Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Find the Losing Move

I will not have much time to update this blog for the next two weeks. But I have a few items that only need the final touch to be publishable and sometimes I stumble over something on the net stay tuned!

Today I found a tragicomic finish at Streatham & Brixton Chess Club involving Leif Johannessen, my co-author for 'The Ruy Lopez - A Guide for Black'. Actually it's really strange I haven't seen it before. Had I had the black pieces I know I would have shown it to everybody willing to waste a moment. But Leif is a sympathetic young man who may have found the episode more tragic than comic.

It's Beliavsky-L.Johannessen, Linares open 2002:
White to move is trying to win a drawish queen endgame. Can
you find the losing move?

For a variation over the theme, have a look at Tim Krabbe's collection of players resigning in won positions.


Anonymous said...

1. Kf4 - Qb8#

Sverre Johnsen said...

Well spotted!

I have been meditating over the position after 1.fxg6+! fxg6 2.Kf4 (or 2.Qe7+) and it's possible that White has realistic winning chances. Black's c-pawn is very weak and I cannot really see any perpetual checks.

Leif E. Johannessen said...

I have to correct you, Sverre: I saw nothing tragic in this moment, and found it all rather enjoyable:) It shall be mentioned, however, that 2 years later I lost a crucial last round game to... Beliavsky after being completely winning. That cost me the tournament victory. We had a good laugh afterwards about these two games, and how the results should have been the opposite. Btw, it is true that I'm struggling in the queen ending after the correct fg6 fg6 Kf4. I was short of time, and after the immediate Kf4 I was basically just looking for a random check to win some time. After Qb8, it took some time before we - and the spectators - realised that it was actually mate! Beliavsky was a good sport, and took it with a smile, though he must obviously have been upset. A great player and a great gentleman!

Sverre Johnsen said...

Hello Leif,

The quality of their random checks is what distinguishes GMs from us mere mortals!

ejh said...

After Qb8, it took some time before we - and the spectators - realised that it was actually mate!

Also see

Sverre Johnsen said...

An excellent example of the kind of subtleties that decide most games!

By the way (if you are in a position to influence it): A link to my blog from the excellent Streatham & Brixton Chess Club pages would be much appreciated!

Tom Chivers said...

Done Sverre - I am sure our readers will enjoy your blog too if they come looking.

Sverre Johnsen said...

Thank you!

An excellent spot too - right between two of my favorite blogs.