Some History

How did all this come about? I have always been a theoretical type of person in that I observe, and then look for ways of explaining my observations. W. W. Adams was the first person I encountered who seemed to have a real theory of chess. Then, looking at Alekhine's games (in Alekhine's My Best Games of Chess 1924-1937), I could see the struggle for the initiative coming from the very first move. In fact, Alekhine played at least one game, shown partly in Chapter 7 (Game 3), where the play and notes show clearly that he understood much of what The System is about, but not quite enough. Later I studied the games of Rubinstein (in Kmoch's Rubinstein's Chess Masterpieces'), who in just 6 months of self-study (according to fairly reliable folklore) transformed himself from a weak amateur to one of the top players in Poland. How could he have done this? He must have discovered some secret. Yes, he did, and I call it dynamism! He came to understand the dynamics of positions, especially endings. Here a rook & two pawns can be better than rook & three pawns if the two pawns are passed and connected, and far-advanced, sweeping everything in front of them. Also, a rook attacking isolated pawns was much more valuable than one defending such pawns. Such discernment of dynamics allowed Rubinstein to transform himself as a player. Dynamics is everywhere in chess. One bishop is always better than the other based upon dynamic considerations. Dynamics allows determining the value of pieces in the current environment and in those expected to be encountered in the future.

Later this dynamism was adopted by the hypermodern school that sought to control but not occupy the centre. However, their approach did not yield much unless the opponent willingly occupied the centre. This is what the 1940s Soviet resuscitation of the King's Indian Defence under Boleslavsky was all about. White occupies the centre, and now Black plays the hypermodern strategy. He eschews competing for the centre immediately, only to attack strongly later on.

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