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NOW HERE'S a position to gladden the heart of anyone who has ever thrown away a won game with a grotesque blunder. The diagram comes from a tournament in Hawaii this month with the American grandmaster Joel Benjamin playing White against the Georgian Edouard Gufeld. White had been on top for the whole game and finally reached this endgame two pawns ahead. His only task now is to evade the checks of the black queen (walking the king towards b3 is the best way) and the full point should slowly be reeled in. The game, however, continued as an exercise in suicide: 1.Ke5?? Qe6 mate.

Here is another disaster from a recent event played in Zurich. the contest pitted a team of the best Swiss players against a group of veterans including Viktor Korchnoi, Vassily Smyslov, Svetozar Gligoric and Bent Larsen. The old men did magnificently to rout their opponents by a large margin. In this game, however, the Swiss scored one of their few wins.

When White sacrificed with 21.Rxh6! Black declined the offer, calculating that after 21...gxh6 22.Qxh6 f5 23.exf6 Qc7 24.Qg6+ Kh8 25.Rf1 the threat of 26.f7 would give White a winning attack. As the game went, however, Black found it impossible to defend himself anyway. The end came with a neat interference.

White: R Forster

Black: B Larsen

Sicilian Defence

1 e4 c5 16 Nd2 Nxd2

2 Nf3 e6 17 Qxd2 0-0

3 d4 cxd4 18 f5 exf5

4 Nxd4 a6 19 Rxf5 Rae8

5 Nc3 Qc7 20 Rh5 h6

6 Bd3 Nf6 21 Rxh6 Rxe5

7 0-0 Nc6 22 Rh4 a5

8 Be3 b5 23 Bh7+ Kh8

9 f4 Nxd4 24 Bd3+ Kg8

10 Bxd4 Bc5 25 Bh7+ Kh8

11 Bxc5 Qxc5+ 26 Bf5+ Kg8

12 Kh1 Bb7 27 Qg5 Qe3

13 Qe2 b4 28 Bh7+ Kh8

14 Nb1 d5 29 Be4+ resigns

15 e5 Ne4