Tuesday 8 July 2014

L'espirit de l'escalier

The title of this post is the French term for what is known as 'staircase wit'. 'Staircase wit' is thinking of the perfect retort far too late for it to be of any use. Occasionally this kind of thing occurs in chess, although not via verbal exchanges. It might be described as the 'staircase sacrifice' where you realise that you could have played the winning move three moves ago, but by now the opportunity has passed.
I had this experience this evening in rapid game at the Belconnen Chess Club. I played a hack line against the French and was rewarded with Ng6+, which wins and exchange due to mating threats down the h file (NB This is the second time I have pulled off this trick in the last 2 months!). But having won the exchange I needed to keep working. I though that h6-Qg5, aiming for Qf6 was strong, but after my opponent played his knight back to g8 I decided to head in another direction. It was only after a played Bb4+ that I realised that Qxg6 had been on for a number of moves! Of course it would still work if my opponent played Ke8, but a few seconds after I realised what I had missed, Kf7 was played instead.
Fortunately I still had a material edge, and was well up on the clock, but my eventual win was far less convincing than it could have been.

Press,Shaun - Kethro,Michael [C18]
Belconnen CC, 08.07.2014

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