Over the weekend I travelled up to Orange, NSW, to help celebrate my Grandmothers 90th birthday. It was good to see family again, especially those I hadn't seen for 20+ years. But it wasn't just family memories I caught up on, it was also some chess memories.
On the Sunday morning the Press family had breakfast at the Orange RSL. Good breakfast, and cheap too. But 20 years previously (almost to the day!), the Orange RSL was the scene of one of my biggest chess disasters.
In those days the Orange Chess Club ran an annual weekender, and as my grandmother lived there, I always went up to play. In 1987 I must have been doing pretty well as I went into the last round needing a win to collect a ratings prize. My last round opponent was local player Fritz Van Der Waal, who had beaten me a couple of times previously (and a couple more times since). From previous encounters I knew that Fritz played the Centre Counter, so I transposed into the Blackmar-Diemer Gambit.
Press,S - Van Der Waal,F [B01]
1.e4 d5 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Bf5 4.f3 exf3 5.Qxf3 Qc8 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qf2 c6 8.Nf3 e6 9.0-0 Bd6 10.Bg5 Nbd7 11.Rae1 0-0 12.h3 Qc7 13.g4 Bg6 14.Re2 h6 15.Bh4 b5 16.Bd3 Bxd3 17.cxd3 Nd5 18.Nxd5 cxd5 19.g5 h5 20.g6 f6 21.Rxe6 Rfe8 22.Ng5 Nf8 23.Qf3 Nxe6 24.Nxe6 Rxe6 25.Qxh5 Qc2 26.Qh7+ Kf8 27.Bxf6
At this stage I was feeling pretty confident that victory was in my grasp. Although I was down material I couldn't see how he could escape from deadly discovered checks. The game had attracted a small crowd, including GM Ian Rogers, and after playing 27.Bxf6 I confidently got up from the board to stretch my legs. As I walked away from the board the spectators began to give me strange looks, and when I informed former Australian Junior Champion Konrad Hornung that I was pretty sure I was winning, he replied "Are you sure?"
I returned to board, and quickly realised what he meant.
So no prize, no brilliancy, and an important lesson about checks and captures.