SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Anyone can have a bad day from time to time. A day when it would have been better if one had not gotten out of bed….a day when whatever can go wrong DOES actually go wrong….Witness the following blunderful examples from the Chigorin Memorial taking place this very moment in St. Petersburg.
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 12th MOVE (12.Rd1):
An interesting position where both sides have chances. White’s last move contains a veiled threat which, had Black seen it, he would have exchanged on f3 and then castled short. Instead, he castled immediately and lost a piece!
12…0-0 ?? 13. Ne5! NxN 14. dxe5
The whole point of White’s 12th move! Black loses a piece. So he resigned…
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 6th MOVE (6…h5!?):
GUSEVBlack’s last move is a bit odd. I suppose he intends to try to get some sort of attack going on the Kingside. White reacts well, counterattacking in the centre:
7.d4! PxP 8. Nxd4 Bxg2
Here , ofcourse, White should recapture the Bishop. But something strange must have happened inside White’s brain at this moment for he must have thought that if he captures the Bishop, Black will capture the Knight on d4!! (An hallucination, no doubt, as none of Black’s pieces even threatens the White Knight…)
Therefore, White decided to play a Zwischenzug first–selling the Knight for a pawn before recapturing the Bishop:
9.Nxe6 ?? dxe6 10 Kxg2 QxQ 11. RxQ Nf6 12. Bg5 Nfd7 13. BxB KxB 14.Rd2
And only after making his last move did it dawn on White that he was piece down!! He resigned immediately without waiting for Black’s reply….
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 16th MOVE:
Ofcourse White is better here, but Black can still fight. Black must have been feeling very concerned about the Black King’s safety and instead of making the best move (the dynamic 16…Nd5!?) he decided to castle short and take no chances with his majesty’s health:
16…0-0 ?? 17.Rb2!!
Only now did Black realize that his Queen is trapped!! White is going to simply play Rd2 and gobble up her majesty…the game continued just a couple more moves.
17…Nd5 18.Rd2 h6 19.Qg4
and Black resigned. There is no saving the Queen
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 18th MOVE:
Things haven’t been going very well for Black so far; he greedily gobbled a pawn in the opening and has not yet found the time for castling. In the meantime, White has all of his pieces developed and now goes in for the kill…
This strong move creates a number of threats. Grandmaster Lafuente no doubt saw that if he castles short then White would regain his pawn with 20. Nxg7! (20…KxN ? 21.Qg5ch!). However, this is what he should have allowed, and after 20.Nxg7! calmly play 20…Kh8 and try to hold a bad position. If in the end he loses, then he would still have his dignity…
Instead, Lafuente thought he saw a tricky defence and played: 19…h6?? I suppose his idea is that if White now takes on g7 with the Knight then after …Kf8 the Knight would have no exit and would have to sacrifice itself for some pawns.
HOWEVER, a nasty surprise awaited Lafuente–who did not see the REAL threat that White had in mind:
20.Rxb7! Only now did GM Lafuente realize that taking the Rook allows a fork on d6. With his position in shambles he did the only realistic move: resigning!
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 18th MOVE (18.Nf3)
GM MAX RODSHTEIN
Had Black’s g-pawn been on its original square then probably Black would not be doing so badly here. However, as it stands now, Black is going to lose a lot of material as White has threats that can not be met: Rxd7, or e5 (for example).
So this is a good time for Black to throw in the towel and resign like a gentleman. After all, Max is one of the top GMs in Europe and one of the most promising youngsters today. However, Black decided that he was going to play to the bitter end….and now watch as his position gets butchered!
Blissfully ignoring the threats….19.Rxd7! Ofcourse!
19…QxR 20.Qxf6 hxg5 ?!
Black continues to refuse to throw in the towel….21.Qxg6ch Kh8 22.Qh6ch Kg8 23. Ng5
Well, this looks like a position where Black has no choice but to resign. But no (!): Black keeps on ”fighting”
Curiously, Black decided to resign at this moment, even though he can play one more move before mate with 26.Qh8ch. A premature resignation, perhaps…!?
23…Rfb8 24.Rd1 Qe7 25.Qh7ch