Blunder in 1 – The Chess Improver

The beauty of a move lies not in its appearance but in the thought behind it
A. Nimzovich

Playing a blunder is devastating. It is also expected in games played by regular players. In the rare occasion it happens to the best, they are received with mixed feelings. On one hand they provide a high level of entertainment. On the other hand they show that all of us are mortals. Would we have seen how to take advantage of such blunders? The most appropriate answer is “It depends.

My first example is now a classic. It is possible many of you know it; still it is highly educative in my opinion. Black to move and win after the moves shown:

The second example is fresh off the press. It happened to our World Champion. I saw it posted by Black on his Twitter feed this past Saturday. White to move and win after the moves shown:

Please do try both of the above positions before moving on and reading the solutions!

The blunder that sunk GM Kortchnoi shocked many. GM Seirawan wrote in one of his books that after Kortchnoi resigned, GMs Oscar Panno and Michael Stein (one of Kortchnoi’s seconds) just sat in their seats stunned for about 5 minutes. It is true that White was in time trouble, but one assumed then and now that White should have been able to see the clever trap set by Black. Did the Soviets and Mr. Zukhar have anything to do with this one and the overall performance of Kortchnoi in the match? Each one of us has their own unchangeable opinion about it!…

Chess24 has covered Magnus game quite nicely. It is a level of excellence we have learned to expect and it is delivered with regularity. They mentioned the connection between the two players since Magnus was 9 years old and below 1000 rated, managing to draw against Geir Sune who was 2220 rated at the time. How times have changed didn’t they? Now Magnus is the undisputed World Champion shooting for a 2900 rating (even he needs motivation, right?), while Geir Sune is a very strong IM with a GM norm.

I looked at the position briefly and could not take my eyes off Ra7-a8+. That is as obvious as Black’s reply that leads to nothing more than an equal position. Then I thought that maybe the winning idea was to somehow infiltrate the queenside with the King, capture the doubled c-pawns and reach a won endgame. All is fine and dandy until you have to find real moves to accomplish that. I saw none. In that moment I felt for Magnus. The spotlight is on him. Everyone expects him to play like an engine: impersonal, perfect chess. Luckily for all of us he is human and World Champion. I think this combo makes many chess lovers connect with him like no other World Champion since GM Fischer!

Eugen Demian

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Valer Eugen Demian

Author: Valer Eugen Demian

The player – my first serious chess tournament was back in 1974, a little bit late for today’s standards. Over the years I have had the opportunity to play all forms of chess from OTB to postal, email and server chess. The journey as a player brought me a lot of experience and a few titles along the way: FIDE CM (2012), ICCF IM (2001) and one ICCF SIM norm (2004). The instructor – my career as a chess teacher and coach started in 1994 and continues strong. I have been awarded the FIDE Instructor title (2007) for my work and have been blessed with great students reaching the highest levels (CYCC, NAYCCC, Pan-Am, WYCC). I am very proud of them! See my website for more information. I have developed my own chess curriculum on 6 levels based on my overall chess knowledge and hands-on experience. A glimpse of it can be seen in my first chess app: I can help you learn chess the proper way if this is what you seek! View all posts by Valer Eugen Demian

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