A Classic Game With a Twist
Shereshevsky’s classic Endgame Strategy (Strategiya Endshpilja in Russian) is a book I have been revisiting lately in the work with my students.
I read and studied this book extensively when I was very young. It helped me immensely to raise the level of my endgame play. At the time I didn’t pay much attention to the finer details, I mainly tried to assimilate the endgame principles and the manner of play of the great players.
It is surprising to come back to a book you have read as a child and look at it through adult’s eyes. Things are so different now and what remained hidden then is now obvious. I would like to illustrate this point with the example from the classic game Larsen-Spassky from the Lugano Olympiad in 1968.
In what seems like a sterile position we can see the world’s best players at the time become creative and pose difficult problems to each other. Larsen was the first to pose unexpected problems, but then Spassky showed his brilliance by taking up the challenge, upping the ante and posing non-trivial problems himself! All this wasn’t even remotely mentioned by Shereshevsky, but to my (today’s) eyes here lies the real value of the game.