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Bullies on the Board

Bullies aren't very admirable people. They're often thought to be cowardly but that's not necessarily so—sometimes they're great hulking brutes who fear nobody. On the other hand, there are others who only strut their stuff when they have their friends to back them up.

The bishop in the first example is the "only-with-support" type of bully. Dr Siegbert Tarrasch had sacrificed his white-square bishop to break open Bernhard Richter's position and, with a strong attack, brought up his black bishop to pin Richter's queen. The position looked resignable but Richter's pieces weren't giving up without a fight and... But see for yourself. It's pretty.

I was once sent to work in a branch office for a week and found that everybody played chess at lunch time. One guy asked if I played and I gave my standard, “A little bit,” so he offered to take the White pieces and allow me to follow his moves. Well, you can guess what happened; but, in taking advantage of him, it's clear that I was being the bully. Some newer players do try to follow their more experienced opponents' moves but at best it only postpones the inevitable. Given that old cliché about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery I suppose Karel Traxler should have taken it as a compliment when Jan Samanek copied his first fifteen moves. Unfortunately for Jan he wasn't able to copy the sixteenth!

 

Perhaps the worst kind of bullying is the so-called home invasion when criminals not only rob their victims but destroy their feeling of being safe in their own homes. Here's a King who invaded his opponents home—albeit unwillingly—but found that White's security was more than strong enough to deal with him.

 

And, finally, a game from the biggest, baddest bully of them all—Bobby Fischer. His opponent is unknown and the game lasted only thirteen moves. Black's queen was under attack and although she had ten escape squares available, every one of them was covered.

 

Comments


  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    kurtgoddenEveryone in the office played chess?  That's a dream job!

    It was about 1974 and, in Oz, there was an enormous surge of interest in chess following the Fischer-Spassky match. New clubs sprang up all over the place. Most of them have since folded and Sydney has only a handful of chess clubs now, but in the 70s it was almost a renaissance.

    I guess it would have been even more so in the States at that time.

  • 5 years ago

    kurtgodden

    Everyone in the office played chess?  That's a dream job!

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    idosheepallnight I loved this article. Very fun read !!!!!

    Thanks, idosheep. (Hope you don't mind me using your first name...)

    I've gotta say I love your choice of name. Made me think you were a Kiwi till I saw your flag. Also reminds me of this piece of children's literature:

    Mary had a little sheep / it went to bed with her, to sleep / she found too late it was a ram / Mary had a little lamb.

    Smile

  • 5 years ago

    idosheepallnight

    I loved this article. Very fun read !!!!!

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    WuGambinoKillaBee:  hahaha, the black King in game three just chomped his way into white's domain, thinking it would be safe

    Reminds me or a comment on one of Fred Reinfeld's puzzles:  "The condemned man ate a hearty meal."

    BTW We're practically neighbours. Where in Sydney do you live?

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    Summum_Malum  The game by Fischer, isn't that the Magnus-Smith trap??

    It certainly is. I have to confess that I'd never heard of the Magnus Smith trap. I'm ashamed to admit that, until now, I'd never even heard of Magnus Smith (though I have heard of Magnus Kasparov).

    There's a very good demonstration on the trap on You-Tube.

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    AMcHarg:  Love the picture at the top... poor wee pawn though! Frown

    Thanks, Jimmy. There's a whole set of chess pieces drawn in that style at Icon Archive. They're very clever. (The bully part of the picture is a photograph of me when I was a bit younger. I just glued them together.)

    Here's a pic of the knight from that series.

    BTW, sorry to hear Rangers didn't make it into the English Premier League.

  • 5 years ago

    WuGambinoKillaBee

    hahaha, the black King in game three just chomped his way into white's domain, thinking it would be safe

  • 5 years ago

    Summum_Malum

    The game by Fishcer, isn't that the Magnus-Smith trap??

    Anyways, great article!! =)

  • 5 years ago

    AMcHarg

    Thanks for sharing, interesting post.  Love the picture at the top... poor wee pawn though! Frown

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    XavierPadillaGreat blog post (I realize it's not an article only after I look for the yellow stars to award it all five of them)

    Thanks, Xavier. Smile Nobody ever gave me stars before. I'll award myself a couple of invisible ones...

  • 5 years ago

    XavierPadilla

    Great blog post (I realize it's not an article only after I look for the yellow stars to award it all five of them), Dozy, as always. Thank you for sharing!

