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We rarely pay attention to psychology, statistics and probability in Chess. That's the way I was before I matriculated in college and I find myself falling in the habit again. In my game against International Master Dean Ippolito, I prepared and played with great attention to how he would respond and the probability of him playing that way. (see game-with notes)

Grandmaster
Sergey Erenburg demonstrated that he pays attention to statistics and probability in our game by playing 4..h6! This is the line one would not pay much attention to when preparing  4.h4 in the advance Caro Kann variation. I actually didn't look at 4...h6!

Even though I managed to get a very good position, it served him quite well because I lost a lot of time figuring out the positions I was facing for the first time against a grandmaster. My poor psychological shape that day also betrayed me even after reaching a position that  I should call "impossible to lose".
(see game)

We rarely pay attention to psychology, statistics and probability in Chess.

"Perhaps it would serve us more as chess players if we paid attention to psychology, statistics and probability more often. We simply play chess. The aforementioned details... no matter how small, matter a great deal... at least at master level."

Grandmaster Leonid Yudasin continued the trend  of statistics and probability in our game. When I first prepared for him six years ago, I avoided playing d6 on the second move in the Sicilian. The reason at that point is that he had a lot of experience in the 3.Bb5 sicilian line and I had only a couple of games. So it would make sense for him to play 3.Bb5 if I played 2...d6, I had imagined.

Tired before our encounter, my nap took me by surprise in the Sheraton Hotel Lobby and I woke up three minutes after the games had started... no time to think about what to play, I rushed to my gam. Three moves later, I realized that I had not taken time to pay attention to statistics and probability before the game. Yudasin had just done what I thought he would do six years ago 3.Bb5! I was able to draw the game despite not looking at his games in this variation.
(see game)

Perhaps it would serve us more as chess players if we paid attention to psychology, statistics and probability more often. We simply play chess. The aforementioned details... no matter how small, matter a great deal... at least at master level.

~ IM Amon Simutowe ~

Posted by The Chess Drum:  16 July 2007

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