SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Grandmaster S.Tartakower once wrote the profound truth that we chess players have all come to know in our own way: “The blunders are all there on the board, waiting to be made.” For it is often the case in a tough fight between two equally strong players that a blunder will decide the victor. Witness the following game between the 2 superstars Victor Korchnoi and David Bronstein, disputed at the Soviet Championship in 1964
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 37th MOVE (37.f4)
Up to now it was not clear who was better or who was trying to win, but with Korchnoi’s last move the game opens up at just the moment that both players were short of time. Bronstein (Black) should probably now take the a-pawn with his Queen as after White takes the e-pawn Black will have the better chances: his passed pawn is free to advance whereas White’s e-pawn is firmly blockaded.
Instead, Bronstein decided to take no risks and played the natural move
37… ef 38. Qg4!
As annoying as this pin is, it is just enough for White to maintain the balance.
38…fg 39. Re5
Now Bronstein should simply play …R8-e7 and R7-e8 and the game should soon be agreed a draw by repetition since neither side can improve their game.
INSTEAD, PROBABLY WITH ONLY SECONDS LEFT ON HIS CLOCK TO REACH MOVE 40, BRONSTEIN SET A TRAP THAT ACTUALLY TRAPS HIMSELF!:
39…Qd6?? 40. Rd5 ofcourse!
White wins the Queen. Did Bronstein not see this? Ofcourse he saw it, but in time trouble he counted on his next diabolical move to have escaped Korchnoi’s attention:
40… Ke7 !?
Now if 41. Rxd6?? Rxe1 ch followed by recapturing the Rook on d6 and Black will have a winning material advantage! However, poor Bronstein overlooked the following simply move:
41. Qg5! ouch!
Now if Bronstein plays his King to f7 then White interposes a check on the f-file with his Rook (e1) and then takes the Queen. Now Korchnoi wins simply, and Bronstein makes a few more moves for the spectators.
41… Kd7 42. Rxe6 Rxe6 43. Qxg3 Ke8 [1:0]
Moral of the story: don’t try to trick your opponent when short of time! You might endup only trapping yourself…
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS