ETCETERA / Chess

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Grandmaster Norwood looks back to 1975 and laments the lost innocence of youth.

White: Bruce Amos

Black: David Norwood

Toronto International 1975

I was 16 years old and full of optimism when this game was played. It was my first international tournament and I still thought chess was easy.

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 c5 4. d5 exd5 5. cxd5 d6 6. Nf3 g6

The Modern Benoni fitted my philosophy of the time: I lived for sacrifices and attack. It was only later, when I started meeting the Russians, that I became correct, dull and cowardly.

7. g3 Bg7 8. Bg2 0-0 9. 0-0 a6 10. a4 Nbd7 11. Nd2 Re8 12. Nc4 Ne5 13. Na3 Bd7 14. h3 b5] 15. f4

White's last three moves have been clearly leading up to this, luring the black knight to e5, then depriving it of the g4-square. In such positions Black must sacrifice or be squashed.

15 . . . Nh5] 16. Ne4]

Taking the bait with 16. fxe5 Bxe5 leaves Black with a huge attack on the king as well as the threat of b4. Now I began to feel a little depressed; I couldn't see any good way to lose a piece.

Then an idea occurred to me.

16 . . . Ng4]?

Viktor Korchnoi strolled past and looked at the board at this stage. His expression appeared to indicate that he thought I had gone mad.

17. hxg4 Bxg4 18. Rf2

After 18. Bf3, Black has lots of fun with 18 . . . Rxe4] 19. Bxe4 Nxg3.

18 . . . Bd4 19. Nc2] Bxf2+ 20. Kxf2 Bf5]

Much better than 20 . . . f5? when White has 21. Ne3]

21. Ng5 Nf6

This regrouping is necessary to stop White playing e4.

22. Ne3 Rxe3] 23. Kxe3

23. Bxe3 h6] wins for Black since 24. Nf3 Ng4+ wins the bishop, while 24. Nh3 Ng4+ 25. Kf3 Qe7] threatens mate on e4 or e3.

23 . . . h6]] (see diagram)

The knight has nowhere to run: 24. Ne4 loses mundanely to 24 . . . Qe7 25. Qd3 Re8; retreating to f3 is mated surprisingly by 24. Nf3 Ng4+ 25. Kd2 Qa5+; while the best of all is 24. Nh3 Ng4+ 25. Kf3 Qe7 26. Nf2 (to stop Qe4) Qe3+]] 27. Bxe3 Nh2 mate.

24. Kf2 hxg5 25. fxg5 Ng4+ 26. Kg1 Qb6 27. e3 Re8 28. Bf3 Nxe3 29. Bxe3 Rxe3 30. axb5 axb5 31. Kg2

Sneakily threatening a mating attack with Ra8+ followed by Qh1.

31 . . . Kg7 32. Ra8 Qb7 33. Qa1 c4] 34. Ra7 Qb6 35. Ra8 Qd4]

The threat of Qd2+ leaves White no time for Qh1.

36. Qf1 Rxf3] 37. Kxf3

Or 37. Qxf3 Be4.

37 . . . Be4+ 38. Kg4 Bg2+ 39. Qf4 Qd1+ 40. Kh4 Qh5 mate.

Sadly, I never seem to play games like that any more.

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