Friday, February 20, 2009

A stonking game of chess

Well done Topalov (presently the highest rated player in the world) for this impressive game!

I'm no Kasparov but I enjoy chess, and the following blitz game is one of my favourites. I was White (click here to play through my game)

1.e4 d6 2.d4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.h3 Nf6 5.Nf3 c6

6.Bc4 0–0 I didn't know this opening but I could see that 7...Nxe4 8. Nxe4, d5! was a threat. So I slid my bishop out of harm's way.

7.Bb3 d5 8.0–0 dxe4 9.Ng5 e6

At this point I realised I had lost a pawn after the exchanges on e4, but it was too late to back out of it.

10.Ngxe4 Nxe4 11.Nxe4 Qxd4 My opponent captures with the Queen no doubt hoping that I would exchange Queens and thus head into a quieter position a pawn down. Of course, being a pawn down I needed to keep things lively, so I kept Queens on the board.

12.Qe2 Na6 13.c3 Qd8 14.Rd1 Qc7

But by this point I realised that the lost pawn, which lured his Queen into the middle of the board, had actually won me quite a bit of time. I could simply develop pieces attacking his Queen and he had to waste moves getting her out of harm's way. Now I was well ahead in development and started to feel very comfortable with my position, despite being a pawn down.

15.Bg5 b6 16.Qe3 Bb7

I enjoyed playing my 16th move, Qe3. Its straightforward logic appeals to my eye. It coordinates my attack on the weak squares around his King. My lead in development has given me the initiative; I get to make concrete threats.

17.Nf6+ Kh8 18.Rd7 Qc8

My Rook enters the heart of his position and things are looking great until ...


If I remember rightly, the second I played this one I saw it was a mistake. He can now play 19...Nc5 forking my Rook and Bishop, and after I retreat my Rook I lose that beautifully placed Bishop for Knight.

19...Nc5 20.R7d6 h5??

But 20...h5 by my opponent is a real blunder and I have no idea what he was thinking. I get to keep my Bishop and his King's position becomes even more fragile, as the following attack shows.

21.Bc2 Qc7 22.b4 Na6

I loved playing 22. b4 which showed my total control of the whole board.

23.Rd7 Qc8 24.Qe5 c5

By this point I had seen a sacrificial idea with my Bishop. I strengthened the variation by putting the Queen in the middle of the soon-to-be unveiled plan of action, with 24. Qe5. Now everything was set for the attack

25.Bxg6! fxg6? 26.Rxg7! Qc6

His move 26...Qc6 alows a mate in one, but every move ultimately leads to a forced mate now. If 26 ...Kxg7 then 27. Ne8 Kf7 28. Qf6 Kxe8 29. Qe7 mate.

27.Rh7# 1–0

Of course, even my mistakes turned out well so a fair amount of luck was involved in the above. But I like the sort of games where I have a rolling initiative in an uncluttered position, where I get to make threats and develop an attack without worrying about my own King. So this is one of my all time favourites.

Out of the New Testament writers, I would put my money on Paul winning against the rest. Although I sometimes wonder if he would get himself into unnecessary complications...


At 2/20/2009 4:59 AM, Anonymous goulablogger said...

It's interesting how often a mistake by one player is matched by a soon following mistake by the opponent. You'd think the first mistake would get crushed, but it so often doesn't happen unless the board is relatively clear.

Chess is a more human game than people generally believe. Insert relevant Tartakower quote here.

Chuck Grantham, Grand Patzer

At 2/20/2009 9:54 AM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

'But by this point I realised that the lost pawn, which lured his Queen into the middle of the board, had actually won me quite a bit of time.'

The correct annotation is 'By this time, the fruits of my well-planned positional sacrifice were becoming apparent'

At 2/20/2009 6:01 PM, Anonymous goulablogger said...

That's annotation by result, Steven. And come to think of it, is not uncommon in biblical scholarship.

Chuck Grantham

At 2/21/2009 12:27 AM, Anonymous Tommy Wasserman said...

Hi Chris, I am also a chessplayer! Nice to find chessplayers among bibliobloggers. I know Jan Krans (Amsterdam NT Blog) is also one.

At 2/22/2009 12:10 AM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Good to hear from fellow chess players!

At 3/06/2009 1:06 PM, Anonymous Jan Krans said...

Nice game, Chris.
For Kings, one would rather go to the Old Testament; for Queens as well. Knights belong to Revelation, Bishops (if of any use) to the Pastorals. Rooks do not belong in the Bible, but pawns, or rather "Bauer", are plenty everywhere, the soul of the game and the heart of many of Jesus' parables. Qohelet would probably have made a very good chessplayer, a mix of Lasker, Nimzowitch and Petrosian. I have my doubts about David.


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