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CHESSPLAYERS have a good deal to learn from the equally bruising area of pugilism. Just as a good boxer will bob and weave, jabbing with one fist while saving the other for a haymaking finale, chess strategy also demands a measure of deception and evasion. Try this game, for example,by one of the masters of chessboard pugilistics.

White: Aaron Nimzowitsch

Black: Simon Alapin

St Petersburg 1913

1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.exd5 Nxd5 5.Nf3 Nxc3

First blood to Black! With this capture, he doubles White's pawns and weakens his left flank.

6.bxc3 Be7 7.Bd3 Nd7 8.0-0 0-0 9.Qe2 Re8

The battle-lines are set: with queen, bishop and knight well-placed to attack h7, White will storm the K-side, jabbing with his h-pawn to soften up the opponent. Black will play c5, b6, Bb7, Rc8 and attack the weakened pawns on the c-file. Or have we misjudged the situation?


This sudden left hook catches Black off balance. White's hostile gazing at his opponent's K-side was a ruse. His true plan is Bf4, Rfb1 and Be4, or a5 and a6.


This blocking move is an instinctive reaction but leaves the Black Q- side permanently weakened.

11.Re1 c6 12.Bf4 Nf8 13.c4!

Black is pinned to the ropes.

13...Bd6 14.Bxd6 Qxd6 15.c5 Qd8 16.Qe4 Bd7 17.Rab1 f5 18.Qe3 b5

With this wild blow, Black tries to fight his way out of trouble.

19.cxb6 Rb8 20.b7 Qc7 21.Ba6 c6 22.Qe5! Qc6 23.Bb5 Qxb7

Now 24.Bxd7 is met not by 24...Qxb1? 25.Bxe8! but 24...Nxd7!

24.dxc5 Rbc8 25.Nd4! Bxb5 26.axb5 Ng6

Black reasons that the queen must retreat, when Rxc5 follows (see diagram).

27.c6! Qb6

Or 27...Rxc6 28.bxc6 Qxb1 29.Rxb1 Nxe5 30.c7 Nd7 31.Nc6! and White wins.

28.Qe3 f4 29.Qe4 Rcd8 30.Nf3 Rd6 31.h4!

Here the referee should have stopped the fight to save Black further suffering.

31...Qc5 32.Ne5 Rd4 33.Qe2 Nxh4 34.b6 Rb4 35.Rxb4 axb4 36.b7 Qc3 37.Qe4 Nf5 38.Nd7 Nd4 39.b8=Q and Black threw in the towel.