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In my long experience of this wonderful game, I am convinced that nothing is so over-rated as a "good move". Those who insist on playing "good moves" all the time will find that their results suffer. Good moves may safeguard you from defeat, but it is bad moves that win games. Particularly against players who prefer to stick to the straight and narrow path of correctness. Examine this example of the art of playing badly, and you will understand.

White: Tigran Petrosian

Black: Arturo Pomar

Chess Olympics, Siegen 1970

1.d4 g6 2.c4 Bg7 3.Nc3 d6 4.Nf3 Bg4?! 5.g3 Qc8 6.Bg2 Nh6?!

Arturo Pomar, after an early career as a boy prodigy, settled into a contented life as Spain's top player and a man generally content to draw against fellow grandmasters. A little nonsense is needed to draw such a man out of his shell.

7.h3 Bd7 8.e4 f6!? 9.Be3 Nf7!? 10.Qd2 c5

With the ?! (dubious) moves now balanced by the !? (interesting idea) ones, Black starts to play properly - and White immediately goes astray.


Simply 11.d5 retains a plus for White, but Pomar feels that Black ought to be punished for his odd play.

11...dxc5 12.0-0-0 Nc6! 13.Kb1

13.Bxc5 Nce5 is perfectly satisfactory for Black.

13...b6! (see diagram)

Ostensibly providing protection for the c-pawn, but in reality preparing for a brilliantly mysterious rook fianchetto.

14.g4 Rb8! 15.Rhe1 Rb7! 16.e5?

With the bishop on d7 now protected, White feels impelled to do something to keep up the momentum of his game.

16...fxe5 17.Ng5 0-0 18.Nd5 Nxg5 19.Bxg5 Be8! 20.Bh6 e6!

The splendid rook on b7 protects all.

21.Bxg7 Rxg7 22.Nc3 Nd4!

Seizing control of the square White unwisely "sacrificed" with 11.dxc5.

23.Rxe5 Rgf7! 24.Ne4?

A bad move in a poor position, but 24.Rf1 Bc6 was also unappealing.

24...Qc7! 25.Rg5 Rf4! 26.Qd3 h6

Putting an end to White's misery.

27.Nd6 hxg5 28.Nxe8 Rxe8 29.Qxg6+ Kf8 30.Qxg5 Qh7+ White resigned.