”A good player is always lucky” – a famous quote by José Raúl Capablanca, but what does it really mean? Very often in tournaments we see / hear how many strong Grandmasters were losing and ended up winning anyway, like the fate of that game was already written. It’s something unexplainable but it means that even in such a scientific game like chess, the ”luck factor” is present as well.
For example, let’s have a look at this game played yesterday in the Polish Championship between the number one ranked of the tourn (GM) Grzegorz Gajewski (2648) and the (GM) Jacek Tomczak (2554)
(GM) Jacek Tomczak (2554) – (GM) Grzegorz Gajewski (2648)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bc4!? Sozin/Fischer variation is rare these days 6…e6 7.Bb3 Nbd7 8.Bg5
A huge surprise, according to my database the highest rated player to play this move was (2271). How can black allow the common sacrifice Bxe6, which is basically white’s main threat in this variation? It is certainly shocking, the game continued:
9.Bxe6 (obviously) fxe6 10.Nxe6 Qa5 (Qb6 may be better but the position is bad anyway) 11.Nxg7+ Kf8? (again 11…Kf7 seems better) 12.Nf5 Nb6?
White has an overwhelming advantage and he could have won here by playing 13.Qd4! Qe5 14.Qxb6 Bxf5 15.f4! with a decisive advantage. Instead, white played 13.Bxf6 Bxf6 14.Qxd6+ Kf7 and eventually black won (!)
It is nothing but shocking that Gajewski actually got away with 8…Be7 against such a strong opponent. It makes you wonder about the importance of the opening study and if it is so necessary. Black is lost (or clearly worse) after 10 moves and nevertheless he wins.
Like Capablanca used to say, ”it’s better to be lucky than good” .