Just when you thought it was safe to enter the chess club….once again, we shine the spotlight on someone’s misfortune, a player making the sort of move that makes us all think ‘There but for the grace of God go I’. This week’s example may make you feel even better because although it is a bit of a cheat in that it was not played recently, it does feature two top players, thereby proving that yes, even chess grandmasters appear human at times. The game was played in the World Senior Team Championships last year between Alexander Huzman and our own Nigel Short. Nigel was recently a candidate for presidency of FIDE but stood down at the last minute to support the successful candidate, Arkady Dvorkovich. Until recently, Nigel was the oldest player in the Top 100 but as he is currently 101 he can quite fairly claim to be the oldest player in the Top 101. Here at Broadstairs Towers we are not entirely sure what Twitter is but we know that Nigel is a regular ‘tweeter’ or ‘twit’ or whatever the word is. After England’s fine performance at the Olympiad, he tweeted his congratulations, adding that it was a good thing he was not called upon.
The featured position is instructive because it is one where mere mortals like your correspondent would probably stare at the position for a long time watching the clock go down and eventually agree a draw even though it is clear that Black is on top. In the analysis that accompanied the position, it was suggested that White might have had a chance had he played 43. a4 b4 44. a5 Kc7 45. Ba4 Nfg5 46. Nf4. Instead he played 43. Kd1? How would you answer that? Perhaps it is obvious but if not, it is a lesson for us all not to take anything for granted. If you haven’t got it yet, try to work out Black’s reply which forced resignation before looking at the answer below.
White: GM Alexander Huzman (2571) Black: GM Nigel Short (2652)
World Senior Team Championships 2017
Black’s reply was 43…Bxd4! If 44. exd4 Nc3 is mate.