Monday, 4 July 2016

He might not see it

The bane of any chess coach is the student who chooses bad moves on the basis that there is a threat or trick that their opponent might overlook. Of then this is due to that one game early in their chess career where they won because their opponent failed to spot an obvious threat, and from then on, this was going to be the path to victory.
Having coached a number of students with this trait, it is often difficult to get them out of this habit. The obvious cure is putting them up against stronger players who do see the threats and then punishes the bad moves. However this 'cure' has a tendency to go to far, with a number of players losing interest in the game once the source of cheap wins dry up.
Nonetheless it may be possible to catch a stronger opponent off guard. While researching this article I found possibly the most audacious example of 'he might not see it' in a game between Gary Kasparov and actor Woody Harrelson. Harrelson decided to see if Kasparov had previously seen the "Four Move Checkmate" by starting with 1.e4, 2.Qh5 and 3.Bc4. It turns out Kasparov had (assuming he did not discover a defence independently) but Harrelson at least proved he had a few more arrows in his quiver. He played the rest of the game fairly sensibly, and with the position even, Kasparov decided a draw was the correct result!

Harrelson,Woody - Kasparov,Garry (2812) [C20]
Prague consultation Prague, 12.07.1999

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

If chess is a draw, isn't playing any move (for White to start) just bluffing the opponent won't see the longterm threats?