    About the Fischer game, if 9...dxe5 10. Qxf7+ Kd7, no checkmate yet.

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    cgsDuring play of second game occured to me a Latin proverb: Si duo facit idem non est idem.

    If I'm correct that's a quote from Cicero: Any man can make a mistake but only a fool keeps making the same one.  It may well be a commentary on one of my current games where I made a careless move in the opening...

    Thanks for the information on Dr. Janny.  I didn't know who he was. That information didn't come with the .pgn I located.

    And for anybody who hasn't yet visited cgs's blog let me recommend it. You won't be disappointed.

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    WorkmaneWonderful games and a great post.  I especially enjoy the fact that in addition to bringing a gem of a game (I'm just starting to read Tarrasch's book) you do it with a solid writing voice that makes it much more enjoyable than most posts to read.

    Thanks, Workmane. That's appreciated. I haven't read Tarrasch's book but anything he had to say would be worth reading.

    I did a quick search for a couple of the older chess books on Project Gutenberg yesterday but didn't find any. I must give it another try.

    danthebugman: Interesting and unusual collection of games.  Nice post.

    Cheers, Dan. That's also an interesting and unusual choice of name you have. Is it related to your veterinary work, your home environment (we've got plenty of summertime bugs in Oz), or does it reflect a darker side of your character that propagates malware?

    TsunamiDartsdope article. good showing of why 'mirroring moves' is not advisable. Fischer tha Queen killer! ;=]

    Now that's a term I haven't heard before, TD.  Dope, I mean. Yep, Fischer was indeed a queen killer. While he still lived there was always the hope, no matter how misplaced, that he would emerge and would be as devastating as ever. Now that can't happen but there's still a little bit of magic in his games.

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    batgirlI suspect most chess players relish playing the part of the bully - showing their stuff to easy victims - occassionally. I know I've been on both sides of that fence.

    It's fun, ain't it! One of my favourite chess bully stories was about a game I played with another presenter at a community radio station. A man who had just been an on-air guest was kibitzing rather obnoxiously and at the end of the game asked to play one of us. My opponent was rearing to get at him but I said, "Sorry, mate, they're my pieces." So I had the pleasure. It didn't take long and he had no more advice to give either of us before he left.

    the results can by sweetly ironic as in the Richter game, amusing as in the Traxler game, deflating as in the Janny-Gudju game, or sassy as in the Fischer game.

    batgirl, that's pure poetry  Smile

  • 5 years ago

    Dozy

    kerver73In the 4 knights game,Mr Samanek wouldn't be very proud of his play....

    No, he wouldn't, but I'm not going to point a finger at him. I can remember too many of my own games that leave me with a few unpleasant memories (well, they felt unpleasant at the time) including one where my opponent lured my king all the way out to e4 and mated me.

    I don't recall the position -- it was a long time ago -- but I well recall the laughter from a couple of his friends. Embarassed

    On the other hand, I can easily remember this tragicomedy that I lost in a rapid-play team match in Sydney. My opponent had an ACF rating just below 2000 and I was feeling rather pleased about reaching the diagrammed position. I decided to walk down the board, steal all his pawns, queen my own, and score a wonderful win for my team. Instead I managed to find the only move that would allow me to be mated in the middle of an empty board.

    But see for yourself.  It's White to play and lose...

  • 5 years ago

    cornyjokes

    dope article. good showing of why 'mirroring moves' is not advisable. Fischer tha Queen killer! ;=]

  • 5 years ago

    Workmane

    Wonderful games and a great post.  I especially enjoy the fact that in addition to bringing a gem of a game (I'm just starting to read Tarrasch's book) you do it with a solid writing voice that makes it much more enjoyable than most posts to read.

    Thanks!

  • 5 years ago

    batgirl

    This post holds a nicely unusual game selction. I suspect most chess players relish playing the part of the bully - showing their stuff to easy victims - occassionally. I know I've been on both sides of that fence. With the fact that, even given the wide range or disparity of skill found among chess players, it's totally possible for any two chess players to meet in a game, the opportunity hovers perpetually and the results can by sweetly ironic as in the Richter game, amusing as in the Traxler game, deflating as in the Janny-Gudju game, or sassy as in the Fischer game.

  • 5 years ago

    kerver73

    Thanks very much for the games,really interesting positions...

    In the 4 knights game,Mr Samanek wouldn't be very proud of his play....

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