22 August - 3 December 1999

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40. 3 December: Black

A chess master died—after a few days, a friend of his heard a voice; it was him!
    'What's it like, where you are now,' he asked.
    'What do you want to hear first, the good news or the bad news.'
    'Tell me the good news first.'
    'Well, it's really heaven here. There are tournaments and blitz sessions going on all the time and Morphy, Alekhine, Lasker, Tal, Capablanca, Botvinnik, they're all here, and you can play them.'
    'Fantastic!' the friend said, 'and what is the bad news?'
    'You have Black against Capablanca on Saturday.'

39. 27 November: Jan Timman ready to leave FIDE

In an interview with Max Pam, on the local Amsterdam TV station AT5, Jan Timman said tonight he will leave FIDE if it insists on having doping tests.
    "I would not comply, and because I do not want to give up chess for this nonsense, I might create an alternative federation that has no ties with the IOC. I have asked other top players, and generally, there is agreement about this. To cooperate in this silliness as a concession to IOC would defy dignity."

38. 27 November: Internet chess dream

A reader mailed me a dream he had. To let me get the feel of it, he explained he's an avid 1 0 player on the Internet chess servers, always playing for a win on time, regardless of the position.
    In the dream, he found himself with White in the position on the left. He was sure he also had a light squared bishop, which was for some strange reason on a5, but which he couldn't see. He also couldn't see the black king, but he knew it to be on g7, which made the move he played here, Qg1, legal. After he'd played it, the king was visible on g7. That made him realize Black could now exchange queens with Kf8+, and as he still couldn't see his bishop, he knew he was lost.
    And then he had a stroke of genius: he woke up!
    "I disconnected on him, and there was no adjudicate for him to message."

37. 24 November: Lodewijk Prins dies at 86

Recently, perhaps even on the day he died (11 November), I picked up the Dutch translation of Assiac's old "Adventure in Chess" and happened to see the introduction by the translator, Lodewijk Prins. Or rather, his signature to it: At sea, E. of Greenland, May 1952 - Lod. Prins
    It produced an involuntary chuckle in me. That was him: pedantic in an almost innocent way, and engaging at the same time.

He was a major figure in Dutch chess for many years, a first time national champion in '65 at the age of 52, and playing on every Dutch Olympiad team from 1939 to 1970, when the refusal of his justified claim to a new place on it led to a total break with official Dutch chess which lasted until his death. In his last Olympiad, Lugano 1968, on the 6th board, he'd had the best score of the team, 9 out of 12.
    As a player, I'd say he was a gifted opportunist. His moves were better than his plans. Very often, against the best, he got terrible positions in the opening, but quite often he managed to make something out of them. He often shunned theory (1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Qa5 was a hobby of his), but at the same time he invented a variation in the Grünfeld (7...Na6) which now bears his name, and which was adopted by Kasparov. He won games against Euwe, Kotov, Pilnik, Tartakower, Gligoric, Pirc, Rossolimo, and, in the forties and fifties, strong tournaments in Spain and Holland.
    In 1982, he was made a grandmaster retroactively. I remember a private blitz tournament not long afterwards where I, almost 40, was by far the youngest, and Prins, almost 70, was teased all afternoon with his new title. "Ah, I see I have to play our young grandmaster now." - "Looks a little bit like you're mate, grandmaster." - "Well, as a grandmaster I suppose you can mate with a queen? In that case, I'll resign." He laughed as much about it as we did.
    But he was much more than a player. He organized Amsterdam 1950, Amsterdam 1954 (the Olympiad) and Amsterdam 1956 (the Candidates tournament.) He was an arbiter and an endgames judge, and in his later years he had a problems column, organizing yearly composing competitions. He was one of the first who tried to set up a system where players would receive royalties for their published games.
    And of course, and maybe even in the first place, he was a writer. As such, he was never L. Prins, or Lodewijk Prins, or Prins, but always Lod. Prins, one of his many linguistic affectations. His Saturday chess column in Het Parool was the first I read. Two of his twenty-something books were among my first three chessbooks: the one about the World Championship 1948, "Five Giants before the World Chess Window", and his famous 1949 book about Capablanca, "The Chess Phenomenon José Raoul Capablanca y Graupera" - both unmistakably Prins titles. Euwe and he were co-authors of the Capablanca book, but it was really his book; he had done 90 % of it. I remember him sighing about the herculean labour that had been, a once-in-a-lifetime thing.
    Quoting from the introduction:

The acquisition of even a mildly reasonable judgment about a chessgame or position is an extraordinarily lengthy process of reasoning, searching, examining, comparing, rejecting, correcting, evaluating and criticising. Not a single investigator who respects himself can be at peace in the knowledge that a blatant refutation is possible of 80 percent of his notes, even if those notes tend to be invariably accepted without criticism, and even if no attention is paid at all to the laboriously acquired correctness of an analysis. In short: analyse as well as you can, or do not analyse at all; the writing down of statements that cannot be sustained by proof, is something that only the very few can permit themselves.
Somebody who puts it that way means what he says: he was a painstakingly original analyst. The style of the quote is characteristic too - the problem with his style was that all his sentences were characteristic. He was deliberately archaic, always looking for synonyms that were even more outdated than the ones he already used. It's a pity I can't translate here. For Dutch readers: words like bijaldien and mitsgaders were his trademark. He even tried to use the 18th century drijvens, and if you asked him what that meant, he would give you a 19th century synonym. He was aware, of course, that editors were likely to strike words like that, and I'm not sure he ever got drijvens into the paper.
    He did not only write about Capablanca, Botvinnik, Tal and Fischer, but also about endgame studies by Kubbel, and obscure junior tournaments. His column was the first where moves of mine appeared in print, when I was 14. An unbelievable event. I remember his line: 'de bekwaamheid van onze jeugd wil nog wel eens groter schijnen dan zij is' ('the proficiency of our young generation sometimes seems greater than it is') which was his way of saying he had found a hole in my combination.
    In his problem column, it wasn't "Mate in 3", but: "White begins, and mates ultimately with his third move against any defence." Problems were "mate-constructions". He coined the term "peripathetic king" for kings that were chased around the board. He coined terms by the tankload. In spite of all of this, he was highly readable. And whenever he or somebody else discovered a mistake in his grammar or analysis, he would correct it at length at the earliest occasion.
    Just because it is fun trying to translate him, here is part of his final remark to his 10-page analysis in "Capablanca" of the great game Botvinnik - Capablanca, Moscow 1936.
Possibly, over the course of time, the brain capacity of homo sapiens will have made such great progress, that complications as contained in this game can be fathomed instantly with a shrug and a smile. Then, not only will the game of chess have ceased to exist, but also will the remembrance of frequently missed objectives elicit pity, as a reaction to the shortcomings of a lower organized form of life.
A charmingly pompous, witty dandy.

Prins - Euwe, Maastricht 1946
Position after 25...Nb5
1.Nf3 d5 2.g3 Nf6 3.Bg2 Bf5 4.O-O Nbd7 5.c4 c6 6.cxd5 cxd5 7.Nc3 e6 8.Qa4 a6 9.d3 b5 10.Qc2 Rc8 11.Qb1 b4 12.Nd1 h6 13.Ne3 Bh7 14.Bd2 Bc5 15.b3 O-O 16.Qb2 Bd6 17.Rac1 Qe7 18.Rxc8 Rxc8 19.Rc1 Nb6 20.Rxc8+ Nxc8 21.Qc1 Na7 22.h4 Qd7 23.Bh3 Qb7 24.Ng4 Nxg4 25.Bxg4 Nb5 26.Bxh6 f5 27.Bh5 Nc3 28.Qe3 Qd7 29.Ng5 gxh6 30.Nxe6 f4 31.Nxf4 Bxf4 32.Qxf4 Nxa2 33.Qxh6 Qe7 34.Qxa6 Nc3 35.Qc8+ Kg7 36.Kf1 Bg8 37.Qg4+ Kf8 38.Qf4+ Kg7 39.Bg4 Nb5 40.h5 Na7 41.h6+ Kh8 42.Qd4+ Kh7 43.Bf5+ Kxh6 44.Qh8+ Bh7 45.g4 Nc6 46.f4 Nd4 47.Qxd4 Bxf5 48.gxf5 Kh5 49.Qe5 Qc5 50.f6+ Kh4 51.Qg5+ and Black resigned.

