Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Unexpected - Part 2

by Andrew

This week I am looking at one reason in particular for why certain moves have the power to surprise.

I think most of the time when a move is unexpected - apart from those times when the player is unfamiliar with an idea, or the move is just a blunder - it is because it would ordinarily be a bad move, but something about that particular case makes it not so.

We might normally expect a move to be bad for instance because it loses material, because it jeopardises king safety, or because it doesn't appear on the surface to serve any real purpose. I am going to show some examples of moves that would not only seem bad ordinarily, but actually downright absurd.

Warning: These are quite difficult.

The Quiet

White to play and win - Wotawa 1955

1.Rd2!! Rxd2 (1...e1=Q 2.Rb2+) 2.Rh1+ Rd1 3.Re1! Rxe1 4.e7 Rd1 5.e8=Q e1=Q 6.Qg6+ leading to mate.

The Cunning

White mates in 4 moves - Ernst 1935

1.Ng2! hxg2 2.Rg3! hxg3 3.Bg1! gxh2 Bxh2#

The Heroic

This last example comes from a game I had recently. I was black against Chris Wallis in the Ballarat Begonia Open. The solution should be relatively easy to find given it was played in a game, but apt nonetheless.

White to play and win - C. Wallis vs. A. Brown 2014

1.Qf6! Qa1+ 2.Ke2! Rb2+ 3.Ke3!! +-

For a beautiful rendition of heroism in chess, Sam Loyd style, see this post.

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