1. e4
    06 May '08
    22 Jun '23 09:132 edits

    A picture of me at the seaside with my pocket chess set.

    Then a puzzle that appeared in a 1966 Boy’s Life magazine from a column
    written by Bobby Fischer. It is White to play and checkmate in four moves.

    (solution in the blog.)

    Then a couple of Red Hot Pawn games featuring games where a player
    castles giving checkmate at the same time. Then onto a look at another
    successful RHP trap. One player here caught 8 players with it last year.

    Blog Post 572
  2. Joined
    18 Jan '07
    24 Jun '23 10:22
    What is that pawn doing in the puzzle? Is it necessary to win a tempo in some sidelines, or is it really superfluous?
  3. Joined
    15 Dec '20
    24 Jun '23 13:55
    @shallow-blue said
    What is that pawn doing in the puzzle? Is it necessary to win a tempo in some sidelines, or is it really superfluous?
    The pawn is probably there to prevent the "cook" (alternative solution) of 3.Ra2 after 1.Bd8 Kc8 2.Kc6 Kb8.
  4. Subscriberwyndavies
    Grand Duke
    Somewhere else
    16 Apr '23
    24 Jun '23 23:08
    The bit about the trap reminds me of attending the Isle of Lewis chess festival more years ago than I care to think about.
    Me and my mate Willie hadn't been on holiday for ages, so we took a week off work and entered the tournament. As Willie put it, "We're on holiday AND we're playing chess! It doesn't get better than that!"

    I was in the 1500-1800 group and was rated 1585 at the time if I remember right. In the 2nd round I ended up paired up against a guy rated 1130. I was a bit confused as it seems to me that 1130 is less than 1500. I went to the organiser to check my math and he said the guy had asked to be entered into the higher group because it was his first rating and he thought he was under-rated due to playing low-rated players all of his first year.

    I said "fair enough" and waited for the start of the round. The guy seemed kinda arrogant when he arrived, but I thought maybe I was misreading him.
    He played 1.d4, so I responded with 1...c5. I wasn't trying for the trap, but rather to try to avoid the Trompowsky, having lost every time I'd faced it up til then.
    My opponent's reaction was a bit over the top. He did a comedy-style double-take, then let out a huge sigh and looked really annoyed. He took the pawn and then sat back with his arms folded, making loud sighing noises and looking around and then at me.
    It was obvious he thought he was dealing with someone so bad at chess that they lost a pawn on move 1 and was wanting me to know how upset he was at not getting a challenge.
    I was a bit baffled. GM Nigel Davis once said there is no such thing as a bad move on move 1, just some that aren't as good as others (although 1.d4 g5 doesn't look great for black to me).

    So we played on and when I played 3...a5 his expression of contempt faultered. He then confidently played 4.c3, looked at me and looked alarmed. I was looking at him in complete confusion. "What was he up to? Did he have some amazing plan involving his Queen jumping into an attack?" These thoughts were going through my head and I'd constructed some fantastical variations. But all looked really bad for white.

    I played 4....ab. After about 15 minutes of thought he replied 5.cb and looked to me as if looking for confirmation (all the arrogance and the dramatic sighing had stopped). When I moved the Queen he deflated. He tried 6.Qc2 Qxa1 7.Nc3, but I just kept it simple (I had been out at a local pub the night before, and had drunk a lot of coffee in the morning to counter it, so I had both a mini-hangover and was overloaded on caffeine so concentrating wasn't easy) and played 7...Ra3 and sacced the exchange so I could extract my queen.

    He resigned a few moves later and when I tried to talk to him he left in a huff.
    A Huff is an old-fashioned carriage. It is smaller than the standard ones, seating just one person and instead of horses, it is drawn by a team of labradors. Certainly an impressive exit.

    Willie's game had also finished early. He played a game so chaotic his opponent got confused and thought he was playing White (he was playing Black), saw the position was lost for White and resigned. I thought Willie was winding me up, but his opponent appeared (a short bespectacled cheery lad that could have been anywhere from 14 to 40) and confirmed this. I had no words so we just headed into the canteen and had a chat and went over the madness of their game.
    Later we hired some bikes and went cycling around the Isle of Lewis. Willie wanted to go off-road. Almost immediately I went down a slope, hit a tree and went flying. I called out to Willie to not come down as there was a tree on the slope. He called out "righty-ho", came flying down and crashed into the tree. He picked himself up and said, "Oh right. When you said 'Tree' you meant an actual tree."

    Aside from that the island turned out to be gorgeous and certainly a place to visit.
    A bit of pity the chess festival was a 1-off and they didn't make it an annual event.
  5. e4
    06 May '08
    25 Jun '23 15:031 edit

    "... thought he was playing White (he was playing Black), saw the position was lost for White and resigned." I know of cases where a player has taken their own pieces but this is a new one. Someone resigning because they thought they were White instead of Black. Do you have a copy of the game?

    Yes the pawn on a2 was added to stop dual solutions.

    Sometimes when solving harder studies/problems asking yourself
    why pawns or pieces are on a particular square can give you a hint.

  6. Subscriberwyndavies
    Grand Duke
    Somewhere else
    16 Apr '23
    27 Jun '23 08:141 edit
    I don't recall the game. It was played back in 1995. I barely recall my own games from that time, let alone someone else's.
    I do remember it was a crazy king hunt on both sides, so the kings had gone on a big wander and were in the middle of the board. But even so I couldn't understand how someone could get their side mixed up. I did wonder if the 2 of them were playing a joke on me, but if they were they never cracked.

    I did have a mate who did a "Jon Speelman". He sacced a piece to mate his opponent's king and on the final move discovered it was actually his queen (like Jon Speelman he has really bad eyesight).

    Incidentally, I got the direction in the puzzle the wrong way around! I thought white was about to queen the pawn (which obviously makes the puzzle much easier).

    I'm enjoying going through your blogposts and looking at the puzzles and information.
    I definitely need to improve my calculations. I was recently making some moves. The 1st game I spent ages working out a really complex combo to win a pawn and finally realised my own pawn was hanging and I should maybe defend it.
    2nd game I opened up and was in horror. My opponent had just taken my queen. Replaying the last few moves and saw my queen had been hanging for 3 moves and neither of us had noticed.
    3rd game I spent 15 minutes working out how to win a pawn and go into a winning endgame. Just before I moved something nagged at me. Looking for another few minutes and I twigged I had mate in 1!
    Yeah, my calculating ability needs work.
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