Article Last Updated: 07/12/2008 12:20:46 AM MDT
Outside the pressure cooker of playing grandmaster for a living, the chess public has the luxury of casting judgment on various chess professionals for their approach to the game. Some are castigated (or revered) for their fondness for playing many of their games “under the influence.”
Players are criticized for their fondness for the premature draw. Others are honored for their commitment to unabashed aggression irrespective of the tournament situation, like the genius Alexander Morozevich or Magnus Carlsen.
Playing styles can land you in a convenient stereotype as well. Former world champion Anatoly Karpov rightfully earned a reputation as the consummate positional player while his successor, Garry Kasparov was known as a tactical monster.
Chess openings have their reputations as well. If you play the Sicilian Defense, then you are likely to be a chess pirate of the highest order, but playing the King’s Gambit is taking it just a little too far, akin to crossing the boundary between courage and stupidity. On the other side is the boring Petroff’s Defense. Play it as Black, and you risk being accused as one too easily ready to drain all the fun out of a chess game.
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