There are a few chess players so intensely creative that I check out their games from time to time just to see what they've been up to. Among my favorite loose cannons I would suggest looking into Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu
, Alexey Shirov
, and Ivan Cheparinov
. No slaves to fashion are they.
I was drawn to the story of Yacov Murey from the unconventional game Murey v Shirov 1993
, in which Shirov praises Murey's creative thinking in chess. Murey was one of Korchnoi's seconds in his world championship match in 1978, and ultimately became a grandmaster in 1987. He might be best remembered for a shocking novelty that Murey unveiled on move 4 (!) of a well known line in the Petroff, after:
1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nf6
3. d4 Nxe4
4. Bd3 Nc6!?
This 'natural' developing move looks ridiculous at first sight - a piece is hanging on e4, after all. However, after 5. Bxe4 d5
it becomes clear that White will have to return the piece in one form or another. In the stem game which introduced 4...Nc6, Timman v Murey 1993
, Timman nevertheless chose 5. Bxe4, and after:
6. Bg5 (now the main line) Qd7 (Qd6!?)
7. Bd3 e4
8. O-O!? f6
White kept a small edge and nevertheless won the game.
White has three other choices after 4....Nc6, including 5. dxe5, 5. Nxe5, and d5. Amazingly, in all of these Black has good chances to equalize!
A few sample lines:
5. dxe5 d5 (to me the most principled, but ...Nc5 is also played)
6. O-O Bg4 (6. exd6 ep leads to an equal, virtually symmetrical position)
7. Nc3 Nxc3
8. bxc3 Be7 and Black scores reasonably from this position
5. Nxe5 Nxe5
6. Bxe4 d5 (6. dxe5 Nc5 keeps more asymmetry in the position)
7. dxe5 dxe4
8. QxQ+ KxQ
was the start of Shirov v Timman
(!) 1998, going straight to an endgame which Shirov duly won in classic style. But it is interesting that Timman was impressed enough by Murey's novelty that 5 years after seeing it from the White side of the board he was willing to try it for Black.
5. d5!? Nc5 (has White nevertheless refuted Black's play?)
6. dxc6 e4
7. cxb7 Bxb7
8. Be2 exf3
9. Bxf3 Bxf3
With a slight advantage for White though with limited attacking prospects; Raetsky and Chetverik suggest this as equal in their rather drab manual 'Petroff Defense'.
That Murey could conceive of this move in a pre-computer era, independently evaluate all these plausible moves for White, and then play the move for the first time against a top class opponent rates him in the pantheon of the coolest customers on the board.