Ivanchuk is at the bottom of the crosstable in a recent tournament and probably will finish there. Shirov does this too. Yet, at another event, they can win the tournament. Do their opponents jack up their performance against the two? Do these two take more chances as they start to believe in their own invincibility? Who knows, but they should talk to a psychiatrist not because they are nuts (altho who knows?) but because something is seriously out of whack. Would they even take the advice? Are they capable of taking advice?
In Shirov's case he is paying lots of alimony (3-4 ex-wives) and is always on the hunt at each and every tournament for more prize money.
But I think they play too much. It's not so much that their brain needs a rest as their physical body does. But maybe their brain does need a rest too. Some players such as Anand and Carlsen don't play every event and in general they do well even though their past has shown some bad patches too. Just as there is "sports medicine" maybe there should be some "chess brain medicine." That is, a search for "why?"
This is a new book from Quality Chess by Vladimir Popov. And it's good! As a trainer and coach of the famous Kointseva sisters, he takes us through many examples and exercises to show mistakes made by them and other trainees. Now any strong player can do this but Popov not only tells us WHY something is better, he shows us "background" on how he knows this! What it comes down to, often, is "standard positions." The THING is, "what is a standard position?" That's the rub, and he explains what Botvinnik thought or so and so thought--this stuff works. In other words, again, KNOWING what has happened before in "analogous" positions can be VERY helpful. Popov also shows how to put emphasis on strategical considerations to avoid tactical ones.
I hope to have more to say in a review for SCORE #2, which comes out this Friday. In the meantime, the retail is $25.95, 256 pages. Of course my company G&L CHESS has it available at much less than $25.95. If you subscribe to SCORE ($20) you will get the latest hubbub on the new books.
As usual, contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org