An inspired finish!
Chess–like all arts–is open to different interpretations, each igniting our imagination and creative processes. The multitude of styles of play in chess–none really better than the others, but each conforming to individual tastes, preferences and needs.–is the logical consequence of all of this. Tal loved sharp,tactical play. Petrosian , while a superb tactician himself, preferred slow moving, profoundly strategic play. Spassky had a universal style: he could vary his style against any opponent so as to maximize his winning chances. Fischer had a pure, classical style that emphasized logic and clarity.
The game of chess continually inspires us. Curiously, most die-hard chess fans are attracted to those styles of play that at times seem more poker than iron-logic: where one of the players chooses to play the man and not the board. He speculates, sacrífices and bluffs his way in the struggle to overcome his adversary. Tal did this on his path to winning the world title in 1960 from Botvinnik, often playing seemingly reckless chess in the process. Millions of chess fans loved Tal for this, and this way of playing chess brought millions of new fans to the game.
Below is a game that is far from perfect but meets the necessary requirement to satisfy the chess fan in us all. An experienced IM (with White) is paired against an untitled player some 200 points lower rated. The game proceeds as could have been predicted: Black is worse after the opening and is being outplayed. The game then takes an unexpected turn when Black decideds to sacrífice and speculate, playing the man and not the board. The result is a series of fascinating , chaotic and original tactical themes. Black even wins brilliantly in the end! ENJOY.
Abdyjapar, Asyl – Chahrour, Ibrahim
Asian Continental, UAE
25- 4-20141. c4 e5 2. Nc3 d6 3. Nf3 f5 4. d4 e4 5. Ng5 Be7 6. Nh3 Nf6 7. e3 c6 8. Nf4 O-O 9. h4 Na6 10. Be2 Nc7 11. d5 a5 12. Bd2 Bd7 13. Qc2 Na6 14. f3 Nc5 15. O-O-O Qb6 16. Kb1 Rfc8 17. Rdg1 Na6 18. fe
Chahrour, Ibrahim (2100)
im Abdyjapar, Asyl
White has castled Queenside and moved his two Rooks over the Kingside in preparation of advancing his pawns. Black, on the other hand, has placed his Queen and two Rooks on the Queenside in preparation for a counter attack. Unfortunately for Black, White is ahead in the race. His last move (18.fxe4) undermines Black’s fragile centre. If now 18…pxd5?! 19.Ncxd5! forces Black to retreat. And recapturing with 18… fe 19. g4! gives White a strong initiative.
Relatively best is 18… Nxe4 19. Nxe4 fe but after the strong 20. c5! Nxc5 (20… Qxc5 21. Qxe4 Bf6 22. Bd3) 21. Bc4 Kh8 22. h5 White is clearly on top and on his way to win.
Therefore, Black must resort to tactical threats
Hoping that the White Queen will retreat to a less active position
The White Queen does not miss the opportunity to take up an even more attractive post on b3, aligning herself directly against both the Black King and Black Queen. In some lines the coming c5! will be decisive. If Black now blocks things with 19…c5, then 20.Qd1! follows, 20…a4!? 21.a3! Na6 22.Rf1 fxe4?! 23.g4! and White’s attack is gaining dangerous momentum.
Black realizes that there is little to be gained by trying to defend his position, his mistake being made earlier in the opening. He therefore decides to play speculatively, having nothing to lose:
20. Nxa4 Rxa4!? 21. Qxa4 c5
Where to put the White Queen?
The natural 22.Qb3?! would be strongly met my 22…Nxe4 23.Bc1?! Ra8! with winning threats (…Ba4, for example), and the relatively better 23.Bxb4 PxB keeps the threats coming: …Nd2+, …Nc5, …Ra8 etc.