36. 21 November: Pissing for money

The pissing has started. And once again, our formerly great chess nation Holland was beaten to the premiere by Spain, and Italy. In Spain, at the team championships in Menorca, 20 pissed. An as yet unnamed Italian pisser entered chess history by becoming the first to be banned for pissing the wrong piss.
    Sometimes, as a mental exercise, I try explaining facets of our modern civilization to Attila the Hun. This is an easy one. He immediately asks: why don't you just tell them to piss off?
    Simple: there is money in it. To be accepted as a sport, and thus become eligible for government funding, we have to be like all the other sports where they have forfeited their dignity long ago, and have been pissing ever since. And instead of becoming an example to the sports world by keeping our flies shut, we piss.
    Well, pissing for money then. Why not. Better than fasting for peace.

35. 19 November: Auspices

My ex-wife's birthday. And Capablanca's; our son has two parents who share their birthday with a World Champion. (Me with Kasparov.) Esra doesn't care much for chess, though. But even if I had seen it as auspicious, a little calculating might have helped. There are 13½ World Champions. That means that every day, 50 babies are born who also have two World Champion Birthday parents. 18000 a year. Even at the rate new grandmasters are created, they can't all be one.

34. 12 November: Vigilante

A couple of nights ago, logging in at ICC, I found my friend G* there. In the seek window, I saw a 3 0 seek by a player near my own rating, t*. Deciding I didn't really feel like 3 0, I asked G* how he was doing. He turned out to be very pissed-off. He'd just been playing this very t*, who had disconnected in a losing position, had come back, but now flatly refused to resume. G* had sent a message about this to adjudicate, which had messaged him back that they would tell t* to resume that game within 7 days.
    Knowing G* sometimes exaggerates, I checked out the position. He hadn't exaggerated this time: he had a bishop, a rook, three pawns, and twenty seconds against the lone king. And t*'s little green circle was innocently sitting there, waiting to be clicked.
    I advised G* to tell an admin to tell t* to resume, but that was exactly what he had done, and the admin had told him to go to adjudicate.
    That's where the vigilante in me awoke. I told G* I'd try something, and typed:
    Tell t* Excuse me, but you have to finish your game against G* immediately, or you will be suspended (H).
    Almost instantly, I saw the game was resumed.
    When G* had won it, he said: 'Fantastic! What did you do?'
    I copied and pasted my tell for him.
    'Hahahaha!' he said. 'But what does (H) mean?'
    'Nothing that I know of,' I said, 'but I thought he might be impressed by it.'

Idea, ICC?
    There have been some hilarious threads recently on about insulting, e.g. how rude it can be when your opponent thanks you for the game right after you've hung a queen in a winning position. That is nothing compared to what ICC itself is capable of. When you have a guy disconnect on you 2 moves before mate, you are already very angry. When he comes back and ignores your challenge and tells, and starts playing somebody else, steam is coming out of your ears. And then, when you've told adjudicate, ICC finishes you off by telling you: 'We've messaged him to make an effort to resume the game. Good luck!'

