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A Bat, A Mouse and a Castle

She-Who-Flies-by-Night is known well beyond the boundaries of chess.com and is one of the most respected contributors in the chess firmament, so when she makes a request it carries the authority of a royal command. A few days ago she asked me to write a story about castle mates and I didn't even stop to say, Yes ma'amI went straight off, searching for them.

As you'd expect, the majority of such games—in which mate is achieved by castling—are only possible when a Master plays an amateur; as a result, most of the victims are anonymous. That's where the mouse comes in—Anonny Mouse.

Batgirl herself supplied one example from twelve year-old Paul Morphy who was brave enough to castle mate his father. If any of my kids had done that to me they'd have been grounded for life! You can find the game in the comments section of my “King Hunts” story.

The game in the first diagram below was originally published by Eugene Znosko-Borovsky in The Art of Chess Combination and repeated by Robert Timmer in his entertaining book Castling to Win. There was a sense of inevitability about this game and Mr Mouse must have felt like a bulimic dieter on a binge. He'd have liked to stop eating but White kept feeding him pieces and he couldn't say no.

 

In the second game the Mouse had the white bits against Dr Meyer at Ansbach in 1931. Unlike the previous game he wasn't fed too much cheese—Meyer sacrificed only a rook—but at the end of play the body of the board was dominated by Black while the White pieces cringed on the first rank wringing their hands and, like the Scots of old, pleading in vain with Bonnie Charlie to come home.

 

There's no Mouse in Game 3—Annony Mouse or otherwise—but since the game was won by Seuss, playing against Hurme, at the 1969 Students' Olympiad at Dresden, you might wonder whether The Cat in the Hat was lurking behind White's pieces, or whether perhaps, Hurme just had a case of bats in the belfry. And, before anybody takes the trouble to point it out, a simple 19.Rf1# would have sufficed, but castling had a lot more panache. This is a different kind of castle mate but no less entertaining.

 

There's a timeliness about this topic. When batgirl suggested it I went looking for some castle mates and hadn't found any before the postman arrived on Wednesday with a box of books from the USCF. They included the freebie offered in the joint promotion with chess.com and until I opened the box I had no idea what to expect. It turned out to be Robert Timmer's Castling to Win—a fascinating read with a few pages on castle mates. Thank you USCF!


(Postscript: I wrote this piece on Thursday, the day before batgirl posted The Morals of Chess  so my opening remarks were not intended as a response to that post. They expressed my opinion at the time of writing. I haven't changed my mind.)

Comments


  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    GutenTag: Thanks for the fun post.  That first game made me dizzy...

    Danke schoen, gutentag. If you're dizzy a nip or schnapps might be in order.

    Soulcrates: That last game with Dr. Seusse was great!

    Perhaps not quite Dr Seusse but I'll bet his friends called him that. It's a bit like the confusion between Dr Spock and Mr Spock though, of the two, I think Mr Spock was more believable.

    Chessachilles: the last game looks like a grob right

    Not so, Chessachilles. The Grob (or Spike) commences 1.g4. There are 266 Grobs in the chess.com database.  You can find them HERE. It's just barely playable at club level and is probably best suited to blitz but you'd need to be careful or, like your namesake, you could end up shooting yourself in the foot. But welcome to chess.com. I hope you enjoy your stay.

  • 5 years ago

    Chessachilles

    the last game looks like a grob right

  • 5 years ago

    GutenTag

    Thanks for the fun post.  That first game made me dizzy...

  • 5 years ago

    batgirl

    Luckily, point 3 from the Devil's New Dictionary doesn't apply to me in the least!

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    batgirl: I've actually read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Mary Stewart's books on Arthur Pendragon.
                            Hic jacet Arturus, rex quondam, rexque futurus
    .

    Both the USA and Australia are direct descendants of Britain. Neither seems to care much for knights. What about ladies-in-waiting?

