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The Independent Culture
THE QUALITY of our legislature these days is little short of appalling. The last decent chess player to have sat in the House of Commons was Marmaduke Wyvill, the member for Richmond, Yorkshire, and he died precisely 100 years ago. Here is how he defeated the best player in the world. (We should point out that Mr Wyvill, despite moving first, played with the black pieces, as he did in all seven games of the match.)

Black: Mr Marmaduke Wyvill

White: Mr Adolf Anderssen

London 1851

1.c4 f5 2.e3 Nf6 3.f4 e6 4.Nf3 Be7 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0 d6 7.b3 Ne4 8.a3

Skilfully anticipating Black's next. Would Mr William Hague, the sitting member for Richmond, Yorks, have found a move of such rare subtlety? I think not!

8...Bf6 9.Ra2! a5 10.d3 Nc5 11.Nbd2 Nc6 12.d4 Ne4 13.Qc2 d5 14.Ne5 Bd7 15.cxd5 exd5 16.Nxd7 Qxd7 17.Bb5 Be7 18.Nxe4 fxe4 19.Bd2 Rf6 20.Rc1 Rg6 21.Qd1 Qc8 22.Qe1 Na7 23.Be2 Nc6 24.h3?

An extraordinary oversight.

24...Qxh3 25.Qf2 Bh4 26.Kf1!

Of this move, Howard Staunton wrote: "It is in situations of peril like the present that the sterling player shows his mastery." How true.

26...Bxf2 27.gxh3 Bh4 28.Bg4 Kf8 29.Rc5 Rd8 30.b4 axb4 31.axb4 Be7 32.Rc1 Bd6 33.Be1 Rh6 34.Rac2 Ne7 35.b5 g6?

Wilfully imprisoning his own rook (See diagram). Black's (that is to say, White's) play has been frankly second rate since being given a pawn at move 24.

36.Rxc7! Bxc7 37.Rxc7

Is there a man or woman in the House today who would have had the courage to make such a sacrifice? I doubt it!

37...Nf5 38.Ke2 Ra8 39.Bb4+ Ke8 40.Rxb7 Ra2+ 41.Bd2 Nd6 42.Rb8+ Ke7 43.Ke1 Rb2?

43...Ra1+ was the move, of course.

44.Ba5! g5

The only hope against the threat of Bd8+ followed by Bg5.

45.Bd8+ Kf7 46.Bxg5 Rg6 47.Bh5 Rxb5? 48.Rxb5 Nxb5 49.f5 resigns