Grandmaster Corner Sat, April 10th - A Review

By: Kerry Liles
4/12/2021 6:06:35 PM

The latest Grandmaster Corner lecture was by GM Alexandr Lenderman (US Federation rated FIDE 2624; born 1989) 
His focus was primarily on discussing some psychological considerations that occur when playing chess. Several of his games were presented - some with (much) lower rated opponents (eg: 1800) yet some were with otherGrandmasters.
In each presentation, GM Alex moved somewhat quickly through the openings with some light commentary along the way until we reached one or more critical positions.
Looking at the critical spots, GM Alex would describe what he was thinking (good or bad!) and usually also indicate what the situation was with respect to the tournament or team match or whatever event was in progress. 
At these analysis points, GM Alex would ask everyone to think about what is happening in the position and invited everyone to submit their idea of the next move or series of moves.
This is where it gets very interesting: 
whether the suggestions were from an IM or from a sub-1800 player like myself, GM Alex would take the time to explain why certain moves were bad - sometimes many of us "guessed" the move he actually played - which was bad! 
A lot of light hearted moments and very interesting insights into the thinking process of a GM. Careful attention is given to explaining why certain moves or plans were good and many of the suggestions to derail those plans were also covered. 
GM Alex explained that when he analyzes certain lines and he finally thinks he has found a plan he likes, it is time to make sure that there are no surprises just over the horizon.
If there are loose pieces for example, he looks for breakthrough moves that might disrupt those pieces and completely destroy the plan (a theme that is common in endgame studies - deflection, comes to mind).
If you find a good move (or plan) look for a better one!  That is an old piece of wisdom, but when you see that analysis in action it really strikes home the point.
I should emphasize that GM Alex patiently examined and discussed all of the candidate moves that viewers suggested. I can vouch for the fact that even when presented with a howler of a move, he simply pointed out how it leads to the loss of a piece - there was never any judgement of any kind.
GM Alex very carefully guided us through a number of his interesting games and provided extraordinary insight into his thoughts and thinking process. 
I found it fascinating in one case to hear him describe the team match situation and the additional pressure to find a way to press on because his team needed more than an easy draw by repetition from his game (if I recall it was against Ivanchuk - a formidable opponent).
This caused him to examine some lines which at first were not very promising but in the end were important parts of the puzzle. Situational awareness is important - many games are not played in isolation but are related to other games or may even affect upcoming games!
After the interactive presentation period, GM Alex graciously answered any and all questions that we tossed at him. This is the time when you really see his personality - it is so clear that he enjoys playing chess and is fascinated by all aspects of the game. Someone asked him about his favourite opening; without blinking he said "whatever one wins"!
This is consistent with his practical approach to the game and the way he pragmatically evaluates positions without dwelling on "baggage" (how or why we are in this position - it is what it is, get on with it). 
This was a very enjoyable presentation by GM Alex and his easy interaction with everyone made it seem like we were all just having a sneak peek at his analysis. I believe there was an immediate response to invite him to come back for more treats for us... Stay tuned.

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