33. 9 November: A beautiful and tragic game
Ton Sijbrands, 7 November 1999
Last Saturday, the Dutch ex-Worldchampion of international draughts, Ton Sijbrands (49), beat his own blind simul world record, pushing it from 18 to 20. Typically Ton—when I asked him why not to 19, to make money twice from going to 20, he said he didn't want to be petty. He felt he could do 20, so he was going to do 20. In 15 hours, he won 17 games and drew 3, against players who would compare to 2000-2100 chess players. He played totally blind, not seeing pieces, boards, or notations.
    In chess, the world blindfold simul record is a disputed matter. There was no control over some wellknown record simuls, and the circumstances and rules seem to be different each time. Ken Whyld's Guiness Book of Chess Records still gives Koltanowski's 34 of 1934 as the 'last undisputed record.' But even if Flesch' often quoted 52 of 1960 were genuine, it would not compare to Sijbrands' 20. Blindfold play in draughts is much more difficult, mainly because all the pieces are the same, and patterns are therefore much less distinct. I wonder if blindfold go is possible at all.
    Draughts is a beautiful, but also a tragic game. There is no money—you'd almost forbid your child to be good at it. At least five postwar World Champions of the international (10x10) game ended their careers while being champion. The standard defensive joke tells it all: 'On the flipside of a checkerboard, there is a chessboard.' Chess champions dine with kings, draughts champions get the bottlecaps in the kitchen. Sure, chess has more variation, more types of play than draughts, it has a choice of 30 moves per move against 9, but that does not automatically make it a more beautiful or a deeper game. You see more on a Van Gogh than on a Mondrian, but you also see more on a Crying Gipsy Girl.
    I had my fling with draughts, some 30 years ago, attracted by the fantastic, clockwork-like combinations, and by the two boy wonders of Dutch draughts, 17-year old Ton Sijbrands and 14-year old Harm Wiersma. After interviewing him, I became friends with Ton. Later, he and Wiersma would win 8 World titles between them. This year, they were still first (Wiersma) and second in the European Championship.
    When Sijbrands became World Champion for the first time, in 1972, he won a trip to Reykjavik, to see the World Chess Championship match between Spassky and Fischer. I hoped to find an opportunity in him to get to Fischer. Word was that Fischer was interested in draughts, and there was a little black guy from New York in his entourage, Archie Waters, who was said to be his ping pong partner, and a very strong draughts player. I could see myself and Archie Waters, envoys paving the way for a historic meeting. But when Sijbrands and Waters got together, it turned out Waters had never heard of him and also, he thought he was the World Champion—in another variant of the game. It was a moving sight to see my World Champion and this other world champion explaining their rules to each other.
    In 1973, when Sijbrands defended his title in a match against the Soviet Latvian Andreiko, Dutch draughts players had to bear the insult that I, a chess player, was the host of a series of TV-programs about it. After the first game, Sijbrands, the TV-people and I had dinner together. Not in a palace where thirty lackeys were waiting on us, but at the Chinese around the corner. Sijbrands had agreed to be in our program, and between eggrolls and chop suey, he showed me some positions and variations that maybe I could use. Quickly however, he lost himself in a myriad of fantastic lines that could have occurred that afternoon, but which were way above my understanding, and which we couldn't use for the program. In the nervousness of my approaching first broadcast, I said something to him like: "Very nice Ton, but not now."
    He was too much of a gentleman to be angry, but I remember his pique. A chess player shutting him up when he reveled in the beauty of his game, in the middle of his World Championship—he must have felt all the frustrations of draughts at once. We didn't have any more dinners during that match.
    He won, his second and last World Championship. After that, he went in retreat for almost two decades, only analyzing, writing, and playing club matches. In the nineties, he has been making come-backs on-and-off, at one point missing a third world title by a move, then going in retreat once more when his beloved game wasn't paid the respect it deserves. (Carpenters hammering away during play in a Dutch Championship.)
    Come on, Ton, you still can do it. You're not yet 50. You owe it to your talent to be Champion one more time.

32. 8 November: Team sport

White to play  
Huang Tong - Wang Yue  
Boys u12 Wch  
Oropesa del Mar, 1999
Daniel Stellwagen (12) is a very talented player from Holland. Last Saturday, before the last round of the World boys under-12 Championship in Oropesa del Mar (Spain), he shared the lead with the Chinese player Wang Yue. According to the tiebreaking system, Stellwagen would be champion if he won, or if he drew and Wang Yue also drew. Stellwagen played somebody not from Holland, while Wang Yue played Huang Tong who is also from China. After 3 hours of play, Stellwagen offered a draw which was accepted, and immediately Huang Tong resigned in the position on the left, where both players had half an hour for two moves to make the time control. A new Chinese World Champion!
    A Dutch protest was turned down because there was no proof. This is interesting. No proof of what? Wasn't 39.resign proof that he resigned? Two hundred people saw the man hold the gun against his wife's head and pull the trigger. Acquitted. No proof he shot her.

