A selection from GM Michael Wilder's column, "Agony"
First published in Chess Chow, April 1992
Have you ever read Kotov's "Think Like a Grandmaster"? If you haven't, don't lose any sleep over it -- it's a load of rabbit-poody anyway. (He tries to describe the way the thought processes of a grandmaster are supposed to work. My reaction was, "Wake me up if there's any nudity.")
What I will be doing today will go Kotov one further: Thanks to the miracle of Chess Chow Technology, we will be bringing you "Grandmaster-Vision." This amazing device will enable you to follow what I was actually thinking during the game -- uncut, uncensored, and real. Through a verbatim transcription of my thoughts, you will be privy to the stream of consciousness in the mind of a grandmaster. You will see how a grandmaster really selects candidate moves and weighs options, and the disorganized process by which he finally decides which course to take. Grandmaster-Vision will be signified by quotations.
Sadler - Wilder WFW London, 1989
1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3 O-O 5. Bd3 d5 6. a3
"I'd like to try the Brazilian manoeuvre, but maybe he could counter that with the Portuguese notion. I'm going to block that strategy."
"Oops! Next time I'll think twice before assuming that my opponent hung a piece."
7...dxc4 8. Bxc4
"Things aren't going that well. Don't panic. Remember when I panicked because I thought I had a tiny lump on my left testicle? And when I went to the doctor he told me that the tiny lump was my left testicle? Well, the principle is the same -- there is no need to panic here, no siree. Just have to figure out how to channel my nervousness into something constructive. I know..."
(I got up and went outside and changed my socks. The reader should not get the misimpression that grandmasters carry an extra pair of socks with them -- I simply took the socks I was wearing and switched them on my feet. Back at the board...)
"Yeehaw! My feeties feel nice. Maybe I'll try to discombobulate him with a side-winder."
8...c5 9. Ne2 Qc7 10. Bd3 Nc6 11. O-O
"As my opponent is a 15-year-old prodigy/promising talent/whippersnapper/goat, there's no need to do anything silly here. Just be cool. Don't panic. Don't panic. FOR GOD SAKES DON'T PANIC. I AM CRAZY!!! Get a grip."
11...Rd8 12. Bb2 e5
"I have a pretty good Nimzo here. If 13. Qc2 Be6 looks good for me. What is this young lad, make that punk, trying to pull here anyway. I HATE YOU, YOU PUNK!!! GOD HELP ME. Perhaps he's just unfamiliar with the PSYCHO/KILL/HATRED #*$**# AAARRRGHHHH opening. Don't panic."
After this clunker, black is better. But notice the mature reaction in the mind of an experienced grandmaster upon facing a move that clearly concedes the opening battle:
"Hommenahommenahommena Weeeeeoh -- How A&P prices have changed! I don't hate you anymore, Mr. Sadler. I really don't. YOU PUNK!!! Sorry. I really don't. Nice junior. Good junior. I feel bad for you. The fact that you obviously have no clue about this position makes you seem more likeable, more vulnerable, more human. Who knows -- if you play your cards right, I may even change my mind and forget all about my intention to give you a big ol' wedgie after the game."
13...exd4 14. cxd4 cxd4 15. Qc2
"What matter of Broncept is this? The little cherub is threatening 16. Bxd4, and if 15...dxe3 16. fxe3 with a lack of clarity. This is a critical position, so I should stop and think carefully. On the other hand, there's a lot to be said for being true to my principles, and making a random move instantly. Therefore..."
Black was probably better after 15...Qe5, as 16. Rd1 could be met by 16...Bg4. Now white can equalize.
"I guess the youthful bastard is kind of tricky. I should cut him some respect. When I was his age, about the only talent I had was making noises with my armpits. I'll just continue moving instantly, and while he's thinking, I'll smile a lot and wave to the spectators."
16...Bg4 17. f3 Be6 18. exd4?
White could have achieved a drawish middlegame with 18. Ne4. The text allows black a slight advantage should he choose the obvious 18...Qf4. Instead....
In retrospect, this may have been the biggest embutterment of my career. From a totally ordinary, solid and slightly superior opening, black obtains an immediately resignable position with one innocuous-looking move.
Winning. Even now, when I contemplate some of the variations, I get a sick feeling:
19...Bxd5 20. Nf5 and now:
a) 20...Qf4 21. g3 Qg5 (21...Qc7 22. Bxf6 gxf6 23. Qc1, mating) 22. h4 Qh5 23. Bxf6 gxf6 24. g4 trapping the queen (24...Qg6 25. Ne7+)
b) 20...Qf8 21. Nxh6+ gxf6 (21...Kh8 22. Qf2 and black will not survive) 22. Bxf6 hitting the rook on d8 and also threatening 23. Bh7 mate! Other tries also lose, and black can't even give up his queen with 19...Qxd5 because 20. Bxf6 gxf6 21. Bh7+ wins it for just a rook.
We are having some technical troubles with Grandmaster-Vision, so in its place we bring you the all-new 1992 version of "Yasser-Vision". Here it goes: "I'm completely winning. Uh-oh, a 'howler'. Yasser loses again. Enjoy."
19...Nxd5 20. Bh7
We feel very privileged to be able to resume our broadcast of Grandmaster-Vision:
"I seem to be losing now, because 20...Kh8 gets blasted by 21. Nh5 f6 22. Nxg7 with a crushing attack. Damn! Nuts! Double-Nuts! Excrement! Cats Catarrh! It is clear that I should resign. But experience has taught me that in such situations, if your behavior at the board is sufficiently bizarre and distracting, then there are always ... possibilities. Besides, I already resigned one game on move 16 earlier in this tournament, and it is better to be known on the circuit as "the guy who is always hovering behind his opponent and doing something weird" than as the guy who "loses all his games in under 20 moves."
20...Kf8 21. Nh5
I really didn't know what I was going to do. Suddenly, it hit me: "Eureka!" Unfortunately, shouting "Eureka" did not accomplish much, as my opponent was away from the board (though at least I was successful in annoying several former opponents who were playing in the same room).
21...f6 22. Nxg7
At this point, I went for the old standby -- I snuck up behind him, put my hands over his eyes and said "Guess who?" He shot back with the witty retort, "You are creepy. Please go away."
22...Ng4 23. Bxg7+ Ke7 24. Bd4 Rac8 25. Qb2
I suddenly had an inspiration and attempted to claim a win on time! (though I knew that in fact my opponent had over 50 minutes remaining on his clock). The TD ruled against me, but during the furious melee that ensued, I managed to secretly change my socks again.
I knew that my opponent was suspicious of me, but I was so bitter that I didn't care, so while he was away from the board I removed his knight on h5. When he returned, I slammed down my move and offered a draw. He quickly caught on to what was happening, and said "Give me my horsie back." I sheepishly produced it from my pocket, and claimed that the whole thing was a "misunderstanding."
26. Rfe1 Rd6 27. h3 Nc3 28. hxg4 Nxd1 29. Rxd1 Bg4 30. Bf6 Ke8 31. Qe5 1-0
I was drawing a blank trying to come up with an appropriately nasty remark, but then recalled a quip that a Chow staffer had ad-libbed at a collegiate insult contest. So I grinned at my opponent, pumped his hand warmly, and said "You look like a pine-cone."
So if there is a moral to the story, it is this: Chess will always embitter you; the important thing is to keep everything in perspective, and to be unpleasant to other people whenever possible.
Note: This article was one of an ongoing series published during the early 1990s in the brilliant but short-lived magazine, Chess Chow .
- Last edited Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:48 pm (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Sat Sep 19, 2009 7:18 pm