I had my orders from the wife when she and I went along to the ASDA car booty.
"No more chess sets." she pleaded.
She never knew how many sets I had till I covered the
kitchen floor with them for the photograph. See the Duchamp C.C.
"If I see you with another chess set I'll smash it over your head."
So suitably warned we went a browsing.
Some guy tried to sell me a set of encyclopedias for £5.00.
"I don't need them." I reply. "I'm married to someone who knows everything."
I laugh. He laughs. The people around us laugh. She glares.
I'm always joking about my wife. It's force of habit.
Everytime I introduce her as my wife,
the first thing they say is;
"You must be joking."
Anyway we had been at the booty for half an hour.
I had bought a Led Zep II cd. (£1.00), the HELP video by
the Beatles (£1.00) and a Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band cd. (£2.00).
Then I saw it... No that's a lie. I heard it.
"Geoffrey...Geoffrey...Over here...Over here."
And there it was, leaning against the side of a white van,
surrounded by unwanted books, undone jig-saws and unwatched videos...
A giant size wooden Chess board.
"How much for the chess board." I asked.
Oh please please please say it's £5.00 so I won't buy it.
Please say it's £5.00. I promise not to haggle.
"£1.00" he replies.
"I'll take it."
It's a beauty. It's the same size as
the boards at the Edinburgh Chess Club.
Here it is with a regular sized chess set on it.
(yes I played over the Morphy game on it - see last C.C. and this C.C.)
It does have a scratch on it and some of the dark squares
have faded. Does anybody know how to restore these things on the cheap?
Of course now I'll need a large wooden/plastic set to go with it.
The arguments have been raging about this since she carried it home.
You should have heard her moaning about how heavy it was.
The Morphy Game
Now I'm going to give the Morphy game because the compulsion
has completely taken over and now I must include it in every thing
I write and will do so in every future C.C.
THAT WAS A JOKE.
Amazing Fact No. 312 about the Morphy Game.
Did you know that Graham Burgess also has the Morphy fixation.
In his excellent 'The Mammoth Book of Chess' he gives
the Morphy game no fewer than eight times! This is true.
Here is the Morphy game. It is relevant to what follows.
[Click here to replay the game]
The Morphy Game
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qb3 Qe7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Bg5 b5
10.Nxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.0-0-0 Rd8 13.Rxd7 Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qb8+ Nxb8 17.Rd8
Now years ago one evening in the Edinburgh Chess Club
I recall someone showing the Morphy game to a newcomer.
Among those present were Me, Alan Norris, Bill Bennett,
Rob Inglis, Johnny Marr and I'm sure Simon Gillam was there.
Someone. I really cannot remember who.
Pointed out that instead of 8 Nc3 white can play
8 Bxf7+ Qxf7 9 Qxb7 and win easily.
At the time I made some kind of comment that it was ugly
and then dismissed the incident from my mind.
I was not a car booter then so the habit of playing
over the Morphy game on every new set did exist.
A number of months ago someone on the Scottish Notice board
was discussing the Morphy game and someone else made the comment
"why all the fuss - white can play 8 Bxf7+ and 9 Qxb7 and win."
or words to that effect.
Sandy Bells, Sunday the 23rd July 2006.
I'm getting my leg pulled about the previous the Duchamp CC. and
my penchant for playing over the Morphy game on a new set.
I take it in my stride and then show the 8 Bxf7+ line.
"It's a pity that such a beautiful game has this ugly flaw in it."
I said sadly.
"Maybe Morphy wanted to win in a pretty way and dismissed the line."
replied Keith Ruxton trying to cheer me up.
(I've just discovered a note in Sergeant's book on Morphy.
He has reached the diagramed position and states...
'Morphy might have played also 8 Bxf7+ Qxf7 9 Qxb7 - but,
says Lasker, "that would have been a butchers method, not an artist's.")
"But Morphy was a good player. Surely he saw it?" said I.
(Players have had the same position and resigned after 8 Bxf7+.
In Sellman v Cohnfled 1880, after 8 Bxf7+ Black played 8...Kf8 and
lost in 23 moves.
In Tenk v Egbert 1930, Black played 8...Kd8 and lost in 18 moves.)
