Happy birthday Andras Adorjan! Today the Hungarian grandmaster Andras Adorjan celebrates his 70th birthday. Adorjan, actually Andras Jocha, was born on March 31, in Budapest. In he became an International Master and three years later, in , a Grandmaster. In the same year he also won the Hungarian National Championship for the first time, a success which he repeated in

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Of course You are! Those who deny it are liars or saints. But, as saints make the tiniest minority in the world, we, sinful humans had better be honest to ourselves and each other. Shall we then accept our limitations with resignation, and despair of our pretensions to change, to make things change, or to make things better?

No way! Here comes the usual rubbish about the redemption of the world and the meaning of life" - moans the reader, who has already had quite a few disappointments, and lost faith in empty phrases and flowers of rhetoric.

Or is there a single word, a single noble, holy ideal, in whose name no villainy has ever been committed? So shall we stop believing in anything, shall we throw way the most beautiful words? Shall we accept a drab, meaningless existence where animalistic?

Only over my dead body! Human destiny, carried by the strength of faith in spite of disappointment, sad experiences, doubts: this is our lot, our only hope. To be satisfied with anything less than that would be cowardly and sinful! Pretty pompous, some may say. Yes, it may sound somewhat lofty, bombastic even. Think what You please, gentle reader, but do believe me that You, in your daily work, are also shaping what is going to be reality tomorrow.

We, chess-players of the Globe, seek truth on the board. Evolution requires respect for eternal values and unbiased, matter-of-fact observation of actual phenomena. In order to have real blessing on our work, though, we need Your benevolent, but critical attention. My mother died. Those who have already had a trauma like this know more or less what I went through; for others I should say something about this kind of experience. The loss of a relative or friend, or just someone of the same generation, or someone very young, shakes us deeply.

It tolls for you. We mourn for our loved ones. We mourn with pity, guilt, sorrow, and, feeling sorry for the deceased, we feel sorry for ourselves as well.

We mourn over our own mortality, our momentary loneliness, and, first of all - at least in such moments - we think of what our existence is all about. Every cloud has a silver lining, or so we are told. But can there be anything good in losing someone you loved? Well, let me tell you just one thing before trying to answer this painful and eternal question. I was far from being as good a son as my poor mother liked to think. I was lucky to have the chance to soothe her suffering in her last hours a little bit, doing some penance while she was still alive.

Do it while you still can! She was happy at the school, surrounded by children, more than anywhere else. So what did this blow of fortune bring me?

A good lesson. Experiencing that human life is ephemeral, I was forced to ponder the meaning of us being here. That is, what are we supposed to do? When I finally felt that I am able to come up with an answer, I figured we should do something in return for the oxygen we breathe in and transform into carbon-dioxide during our presence on earth We must leave something lasting, something that lives on when we die. I had done a lot of writing before that anyway, from my teens on: chess articles, analyses, reports, prose and poetry, lyrics, occasionally even music.

When I had a list of variations, I started to look for what is unmistakably common in them. I was probably predestined to do it, it was my calling, all I had to do was listen to the message. The articles written with the help of my friends were published in the chess magazines of practically every country in the world.

The reception was encouraging, not bad for a start and not only for a start! In the beginning, however, even my best friends looked at this thesis with - how to say it - condescending cheerfulness, considering it a strange hobby-horse. Not that anybody told me anything nasty - but it was in the air, and I could smell it. What really matters is not what makes me pleased. Well My other pen-friend challenged the view that it is White who determines the character of the game. I think he is right in saying that BLACK can also choose from a great variety of answers, influencing the position at least as strongly as White.

The information that the disadvantage of starting is not unfamiliar in some board games, e. I will probably repeat it on my deathbed, unlike Goethe, who wanted - on the contrary - more light.

It is all very nice that in my own practice playing with BLACK was rather a bliss than a burden, and that my results seem to support my thesis. But it is still rather like someone vaccinating himself with BLACK pox, then with the serum he has invented, and surviving.

Now we can similarly get thousands of games by organising subject tournaments, and see how my ideas stand the test of serious tournament practice. The statistics of these tournaments concerning wins and losses with BLACK and white is also interesting. It is to discover the truth. But my personal disappointment - which would come quite unexpected to me!

So the strongest motivation of this work is curiosity. I must tell you an anecdote: a woman went to see a psychiatrist and said: "Doctor, my husband is getting so funny. Well, this is a serious case" - the doctor wrinkled his forehead. And you are coming here only now?

I could have probably helped you easier in the starting stage. To tell you the truth, the money for the eggs came in handy. But I sometimes daydream about another possible turn of events. These creatures, who are a whole lot cleverer than our proud human race, and also still alive, get down to studying the records of the history of our culture. A little bit later they say with a heavy sigh: "What a pity!

This poor devil was the only one who knew it. In return, I promise that I am not going to push anyone to take my side.

It might help me a lot if I was well-versed in law, but perhaps it would also make my argumentation bloody boring. So what am I getting at is that we should try to take an unbiased approach, and think of the starting position of the chess game. I presume - in the spirit of the presumption of innocence - that the position is equal.

It is White who has to prove that he can get an advantage. And, as he has the right to move first, he sees to it immediately. Naturally, starting the game should not be mistaken for taking the initiative! The significance of the right to start varies from game to game. In tennis, for one, the server has an enormous advantage if he serves well. Or take handball. While the attacking team has the ball, the opponent can not do anything but line up in front of the penalty area, with perhaps one of them running about trying to intercept passes - and pray for dear life.

All they can hope for is that the other team makes a mistake, or runs out of attacking time - but what they have is play at one goal!

Football is different: the referee tosses a coin at the beginning, and the team whose captain got heads or tails right has a choice to make. And what do they usually choose? Always the half of the pitch!

It depends on where the sun shines from, or which way the wind blows. The point is that this advantage belongs to them till halftime.

Kick-off and the right to launch the first attack are not as important as this. It would be interesting to know exactly how many attacks and counterattacks there are in an average football game. There are a lot in any case, and there are very few goals compared to this number. Therefore both the players and the fans know very well that it is not extremely important which side kicks off. In chess, however, the right to move first still sounds like an achievement.

Not too bad, is it: White can move any of his pieces, and some of the possible moves are even good. A whole lot of them, on the other hand, are definitely foolish. They are 1. Nf3 often have no individual significance. Sometimes the players just develop their forces quietly, and the stronger one beats his weaker opponent.

Which first move is best is an open question, and it is highly debatable whether we will ever answer it. On the other hand, we can tell for sure which moves are out of competition. Such moves are, for example, h4, a4, g4 and b4. The right to move first, however, is an obligation at the same time. We can all remember cases - even from our own practice - when this right became a sad necessity, or zugzwang.

Take a simple pawn ending: opposition, and the person to move loses the game, regardless of colours. We may get all kinds of answers, especially from those not involved in chess, but qualified players will mostly come up with the same reply as a great number of world champions or chess thinkers since Lasker: the logical outcome of the game is a draw.


Black Is Ok!



"Black is OK!": Andras Adorjan turns 70!



Adorján András (sakkozó)



Black Is OK, or the presumption of innocence in the Game of Chess


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