The Open Box Move

While watching the WC game today the with Legendary Georgia Ironman the conversation revolved around, you guessed it, chess, and one of the topics was the “double blunder” game. Tim has kept the scoresheet of almost every tournament game he has played. He tries to be as meticulous as possible while also noting the time, something he preaches to his young students. I can still hear him saying, as he pointed out a blank spot on his scoresheet after losing a game on the road, “Look here Mike, an OPEN BOX MOVE!”

IM Boris Kogan taught us that one should ALWAYS take a minute to survey the battlefield before making a move because, “Those open box moves will kill you.” This was back in the day when quick games were not rated, and the Hulk was talking about what is now called “classical” chess. The less time the more blunders. Viswanathan Anand violated this rule when he made his instantaneous move and it may haunt him for the rest of his life. Vishy made a mistake from which we can all learn.

The blunder made by Magnus prior to the quick move made by Vishy is much more difficult to explain. He is the World Chess Champion, yet neglected to ask himself a simple question prior to blundering. The question is, “Am I leaving anything en prise?” All players MUST ask this question before making a move. Somewhere along the path every chess player begins to ask himself this question as a matter of routine. When a GM stops asking the question it is evident something has gone wrong.

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