Games: Chess

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How much can you see with your eyes closed? Today's game comes from one of the blindfold rounds of the "Amber" rapidplay event in Monte Carlo and raises the question of whether Vassily Ivanchuk deliberately or accidentally fell into a cunning trap laid by Jeroen Piket.

In the diagram position, Piket, playing White, retreated his knight from d4 to b3. It looks as though he just wants to simplify with 1.N4b3 Nxb3 2.Qxc8 Rfxc8 3.Rxc8+ Rxc8 4.Nxb3, though after 4...Rb8 Black clearly stands better. So Ivanchuk played 1...Nxb3, which was met by 2.Qg4 threatening both Qxg7 mate and Rxc8.

Unfortunately for Piket, after 2...Qxc1+ 3.Rxc1 Bf6 he had to lose more material than the queen was worth. 3.Bxc1 would have been no better, since 3...Nxd2 4.Rxb8 Rxb8 leaves Black threatening a deadly check on b1.

Had Ivanchuk seen all this through his metaphorical blindfold when he played 1...Nxb3? I suspect he had. He has just the sort of imagination that sees possibilities such as this before more mundane variations even cross his mind. Here are the full moves of the game:

White: Piket Black: Ivanchuk

1 d4 Nf6 18 Qc4 Rb8

2 c4 e6 19 N4b3 Nxb3

3 Nf3 b6 20 Qg4 Qxc1+

4 e3 Bb4+ 21 Rxc1 Bf6

5 Nbd2 Bb7 22 Nxb3 Bxb2

6 Bd3 0-0 23 Rb1 Rxb3

7 0-0 d5 24 g3 Rfb8

8 a3 Be7 25 Qc4 h6

9 b4 c5 26 a4 R3b4

10 bxc5 bxc5 27 Qc5 Rxa4

11 Rb1 Ba6 28 Kg2 a6

12 Bb2 Qc8 29 Qc6 Nc3

13 Qe2 cxd4 30 h4 Rab4

14 Nxd4 Nbd7 31 Rxb2 Rxb2

15 cxd5 Bxd3 32 Qxc3 Ra2

16 Qxd3 Nxd5 33 Qc6 Rbb2

17 Rfc1 Nc5 White resigned

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