These are still not chess pieces.
There is absolutely no record at all of them
being discovered in Lewis. The first the Isle of
Lewis knew about them was when someone from the mainland,
on his first visit to Lewis, told them they were discovered
there and then showed them the exact spot.
They first appear in Edinburgh in 1830.
They were probably bought off some sailor in Leith
and an entrepreneur dyed some of the pieces red
with beet root juice to make up what looked
like a chess set. He then sold it to the British Museum.
Originally all the pieces were white.
There was no board. The board they now sell with the
pieces is a made up modern tourist trap.
There was a book published in the last century called
the 'Myth of the Lewis Chessmen', this book had been ignored.
I know I've gone on about this before but some people
thought it was a wind up. A few nights ago I watched a
brief documentary about them on BBC3. The expert kept
repeating. "They are chessmen.", "They are definitely chessmen."
So unless the experts read this column, which is unlikely,
then obviously someone else is expressing their doubts.
These guys hate to admit it when they are wrong.
They would rather carry on deceiving us than confess
that they have been dupped.
Why claim they come from Lewis? Why not? Anywhere would have
done to complete the deception. Put yourself in the tricksters shoes.
You need to name a place where they were discovered.
Something triggered a sub conscious link with chess or the name
was very cleverly chosen.
Who was one of the most famous chess players of that period?
William Lewis (1787-1870).
White to play and mate in three (Kling)
Solution at the bottom.
A few C.C's back I spoke of a chess game by Colin McNab
analysed in detail in the latest CHESS (May 2006).
Here as promised is the full game.
R.Berzinsh - C.McNab 4NCL 2006.
IM Andrew Greet gives this game 2 pages of full
and interesting analysis. His quote in this following
position is very good. Black has just played 28...Kb7.
"An extraordinary position. How on earth to evaluate
this one? Probably the main thing to recognise about this
type of game is that routine evaluations such as 'White has a
slight advantage' are pretty meaningless as the position
is such a mess.
Both sides have good and bad things about their positions,
and the result will depend on the skill and creativity
of the two contestants."
I enjoyed playing over this one. I was saccing like a nutter
on the Queenside trying to hack my way through. I agree with
Andrew that on move 31 Colin could have played 31...Rxa4
which leads to a forced tactical win.
Though Colin's move, 31....Be4 is a move that would
have been hard to resist and 31...Rxa4 requires some
heavy analysis. It was easy throwing the bits around
in my bedroom but at the board with the clock ticking...
[Click here to replay the game]
R.Berzinsh - C.McNab
1.e4 g6 2.d4 d6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.Be3 Nf6 5.h3 c6 6.f4 Qa5 7.Qf3 Nbd7 8.0-0-0 e5 9.dxe5 dxe5 10.f5 b5 11.Kb1 b4 12.Nce2 Nc5 13.g4 gxf5 14.exf5 e4 15.Qf2 Na4 16.b3 Nc3+ 17.Nxc3 bxc3 18.Bc5 Nd7 19.Bd6 c5 20.a4 Bb7 21.Bc4 0-0-0 22.Bxf7 Bh6 23.Rh2 Bc6 24.Ne2 Bd2 25.Nf4 e3 26.Qf1 Nb6 27.Be5 Rhf8 28.Be6+ Kb7 29.Nd3 Ka8 30.Bc7 Rd4 31.Ne5 Be4 32.Nc4 Qb4 33.Nxb6+ Kb7 34.Bd5+ Rxd5 35.Ka2 axb6 36.Qf4 Ra8
A good game of chess that. On occasions Colin McNab
can produce some awesome and instructive games. I recently
annotated another game of his for the New Scottish Chess.
That one was very simple to explain. The one above is a
nightmare to pin down. Andrew Greet was very brave in
Fred from Germany has sent me a picture of Elisabeth Paehtz.
Originally it started as a joke. Now I fear this column
has suddenly become the Elisabeth Paehtz appreciation page.
Elisabeth Paehtz with a G36 rifle from Heckler & Koch,
it fires 750 shoots per minute. And adds...
Most probably very useful to stop an advanced pawn
or against a fianchetto-bishop in his pawn-fortress.
Fred also sent me the following position.
He is Black, White to play.
Play continued: 1.Ne6 Nf1+ 2.Kh1 Rxg2 3.Nxc7 Rh2 mate.
and Fred adds, I've had a similar mating pattern before.
Now funnily enough when this arrived I was on the Scottish
notice board going on about mating patterns and how it's hard if
not impossible to create a mating you have never seen before.
I asked people to try this. Black King on e5 and now set up
a mate using ONLY two Bishops and Two Knights.
The night before in Bells I showed the puzzle to Graeme Kafka
and Keith Ruxton, we all agreed it could not be done.
I had spent about an hour trying to do it beforehand and
gave up. Another player, Stuart Hayes tried and gave up but
suddenly Keith spotted it. It could be done.
After I posted it on the Scottish site I got a few emails
with people claiming that they had solved it in a few minutes.
Whilst others sent me stalemate positions...
...or asked for the solution.
It's one of those strange positions where you either
get it right away or you never do. The main point is
it's a position you will never have seen before
because it is an illegal position.
So back to Fred and his game.
I fired up my latest database which I bought from ASDA.
It contains only 7 games. One of them was...
[Click here to replay the game]
M.Vachier - A.Spielmann
1.e4 c6 2.d4 d5 3.exd5 cxd5 4.c4 Nf6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Nc3 Bb4 7.cxd5 Nxd5 8.Bd2 Nc6 9.Bd3 Be7 10.0-0 0-0 11.Re1 Bf6 12.Nxd5 Qxd5 13.Be4 Qb5 14.Bc3 Ne7 15.Ne5 Nd5 16.a4 Qb6 17.Qd3 g6 18.Qf3 Qd8 19.Bd2 Bg7 20.Rac1 f6 21.Nd3 f5 22.Bxd5 Qxd5 23.Qxd5 exd5 24.Rc7 b6 25.Nb4 f4 26.Nxd5 g5 27.Bb4 Rd8 28.Ne7+ Kh8 29.Nc6 Rg8 30.d5 f3 31.Ne5 h6 32.Ng6+ Kh7 33.Nf8+ Kh8 34.Bc3 Bxc3 35.Rh7
And finally a picture of Gafin Austin with the
headlines that seem to sum up his thought process.
Gosh - I cannot let you leave with that image
as the last thing in your mind. Here is another
picture of Elisabeth Paehtz.
Solution to Kling problem.
1.Be8 c2 2.Ba4 Kd1 3.Rb1 mate.