You know it's strange but I find I've been finding it next to impossible to give a crap either way about the great grading debate so today I've decided to write about something else and I'm returning to Jacob Aagaard's book Excelling at Chess.
I started off taking the piss out of it (never let it be said I won't try to hit a soft target for a cheap laugh when there's one available) but more recently had a look at the central thesis of the early part of Aagaard's book - the idea that it is a superior understanding of the positional fundamentals of the game that is most likely to secure us victories.
Rivas Pastor-Akopian, Leon 1995
White to move
Today's position is taken from a game cited by Aagaard in support of his claim.
How would you assess this position? Would you say
- White is winning
- White is clearly better
- White is slightly better
- Black is slightly better
- Black is clearly better
- Black is winning
or, do you want to play the chess book author's universal 'get out of jail free' card, and cop out with 'unclear'?
I'll come back to what Aagaard has to say about this position at a later date. In the meantime, please indulge my curiousity by answering the following too ...
How did you come to your conclusion? Did you calculate specific lines or are there certain features in this position that suggested the answer to you?