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Alexsander A Shashin
Number of games in database: 9
Years covered: 1955 to 1980
Last FIDE rating: 2350
Overall record: +4 -3 =2 (55.6%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games.

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(born 1944) Russia

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Alexsander Aleksandrovich Shashin

 page 1 of 1; 9 games  PGN Download 
Game  ResultMoves YearEvent/LocaleOpening
1. A Shashin vs Dashkevich 1-0181955RigaC05 French, Tarrasch
2. V Osnos vs A Shashin  1-0301970Leningrad-chE62 King's Indian, Fianchetto
3. V Osnos vs A Shashin  ½-½411971Leningrad-chE71 King's Indian, Makagonov System (5.h3)
4. A Shashin vs Korchnoi 1-0351973Leningrad-chE56 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 7...Nc6
5. A Shashin vs V Osnos  ½-½511974Leningrad ttE58 Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Main line with 8...Bxc3
6. V Osnos vs A Shashin  0-1381974URS-ch qualE97 King's Indian
7. Romanishin vs A Shashin 1-0291974URS-ch qualB87 Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5
8. Taimanov vs A Shashin 1-0281978USSRA04 Reti Opening
9. A Shashin vs Epishin 1-0471980Leningrad-chE00 Queen's Pawn Game
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Shashin wins | Shashin loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
Oct-16-04  Ziggurat: This former player and current trainer has invented a move-selection algorithm based on analogies between chess and physics. This is a long excerpt from "Misha Interviews" 13/10 2004 at

< ... Not the best plan, but the best move. The concept of a plan is totally foreign to my theory. Or maybe it is better to say that my theory discredits such a concept. Complex systems develop spontaneously in nature. So to find the best move in a given position we need to consider the following four factors: 1) Material (m). A very simple and well-known calculation 9-5-3-3-1. Divide your sum by the opponent’s sum. Usually m=1. It is analogous to the mass of a system. 2) Mobility (p). The number of legal moves in a given position. P1 is the mobility of our pieces, P2 is the mobility of the opponent’s pieces. P1/ P2 = p. Mobility is analogous to the kinetic energy of a system. 3) Expansion factor. It is defined by calculating the center of gravity of a given position. Take the starting position. White has 8 pieces on the 1st rank, and 8 on the 2nd rank: 8*1+8*2=24, divided by the number of pieces, 24/16=1.5, so the center of gravity lies “between” the first and second ranks. In every position there are two expansion factors, White’s and Black’s. An important number is the Greek Delta, which denotes a change or variation of a quantity, and the difference between them. The expansion factor is analogous to the potential energy of a system. 4) Packing density. There are several different types of packing density: by all pieces and pawns; by king and pawns; by king, pawns and knights (short-range pieces); by pawns only; and local density at certain sections of the board. The most informative densities are those by short-range pieces. Imagine a position: Kg2, Nf3, and pawns on f2-g3-h2. The area of the smallest rectangle that contains these pieces is 6. There are 5 pieces, 5/6=0.83, very dense and therefore a safe construction!

Notice that I only need four factors to describe any position. Two of them, the expansion factor in the form of a center of gravity; and packing density, are original, or, at least, I never seen them suggested by anyone else. In most positions it is enough to know m and p. If m=1, p is the main factor we need to identify, which algorithm of the three known should be applied. If p>1.25, it’s “Tal,” p<0.8, it’s “Petrosian” (note that 1.25*0.8=1), and if p belongs to (0.8, 1.25), it’s “Capablanca.”>

Fascinating stuff, even if I myself remain skeptical. Any mathematicians/physicians (Gypsy?) care to comment?