After the game it was established that the best move is the slightly off-side 22. Qa3!, which mostly prevents the immediate ….Ra8. After 22… Nxe4 23. Be1 Bf6 (23… Qd8 24. Ne6! Bxe6 25. de Ra8 26. Qb3 Nxa2 27. Bf3) 24. Ne6! and White should have little trouble winning the game. Despite Black’s creative efforts, his sacrificial idea simply does not work.White , however, did not want to misplace his Queen on a3, and played the only other reasonable atlernative:
Curiously, now the advantage changes sides!
One of the most unique aspects of the game of chess is that one can play better than one’s opponent and sill lose the game (!): the winner is the player who makes the second to last mistake! That is, your opponent can make, say for the sake of argument, 9 mistakes and you only 1 (but the last mistake!) and you are the one to LOSE the game!
This does not seem fair, and perhaps it is not, but it is one of those things that makes chess such a fascinating struggle. Lasker and Steinitz wrote about this aspect of the game and formulated a sort of principle: paraphrasing, if you have the advantage then you have the MORAL OBLIGATION to correctly exploit this advantage or RISK not just losing your advantage but sometimes even losing the game!
And this MORAL OBLIGATION is sometimes a heavy burden to carry. Often it means that you must find a series of ‘only’ moves to preserve your advantage. Sometimes it even comes down to having just one move! Take the following simple example to demonstrate what I am getting at:
Kamikazee vs Reader
1.e4 e5 2.Qh5? Nc6 3.Qxh7??
Your opponent is playing like an idiot, but if you don’t make the ONLY move in the position (3…RxQ) it is YOU who will likely lose the game!
GETTING BACK TO THE GAME:
Black’s speculative play has liberated his pieces from their constraints and each can now play an active role in the attack against the White King: for example, the Knight on f6 can move to e4, allowing the Bishop to take up a menacing position on f6; the Rook can move to a8 (attacking the Pawn) and also allowing …Ba4 under some circumstances; and let us not forget about the strong positin of the Black Queen on b6! IN ESSENCE, Black has all six of his pieces aready to attack the White King…
NOT UNSURPRISINGLY, then, Black can now play 22… Nxa2! with advantage in all lines: 23. Kxa2 (23. Bd3 Nxe4 24. Bxe4 Bf6 25. Qc2 Ba4; 23. e5!? is probably the only hope) 23… Ra8 24. Kb1 Nxe4 25. Be1 Qa6! and the attack is winning.
HOWEVER, Black has another promising continuation, as in the game:
22… Nxe4!? 23. a3!?
Brilliant! Not just ignoring White’s attack on his Knight, but threatening …Ba4! or …Rxa3! It is too late to prevent the flood of pieces infiltrating the White King position. These two variations demonstrate the hopelessness of White’s task: A. 24. ab Qa7 25. b5 Bf6 26. Bc1 Qa2 27. Kc2 Bxb5 28. cb Qa4 etc ; B. 24. Bxb4 cb 25. Qd4 Nc5 26. Nh5 Bf8 27. g4 ba 28. Bd1 Be8! and the game is over
White did the best he could:
Trying to chop wood
The double exclam is for the pure brutal energy of the attack! Even more clinical would be 24…Ba4!, as after 25.Qe2 Bc2+ and …Rxa3!! mating in every line. HOWEVER, we must admit that as spectators 24…Rxa3 screams to be played!
There is nothing better. 25. Bxe4 Bf6! is the end: 26. ba Na2 27. Bb4 Nc3 28. Kc1 Nxd1 29. Kxd1 cb etc. Now the White King is exposed to the elements, and the Black Queen and two Knights and two Bishops can feast as they please…
The remaining moves were
25… Nd3+ 26. Kc2 Nef2! 27. Bc3 [27. Qa1 Ba4+ 28. Kc3 Bf6#] 27… Nxd1 28. Bxd1 Nf2 29. Kc1 Qa6 30. Kb2 Ne4 31. Bb3 Nxc3 32. Kxc3 Qxa3 33. Nd3 Ba4 34. Rb1 Bf6 35. Kc2 Qa2
A fantastic creative effort by Black. More poker than chess you say? Ofcourse! That is what makes it so entertaining!