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Half a Point is better than None

Half a Point is better than None

Jul 11, 2008, 10:28 AM 8

Have you ever realized how your ambitions change during the course of a game? When your opponent is attacking fiercely and when you are hard pressed, you'd be very glad to escape with a draw. Yet, a moment later, when the pressure has eased off, you've forgotten all about your worries, and you play headlong for a win.

Some players are even more optimistic, or shall we say, more stubborn. Even in the most difficult situations, they insist in "all or nothing" win or lose. And very often they lose precisely because they refuse to concede the half point.

Some positions are so difficult to defend that you do well to accept a draw. Very often, to despise the possible draw means a forced loss. Sometimes it means a likely loss, or a grim, uphill fight at best. Consequently, to force a draw in such a difficult position is a real achievement. Some players still look on a draw as a disgrace or a misfortune; however, when you look at the following position, you will realize how much skill and artistry go into the job of forcing a draw in a lost position.

White is the great German Professor Adolf Anderssen, one of the finest attacking players in the history of the game. Black is Johannes Zukertort, his most brilliant pupil. Both of these masters of sparkling combinative play outdo themselves in conjuring up magnificent resources.

(Notes by American Chess Legend Fred Reinfeld)


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