The specifics of match play


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Marc Lacrosse    (2008-07-27)
The specifics of match play ...

Tanks to FICGS championships interesting formula I just entered Wch 005 in a quarter final 8-games match (against GM Balabaev).
This is the first time I have to play several simultaneous games against the same opponent in correspondence play.
There are interesting questions related to this unusual kind of tournament.
First of all, what kind of opening(s) should you play, and more precisely is it better to vary or to go for the same opening in several games?
Having had a look at my opponents former games I had prepared quite a few options.
As Black I decided to rely on my favorite Bc5 sicilian defence
Four identical games developped and very soon it appeared that these games should be decisive for the whole match
For long I was afraid that my opponent could come with some decisive prepared analysis leading to a 4-0 lead ...
But the opposite happened and all four games ended (draw by position repetition) before I had left my opening prep, after less than one month of play.
Thus I am left with four games where I am white
A considerable advantage IMHO ...

On this precise topic I wonder what is the opinion of top players here : is it better to be the one who vary early or should you go along your favorite analysis as long as your opponent won't diverge himself in case of match play

I have never read anything on this topic anywhere ...


Thibault de Vassal    (2008-07-28 00:27:32)
The specifics of match play ...

Hi Marc.

There was discussions about the 8 games match format already... and you may have seen that I used this strategy without success before with Farit as my opponent :)

Anyway, the choice of openings and to vary the lines is a very complex (and interesting) question IMO, that depends on too many factors, so I probably may change my view in certain cases, whatever the results.

Marc Lacrosse    (2008-07-28 15:59:14)
I see ...

Hi Thibault

OK I see : you were happy (as I am) with four draws in one single well-prepared line as Black but went on missing the qualification as your four white games were also drawn (and Farit's rating was superior to yours).
Maybe I will suffer the same fate ...
But as i have to win at least one game I feel this is easier to achieve with white ...
As white I am busy varying the positions a little and trying to play more actively ...
We will see...

By the way I think that the rule according which the highest rating is qualified in case of eight draws is really a significant advantage ...
... but i agree that we need a way to adjudicate drawn matches.


Thibault de Vassal    (2008-07-28 18:18:20)
8 games matches

"But as i have to win at least one game I feel this is easier to achieve with white ..."

Theorically (only ?). Anyway I made this choice during my match because I had about 80 running games at that time (quite inhuman :)) so I managed my rating :/

You know that this time control 30 days + 1 day / move is quite different from classical 40 days + 40 days / 10 moves, the pressure in the 8 games may be important, also the psychological factor [playing White feels more (sometimes too much) secure ie(?): Xavier won his 2 games with Black in the first Candidates final] and I'm convinced that every game counts these ways. The tie break rule (highest rating is qualified in case of eight draws) did not apply so often by the way.