I seem to require one, or even better two major balls-ups before I can play chess with any degree of craft or cunning.
Take the latest game played at Dr M’s after an entertaining reading the first half of the XXIst chapter of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Donatist heresy, influence of Plato on Christianity via the 4th Gospel, the contrary errors of the Ebionites and the Docetes). I was white and began with the safe and sound P to K4:
1. P-P4, P-K4
2. Kt-KB3, Kt-KB3
Oho! The Petrov Defence! Dr M has started reading Japanese chess books!
3. Kt x P, Kt x P
I was trying to remember how the Petrov Defence went, but got tangled up and completely overlooked Q-K2…
Here’s an explanation of the Petrov Defence:
And here is how our situation developed:
It all looks rather awkward…
Then Dr M played a bold move:
… Kt x P!
K x Kt, B x B!
R x Q, R x R
Oh well. I was hoping Dr M wouldn’t notice my Queen threatening Mate next go. Once Dr M had blocked that opportunity with his Knight I realized that my Queen was very poorly positioned. Indeed, a few turns later and an even worse move on my part, followed by a fine revealed Check by Dr M saw my Queen fall and suddenly I was on the ropes, with Dr M advancing for the kill.
All I had left of the major pieces was my immobile Bishop on QB1 and a Rook on Q1. My only chance was to get the bishop to R3 and my Rook to KB1, which was covered by Dr M’s Bishop on QKt4.
Time to look despondent and play a seemingly despairing attack on the Bish…!
P-R4, B x P
This conveniently placed Dr M’s Bishop in an attacking position against my Rook. Time for another feigning move…
R-KB1… as if resignedly moving away from trouble… eyes firmly on the Bishop and attacking pieces…
Now, Dr M advanced a Pawn onto the 6th rank…
Slowly, with trembling hand, I grasped the Rook and… R-KB8 Checkmate! The King was trapped on Kt1, with the KtP and RP on their starting positions, and my Rook nicely covered by my Bishop.
But seriously, I didn’t deserve to win after that performance…