09 July 2019

Video completed: "Don't be Greedy in Chess" by Tatev Abrahamyan

"Don't be Greedy in Chess" is the third video in the new Chess.com series by Tatev Abrahamyan (under the title 'Why You Should Never Be Greedy'). Like the others, it is around 15 minutes and presents its main theme using some narrated game examples.

The first example is the miniature GM Peter Wells - GM Alexei Shirov. It's an interesting Trompowsky Opening that Shirov treats aggressively. Abrahamyan makes the first mistake I've seen in her video series, missing 6...Qxh6 (the more important reason why White doesn't take with the queen after 5...Bh6) although it doesn't change the evaluation of the position. (This is also mentioned in the comments section and one would think that a minor edit to the video would be in order. However, for some reason it seems that professional chess videos are almost never edited, even when obvious mistakes are made, a perennial complaint of mine with ChessBase products as well. This is the 21st century and digital editing tools are easily available.) In any case, Black gets greedy and grabs a rook, allowing White to develop faster and separate Black's queen from the action against his king in the center. White originally also had very limited development, so perhaps the situation did not seem urgent for Black. Abrahamyan has sufficiently long intros for the key moves for White, allowing you to do some of your own thinking about them.

The second game, an older one, focuses on the problems involved with taking too many pawns in the opening. The White side gets a huge lead in development as a result, forcing Black's king to remain in the center (sound familiar?), then some sacrifices flush the king out into the open. The third game is GM Judit Polgar - GM Ferenc Burkes. It is a more subtle example, where Black's decision to tactically win material in fact gets him in trouble. White creatively passes up taking material in favor of focusing on an h-file attack, which eventually gets her the win. This is also another example of where 'problem-like' tactics (no forced mate or win of material) are not present initially (so you can't really "solve" the position) - both accurate calculation and strategic judgment are needed. The finish involves a fully calculated h-file sacrifice that's worth seeing.

The video's lessons were all on point and Abrahamyan allowed much more time for pausing to consider key positions, a technical improvement on the first two videos.

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