|Soltis - Bernstein, New York 1965|
Position after 13...h5!
Reading Dan Heisman's "Learning from Andy" at ChessCafe, I was reminded that Bernstein had some interesting ideas in the Dragon, including a early ...h5 advance that he played against a young Andy Soltis. The fact that Bernstein tried out his ...h5 advance against Soltis in 1965 is ironic because Soltis himself would go on to develop a similar idea which has since become known as the Soltis Variation of the Dragon. In his wonderful history of recent opening theory, Revolution in the 70s, Garry Kasparov suggests that this line truly originated in Larsen - Westerinen, Halle 1963, though he acknowledges that it was clearly Soltis's use of the idea in the early 1970s in several high profile games that was the impetus for its widespread adoption. Heisman shows, of course, that Soltis was clearly using it even before that in more local contests. Is it possible that Soltis had a local inspiration for the idea in Bernstein? You be the judge. In any event, Bernstein had some interesting ideas in the Dragon, many of which seem to presage Simon Williams's approach in The New Sicilian Dragon (Everyman 2009). There is nothing new under the sun. But chess history has a way of ignoring the larger pool of players who contribute to new ideas.