David Smerdon | November 06, 2012 12:14

Nearly Miraculous

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

PGN string

after which the game continued 29.Nh6+ Bxh6 and Donald resigned.  But instead… 29.Qh6!!  wins on the spot.

PGN string

The most beautiful variation runs 29…Bxf1 30.Qh8+! Bxh8 32.Nh6#. Exquisite!

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David Smerdon's picture
Author: David Smerdon

David Smerdon is a chess grandmaster from Brisbane, Australia. David attended Anglican Church Grammar School and Melbourne University. To qualify for the title of Grandmaster, a player must achieve three Grandmaster norm performances, and a FIDE Elo rating over 2500. Late in 2007, Smerdon achieved his third and final Grandmaster norm. In the July 2009 FIDE rating list his rating passed 2500, so he qualified for the title of Grandmaster. He is the fourth Australian to become a Grandmaster, after Ian Rogers, Darryl Johansen and Zhao Zong-Yuan. In 2009, Smerdon won the Queenstown Chess Classic tournament.

Source: Wikipedia




SCU's picture

This is the same combination Schneider missed against Tal in the Luzern 1982 Olympiad!

Hatsekidosie's picture

I can only spot a move like that if I know it is there. I'd never find it behind the board.

AAR's picture

I spotted Nf6+ Bxh6 Qh6 easily. Not sure whether I would have it done it on the board.

A nice rule I read somewhere, give a Check when possible you never know it may turn into a mate especially when you are in deep trouble.

willem's picture

if you re-read the article you'll notice that Nh6+ was actually played and incorrect.

Hatsekidosie's picture

It was not difficult for him to find the wrong move using a joke of a rule...

Stephen's picture

I spotted Qh6 straight away. Not because of the winning combination, but because I am used to blundering my queen.

silvakov's picture

I guess it would be much harder to find it over the board, giving all you're thinking during the game, but once you put it as problem, saying "white wins WITH A VERY BEAUTIFUL MOVE" it gets very easy to spot hehehehe
If David hasn't said it was a very aesthetic move, it would be more difficult to find, too.

Ziccidus's picture

Your opponent is not alone in this David, even Fred Durst chose Nh6: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=301979899907991&set=a.2476052286...

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