Returning to Chess after a Layoff

Oct 9, 2007, 5:34 PM |

It had been two months since I had played chess over the board. In fact, I almost didn't play in this tournament but changed my mind at the last minute. As the tournament was already under way, I took a bye in the first round and got geared up to finally sit down and play a game of chess with a human in front of me instead of a computer screen.

I had assumed I would out-rate my opponent since it was early in the tournament and so it proved with my opponent, who I shall not name, being rated over 500 points lower than me. Even so, I hadn't played for a while and was bound to be rusty, especially as the main reason for my recent hiatus was because I hadn't been playing well. Also, my opponent was a youngster and, in my experience, most kids' ratings do not reflect their true ability and you underestimate them at your peril.

The game was a fairly mundane one and, even though I probably made a few less than stellar moves, the gap in my opponent and I's respective ratings started to show and he eventually blundered a piece. That's always nice, of course, but what was even nicer was being able to finish with a spectacular move. The move is easier to find when you are looking for it but, like any move, it is harder to spot when you are hunched over the pieces!

See if you can spot the move that white has; it wins immediately:






















Did you see it? The move is...




















1 Qh6!! which wins in all variations. White threatens Qxg7 mate and black has no adequate defense. If 1 ... Bxh6 then 2 Nxh6 is mate. And if 1 ... Bxf6 then 2 Nxf6+ with mate next move. The only try would be 1 ... Bh8 but then white has the tactical shot 2 Rh5!! gxh5 (forced) 3 Qg5+ with mate next move.

It goes to show that even the most unremarkable of games can have a spectacular finish.

I hope you enjoyed this position. I will be posting some more blogs in the future with some other games and positions I have played. I am not a Master or anything (my USCF rating is a little under Expert level) but an interesting position can be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of who was pushing the pieces.

I should mention that I did not use a computer to analyze the position if black does indeed play Bh8 so please feel free to add any comments. It is likely I may have missed something.