Click to follow
Though the month is still young, July has already produced a magnificent crop of blunders. The one-move blunder is an aspect of the art of chess that is too frequently ignored. A high-class blunder is more than just an oversight, it is an oversight firmly underpinned by inconclusive analysis of the moves that were not played.

Take our first example, from the recent County Championship final. AR Jones, playing on board six for Cambridge against M Carlson of Middlesex, found himself with a difficult decision at move eight after the opening moves 1.d4 f5 2.Bg5 c6 3.Nc3 d5 4.e4 dxe4 5.Bc4 g6 6.f3 Bg7 7.fxe4 Bxd4 8.Qd2.

Faced with the threat of 9.0-0-0, he could force an exchange of queens with 8...Bxg1 but probably did not like Black's total lack of development after 9.Qxd8+ Kxd8 10.0- 0-0+ and 11.Rhxg1. He may have considered 8...h6, but felt unhappy about the potential weakening of the pawn on g6. So he decided to resolve the issue with 8...Bf6, removing the bishop from danger, challenging the opposing bishop on g5, offering an exchange of queens ... and losing instantly to 9.Bf7+! after which Black resigned. He loses his queen for a bishop.

Our second example is from the "Croydon Centraal" master tournament. E Campbell, playing White against G Buckley, opened 1.Nf3 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.b3 g6 4.Bb2 Bg7 5.e3 0-0 6.Be2 Nc6 7.Nbd2 e5 8.dxe5 Nd7 9.Nc4 Ndxe5 10.Ncxe5 Nxe5 11.Nxe5 dxe5 12.0-0 Qg5 13.f4 Qe7. Faced with the threat of 14...exf4 15.Bxg7 Qxe3+, reluctant to sidestep with 14.Kh1, and perhaps worried about 14.Qd2 Bf5, when Black has a grip on e4, he played 14.Qd3?? (to meet Bf5 with e4). But Black played 14...e4 himself and White resigned.

To enjoy a blunder properly, you must appreciate the thought behind it.