Crushing lines against Pirc, French, Caro-Cann and Alekhine defenses: a 2016 review of the 1995 VHS video.

Back in 1995 we had Windows 95, and Chess engines were not so strong as today. The Internet was also quite young in 1995, and it was not the amazing information highway it is today. The Kasparov-Deep Blue match took place in 1996, and even then Kasparov won that match. So technology had limited help for players like me in 1995. VHS tapes were a popular mode of distributing Chess information, and with titles like Roman’s “Crushing” series, it was certainly hard not to indulge in a bit of “hope chess” now and then.

Fast forward to 2016, when I started to convert old Betamax and VHS tapes to digital, a task I thought should be easy, but it turned out to be slow and complicated to find the right software. I converted the 1995 “Crushing Lines Against…” tape by Roman Dzindzichashvili, and I decided to see how Roman’s 1995 analysis holds up to the 2016 Houdini Chess engine. The French lines that Roman offered for White turned out to have a number of interesting improvements and corrections by Houdini. At 8. f4 is the main position that starts Roman’s crush against the French.

However, it turns out that Black doesn’t need to get crushed, which can be avoided as early as move 8. Instead of 8… a6, 8… cxd4. Roman gives White a “strong attack” in this line:

Hindsight is 20-20, as they say, but there is a lesson here for players learning Chess, which may have been more difficult back in the early days of the Chess technological revolution (am I first to coin that phrase? Lol), and the lesson is that there are no “crushing lines” without the help of your opponent!