Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Don’t Be a Quitter

Do as I say, kids, not as I do. I admit that I have resigned many a chess game sooner than I should have because I couldn’t (or simply didn’t want to) face the humiliation and discomfort of playing out a losing position. But that doesn’t mean you should. Every generation wants the next one to have it better than it did, and that’s what I want for you. So for this week’s Wacky Wednesday game, I’ve selected a mercifully short object lesson in why you shouldn’t quit a game until it is truly lost.

Here’s the game.

Black resigns after 11. Bxc3+.

Notice that with 9. Rd1 I contrive to set up a simple discovered check, which my worthy opponent obligingly walks right into. He (or she) takes my knight, and in recapturing with my bishop I also put the king in check with the rook.

Black then resigns. Why? Well, I can only imagine she (or he) thinks she’s about to lose a piece. She has to get out of check, and if she moves her king White captures the bishop on the next move (12. fxg4) and Black is down in material. Some people find the loss of a piece dispiriting and resign.

But it doesn’t have to be. Black can get out of check and pull his (or her) bishop to safety with the same move: 11. ... Bd7. He probably didnt see this move.

Here’s one possible continuation, courtesy of the Crafty chess engine: 12. Bc4 Ke7 13. Bxf7 Be6 14. Bxe6 Kxe6 15. 0-0 Rad8 16. Kf2 Rhf8 17. Kg3. White probably has a bit of an advantage, but the game is far from lost for Black.

Moral of the story: if you’re in a spot, especially some kind of double attack, look for a move that will deal with both threats. You won’t always find one, but sometimes you will.

Don’t forget to check in with Polly for more Wacky Wednesday action.