Flights of Imagination
By BORIS GULKO and GABRIEL SCHOENFELD
February 29, 2008
William Steinitz, the first world chess champion, was the great expositor of positional play, the idea that the steady acquisition of small and subtle advantages would lead to victory from their cumulative effect.
As influential as this school of thought has been over the 20th century, an alternative strategy has continued to flourish. It consists of striving to create an irrational position on the board and then employing superior imagination and calculation to triumph over one’s opponent.
The winner of the Corus tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Levon Aronian, is an exponent of the latter style. His final-round encounter with Loek Van Wely, the decisive game in the event, is a spectacular illustration of the imaginative approach in action.
ARONIAN VS. VAN WELY
(White) (Black) Slav Defense
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