Wednesday, March 25, 2009

With the Tactical Wizardry of a Squib

The club's annual Paramount tournament grinds along, and it's grinding me along with it. As Sickpuppy Trashtalker, a distant relative of Siegbert Tarrasch, put it, "It is not enough to be a mediocre player, you must also not play like a complete idiot."

In round 2, I reached the following position as White against Larry Eldridge after 16...Qf6:

In the postmortem, Larry remarked that he knew I couldn't play 17 Re1?? because of 17...fxg3, when Black is completely winning. As you might guess from the title of this article, I played 17 Re1??, thinking only that in various vague future positions arising after 17...f3, I wanted to be able to play my g2 bishop to f1.

As Sickpuppy Trashtalker also said, "Before the endgame, the gods have placed some seriously nasty threats on f2 and h2."

Years ago, my friend Woodley Chapman (may he rest in peace) joked that I could see 3 moves out, but I couldn't see the very next move. He didn't know that sometimes I could even see several games ahead:

In 1998 I played in the 5-round Harry Lyman Open, whose first game was Friday night, with the rest on Saturday and Sunday. In round 1, I had White against Alex Berlin, and was up a pawn in the following position after 44...Qc1:

I felt like I was in pretty good form, and was already looking forward to turning in a good performance in my section for the weekend, with a shot at some prize.

By threatening 46 Qh6+ Kg8 47 Nf6 mate, I planned to force the queens off and "win the pawn up ending". I played 45 Qd2?? and found myself on the wrong side of things after 45...Qg1 mate.

"D'oh!" was made for chess players.

In 1988, long before widespread use of clocks with time-delay/time-increment, I played in a Boylston Chess Club Action Open (Game/30) tournament. It was my move as White in the following position against Jay Allen after 27...Ne2:

My opponent was desperately looking forward to my making any move that would allow 28...Ng3+! 29 hxg3 Rh6 mate.

With my squib-tastic tactical eye, I was totally oblivious to that danger. However, after pondering my move for a while, I suddenly had some new insight, and made my reply:

"You're down."

Take that, Death Eaters!


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