Dangerous kids


I happened to dig up the scoresheet of this game yesterday and I thought I'd post it here. It's from 2005, so at the time I was aged 21 and my opponent was about 11. It was from the first round of a tournament, and I turned up 10mins late to find 1.e4 already on the board, and a grinning confident-looking child sitting opposite me. I wasn't feeling particularly well either, and I had the black pieces. Certainly my opponent didn't appear scared of the 300-point rating gap between us.

I cleared my spinning head and tried to think outside the box for a solution to the problem. Obviously I can take the rook, but it's not on in this position because of Qxf8#. But the thought crossed my mind, what if I could take the rook with check? Can I get the black king onto a square where I can do this? And thus I spotted the winning combination Qh1+, Ke2 Qxe1+!!, Kxe1 exd2+ and white loses everything. Relief!

I didn't play it yet because I decided to wait until he came back to the board before I did. It was better than this, he brought his friends with him to witness his 'triumph'! He sat down. I played Qh1+. He put his king on e2 and gave me a look which said something like "Well, now your queen is en prise as well on top of everything else, now you are in an even deeper mess than before." I stared back for a few seconds, and stared him out. He looked away. I picked up the queen and confidently eliminated the Re1 with the tempo of the check. He didn't react for a few seconds. Then slumped back slowly in his chair. Job done!

Lesson from this somewhat comical episode - always ask "What if" in tactics. Even if a move looks impossible, look for ways to make it possible. Checks are the ideal way to gain tempos to assist in this.

great game... nicely played on both sides!

Nick_Drakes wrote:

great game... nicely played on both sides!