Chess

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The proliferation in chess magazines and newspaper columns of "White to Play and Win" positions certainly helps to sharpen one's combinational skills, but also serves to give a false view of reality. For in real life, games are lost by blunders or won by slow attrition rather than being decided by brilliant finishes.

What we need to redress the balance is a steady diet of sacrificial combinations that went wrong - attacks launched in a spirit of brilliance only to be shot down in flames. In that spirit, today's position sets the scene for a "White to Play and Lose" puzzle. It comes from a match between Viswanathan Anand (playing Black in this game) and Miguel Illescas currently in progress in Leon, Spain.

White has a good set of the ingredients typical of an imminent combination: his bishops are both on threatening diagonals; one knight occupies a good central outpost; and there may even be a chance to cause disruption by playing d5.

A normal continuation here might be 1.Bg5. Instead, Illescas decided to bring his rook into the attack without delay and played 1.Rd3 Nc4 2.Rg3??! (the real beginning of his losing combination) 2 ... Qxd4 3.Bh6??! White is tempted by such lines as 3

A brilliant interference move and the crowning point of White's combination. What a pity it's all complete nonsense. 6 ... Bxd5! 7.Qxe5. Now White threatens to win with 8.Rxh7+ against Which Black has no defence ... except 7 ... Be4! after which White resigned immediately. He finishes at least a piece behind.

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