Books Over the board

Thursday 3 December 2015

On the need for attack, from Viktor Korchnoi's Chess Is My Life

Over the ten years that I had been a grandmaster, my chess style had undergone significant changes. [...] In 1960, when I first became USSR champion, the journalist V. Vasiliev interviewed me, and then wrote an article entitled 'The Bishop Move', which became widely known. I told Vasiliev that I valued highly the art of defence in chess, that I saw an unusual form of romanticism in this, and that for my success I was chiefly indebted to my ability to save difficult positions. From that time, right to the present day, all this has been cited in numerous publications. But meanwhile a man, even at a mature age, is capable of changing his views. There came a time when I realized that the ability to defend was - for a good chess player - insufficient. You can't be dependent upon your opponent's will, but must try to impose your will on him. I realized that I was restricting my possibilities both as a person and as a chess player.

From childhood I had known how to defend, and nothing more. I had to relearn, and to a certain extent I was successful. I would put down my success in the 1960s, and my rise in stature as a chess player, to the fact that I learned how to fight for the initiative and to maintain it.

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