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Bullies on the Board

Bullies on the Board

Nov 14, 2009, 2:19 PM 11,118 Reads 28 Comments

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.


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