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The Independent Culture
Forgive me if the column trembles a little this week, but I have been deeply shocked by the spectacle of a young girl being taken advantage of by a grown man while blindfolded. No, I have not been paddling in the polluted surf of the Internet, but watching the "Melody Amber" tournament in Monte Carlo. Not only are all the games played at an unseemly rapid rate of play, but half of them are conducted blindfold. And the manner in which young Judit Polgar succumbed to Vladimir Kramnik shows how this mode of play oversteps the bounds of decorum.

White: Vladimir Kramnik

Black: Judit Polgar

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 g6 4.Bxc6 dxc6 5.d3 Bg7 6.h3 e5 7.Be3 b6 8.Nbd2 Ne7 9.a3 0-0 10.b4 f5 11.Nc4 Ba6 12.Nb2

Herein lies White's entire opening strategy. Knights are stronger than bishops in rapid-play in any case, but a knight lurking at b2 in a blindfold rapid game is practically a winning advantage in itself. How easy it is to forget the existence of such a devious knight and blunder away a piece on c4 or d3.


Well-played! After 13.exd5 e4 White loses his piece back with a bad position.

13.c4 Nxe3 14.fxe3 fxe4 15.dxe4 Qe7 16.0-0 Bc8 17.Nd3 Be6 18.Qc2

White dare not take on e5: 18.Ndxe5 Bxe5 19.Nxe5 Bxh3 is clearly in Black's favour..

18...cxb4 19.axb4 Kh8 20.c5 b5 21.Ra6 Rac8

Black could also consider sacrificing the c-pawn with 21...Rad8 22.Rxc6 Bc4.

22.Ndxe5 Bg8 23.Ng4 h5 24.Ngh2

Again this knight skulks behind a pawn, hoping to ambush an unsuspecting piece.

24...Bc4 25.Re1 (see diagram)

White's capture of the e-pawn has not been an unmitigated success. The black bishops are now very much alive, and the doubled white e-pawns are vulnerable. Now after 25...Rfd8, Black would have everything to play for. Instead, she went sadly astray.


Simply forgetting that her rook was not on d8 to protect the piece.

26.Qxd3 Rcd8 27.Qc2 Qe6 28.Rxa7 Ra8 29.Rxa8 Rxa8 30.e5 resigns.