31. 7 November: Master Jacobson

The serial at The Chess Cafe has run its course, and you can now read my short story in full there.

30. 6 November: the mystery of the right-hand corner square

I think I may have solved the mystery of why in every layman representation of chess, in movies and in ads, the right-hand corner square is dark.
    Recently, when staying in the extremely luxurious and beautiful Wharekauhau Lodge naar Featherston (North Island, New Zealand—their publicity material sports a quote by Steve Wozniak to whom this was 'the single best thing he had ever done on a trip away from home') I found a fancy natural stone chess set of the kind that has never seen a Nimzo Indian. It had been set up with a dark square at the right-hand corner. Being a true chess player (when given a chocolate chess set, I eat the kings last), I couldn't resist turning the board and putting it right. Then I went for a beach walk. Beautiful black sand, incredible surf, grotesque driftwood.
    When I came back, I found I had been corrected. The board had been turned again: dark square at the right-hand corner. People think it's more beautiful that way.






29. 31 October: Check, please

Downloaded the analysis with which Kasparov intends to prove he would have won against the World after 58...Qf5, too. The complete tree of variations contains 1859 moves. This beats Hübner's famous analysis of his game vs. Portisch, Interpolis 1981 (Tilburg, Netherlands), which takes 29 pages in the tournament book, with close to 6000 moves for the whole game. But then, Chéron analyses an Averbakh position very close to Kasparov vs. World (Ka4, Qd4, g7 vs. Kb1, Qg3), proving White is winning whoever plays first, in 34 pages with somewhere between 15000 and 20000 moves.
    But of course, as a correspondent said: wait for the book on Kasparov vs. World; the most heavily analyzed game ever.

28. 30 October: A winning smile
In that documentary 'Clash of the Titans' (see item 27), there was also some footage of Fischer I had never seen: 14-year old Bobby at a demonstration board, showing a position I recognized as Fischer-Sherwin from his first American championship. At the time it was analysed extensively in Holland by Kramer and Crabbendam,
White to play 
Fischer - Sherwin 
New York 1957
whose findings have perhaps not yet entered the Fischer-story.
    30.Rxf7 A great coup, probably the best move, but perhaps not winning. 30...Rc1+? Falls for the trap. Of course 30...Rxf7 was not possible because of 31.Ra8+ and mate, and 30...Qxd5 31.Rxf8+! (31.exd5? Rc1+ and mate) Kxf8 32.Qf1+ Qf7 33.Ra8+ Ke7 34.Ra7+ loses by force. 30...Qc1+ is met by 31.Qf1! (not 31.Rf1? Kh8 and Black wins) and White wins after a funny cascade of pins, e.g. 31...Rxf7 31.Ra8+ Rc8 32.Bxf7+ and 33.Qxc1.
    Best is 30...h5. White then has a couple of ways to go astray: 31.Rf3+ Kh7 32.Rxc3 Qd2 33.Bc4 Qxc3 and Black wins, or 31.Rf5+ Kh7 32.Rxf8 Rc1+ 33.Rf1 Qf4, also with a win for Black. Unclear is 31.Qf1 Kh7 (Rc1? 32.Qxc1 and 33.Rf1+) 32.Rxf8 Rc1.
    After 30...h5, White's best try is 31.Rxf8++ Kxf8 32.Qf1+ Qf6! (after 32...Nf6 33.Rc4 Rxc4 34.Qxc4 Nxd5 35.exd5 White wins the queens ending) and now White must try his luck in the watery endgame after 33.Ra8+ Ke7 34.Ra7+ Kd8 35.Rf7 Qxf1+ 36.Rxf1 because, as Crabbendam showed, the attack with 35.Qb1 in that variation doesn't work: Black draws with Nf2+ 36.Kg1 Nh3+ enz. (37.gxh3? Qg5+ and Black wins.)
    After Sherwin's 30...Rc1+, 31.Rf1+ would lose (Kh8 32.Ra8 Rxa8 33.Bxa8 Qf4), but Fischer had the cunning 31.Qf1! up his sleeve, the move he's just played on the demonstration board. 31...Rxf1+ 32.Rxf1+ is not possible, and the double threat Rxf8++ and Qxc1 finishes the game at once. There followed: 31...h5 32.Qxc1 Qh4 33.Rxf8++ Kh7 34.h3 Qg3 35.hxg4 h4 36.Be6 and Black resigned.
     The smile with which he shows this devilish 31.Qf1! is open, and winning.