There is more material on the web site

(go to New Theory/Articles)

Apr-16-05  Ziggurat: The address of the abovementioned site has changed to
Apr-25-05  shortsight: Hmm, while we should spend time thinking about the moves, he actually recommends us to spend time calcuting the 4 factors, then only find the best moves. I was just wondering if it can be used in shorter games, like rapid or blitz.
Apr-29-05  Swapmeet: Interesting, but some of the factors seem kind of irrelevant. IMO, you either see tactics or you don't, and no arbitrary system is going to help you in that endeavor.
Apr-29-05  Shokwave: He's more than a little vague on "packing density" calculations, not just in the above but whenever I see something on this theory of his. How do we add up the packing densities for different types of pieces? His theory is based on mathematics entirely, so, for it to work, we need ALL THE MATH. Having some of the math doesn't really help us at all.

As for tactics: it's like a comp...go out 15 ply and use this as your evaluation function :)

Apr-29-05  cuendillar: The method might be good, if you're a computer... No chance a human could do that sort of thinking and even reach the lower levels on computers.
Jun-12-05  pazzed paun: HAS anyone read both the interview of A.S. in chess cafe where he gives a student a lesson by dissecting a Petrosian game and then the articles on the site-e3e5? THEY do not seem to match up in anyway it is almost as if part 1 AND 2 are about an antisystem and the chess cafe article is about finding the rosetta stone of chess? it is just baffling this kind of dissconnect.

ON a related note about systems to explain chess -does anyone know about DORFMAN"S methods? Lev Alburt has an article where Dorfman came to New York to conduct some chess "experiments" but Albur had no followup comments as to whether or not Alburt would use these methods and write a book about them. I wish I knew more about both types iof methods.

Jun-13-05  Everett: <pp>

Methode Aux Echecs is Dorfman's book on his own system of chess, written, clearly, in French. Haven't read it, but know of the article you mention. No idea whether it is in translation, but it is not "new," and I do believe that Dorfman has written other books as well.

Jan-25-07  micartouse: Shashin's concepts are quite interesting. I like that he divides the material rather than adds it up. After all, being down 2 pawns in the endgame is vastly more dangerous than being down 2 pawns in the opening. However, I'd change a few things:

I'd give the king strength, since he too influences the battle. I'd give him weight analogous to his mobility - roughly the same as a minor piece.

Packing density seems silly. If he wants to prevent looseness of pieces, then he should be more concerned about protecting them rather than packing them. You can have tightly packed pieces that are still unprotected, and in fact this immobilizes them a bit.

Expansion just seems like an extension of mobility. We wouldn't fight for space that can't be used.

Really only material and mobility seem meaningful, and they're also somewhat related.

I'd like to see software that only calculates mobility. Usually, it will be materialistic since more pieces generally leads to more mobility. This would be interesting, although I'm sure it would get smashed by the top chess programs.

Jan-25-07  KingG: Here's the link to his interview on chesscafe for anyone that might have trouble finding it:
Apr-24-08  KingG: Some of the many interesting quotes from the interview

<MS: And how would you describe talent for chess?>

<AS: There are essentially two types of chess talent. The superior one ­ intuitive, and the `usual' one ­ better memory, better calculating speed. People like Capablanca, Smyslov, and Karpov somehow learned where to properly place their pieces all by themselves and at a very early age. Troubled by mediocre memories, which prevented them from memorizing zillions of intermediate positions in the process of calculation, they nevertheless were the world's strongest players for many years. They don't calculate as much as visualize images. The objective of such players is simply to choose the most aesthetically pleasing image of a position, which is often an ideal, and then to find the regrouping maneuver, which requires short-range calculation.

The most brilliant players representing another kind of chess talent are Tal and Kasparov, who have a photographic memory and are unusually fast at calculation. They digest a lot of variations and consider many more critical positions than intuitive players; however, their evaluation is much rougher. But it is not all hopeless for them, as one is able to learn strategic play. Also geniuses of the intuitive type are naturally lazy. They don't work much. This is not a reproach ­ it's their greatest problem, the consequence of their merits. While intuitive geniuses observe desirable positions and don't see any reason to improve, men like Tal and Kasparov gradually expand their evaluation function, accumulate more and more critical positions with refined evaluations, and slowly approach the inborn clarity of vision of intuitive players. That's why the great Capablanca lost a match to a workaholic like Alekhine, and the 23-year-old Kasparov defeated the mature champion Karpov, which was, in my opinion, an absolutely impossible task. Kasparov is the greatest player in the history of chess. I am a big fan of Capablanca, but Kasparov is the greatest.>

