Dennis M's Chess Site

This is a blog for chess fans by a chess fan. I enjoy winning as much as anyone else, and I've had a reasonable amount of success as a competitor, but what keeps me coming back to the game is its beauty. And that, primarily, is what this site will be about! All material copyrighted.

Friday, April 08, 2005

A Case of Enduring Mutual Blindness

Alexander Morozevich sometimes plays long series of blitz games, and yesterday I watched part of a 76-game marathon with Tigran Petrosian. (The runner-up in last year's world junior championship, not the late former world champion.) Most of the games I saw were interesting and at a level you'd expect from a top 10 player and his talented young GM opponent, but one series of moves, in one of the games, was pretty remarkable. We begin here:

Morozevich's games tend to be crazy, imbalanced and lacking in familiar signposts, and this one is no different. Here he's up a piece, but Black's potentially threatening pawn mass gives him some chances - at least in the context of a 3-minute game. Black can't play ...e4 here, because the pawn hangs to the Ba8, while ...f5 hangs the e-pawn. Therefore, plausibly enough, Petrosian uncorks the following:


The move has its virtues: it recentralizes the queen, attacks the Nf3, and supports the ...e4 fork. There is one small drawback, however. Do you see it? You probably do, but if not, don't worry - you're in excellent company.


Logical - it threatens the e5 pawn and prevents ...e4 because, well, that would hang the Black queen.


An interesting idea: the Bc8 wasn't a paragon of activity, and if 30.Nfxe5(??) Rxa8(??) 31.Qxd7(??), Black "wins" the knight with 31...Bxe5(??), while 31.Nxd7(??) hangs the queen to 31...Qxd6.

30.Qxd7?? Rxa8?? 31.Rf1??

We wouldn't want to hang the Nf3, now would we? Further, this move comes with the crushing threat of 32.Nd2! Qxd2 33.Qxf7+ Kh8 34.Rh1+ Bh6 35.Qxg6. Naturally, Black prevents this.

31...Rf8?? 32.Qc7??

Again, cleverly pinning the e-pawn and thus stopping the ...e4 threat. Let's have a final celebratory diagram here:


Finally! And yet...I'm not sure that Black actually saw the threat so much as he wanted to elude the pin. Either way, after eight consecutive turns of mutual blindness - provoking much amusement and shock for the spectators - Black at long last saves the queen. (In case you too were struck with chess blindness, White could have played Nxf4 on any of moves 29-32.) White is winning here in any case, and certainly should have won, but a panicky time-trouble stalemate let Black off the hook yet again. Too much slapstick in one day may be desensitizing, so we'll close the curtain on this whole sorry episode now.


  • At 4:49 PM, Blogger Joe McCarron said…

    Sometimes I wish I had an audience when I play blitz games. Sometimes I'm kind of glad I don't. Thanks for sharing this Dennis, Moro and Petrosian. Misery loves company so I was glad to read this.

  • At 10:09 PM, Blogger Naisortep said…

    The only thing rarer than two geniuses playing like geniuses is two geniuses playing like me :).


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