Monday, September 5, 2011

Chess Blindness

Why are some positions more difficult to see than others?

Take for instance, this position I played a while back online. I am White.

For some odd reason, I totally missed the shot. The Black king attacks my Knight and I played the most "natural" move... 1. exf6??

Looking at it now, I just cannot understand how I could have missed such a simple tactic.

I had totally missed the simple 1. e6+!! forking both Queen and King. The unusual placement of the Knight and the fact that it can control the e6 square (in reverse) made me unaware of the tactical shot.

However, if you think elite Grandmasters and World Champions are above it all, guess again!

1. In the recently concluded Botvinnik Memorial, the World rated #1 Magnus Carlsen missed this against Viswanathan Anand by playing 1. R4e1?? What did Carlsen miss?

2. Even the great endgame specialist and 3rd World Champion Jose Raul Capablanca suffered from this. In this game v Thomas, his opponent incorrectly resigned after Capablanca played 1. Qa8?? What did Capablanca miss?

3. Even one of the greatest players of all time also suffers from chess blindness. In the following game, Viswanathan Anand v Garry Kasparov. Kasparov took the Bishop with 1...Qxe3?? What did Garry Kimovich miss?

Answers can be found by highlighting the brackets
Game 1
1...g6 2. Ng3 Bf2 and White must sacrifice an exchange down with Rook for Bishop. Carlsen subsequently lost.

Game 2
1... Rxa2! and White is forced to trade massive material leading to a losing endgame 2 pawns down.

Game 3
2. Qxg4 uncovering the hidden attack on the Black Queen and attacking the Rook on c8.