Click to follow
The Independent Culture
IF THERE were a theory of relativity for chess, it would surely predict that a knight's value increases with the speed of the time-control. Even at slow rates of play, knight moves (particularly retreats) are the type of move most frequently overlooked and, as every player practised at gamesmanship is well aware, pointing the knight's nose away from its intended direction of travel can add to the confusion.

Today's position is a salutary example of good horsemanship at high speed in a desperate position. It occurred in a second round, 30-minute play-off game, Lputyan-Sveshnikov, from the Tilburg knock-out tournament.


With 1. Rxe6+] Lputyan played what should have been the winning move. 1 . . . fxe6 loses to 2. Qg7+, so Black continued 1 . . . Kxe6 2. Rxd8 Qxf2 when White was the exchange up for nothing. After 3. Qd3 Qe1+ 4. Kc2 Qf2+ 5. Kc3 Nf3 6. Re8+ Kf6 7. Qe3 Qxe3 8. Rxe3 White was the exchange up in a simple endgame.

But with both men desperately short of time, knight and rook were rapidly approaching parity. The game lurched on with 8 . . . Ng5 9. b4 Ne6 10. c5 Kf5 11. Rf3+ Nf4 12. Kc4 (12. Kd4] is simpler) Ke4 13. Rg3 f5 14. Rg7 Nd5 15. Rxb7 f4 16. Rxa7 f3 17. Rf7 Nf4 18. Re7+ Kf5 19. Re1 Ng2 20. Rc1? (20. Rh1]) f2 21. b5 (21. Rh1]) Ne1] 22. bxc6 f1=Q+ and White resigned.

The moral is: Don't run short of time when your opponent has a knight on the loose.