a lot of time thinking about the game early on to get a good grasp of the position, so it is usually not difficult for me to find good moves in time trouble." I think he found a time-management style that worked for him, even if it did stress out some of the spectators. Besides, I bet he collected his fair share of points from opponents trying to "take advantage" of his time-trouble.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <crawlfb5 ... "I spend a lot of time thinking about the game early on to get a good grasp of the position, so it is usually not difficult for me to find good moves in time trouble.">

I had not read/heard that - but makes good sense; at least from Sammy's perspective.

Didn't Fischer (?) remark that he (Reshevsky) got in time trouble because he calculated every variation so deeply?

As to his openings. Even with a good second (Evans at that time?) it would have been up against the Soviet theory machine - and the 50s were definitely its heyday. Still, I think for a couple years where <PhonyBenoni> noted, Reshesky could have beat Botvinnik for the title.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I have also read that about Reshesvky.

I can't remember the source though.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: Still open for discussion of the question -

<Who was the greatest player not to become World Champion?>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Benzol: < QUESTION -

Who was the greatest player not to become World Champion?



Well I have a soft spot for Keres. He manage to defeat at least once most of the best players in the world during his career. It must have been heart breaking to have finished second or joint second in the Candidates tournaments of 1953, 1956, 1959 and 1962. How would he have fared in a match with Botvinnik in the 50's or 60's?

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <Benzol ...Well I have a soft spot for Keres.>

Well, me too. I've gone through two sets of the ARCO trilogy on Keres and several of his games are among my ATFs such as 'Board with Excitement' against Tarnowski.

< It must have been heart breaking to have finished second or joint second in the Candidates tournaments of 1953, 1956, 1959 and 1962.>

:( <PhonyBenoni> above had some thoughts on Keres, the psychological aspect of this - < Keres' continual second-place finishes may be part of some deep-rooted psychological factor as well.>

Thank you for joining the discussion <Benzol>

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <PhonyBenoni,,,I'd add <Maroczy> to the list;>

I did a little poking around on Geza.

I am trolling Magyar Sakkelet to see what I can find. Have you done some research on him? Perhaps we should turn it over to <TheFocus> for his next project after <Fischer> <Lasker> and <Pillsbury> !?

I have been working on <Franklin K Young> for years and don't think I will ever even finish that project, so you and <TheFocus> are the only hope for Geza.

Funny, I had never ranked him as high - more in the same tier as a Duras or a Teichmann. But you are correct; he certainly was WC material a few years!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Don't look at me. I'm finally getting serious about my US Open project, which will be a lifetime thing. Besides, my Hungarian is limited to reading game scores. At least it's no worse than my German, French, or Russian, and markedly better than my Hebrew or Chinese.

Speaking of <Franklin K. Young>, did you happen to see this little fragment I posted some time ago about one of his disciples? Nicholas MacLeod

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: Maroczy? Not me. Not a big enough fan to work on him, and you really have to be a fan of someone to do great work.

It is like Reshevsky. I was asked to do a article on him, but I just could not get in the right frame of mind. Months went by and I could never get beyond the outline. Finally gave it up.

And the McFarland book on Reshevsky was such a disappointment. They could have at least included all his games that he annotated in books and columns, and there were quite a few. I was upset, even though I am not a big fan of his, that such a shoddy book had been done.

I kept thinking, man, I could have done a better job on him. I mean, the man is a US icon, for pete's sake.

<Fischer> <Lasker> <Capablanca> <Pillsbury> - that is a full plate for now.

Premium Chessgames Member
  parisattack: <TheFocus> I forgot <Capa>. Yes, full plate for this lifetime, looks like.

Yet I do have interest in many of the 'lessors' such as Duras, Teichmann, Maroczy. I started a project on Perlis-Breyer-Charousek but never got past first base. You are correct - got to be a fan to raise the energy to do the required work!

<Reshevsky> Great player, icon. But not a particularly pleasant or interesting fellow, IMHO.

<PhonyBenoni> Can you tell me/us more about the US Open project, please? I'll look at the reference, thanks. My FKY idea was spawned when I bought the Boston Chess Club ledgers he kept for onwards of 40 years...a fascinating man behind the 'off-beat' chess books.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <parisattack> I first became interested when I attended the US Open every year from 1975-1999, and faithfully bought all the tournament bulletins. When chess databases began to come out, I noticed that few of the games had been preserved and figured I might as well do it.

But other things always got into the way. Twenty years working on the <Michigan Chess> magazine, a few years of ill health, then going crazy with everything else once I found this site. But I turn 60 this year, so it's time to get serious.

Along the way, I've picked up tournament books and bulletins for the years 1967-1974 as well. Jack Spence compiled some tournament books from earlier years, which I'll try to access as time goes on. But unless something pops up there won't be many games from other tournaments.

But that's not my focus at the moment. I'm starting by building skeletal collections with crosstables and games currently available in the database.

I will also try to standardize player names before submitting a lot of games. I've already had the problem of finding a player's full name after submitting games using a partial name, and want to avoid this.

Once those are done, I'll start with PGNing the games using ChessBase. My books from 1946, 1967, 1968 and 1969 are already done, and 1970 is about finished. This will take a while, but I've done this sort of thing before when I built up a database of 27,000 games from Michigan tournaments. Yes, I have a decent dose of OCD.

Oh, the games from the 1992 tournament are finished. Really. That was my hometown US Open, and I got about 99% of the scoresheets. Don't worry; I won't be submitting all of them.

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