Sunday, February 22, 2015

Nothing new under the sun

The same tactical themes are seen again and again. Compare the finishes of these two games. They reached identical positions except for the side on which White castled. In both, 15.Nxc6! is the killer, with the point that 15...bxc6 is met by 16.Qa6#, while 15...Qxe2 is met by the unusual checkmate 16.Nxa7#. The first game is No. 314 in Chernev's classic The 1000 Best Short Games of Chess.

Over sixty years later, I played this blitz game, without knowing of its predecessor:

The astute observer will notice that in my game, 14.Nxc6! was already possible. In fairness to Albert, who was my teammate on the Lane Tech High School chess team, this result was highly atypical of our games at the time. He was much stronger. Later we both became masters. Many years later, he co-founded the website.

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