27. 19 October: Of Icelandic girls

Some time ago, under the title 'Clash of the Titans', the BBC broadcast a documentary about Fischer - Spassky, Reykjavik 1972. It brought back many memories, because I was there. For instance of A. who, last I heard, runs a hotel on Cyprus, but who was then a 16-year old Icelandic schoolgirl. Together, we went to the great feast in the exposition hall at the outskirts of Reykjavik where the match had been played, and where now Bobby Fischer's coronation as King of Chess would be celebrated.
    In the movie, I saw that night again; the long tables where thousand or two thousand guests were seated for the banquet; the bizarre spectacle of Fischer and Spassky who, in the middle of everything, took out a pocket chess set and started analyzing one of their games. Later there was dancing, and Bobby danced too. And when, still later, I had lost sight of A. for a moment, and suddenly saw her again, she was sitting with him, at his table. She saw me too, and with a disregard, befitting her age, of all barriers that come in the way of friendship, she beckoned me: Come and join us!
    Quickly, I judged the situation. At both ends of Fischer's table there were security guards. Three or four long tables separated us. I threw myself on the floor and started crawling. It was one of the few times in my life that I was aware of the symbolism of what I was doing while I was doing it. Fischer is the chessplayer of the millennium, so much was clear by then. A king. And here I was, crawling through the dust to reach his throne. A. said: 'This is Bobby and this is Tim, he plays chess too.' We shook each other's hands and I congratulated him, but what I remember of the conversation that followed is mainly that it could hardly be called one. I'm not a great small-talker.
    Sometimes, I think of that missed opportunity. Bobby wore a purple corduroy suit that night. He was quite particular about clothes, he thought the chessworld ought to be be classy. I should have asked him where he had bought it, who his tailor was. We would have talked about that suit for hours and, gradually, about other things too. He would have asked me to come to his place and see his other suits, we would have become friends, and I would have shielded him from the terrible fact that neither he nor any of the thousands in that hall could have possibly known that evening: that his chess career was already over.

