Chess

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Grandmaster David Norwood delves into the philosophy of resignation.

I have always been deeply puzzled by players' willingness to lay down their kings and concede defeat. Of course, if you are a queen down against the world champion, it might be impertinent to continue, but I have seen players resign games that were far from hopeless. One must always remember the one truism in chess: 'Nobody ever improved his position by resigning'. Which brings us naturally to The Art of the Swindle . . .

White: Mike Ebeling

Black: David Norwood

Oakham School Junior International 1984

1. e4 g6 2. d4 Bg7 3. Nc3 d6 4. h3 Nf6 5. Be3 c6 6. a4 0-0 7. Nge2 Nbd7 8. g4 e5 9. Bg2 Re8 10. 0-0 b6 11. d5 cxd5 12. exd5 Bb7 13. Ng3 Nc5

This was my first international tournament and it showed in my opening. White rapidly achieves a formidable bind.

14. g5 Nfd7 15. b4 Na6 16. Nge4]

The weakness of d6 becomes apparent, forcing me to make an ugly move.

16 . . . Bf8 17. Nb5 Qb8 18. c3 Rd8 19. Qd2 (See diagram)

Black is positionally dead; any constructive move leads to loss of material. Some players would already be fingering their kings with a view to surrender, but no matter how much I hated my position, I hated losing more.

19 . . . Nc7]

Giving up material for activity is always the best bet in such positions. The alternative is to shuffle the bishop between c8 and b7, waiting for death.

20. Nexd6 Nxb5 21. Nxb7 Qxb7 22. axb5 Rac8

Black is a clear pawn down, but there is hope in the weakness of White's king position.

23. Rfc1 Rc4]

An awkward move, threatening to harass the king from h4.

24. Qa2 Qc8 25. Qb3?

The psychological factor works in my favour: after having such a fantastic position, White expects to be winning easily. In fact, he should play 25. Qxa7 Rxc3 26. Rxc3 Qxc3 when Black has good drawing chances.

25 . . . e4]

Suddenly my pieces start to look dangerous, with the knight eyeing e5 and f3.

26. Bd4 Re8 27. Bf1 Rc7 28. c4 Ne5 29. Bxe5 Rxe5 30. Qg3 Bd6

White's extra pawn is of little use as his position falls apart.

31. h4 Rxd5 32. Qh3 Rf5 33. Re1 Rxc4] 34. Bxc4 Rxg5+ 35. hxg5 Qxh3 36. Ra2 e3]

This last tactic rounds things off neatly.

37. Rxe3 Qg4+ 38. Kh1 Qxc4 39. Rxa7 Qf1 mate.

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