Winning a game “at home” is a dream scenario for all players. Experts usually spend an immense amount of time preparing surprises against their opponents. However, most of the surprises never get used. On the other hand, when home prep occurs on the board, a player understands that their hard work was not in vain! Usually, knowledge and skills accumulate until finally, you start getting “lucky”. From then on, it seems like every opponent falls into some kind of home preparation.
I personally experienced this feeling firsthand when I won the European championship U18 in 2010. Before that tournament, I was in a “plateau” period starting from fall 2007. Even though I was not playing successfully during those years, I kept adding opening knowledge to my repertoire until suddenly, a boom of winning ideas occurred in the tournament mentioned above. Because of this, my suggestion is to not give up early if your preparations are fruitless for a while and to give yourself time to reap the rewards of your labor.
Some players are well-known because of their extensive opening knowledge and preparation. Samuel Shankland is one of them. His performance in the recent Prague Masters tournament was impressive and the game below illustrates his strengths.
Game of the Week is: Shankland,Sam vs. Duda,Jan-Krzysztof
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Edited by Della Almind