Chess

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The Independent Culture
Owen Hindle, veteran of the Chess Olympiads of 1964 and 1966, looks back on a favourite victory.

White: O M Hindle

Black: J E Littlewood

Hastings 1963-4.

Latvian Gambit.

This game brought me almost half my points in the tournament. (I finished with 2 1/2 out of 9.) Both players showed scant regard for the lives of their rooks.

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 f5

Apart from some 5-minute games I had never encountered this gambit.

3. Nxe5 Nc6

And this I knew nothing about at all. The usual move is 3 . . . Qf6.

4. Qh5+

I decided to take up the challenge. 4. Nxc6 is a simple way to play, but I thought the queen check had to be correct.

4 . . . g6 5. Nxg6 Nf6 6. Qh4 hxg6]?

I had been expecting Rg8 but giving up the exchange is very much in John Littlewood's combative style.

7. Qxh8 fxe4

According to modern theory, 7 . . . Qe7 is the right way to play, and might not be so bad for Black.

8. d4]

I felt that this move, which threatens 9. Bh6, had to be correct.

8 . . . Kf7

He unpins the bishop and now I have to do something about the threat of Bb4+.

9. Nc3 Nxd4 10. Bg5] Nxc2+

Otherwise White will castle on the Q-side with a clear advantage.

11. Kd1 Nxa1 12. Bc4+ d5 13. Nxd5

This is the point of the last few moves. Although the knight is pinned, it helps to set up a third attack on the knight on f6.

13 . . . b5 (see diagram)

Black is short of defensive moves. After 13 . . . Be7 I intended simply to exchange queens, then give a decisive discovered check with the knight. Also, interposing 13 . . . Bg4+ would not help, for after 14. Kc1 the knight is unpinned again and ready to do its worst.

14. Bxf6 Qd6 15. Qh7+ Ke6

After 15 . . . Ke8 I have the choice between 16. Bxb5+ c6 17. Bxc6+ Qxc6 18. Nc7+ and 16. Qxg6+ Kd7 17. Bxb5+ c6 18. Qf7+ leading to a position similar to the game.

16. Qg8+ Kd7

Black will soon be mated after 16 . . . Kf5 17. g4+ Kxg4 18. Qg6+.

17. Bxb5+]

He must be prevented from escaping to c6.

17 . . . c6 18. Qf7+ Be7 19. Bxe7 Qe6

The venomous point is that after 19 . . . Qxd5+ 21. Qxd5+ Black can't recapture the queen.

20. Qxe6+ Black resigns.

After 20 . . . Kxe6 21. Nc7+ and 22. Nxa8 a third rook dies on its original square. Fortunately, the last surviving rook was my own.

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