"Perhaps Morphy saw playing 8 Bxf7+ and then 9 Qxb7 leads to a
long drawn out win. He kept the Bishop on c4 going for a quicker win."
This was said by Mickey Rattray.
So the three of us looked for a quick win for
White in the Qxb7 and Qxa8 variation.
I played a silly looking Bishop check and was about
to withdraw it when Keith found some counter play for Black.
Suddenly Black is winning!!
We went over it again and we liked what we saw.
Morphy must have turned in his grave everytime someone
mentioned 8 Bxf7+ claiming a clear win.
Well he can relax now. I'm so happy.
You see what Morphy saw all those years ago was a messy position.
He did not stop at Qxa8 like the dim witted players after him.
He dismissed 8 Bxf7+ because it is not the best move for the situation.
It took a handful of players supping pints of Guinness
in Sandy Bells 150 years later to see what he saw.
(Perhaps the ghost of Morphy moved amongst us that night.
He has been waiting all that time for someone to look
a bit deeper into the position after Qxa8.)
Here is the diagram again.
A few days later I played the line against the beloved Fritz.
The Fritz valuation is given in red.
8 Bxf7+ (2.09) Qxf7
9 Qxb7 (2.44) Qc4
10 Qxa8 (2.84) Bb4+
11 c3 (3.44) 0-0
12 Nd2 (1.41) Qa6
13 cxb4 (1.25) Nc6
14 b5 (0.05) Qxb5
15 a4 (0.03) Qa6
16 Qxf8+ (-0.75) Kxf8
Giving us this position.
Is White winning this? I think not. RIP Morphy - at last.
To be fair we really could not believe it and we started
looking at not playing 13 cxb4. Getting the Queen out
with 13 Qb7 was suggested. But no quicker win was in sight.
Anyway, before we could delve into 13 Qb7 the pile of
chess players from Stuttgart with the nice looking girls piled
into Bells and you can read all about what happened next
in the previous C.C.
So I did a wee bit of research (5 minutes surfing on the net).
Other people have mentioned the possible quicker win and some
even state 8 Bxf7+ is a win. (end of analysis).
The best site I found claiming perhaps Sergeant, Lasker and even
Kaparov is wrong was:
The Chess Mind.
This lad, Dennis Monokroussos, suggests 8 Bxf7+ Qxf7 9 Qxb2 Bc4!
which is a very interesting idea that I like as it gives White
the choice of taking either the Rook on a8 or h8.
So it would appear we can put the 8 Bxf7+ nonsense to bed.
Morphy was right and we were all wrong.
By the way, after scanning for the Morphy game. I claim,
without a doubt, it is the most produced game on the net.
I wonder if I could copyright it.
In 1979 I used to write the Edinburgh Chess League News Letter.
I've been writing and reporting to Edinburgh chess players for 30 years.
The only thing that has changed is the different formats.
(The jokes are the same).
Anyway, in 1979 I started the News Letter with 'A Star is Born.'
and duly reported the birth of my daughter, Kelly who was actually
born in what is now the analysis room of the Edinburgh Chess Club
on the 7th. December 1979.
So that explains all the pictures I've used to
break up the text. They are pictures of Kelly.
Joanna said around about 12.30pm. that she thought she going into labor,
but we had had that many false alarms and I was piece up against
Johnny Marr so I ignored her till it was too late.
Imagine that. Actually born in a Chess Club. Who else do you know
that was actually born in a chess club. I was jealous.
Well she is getting married on the 10th August and every player
on the Scottish Grading list is invited to the reception at the
Park View Hotel, Leith 7:30pm.
If someone can please bring along a set and chess clock we
can organise a 5 minute tournament.
Weddings are expensive.
By the time I've finished paying for this wedding,
the only thing I'll have left to give away is my daughter.
So why did Kelly not end up as a chess player?
Well I taught here the moves but she just not interested.
I'm relieved in a way. She would have ended up marrying
some goofy, no life chess player. The idea of having
Graeme Kafka as my son-in-law simply did not appeal.
I remember once picking up Kelly from Tollcross School.
Kelly pointed out this kid in the playground.
"He plays chess Dad, he's good."
That kid was Keith Ruxton.
So finally here is Kelly going on her hen night.
"Dad don't you dare put that picture on your web site."
"No I won't."
What no pics of the wife?