Blog Series/E-Book: My Least Crappy Games (Part 1, Game 1)
If you've been in the chess world for any length of time, you're aware of such game collections as My 60 Memorable Games (Fischer), My Best Games (Karpov), My Best Games of Chess (Alekhine), and so on.
As a lover of satire, but also with a wavering intrigue for chess and a genuine interest in teaching, I will now take you through some of my "least crappy" games on chess.com -- in hopes that you laugh, smile, or maybe learn something. There will be humor and lessons intermixed, and your job is to figure out which is when.
Of course, I am no master of chess. But that is the whole point of this series. You do not have to be a chess master to play a good game, to make comments about your own moves, to be creative, or just to have a good time. With that said... this collection is clearly intended for beginners to intermediates.
As a wise man once said: "It's just a game, dude."
Part One: My Beautifulest Games
Game 1 "Your Last McSteak"
(Note: This game will be fragmented, until I post the final game at the end. These are not static diagrams. Go through each game fragment with the "next" arrow before reading the text that follows. The text will refer to the final position in each game fragment. I prefer it this way instead of scrunching up the text within the game diagram.)
Ahh. Here we have the great Capablanca as a little boy defense. In the beginning of Capablanca's biographical games collection, I recall him stating that he played this defense as a child because all the other masters had studied openings, and he hadn't; so this was basically the safest thing to do. Figured I'd give it a try and channel the young prodigy.
I like this position. It's aesthetically pleasing and I tend to like how it plays. Note that both sides have knights covering each other, and each side has a bishop in the corner aiming at the other one. Queens are across from each other, pawns on the right side are kind of angled towards each other, and the rooks will be similar after black castles soon. Somewhat congruent, and interesting, I think.
Now black has fianchetto'd his other bishop, opting for the deadly "double fianchetto" strategy. He has also castled, because castling is good. But can you spot black's mistake? And will white take advantage of this lack of foresight...?
Wow, just wow. This is one of those moments where you slap yourself on the head. If you aren't sure what's going on here: white's pawn is attacking black's knight, but the black knight cannot move to safety -- because if the knight moves away, the white bishop will take his queen on the next move. Of course, if black spent a little more time on the previous few moves, he would have easily seen this trap. But rushed play will take its toll, and black will lose a piece.
Black has accepted the loss of the minor piece, but at least gained a pawn in the process. In chess point theory, he is only down "2 points," and it could be far worse. But in reality, he has one less knight, and that will make it difficult to win or even draw. Fortunately, it's not over. Opponents at this level often make similar bad mistakes later in the game, making it possible to turn the tables.
Ten more moves and black is still down a minor piece. Things are not looking so good. What could white possibly do to let black come back?
Ouch. Can you see it? Yes... now black will take white's rook, because it is no longer protected by his other rook. The noble knight has made a grave mistake. Now... I promise most games in this collection will not contain obvious blunders by both sides. In the future, I will try my best to avoid including such games. But the real beauty in this game is not yet revealed...
After the trade of blunders, black came out with a notable advantage. But here we actually find the beauty of this game. On the right side of the board we see two sets of pawns meeting in the middle, unable to move forward. The black rook on the right side is gunning for white's pawn in the back, and so it must stay defended by the white rook, rendering it inactive. The white knight, like the white rook, is useless. And the finale: Black's pawn chain on the left is truly a sight to behold.
As I told you, the white knight is useless, and will now try in vain to make itself useful. Yet on the next move, black adds to the beauty of this game, and virtually ends the game right there. The black rook is now attacking both white pawns from the side, so both pawns must be defended. However, the only white pawn able to do so, would fall if it were moved forward to defend the pawns. Conclusion: One of those three pawns is going to die. And with the death of one pawn, will come destruction of white's last line of defense. Because of this move, it is inevitable that a black pawn will eventually become queen. Sometimes a simple move is beautiful, and paves the way to victory.
One of the white pawns fell, as predicted. The white pawn sandwhiched between both rooks cannot take the black pawn, because it is pinned. If the pawn takes, the black rook will capture the white rook. White must sense his impending doom.
Black opts to trade rooks, and white accepts. Maybe not the best choice for black, but I don't know if there's another choice. White moves his knight to intercept the pawns running for white's back rank, but a knight and his king can not hold back the black pawn army.
How can black convert his advantage? There are two pawns threatening to become queens, but if either one moves forward, they would die. Not only that, but the white king is moving to block the pawns' advance. Fortunately, DrCheckEvertim finds the beautifulest solution:
Black gives white's king a choice: to die, or to die a little bit later. The king must take white's pawn so that it won't become a queen, but that leaves a black rook, which will be more than enough to finish the job.
I hope you enjoyed this game. Although analysis has its place, I find it more beautifuler when you view the whole game, from start to finish. Here it is: