DC Chess League---Prophylaxis--Schlechter imitation

Hi All and Ashburn chess club,

This is my DC Chess league game Friday  Feb 19th, 2010 at the Arlington chess club.  Ashburn Chess club vs Arlington Rooks.

Thought I would include it after seeing some other games posted from our matches.  I believe this also has some good examples of Prophylaxis and/or Prophylactic thinking.  Concepts I talked about at our (Ashburn Chess clubs) Saturday February 13th meeting.  Specifically Blacks:  11…bb6, 13…h6, and 16…f5

The time control was 30 moves in 90 minutes and game 60.  My opponent was Geoff McKenna a strong local player who has won the Virginia State Championship 4 times in his career.

As far as the game goes Black plays the opening a little shaky and probably 6..Qf6 and 8…d5 are two moves that didn’t help his cause.  8…d5 was ill timed to break in the center before his king was safe or pieces fully developed.  White on the other hand may have been dancing his knight around too much in the middle game and bailed on the position to early with  18. Qh4 in time pressure.

Finally,  black may have wanted to play the game out a few moves more before doing his Carl Schlechter imitation (Schlechter is a master at the turn of the century, who was labeled the drawing master. Undeservedly so I might add).

Next Dc Chess league match is this Friday Feb 26th. Our last home match this winter season!


  • 8 weeks ago


    Congrats on your draw with the black pieces against such a strong opponent.

  • 7 years ago

    NM SHoshall


    Hi Thanks for the post and congrats on your win!  Here’s what Wikipedia says on prophylaxis, and I’ve cut out a paragraph to show pertinent points:


    “In the game of chess, prophylaxis (Greek προφυλαξις, "prophylaxis," guarding or preventing beforehand) or a prophylactic move is a move that stops the opponent from taking action in a certain area for fear of some type of reprisal. Prophylactic moves are aimed at not just improving one's position, but preventing the opponent from improving their own. Perhaps the most common prophylactic idea is the advance of the rook pawn to avert the possibility of back rank mate.

    It should be understood, however, that any move which prevents an opponent from threatening something can be called prophylactic, even if this word would not be used to describe the player's style. For example,Mikhail Tal and Garry Kasparov frequently played the move h3 in the Ruy Lopez—a prophylactic move intended to prevent Black from playing ...Bg4 and creating an irritating pin on the knight at f3—yet neither player would ever be described as playing in the prophylactic style. All grandmasters make use of prophylaxis in one way or another.”

    H3 or h6 is often cited as a prophylactic move and the moves cited above in the game were in the spirit of preventing white from making particular moves.  With that said what you said I do somewhat agree with you!  Nimzo talked about Prophylaxis being a positional concept.  A meat and potatoes Nimzo prophylactic move would be a move that prevented or discourage a file or diagonal being open by ones opponent.  So believe it or not I could argue with you that the Wikipedia definition of prophylaxis is too liberal and it at least it could be debatable whether one or more of the moves I cited fits this category.

    However I also said the moves represent “Prophylactic thinking”  Prophylactic thinking is a process developed by Dvoretsky which is “the habit of constantly asking yourself what your opponent is going to do and what he would play if it were his move and taking the answers to these questions into account in the decision making process.”

    It is impossible to argue that I wasn’t using Prophylactic thinking and these moves were a direct result of my observations of my opponent’s strategy because I am in fact the player in question.  I also believe this is really the key concept.  It may seem obvious but I see many, many players including myself at times get so wrapped up in the ideas I want to do with my pieces I do not consider the strategy or play of my opponent.  I find I play my best chess when I really consider their play as well as deeply as my own.

    Yes Petrosian is the king of prophylaxis play and Karpov as well is not that far behind!

    Thanks again good comment.

    ...Oh and as far as taking out Ne4. I know I did at one point and it was decent for white.  Tried to keep my notes and lines very brief.  Recently there was a good article in chess life on different annotation styles.  When I look at someone else’s game it’s mainly just a quick glance and I want an explanation and very simple burger and fries idea.  Not 20 move alternate lines so that was my annotation style in this case.

  • 7 years ago


    I've got to quibble with your use of the term Prophylaxis, which is going to confuse the new players as to its meaning. Moves 11..Bb6, 13..h6, and 16..f5 are all about defending against direct threats to win. Stopping an immediate mate threat is not prophylaxis, a positional concept. It's tactical defense.

    Prophylaxis is about defending against possible threats _BEFORE_ they manifest. Petrosian was probably the best ever at this. Simple defensive moves are as old as chess, and don't meet the definition. For "prophylatic" in the notes above, substitute "defensive." They are not synonyms.

    Btw, McKenna's teammate, my old college team captain (who won his game vs Pritam in blazing sacrificial style that night), and I agree that 12.Ne4 was the better way to press his initiative. Have you analyzed this line?

  • 7 years ago


    I played McKenna in 1981. I lost a close one on the black side of a Nimzoindian.

  • 7 years ago

    NM SHoshall

    Thank you for the comments Scott and Raymond.  Raymond, No I really did not consider taking the d5 pawn at the time.  It just looked to scary after an eventual Rd1.  For black the trick would be to see that after white plays rd1 threatening blacks queen on d4 and winning a piece the knight on d5 the white queen is in turn  threatened after 19...nf6!  My Engine Rybka doesn't like white playing 18.bxh6 in your line but simply an immediate Rd1.  Also as you say it does actually consider your 16...bxd5 the best move but its very close in evaluation to the second best move ...f5 what I played.  16...bxd5 gets a -.12 evaluation in blacks favorite after a few minutes look while 16...f5 gets .05  white evaluation.  Everything else is worse for black.

  • 7 years ago



    good game! Instead of 16...f5, the simple 16...Bxd5 is my engine's favorite, with a small advantage for Black after 17. Nxd5 Nxd5 18. Bxh6! gxh6 19. Rad1 Nf6! 20. RxQ NxQ 21 RxR RxR 22. BxN Rd2!

    This is the most complicated variation and relatively best for White. Did you consider it during the game?

  • 7 years ago


    Very smooth game, Shawn. Just at a glance I think you were clearly better after 17... Qc5 (that's why he bailed), and better in the final position.

  • 7 years ago

    NM SHoshall

    Thanks for the comments.  Yes my spelling is atrocious. Surprised  You may be right Matt. Blacks pieces seem a bit more coordinated at that time and we both were in time pressure.  That is a great Schlechter game.  Schlechter was probably better than Lasker in 1910 when he tied him in a world championship match.  Actually ended up losing the last game where he was dead won.  At that time the challenger had to win 2 games more than champion to be world champ which is absurd.

  • 7 years ago


    For those who think Schlecter did nothing but draw...


  • 7 years ago


    You're a good annotator.  Reassuring that you don't say at move 20 that "this is the move I foresaw at move 4".  One reason I think white might have bailed is that your final position (Black's) seems easier to play from that point.

  • 7 years ago


    Nice annotations. I think the word "immitation" should be spelled "imitation", though.

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