26. 24 September: Game drawn by repetition
  Last night on ICC, using my alias for the command obs * -c (which will get you to see the highest rated non-computer game), I chanced upon a 3 5 game between grandmasters Grandma (2938) and KingLoek (2929). After 39 moves, the position in the diagram was reached. There followed: 39...Rb5+ 40.Kc2 Rc5 41.Kb3 Rb5+ 42.Kc2 Rc5 43.Kb3 Rb5+ ICC does spot repetitions, but will only declare the game a draw if one of the players clicks 'draw'. Here, neither did. The game continued, watched by at least 60 people, including a few grandmasters: 44.Kc2 Rc5 45.Kb3 Rb5+ 46.Kc2 Rc5 47.Kb3 Rb5+ 48.Kc2 Rc5 49.Kb3 Rb5+ 50.Kc2 Rc5 51.Kb3 Rb5+ 52.Kc2 Rc5 53.Kb3 Rb5+ 54.Kc2 Rc5 55.Kb3 Rb5+ 56.Kc2 Rc5 57.Kb3 Rb5+ 58.Kc2 Rc5 59.Kb3 Rb5+ 60.Kc2 Rc5 61.Kb3 Rb5+ 62.Kc2 Rc5 63.Kb3 Rb5+ 64.Kc2 Rc5 65.Kb3 Rb5+ 66.Kc2 Rc5 67.Kb3 Rb5+ 68.Kc2 Rc5 69.Kb3 Rb5+ 70.Kc2 Rc5 71.Kb3 Rb5+ 72.Kc2 Rc5 73.Kb3 Rb5+ 74.Kc2 Rc5 75.Kb3 Rb5+ 76.Kc2 Rc5 77.Kb3 Rb5+ 78.Kc2 Rc5 79.Kb3 Rb5+ 80.Kc2 Rc5 81.Kb3 Rb5+ 82.Kc2 Rc5 83.Kb3 Rb5+ 84.Kc2 Rc5 85.Kb3 Rb5+ 86.Kc2 Rc5 87.Kb3 Rb5+ 88. Kc2 Rc5 89.Kb3 Rb5+ 90.Kc2 Rc5 91.Kb3 Rb5+ 92.Kc2 Rc5 93.Kb3 Rb5+ 94.Kc2 Rc5 95.Kb3 Rb5+ 96.Kc2 Rc5 97.Kb3 Rb5+ 98.Kc2 Rc5 99.Kb3 Rb5+ 100.Kc2 Rc5 101.Kb3 Rb5+ 102.Kc2 Rc5 103.Kb3 Rb5+ 104.Kc2 Rc5 105. Kb3 Rb5+ 106.Kc2 Rc5 107.Kb3 Rb5+ 108.Kc2 Rc5 109.Kb3 Rb5+ 110.Kc2 Rc5 111.Kb3 Rb5+ 112.Kc2 Rc5 113.Kb3 Rb5+ 114.Kc2 Rc5 115.Kb3 Rb5+ 116.Kc2 Rc5 117.Kb3 Rb5+ 118.Kc2 Rc5 119.Kb3 Rb5+ 120.Kc2 Rc5 121. Kb3 Rb5+ 122.Kc2 Rc5 123.Kb3 Rb5+ 124.Kc2 Rc5 125.Kb3 Rb5+ 126.Kc2 Rc5 127.Kb3 Rb5+ 128.Kc2 Rc5 129.Kb3 Rb5+ 130.Kc2 Rc5 131.Kb3 Rb5+ 132.Kc2 Rc5 133.Kb3 Rb5+ 134.Kc2 Rc5 135.Kb3 Rb5+ 136.Kc2 Rc5 137. Kb3 Rb5+ 138.Kc2 Rc5 139.Kb3 Rb5+ 140.Kc2 Rc5 141.Kb3 Rb5+ 142.Kc2 Rc5 143.Kb3 Rb5+ 144.Kc2 Rc5 145.Kb3 Rb5+ 146.Kc2 Rc5 147.Kb3 Rb5+ 148.Kc2 Rc5 149.Kb3 Rb5+ and here the text appeared: 'Game drawn by repetition 1/2-1/2'

25. 22 September: Chepukaitis

Michal Rudolf again. He sent me this fantastic fragment from an old blitz game, found in an obscure little Russian book 'Sprint na schakhmatnoy dozhke' (Sprint on the chessboard; 1997) by Genrikh Chepukaitis. He is a national master, 64 now, still with a FIDE rating of 2396. He was many times blitz champion of St. Petersburg, and appears to be a rather imaginative player.
White to play 
Chepukaitis - Bagirov 
Baku 1957, blitz

1.Rh8+ Bxh8 2.Qh1 Qc2+ 3.Kg3 Kg7 4.Qh7+ Kf6 Qh6 now wins easily (e6 or e5 is then forced) but we'd have missed a lot. 5.Bb2+ Rc3 6.Ra1 (again) Bf1 7.Bxc3+ And again, after 7.Ra6+ Bxa6 7...Qxc3 8.Rf1 Qe3+ 9.Kh4 Bg7 And apart from the black King, the white Queen is now trapped too. 10.Kh5! Threatening Qg8. 10...Qg3? Rh8 was much better; the queen does not have to be captured immediately. 11.Rc1! On 11...Qh2+ 12.Nh3 there is nothing against Rc6+ (11...Rd8 12.Qg8!) 11....Qxf4 12. Rc6+ Not 12.Qxg7+ Kxg7 13.Ne6+ Kf6 14.Nxf4 Rh8 mate 12...Qd6 13. Rxd6+ now loses after cxd6 14.Nf7 (otherwise ...Rh8) e3 and the pawn cannot be stopped. 13.Nf7 Qxc6 14.dxc6 e3 Still, how is that pawn going to be stopped? 15.Nh6! Rh8 15...e2 (15...Bxh6 16.Qxh6 wins easily) 16.Ng8+ Rxg8 17.Qxg8 e1Q 18.Qf7+ Ke5 19.Qxe7+ and White wins. 16.Qxh8 Bxh8 17.c7 e2 18.c8Q e1Q 19.Qf5+ Kg7 20.Qf7 mate