<MS: What do you think of Fischer?>

<AS: Fischer is a man with an acute form of pathology. He is a talent of Tal's and Kasparov's caliber, but maybe with less calculation ability. The unusual thing about him is that he divided himself into "White Fischer" and "Black Fischer." With the white pieces, Bobby pretended to be the greatest classic player, playing dry and precise chess, often draining his opponents in 60-move endgames. The Black Fischer, because of a pathological greed for points in the tournament table, strove for ultra sharp play in Korchnoi's manner. But his brain rebelled against such a heavy undertaking. It impaired Fischer's nervous system. This explains his fear to play in tournaments, too. It is a great pity that Fischer did not have a true friend. Not a yes-man, but a sincere critic, who would not hesitate to protest against the suicidal actions of this fellow. This is my advice to future geniuses ­ you all need such friend! For instance, in the 32nd game of the Karpov - Korchnoi match in the Philippines; if I were Korchnoi's second, I would try to convince him to play the French Defense or Ruy Lopez with the psychological aim of making a draw ­ suffer, in pain, but to hold. When Victor replied to 1.e4 with 1...d6, I would have immediately severed my connections with this self-destroyer. A man of artistic temperament overestimated his strength and thought that he could place his bishop on g7 against Karpov! There are very few madmen who risk employing Pirc or King's Indian against Karpov.>

Apr-24-08  KingG: <MS: But what's wrong with the opening?>

<AS: The position of the bishop on g7 is strategically suspect, it is playable, but not against a natural intuitive genius! Kasparov feels Indian positions with his fingertips, but did not risk playing the KID against Karpov until their 4th match. And when Garry did not lose, he confirmed his absolute dominance over Karpov. It became clear that Karpov's attempts to regain the title would never succeed.>

<MS: Do you like Kramnik's play?>

<AS: As an experienced trainer and former researcher I am able to analyze chess players and diagnose their current condition. Usually it is enough to examine their last 15 games. Some very strong grandmasters don't hesitate asking my advice. Kramnik, I think, became confused. He lost Ariadne's Thread. Vladimir plays worse now than he did five years ago. He experienced a very serious creative crisis and presently shows only slight signs of overcoming it. It is a pity, but Kramnik is not the only young man in crisis, for example, think of Ponomariov. I am very sorry to see their self-destructive actions. Young players today pretend they know everything about chess in general, their styles, training, etc. But the truth is that they are unable to evaluate themselves objectively. I repeat ­ young and successful people desperately need a wise mentor who, if necessary, can be very critical. I teach my children: if you become someone important, put your ill-wishers on the payroll, pay your critics, not your flatterers. Karpov is different ­ he is capable of objective self-evaluation.>

Apr-25-08  KingG: <When Victor replied to 1.e4 with 1...d6, I would have immediately severed my connections with this self-destroyer. A man of artistic temperament overestimated his strength and thought that he could place his bishop on g7 against Karpov! There are very few madmen who risk employing Pirc or King's Indian against Karpov.> I love this part. Funny guy this Shashin.
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: Alexander Shashin's book "Best Play: Revolutionary Method for Finding the Strongest Move" will be published in 2012 by Mongoose Press.

In about 500 pages Shashin exposes a method of finding the best move in any position based on his unique theory of the game of chess (using scientific methods).

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: As a professional chess coach and a former theoretical nuclear physicist, researching the chess game as a complex dynamic system, Shashin developed a physics-like model of the game: material (chess pieces), time (pieces mobility) and space (center of gravity and packing density).

