Dirty, rotten scoundrels!

FM Nemo_Nobody
Nov 18, 2012, 6:11 AM |

Back in the days when the music was still good and we used Analog chess clocks in tournaments, games that were ending with both players in time-trouble were exciting and often crazy. This particularly applied for rapid tournaments, especially if there were not enough arbiters to take care of all the zeitnots.  At that time, I really hated to play against dirty players, and by “dirty” I mean people who often did all kinds of tricks while the arbiter is gone, like making noise to distract you, pushing pieces of the table while exchanging, stealing moves, lie to the arbiter about which flag fell first... Introducing Digital chess clock and time increment, things got a lot relaxed. Dirty players still trying to pull out some tricks, but it’s not same for them anymore.

I’m telling you all this because otherwise you might think that with this post I’m promoting dirty play. Far from that, but this anecdote is a must-share.  It’s somewhere on a border between insane and brilliant, but judge by yourself:

The story is that a Grandmaster and a rather inexperienced player were playing this position on a rapid or blitz tournament:

The Grandmaster (with white pieces) had 60 seconds to finish this completely lost endgame, while his opponent had 10-15 seconds to promote a queen and checkmate. In a visible excitement and almost panic, he was waiting for the next Grandmaster’s move.

Of course, the Grandmaster realized that he is lost but anyway, since he had around 60 seconds for the game, went to calculate all the possible variations, just in case he was lucky enough to find a winning idea. And this is what happened:

60 seconds before the flag falls. Plan No.1

40 seconds before the flag falls. Plan No.2

20 seconds before the flag falls. Brilliant plan No.3!

The story ends with the Grandmaster congratulating his opponent for the "nice game" and wishing him best of luck, while at the same time taking the pieces off the board before his shocked opponent could get back to himself and realyse what just happened.

I heard about this maybe 15 years ago, and I’m still laughing when I think about this position. And I don’t think that it’s brilliant because that he found a line that “wins”, but because… how crazy do you have to be to even calculate something like this? :)