My mate Gerrard Oswald has done a drawing of me for the site.
This is quite an honour, Gerrard's stuff is starting to crop
up in all kinds of publications. I suppose he had to be good at something.
I'd prefer game, a game with a sacrifice in it, an unsound sacrifice.
Which brings me onto another local lad who made good. Ian Rankin.
Ian writes the Inspector Rebus books which are read the world over.
Rebus is based in Edinburgh and has been known to drink at Bells.
I have to pull Ian Rankin up on one wee thing.
In the short story, Castle Dangerous. Sir Walter Scott is
found dead at the top of the Sir Walter Scott monument.
Not Sir Walter Scott the novelist, Sir Walter Scott the QC.
He has to climb his namesakes monument to see who is blackmailing him.
It's a good story and you will find it in a collection of short
stories entitled Beggars Banquet.
(Rankin must be a Rolling Stones fan. Quite a few of his books
are named after Stones LP's. Beggars Banquet, Let it Bleed,
Black and Blue er.. I think that's it.)
Come to think of it, Sir Walter Scott the novelist was also a QC.
He acted for the prosecution in the Crown v Burke & Hare,
Christmas Eve 1828.
Contrary to popular belief Burke & Hare never robbed a grave.
They murdered their victims and sold the bodies to Doctor Knox.
(Actually the first two bodies sold to Dr. Know died of natural
causes. They then got fed up waiting for nature to take it's course
so started murdering people. Nobody knows for sure how many were
murdered, estimates range from 15 to 30.)
Around about the same time a Dr. Knox was a member of the Edinburgh
Chess Club. Whether or not it's the same Dr.Knox I'm not certain.
Here is a view from The Scott monument.
The red circle is where the Jamaican lad set up his pitch.
The arrow shows the approximate site of the Edinburgh Chess Club.
Now where was I?
Ah yes. Inspector Rebus and Castle Dangerous.
In this story we find Rebus thinking to himself.
He knew the chess player's motto: if in doubt, play a pawn.
Hmmmm. He may be a good detective but he sounds like a lousy
chess player. To date two million, three hundred and sixty four
thousand, eight hundred and nine (2,364,809) games of chess have been
lost by players in doubt pushing a pawn.
As I write another two games have just been lost. (2,364,811).
Golden Rule No.1
If you cannot think of what to do, Never push a pawn.
I suppose I had better furnish an example.
The Idiot v Chandler
I'm calling my opponent an idiot because he is one
those net chess players who when faced with a mate
stop playing. This was a five minute game played on the net
and I am mating him with two minutes left on his clock.
He stopped moving and I had to waste 2 minutes of
my life watching a clock tick down. Idiot.
It features instructive pawn moves and was played
on Saturday 21st October 2006 at the Tollcross Internet Cafe.
In those long two minutes I looked around me.
I was sitting beside an attractive Japanese girl,
all Japanese girls are attractive. Across from me there
was a gawky student noisily stuffing his face with crisps.
Next to him was an elderly gentleman who kept tutting.
He was having trouble aiming his mouse. Occasionally he
would thump it against the mouse mat. That's bound to work.
Behind him sat a fat women who was talking to someone on
her mobile. She was getting directions on how to log onto
a site. "I can't find it." she kept moaning. I could see her screen.
It displayed one of those 'Site Unavailable' messages.
At the till a Polish girl was trying to get something
printed in colour on a b/w printer. The owner was losing the
communication battle. A younger man joined them and stated
that his computer had "...frozen up."
There was a Matador poster on the wall plus a sign giving
you the price for printing. 'Black and White Only. 10p.'
There was also a sign giving you the cost for hiring a machine.
30 Minutes £1.00. 1 Hour £1.50. 5 Hours for £5.00.
I had a £5.00 ticket, two minutes of which were being wasted.
"Is your machine broken?"
The Japanese girl had notice my inactivity.
I turned to her and fell in love on the spot.
"Im waiting for my opponent to move."
I replied, pointing at the screen.
"Oh Shess." she giggled. It sounded like a field of
golden flowers gently swaying in a summer breeze.
"I not play Shess." she said.
I had never knew the word 'Chess' could be pronounced
Tut. Thump. Went the elderly gentleman across from her.
We looked at each other. She put a delicate hand up
to her mouth to suppressed another giggle.
"Oh." she exclaimed pointing to my screen.
Black wins on time. said the message.
She went back to her screen. I saved the game and
went surfing for another idiot. We never spoke again.
Here is the game.
The Idiot v Chandler
1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.e5? ....
This thoughtless pawn push losses a pawn.
3...dxe5 4.dxe5 Qxd1+ 5.Kxd1 Ng4
Faced with a pawn loss on e5 or f2 our hero
attempts to confuse me and so losses a piece.
Now a rude awakening, if he saves the Bishop
then the Rook on h1 goes so he sells the Bishop
for a pawn and plays 8.Nh3 to stop Nxf2+.
7.Bxc6+ Nxc6 8.Nh3 Ngxe5 9.Nc3 Bxh3 10.gxh3 0-0-0+
What a mess 3.e5 has gotten him into.
He stopped the check with 11 Bd2 and I
piled up on the pinned piece with 11...Nc4.
He protected it with 12.Ne4.
11.Bd2 Nc4 12.Ne4...
This is the instructive bit.
Now I could nick another pawn with 12...Nxb2+
but that would untie him. No I must get some
more men out and overpower him with sheer force
of numbers. So do I play 12...e5 or 12 ..e6.
12...e5 looks logical and playable, but it robs
the c6 Knight of a good square and e5 is a black
square it would hamper my black squared Bishop.
Also on e5 the pawn needs protecting by pieces.
Why give him a target?
So 12...e6 is the move.
You see even though I'm winning easily I'm still
thinking. One silly pawn move can chuck a game.
He unpinned with 13.Kc1 and I prepared to double the Rooks.
He brings his Rook into play and then attacks my Rook.
13.Kc1 Rd4 14.Re1 Be7 15.Bc3...
I played 15...Rhd8.
Remember what I said about outnumbering him with
pieces. I'm a piece up so a Rook can stay on d4.
Compare this diagram with the next one.
The difference being my out of play Rook on h8 is on d4.
His active Bishop on c3 has disappeared.
When ahead on material don't be afraid to give something back.
15...Rhd8 16.Bxd4 Rxd4
So now what does the idiot do?
Here is instructive bit No.2 he cannot think of
what to do. He pushes a pawn without thinking of
the consequences and the roof fell in.
17.b3 Ba3+ 18.Kb1 ....
Time to start thinking of mating patterns.
If the Knight on d4 was not there then 18..Nd2 mate.
18...Rxe4 19.Rd1 Nd2+
The idiot stopped playing and that's when I started looking about.
I was sitting beside an attractive Japanese girl...
Here is another game of mine where a silly pawn move
lost a drawn game. V.Clelland - G.Chandler. League 1985.
Black to play - I win this.
I played 59...b4 securing the draw.
He played 60 a4? securing the loss.
60...Kc2! you must always be alert for such blunders.
They happen all the time.
The b-pawn is going to Queen.
What sex are pawns?
The King, Bishop and Knight are male.
If the pawns are classed as male then they
must undergo a sex change when getting promoted.
No wonder some of my pawns seem reluctant to reach the eighth rank.
What sex are Rooks?
Let us finish with an inspector Rebus tale.
He finds a body. The murderer is a sore loser
and killed his opponent before he mated him.
On the board is this position.
Rebus has to put the two Kings on the board so that
white to play, can make a move that mates black in one move.
Don't put the Black King on a8 and the White King on a6.
That is mate already. I want a position where white to
play mates in one move.
Solution Next Week.
News just in. The number of games lost by a silly pawn move
has risen to 3,893,128. Don't do it.