His primary point is that chess, as a self-sufficient complex system which acts according to the known laws, can be analyzed using scientific methods as any other dynamic system. Chess has all the qualities of a complex system (the abundance of elements, hierarchy and a so-called "chaos zone", where it is impossible, in principle, to predict the direction that the system would develop in certain positions).

The main part of his "post-non-classical" chess theory is a move-search algorithm, a method for finding the strongest move in any position.

Mar-13-12  brankat: Fascinating stuff indeed!
Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: A preview of new Shashin's book (in Russian)

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: In an excerpt from the book "Best Play: Revolutionary Method for Finding the Strongest Move" Alexander Shashin describes one of the move-choice algorithms, the so-called "Tal" algorithm. As an illustration he uses the famous game Tal - Tolush (the USSR Championship, Leningrad 1956).

This is the starting position for analysis:

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 Qb6 8.Qd2 Qxb2 9.Rb1 Qa3 10.e5 dxe5 11.fxe5 Nfd7 12.Ne4 Qxa2 13.Rb3 Qa1+ 14.Kf2 Qa4

click for larger view

Intuitively sensing that the position demands a sacrifice, Tal played here <15.Bb5!?>. Soon afterwards they found <15.Nxe6!> as the strongest move in this position.

Using his method for finding the strongest move in any position, Shashin explains how to find moves such as 15.Nxe6 or 15.Bb5. He also refers to the book "Garry Kasparov on My Great Predecessors, Part 2". Kasparov thoroughly analysed the game Tal -Tolush as well.

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: In his book "Best Play: A New Method to Find the Strongest Move" (to be released in April 2013 ), with a foreword by Alexander Morozevich, Alexander Shashin presents his new approach to finding the best move.

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: Shashin's theory inspired the Vitruvius’ team in the construction of the Opening Book.

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: Alexander Shashin: "Best play - A New Method For Discovering The Strongest Move"

" My first acquaintance with A.A. Shashin took place in the spring of 2003, at a very difficult point in my career. The year 2002 had been one of the most unfortunate in my entire 15 years of professional activity. My rating had dropped almost 80 points, to a level (humbling for me) of 2679; my world ranking fell to twentysomething, and I hardly knew what to do next. Fate had it that I should then meet this amazing person, coach, and physicist by training (and perhaps by calling): San Sanych Shashin, as I freely started to call him. It is difficult to overestimate the amount of support he gave me.

In a purely chess sense, the question logically arises: could a Soviet master with thirty years’ experience as a trainer, and master of his own attitude in the search for a decision-making algorithm, talk about chess as an equal with someone who until recently had ranked in the Top Ten in the world, and still teach him something?

I reply: both yes and no.

“No,” because it is difficult to remake an already fully formed player, 26 years old and successful as a result of his own talent and his chess understanding.

But “yes,” because any crisis is an opportunity for growth – and I, discovering the conclusions of S.S.’s theory at precisely that moment, significantly enriched and broadened my horizons: while selecting a move, I often successfully employed the ideas he presented to me. The fact that the period from July 2003 to July 2004 was the most successful of my entire career, I owe in great part to our kitchen-table discussions. I returned triumphantly to the Top Five, along the way winning practically every tournament I participated in." (Alexander Morozevich, Foreword)

An excerpt from the book at

Aug-07-13  Everett: <cro777> thank you very much for the information you provided about Vitruvius, and Shashin's thinking about it.

Less from science but more from intuition, Suba's concept of "dynamic potential" reminds me a little bit of Shashin's "density" and "packing."

Premium Chessgames Member
  cro777: <Everett: Suba's concept of "dynamic potential" reminds me a little bit of Shashin's "density" and "packing.">

That's an interesting parallel. Packing density and the expansion factor (analogous to the potential energy) are original concepts introduced by Shashin.

Suba also alluded to the analogy between chess and physics. Talking of first explicit testimonies about dynamic potential he mentioned Lasker's introduction to the first edition of his book Modern Chess Strategy where Lasker said: "The analogy between chess and physics fascinated me from the start."

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: His book won the award for Best Play.

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