Chess: Blatny joins swindler's list

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THE finest swindle of 1993 was perpetrated by Julian Hodgson against Pavel Blatny, writes William Hartston. Two pawns down, White's only hope of creating mischief seems to be to get the king to f8 and play Bg7 mate, but even if the king wanders up to g5, it can get no further: its way is blocked by the white pieces.

That must have been Black's reasoning as he prepared to make his next five moves with less than a minute remaining on his clock. So after 1. Kg3, he cheerfully played 1 . . . Bxb3. After 2. h3, however, he should have started to become suspicious. There must be an idea behind such a move, but Black only realised what it was after 2 . . . a5 3. Kh4 Ba4 4. Bf8]

Noticing, too late, White's intention of Kg5, Kh6 and Bg7 mate, Black now began to think. He probably just had time to realise that he could have won easily with 3 . . . Ne1 (followed by Nf3+), when he lost on time. In fact, Black could still win with 4 . . . Nb4 5. Kg5 Nd5, but the shock of Bf8 killed him.