    First the quote:

    At Glastonbury on the queer,
    They made Artourez toumbe there,
    And wrote with latyn vers thus,
    Hic jacet Arturus, rex quondam, rexque futurus
    (Here lies Arthur, the once and future king).

    And, as for ladies-in-waiting I need go no further than Richard Ianelli who defined a female stork as a "lady in wading". However, in his Devil's New Dictionary he defines "lady" this way:

    1. a woman who asks for a glass with her beer;

    2. a woman who wishes she had more to regret in the morning;

    3. a woman who takes longer to get dressed than it takes to learn the clarinet;

    4. a woman who chews gum one stick at a time.

    Embarassed

  • 5 years ago

    batgirl

    I've actually read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Mary Stewart's books on Arthur Pendragon.
                            Hic jacet Arturus, rex quondam, rexque futurus
    .

    Both the USA and Australia are direct descendants of Britain. Neither seems to care much for knights. What about ladies-in-waiting?


  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    batgirl: I'm a great believer in cosmic serendipity.

    Me too! In her Arthurian trilogy Mary Stewart had Merlin say, "When you put yourself in the way of the god, magic can happen."

    That's certainly been my experience in more situations than one and, perhaps, with more gods than one. These days Caissa heads my pantheon and, I gotta admit, she gives me much pleasure.

    BTW thanks for Bill James's Caissa poem.  I'd call him Sir William but we Australians aren't much into knights ... unless they're the chessboard  variety. It was enjoyable and, although I knew where the idea originated, I hadn't read it before.

    Thanks also for the additional insight into the Spencer game. I own a copy of Znosko-Borovsky's book but not the other.

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    Gert-Jan: In the first game the white player took a large risk. When black saw the trap in time white would end up in a very bad position because a huge amount of pieces are missing.

    You may well be right, G-J but I don't have the skill to analyse it to that extent. The problem with pulling back would appear to be that White's pieces had very sharp teeth and Black's king was horribly exposed. It wasn't so much a matter of "if" he would die, but "where ". I kinda like the way it ended.

  • 5 years ago

    batgirl

    Clever adaptation. Of course I anticipated nothing less.

    I'm a great believer in cosmic serendipity. Things tent to occur with some unfathomable, seemingly coincidental, connection too often to be simply excused away.

    You may be interested to know that Winter covered this game in one of his books.  According to Winter, this game actually first appeared in the May 1894 issue of Deutsche Schachzeitung.  The White army was conducted by J. Spencer, a player from Minnesota. In J. H. Ellis' 1895 book Chess Sparks, (p. 142, Game 398) the game was presented as having been played in a "Mineapolis [sic] Chess Club about 1894. Muzio Gambit."

    In The Art of Chess Combination, (p. 78) Eugène Znosko-Borovsky gave this game as almost an after-thought when he wrote: "We may add, merely as a curiosity, a game won by F.C. Spencer (date unknown), in which the King's wanderings began in the very opening. After a number of fantastic moves, by no means forced, he finished up by being mated. The game was a Muzio Gambit."


    Lovely castling mates!

    Thanks.

  • 5 years ago

    Gert-Jan

    In the first game the white player took a large risk. When black saw the trap in time white would end up in a very bad position because a huge amount of pieces are missing.

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    kco, SonofPearl, incinci, Eiwob: thanks for the comments.

    kco, I'm going to put you in the same class as my son, Wayne. When he was about 15 we were standing knee-deep in the Pacific Ocean at dusk watching the full moon rising. It was enormous, as it always is near the horizon, a rich golden colour, with a wisp of cloud cutting its face.  Spell-binding stuff! Then Wayne stuffed it all by saying, "It looks just like Pacman, doesn't it? "

    I would have drowned him on the spot but I was afraid of his mother...

  • 5 years ago

    incinci

    Funny!

  • 5 years ago

    SonofPearl

    Very nice! Cool

  • 5 years ago

    kco

    Funny games, the first one was like Pacman eating up all the white pieces only to find himself trap in the corner ! 

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