“What openings should I play?”; “Is _____ opening good to play?”
As a chess streamer and coach, I hear these questions all the time… Before anyone asks this question, though, they need to figure out what their strengths are and play on those. Also, figuring out one’s weaknesses could help one to overcome them.
As an example, let’s consider the new Top 10 player, Alireza Firouzja. He is an absolutely genius dynamic player. The position on move 10 in his game against Rapport illustrates it clearly: he spent only 11 minutes before sacrificing his rook, even though it was not aligned with his home preparation.
I did consider analyzing that game as the main game of this week’s article, but I don’t think that Richard Rapport put up a good defense during critical moments of the game. Nevertheless, Firouzja’s gameplay was great and demonstrates that incorporating more dynamic openings into his games could be advisable for him.
However, Firouzja certainly has room for improvement in his endgame strategy, and his two equal endgames against Magnus Carlsen from Norway Chess 2020 and 2021 support this. It looks like Firouzja has been trying to compensate for weakness in the endgame with his strong calculation abilities, which can be problematic (I explain why in this article).Watch the video below closely:
It is apparent that Firouzja does not use the technique called Corresponding Squares; instead, he tries to calculate for every move. However, fatigue after a long game could lead to this kind of error right when the game is about to be over. The simple way to draw the game is to follow this technique.
This is the part that Firouzja should avoid when he chooses his openings, but sometimes, your opponent will force you to play exactly the positions that you are not good at. Therefore, improving upon your weaknesses is important to be able to stand your ground in such situations.
Game of the Week XXXVII is: Carlsen, Magnus vs. Firouzja, Alireza
*I have also analyzed Carlsen and Firouzja’s encounter from Tata Steel Chess 2021 in great detail here*
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Edited by Della Almind