My missed opportunities

I don't have many brilliancies to brag about. Most of my good games have been blitz or bullet, and I have not kept any records. Instead I would like to show a couple of positions where I missed the most elegant move. I am sure that there are many more, and in time I may use a computer chess program (which I do not have at present) to go over my old games.

This position was reached in 1964 in a club tournament game with V. Lepamets playing white. Lepamets was a dangerous attacking player, so I had chosen to give him some of his own medicine: attack at all costs. I had sacrificed a pawn, then the exchange, then a piece, and finally yet another piece (declined), and was a full rook behind in material.

Here I played Rg8-e8, and white was forced to give up his queen to avoid being mated. His open king, disconnected rooks, bad bishop and poor pawn structure eventually led to his defeat.

In hindsight, a much more elegant move for black would have been f4-f3! It is a surprisingly quiet move in this position, with no threat of check or capture from the pawn, but it threatens both Qe1 and Rg1 with back-rank mate. The desperate Bb2 fails to Rg1 followed by Qg6. Qd3 runs into Qg4 (Ke1, Qg1, Qf1, Re8). The only defense seems to be Qd8, and again white is forced to surrender his queen. Objectively, f4-f3 may not be any stronger than Rg8-e8, but it certainly is much more appealing!

The next position is from an open tournament in Jönköping in 1973. My opponent M. Gustafsson had gotten a very cramped position as black. I decided to press on with h2-h4 as my next move.

The game did not last long after the black queen munched my poisoned pawn on d4 a few moves later and quickly got trapped.

However, there is a much stronger move than h4 in this position, and it is blindingly obvious. I should have played Ne5xf7! If black takes with the king, he loses his queen to Ng5 followed by Nxe6. If he does not, Qc7 is forced. Bf4 follows, forcing e5, and white gains at least a second pawn.



  Last edited or checked April 9, 2004

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