24. 22 September: Kuzmin, hero of lost Queen's endings

Black to play 
Michal Rudolf pointed out Kuzmin - Korotylev, Alushta 1999 to me, with an interesting endgame.
    Black should be winning. But due to his weakened king's side, it's going to be difficult. 38...Qb8+ 39.Kg1 Qd8 40.e5 f5 41.g3 h4 42.gxh4 One. Kh6 43.Qf4+ Kh5 44.Qa4 g6 45.Qc6 Qe7 46.Qd6 Qf7 47.Qd8 Oops - two. Kh6 48.Qxa5 Qd7 49.Qc5 Kh5 50.Qf8 Qh7 51.Qf6 Same fork. Qh6 52.Qxe6 Three. Kxh4 53.Qb3 Qc1+ 54.Kg2 g5 55.Qb7 and Black resigned.

Kuzmin winning a
White to play 
lost Queen's ending? That reminds me of Matochin - Kuzmin, USSR 1970.
     White does not have an extra pawn here, but his advantage is clear. 1.Kf6 would offer good chances. However, White wanted to force matters with 1.Qf4 This turned out not to be a good idea. 1...f6+ 2.Kg4 (2.Qxf6 Qg3 mate) Qg2+ 3.Qg3 f5+ 4.Kf4 e5+ and White resigned in view of 5.dxe5 Qd2 with a beautiful diagonal epaulette mate.
    This fragment was used in the German film "Schwarz und weiss wie Tage und Nächte" (Black and white like day and night) which was - loosely - based on Bobby Fischer's life.

23. 12 September: Death warrant

Vernon had it in mind to put him up for Lettice's job, features editor. Her foot-dragging over the Siamese twins had put her on probation. The chess supplement had been her death warrant.

Ian McEwan, "Amsterdam"

22. 8 September: Master Jacobson.

Starting today, The Chess Cafe is serializing my story Master Jacobson.

21. 22 August: Changed Moves
Mate in 3 
S. Clausén 
Eskilstuna Kuriren 1931
Saw this one in the German Magazine 'Schach'. And another 15 minutes of my life was stupidly gone. What else can a threemover like this be but a little trick? Which anyone who learned the rules not later than yesterday could solve in at most half a minute?
    It's clear immediately that promotion to queen is stalemate and that if it were Black's move, White could deliver mate in time by a checking promotion, followed by mate along the diagonal. It is also clear, however, that White does not have a suitable waiting move. If the king goes to a black square, the bishop checks him, and he's too late. White squares also have their drawbacks; there, the king either interferes with the mate itself, or with the new queen reaching the mating square; and Black defends accordingly.
    I got angrily gigglish not seeing it—until an almost indignant "Aha!" escaped me. (Solution below.)

Solution to #21
Perhaps I was fooled to by the wording in Schach ('Zugwechsel', 'Wartezug')—and I tried to fool you likewise with the caption 'Changed Moves'. It has nothing to do with changed moves, and hardly with a waiting move, but with the very simple fact that if it were Black's move, and he played 1...Be5, White can both play 2.f8Q+ and 2.h8Q+ (Bxh8 3.f8Q mate.) This must be combined with the fact that of the four king's moves to white squares, only Kf5 does not spoil the mate of Ph7. Therefore, the promotion of this pawn can be used as a decoy: 1.Kf5! Be5(!) 2.h8Q+ and 3.Qh1 mate or 3.f8Q mate.

© Tim Krabbé, 1999, 2000

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