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Kenneth Rogoff vs Jan Smejkal
"An Economy of Moves" (game of the day Aug-28-2010)
Biel Interzonal (1976), Biel SUI, rd 5, Jul-16
English Opening: Symmetrical. Fianchetto Variation (A34)  ·  1-0



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Kibitzer's Corner
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Oct-13-08  Jim Bartle: What don't you like about the notation, that he doesn't use the "x" in moves with a capture?

What I don't like particularly is the game score on the side and the comments in the column, so you have to jump back and forth.

But it's really just a continuation of Byrne's style when he wrote this column. Some updating would be nice.

Oct-19-08  nezhmet: Confusing and obscure notation? It looks fine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Wait. You mean Rogoff plays chess, too?
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  Phony Benoni: And I wouldn't complain too loudly about the notation. Be grateful they still have a chess column!
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  An Englishman: Good Evening: The variation with e3, Nge2 and d4 is normally a very good line vs. the ..d6 and ...g6 defense in the Symmetrical English; I used to play it a lot, yet was always surprised at how most of my opponents lacked good squares for their minor pieces. However, Smejkal seems to have played an effective defense, as White's minors look awful after 19 moves. Perhaps Black's position only *looks* good. Certainly by 25.Nc4 Rogoff seems to have bought into the beginning of a bull market.
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  whiteshark: Some good news for the economy. Kenneth Rogoff went on a very long vacation.

Oh wait, dis not Odd Lie page?

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  whiteshark: Mick Jagger and Arnold Schwarzenegger both studied economics and look how they turned out.
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  whiteshark: If you rearrange the letters in "ECONOMICS", you get "COMIC NOSE".
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  Once: Maybe it's just me (it usually is) but I find this game to be rather comical.

With his 14th move, black establishes a paratrooper pawn on d4:

click for larger view

The question is - can this little guy survive so deep in the enemy position? Will this be a bridge-too-far heroic failure or a special forces Rambo-style hero?

Black's solution to this problem is unusual to say the least. He ties up his queen and bishop to erect artillery support in front of the d4 pawn with Qf5-Bd3. Looks odd, but is weirdly effective. Well, sort of.

White then sends in two paratroopers of his own, lining up on the same d file. But while the black paratrooper is stuck in place, these guys jump up and run towards the enemy with 31. d7 and 33. d6. Brave or foolhardy?

And then white airlifts in the heavy guns. With 32. Re7 and 34. Qh6+, he invades and overruns the black position with frightening speed.

The final position is cute. White threatens the black rook and mate with the oh-so-pretty Qh8#. This is what happens if black tries to grab the now unprotected d7 pawn: 36...Rxd7? 37. Qh8#

click for larger view

And the black paratrooper is still on d4, where he has been for more than half the game. He is still protected by the black Bd3, although all the attackers have long since moved on.

It turns out this his role in this war was one of those forgotten soldiers bunkered down on some unimportant little island. He may think that he is still fighting, but he doesn't know that the war has passed by and has been ended by a decisive battle far away.

I have this strange theory that pawns are the only men on the board who cannot look behind them. So this poor guy on d4 has to keep asking the Bd3 what's going on, as if he is radioing his company commander for instructions.

Aug-28-10  Eduardo Leon: <Once>, superb description of the situation!
Aug-28-10  TheRavenPK: <Once> I think that reading your posts made my game worse :D

I play online chess on a site, I was rated about 350 (Expert). Then, about a month ago, I started to read your posts and now I am rated 147 (Intermediate). I really don't know if there is a connection, but now I don't look at the position and think what my opponent can do, but I am looking for some kind of stories on the board.. For example if a rook doesn't move for 30 moves, then I think it is lazy or something, and don't consider that she can move.. Or today, I was thinking the same about my opponent's pawn, that you wrote there.. Rambostyle.. It is hard to explain, but I hope you know what I mean..

btw, it is really great that I can't play chess anymore, because from September I am starting to play chess competitively...

Aug-28-10  C4gambit: For making even a mediocre match very enjoyable by brilliant story telling and analysis, we should honor <Once> with a suitable title.
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  kevin86: Didn't Rogoff once play a game of 200+ moves in a massive number of hours? This one was a lot shorter.
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  whiteshark: <I have this strange theory that pawns are the only men on the board who cannot look behind them.> Isn't it the American Dream that every ♙ could promote to a star?
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  Phony Benoni: <kevin86> Apparently, we aren't sure about Rogoff's 200+ move game. Tim KrabbĂ© (of course) has the story at; click the record for "latest first capture".
Aug-28-10  Lil Swine: well whos keeping score?
Premium Chessgames Member
  HeMateMe: I wonder if anyone has ever emailed Mr. Rogoff on how weird his page at CG is?
Aug-29-10  Chessmensch: Regarding all the commentary about McClain's notation style, I think it's moot, anyway. In his Times columns (on the Web), the moves are a picture, that is, they can't be copied and pasted into a program. So, I always find his games on Chessgames or eleswhere (often they are recent and one has to go to the tournament site) and download them. Thus, McClain's notation doesn't have to be used at all. If he should fix anything it's that awful use of the picture in his Web columns.
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  thegoodanarchist: A better pun would be "Smejkal Hates Nasty Rogoffsis"
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  OhioChessFan: <And the black paratrooper is still on d4, where he has been for more than half the game. He is still protected by the black Bd3>

A unique circumstance in the history of Chess.

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <thegoodanarchist: A better pun would be "Smejkal Hates Nasty Rogoffsis">

I don't get it.

Apr-24-13  Abdel Irada: <FSR: <thegoodanarchist: A better pun would be "Smejkal Hates Nasty Rogoffsis">

I don't get it.>

"Smeagol hates nasty Hobbitses."

Premium Chessgames Member
  FSR: <Abdel Irada> Ah, thanks. I don't do LOTR.
Apr-24-13  Abdel Irada: I haven't read it since I was a kid, but my daughter was an absolute fanatic for a while not long ago, so I had my knowledge of the trilogy (in addition to _The Hobbit_ and _The Silmarillion_) partially renewed.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: <FSR: <Abdel Irada> Ah, thanks. I don't do LOTR.>

To each his own. I think you are missing out on a great bit of entertainment.

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