Chess: Monumental blunder

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The Independent Culture
THE ART of blundering is a much neglected aspect of chess skill. Anyone can leave a piece to be taken, or overlook a mating threat, or miss a killing reply at the end of a 10-move forced sequence, but a truly great blunder requires delicate manoeuvring in its preparation.

The Yugoslav master who, a few years ago, lost as White in three moves with 1. d4 Nf6 2. Bg5 c6 3. e3 Qa5+ had a rare feel for the blundering genre. Elegantly placing his bishop in the middle of nowhere, then cutting off its retreat to lose it to a simple fork, and accomplishing this in the shortest conceivable time, added up to a unique achievement in the annals of error.

The main requirement of a first-class blunder is that the opponent should make a minimal contribution. To fall into a trap without one having been set is the ultimate crassness to which all great blunderers aspire. And there is nothing like a blunder to bring joy to the spectators.

With all that in mind, here is the grandmaster blunder of the week, perpetrated by Hans Ree in the current Dutch championship. After 20 moves, White was thinking of activity on the g-file. To double his rooks, attack the king, manoeuvre his bishop to e6 perhaps, bring the knight round to f5 to attack d6; or exchange queens, leave the bishop to defend, then advance the h- pawn to h6 and squeeze something out of the position. If only he had realised that it was a White to Play and Lose in Two position.

Setting it up with 21. Rdg1, White jumped into his self-dug grave with 22. Qg5?? and resigned after Black's reply, winning a rook, or queen for rook. Black's rook had sent a warning, stopping short of the winning square one move previously. A beautiful disaster.

----------------------------------------------------------------- White: Ree ----------------------------------------------------------------- Black: Nijboer 1 d4 Nf6 13 Bh6 Qf6 2 c4 g6 14 Bxg7 Nxg7 3 Nc3 Bg7 15 g4 b5 4 e4 d6 16 gxf5 Bxf5 5 f3 0-0 17 Ne4 Bxe4 6 Be3 e5 18 fxe4 Nd7 7 d5 Nh5 19 Nc3 b4 8 Qd2 f5 20 Ne2 Qh4 9 0-0-0 a6 21 Rdg1 Rf2 10 Bd3 c5 22 Qg5 Rf1+ 11 Nge2 Bd7 White resigns 12 exf5 gxf5 -----------------------------------------------------------------