Chess: Three easy lessons in losing matches

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The Independent Culture
THREE of the most popular ways to lose were on display in the closing rounds of the Four Nations Chess League. The simplest - a method requiring hardly any original thought - is to mis-remember the opening. In the following game, Black plays exactly as Anatoly Karpov did in his recent Fide title match against Jan Timman, but apparently forgetting that the moves 9 . . . Nc6 and 10. Nh3 had been interposed in the original game, when White's b4 could be met by Nxb4.

White: G Flear

Black: A Harley

1 d4 e6

2 c4 Nf6

3 Nc3 Bb4

4 Qc2 0-0

5 a3 Bxc3+

6 Qxc3 b6

7 Bg5 c5

8 dxc5 bxc5

9 e3 h6

10 Bh4 g5

11 Bg3 Ne4

12 Qc2 Qa5+

13 b4 cxb4

14 Qxe4 b3+

15 Kd1 d5

16 cxd5 Bb7

17 Bd3 Rc8

18 Bd6 1-0

Case number two is the simple blunder. When White played 22. Rad1 in the following game, he must have seen the idea of . . . Nf4 threatening Qxg2 mate, but the idea of playing the moves in reverse order never occurred to him, despite the fact that Nf4 attacks the undefended white queen.

As happens so often when a threat is overlooked, the move allowing the combination made its consequences even worse. After 22. Rad1? Qxg2+ 23. Kxg2 Nf4+, Black's 24 . . . Nxd3 will attack the rook on e1, which can no longer move to b1 to protect the b-pawn. So Black loses at least two pawns from the transaction.

White: S Carr

Black: C Pritchett

1 d4 Nf6

2 Nf3 e6

3 Bg5 c5

4 e3 Nc6

5 Nbd2 cxd4

6 exd4 Be7

7 c3 b6

8 Bd3 Nd5

9 Bxe7 Qxe7

10 0-0 Nf4

11 Be2 0-0

12 Re1 a5

13 Bf1 Ba6

14 Bxa6 Rxa6

15 Nc4 b5

16 Nce5 d6

17 Nxc6 Rxc6

18 Qd2 Nd5

19 Qd3 Rb8

20 a3 h6

21 Nd2 Qg5

22 Rad1 Qxg2+

White resigns

That game was played at the weekend in the match between North-West Eagles and Barbican, which the London team won 71 2 - 1 2 . We end with another game from the same contest, featuring a losing strategy of higher pedigree. There is nothing wrong with advancing pawns to gain space, but one must be careful not to lose control of the empty spaces they leave behind.

When White played 10. g4 and 11. e4, it all linked up promisingly with his 3. f4 to create a mobile pawn front and chances of developing a K-side attack, but over the next few moves, the initiative passed to Black. 13. e5 looks more logical than Nh2, and White's 15. e5 should surely have been replaced by 15. Ng4, when 15 . . . Bxc3? 15. Qxc3 Nxe4 allows Nh6 mate. White's advanced pawns look impressive, but more important is the weakness they leave behind on the long white diagonal. Flear's 17 . . . Na4] is an important move, either forcing the exchange of White's knight, when it can no longer keep an eye on e4 and d5, or luring it into an uncomfortable pin, as happened in the game.

Black's advantage is pushed home, beginning with 20 . . . Nxb2] (21. Bxb2 Nxf4+), sacrificing rook for knight and pawn, but gaining control of all the important squares. Black's final move is a neat exploitation of a two-way pin.

White: B Lund

Black: G Flear

1 g3 d5

2 Bg2 Nf6

3 f4 g6

4 Nf3 Bg7

5 0-0 0-0

6 d3 b6

7 Qe1 Bb7

8 h3 Nbd7

9 Nc3 e6

10 g4 Qe7

11 e4 dxe4

12 dxe4 Nc5

13 Nh2 Rad8

14 g5 Nh5

15 e5 Bxg2

16 Kxg2 Qd7

17 Qe2 Na4

18 Ne4 Qc6

19 Ng4 Rd4

20 Ngf2 Nxb2

21 c3 Rc4

22 Qxb2 Rxe4

23 Nxe4 Qxe4+

24 Rf3 Rd8

25 Qb1 Qe2+

26 Rf2 Qc4

27 Qc2 Bf8

28 Be3 Rd3

29 Qe2 Qe4+

30 Rf3 Nxf4+

White resigns