After a less than ordinary performance in the English chess league last season, my captain had subtly hinted that I was playing for my spot in the team in the first weekend of rounds for the new season. But, despite my slip from the 2500s, I felt that the recent Stonewall break-up and the end of the Tinbergen study ‘year of death’, I was ready to step back up to the plate.
And, indeed, I notched a solid but unremarkable win in the first round against Donald Mason, a respectable twenty-two-hundred, about an hour ago. After a thoroughly entertaining analysis session, I’d just returned to my room, feeling pretty smug at my performance and happy to be back on the winning side of the chess board, when I made the horrible error of checking the game with my computer analysis engine….
Just one move before Donald resigned, it turns out he had a chance to win on the spot with one of the more beautiful moves I’ve seen in a very long time. As asthetic as it would have been, though, it would have been just as equally devastating for me. Finally a bit of chess Karma?!
See if you can spot it: (answer below). Playing black, I’d just moved 28…Be2, after which the game continued 29.Nh6+ Bxh6 and Donald resigned. But instead…
29.Qh6!! wins on the spot. The most beautiful variation runs 29…Bxf1 30.Qh8+! Bxh8 32.Nh6#. Exquisite!