Chess blunders

A blunder in chess is a disastrous move, a move which confers misery on its perpetrator, and which causes in most instances the immediate termination of a game. It is the player who commits the blunder who perishes. Also sounds familiar to non-chess players? Yes, because chess relates to life, and remains an integral part of our existence.

In chess, a blunder may be caused by carelessness or overconfidence; a tactical oversight or time trouble. Chess is played with a time control, or a chess clock, which has two faces on it. Upon the completion of a player’s move, he presses the button on his side of the clock, and thereby activates his opponent’s clock. In a time control situation, one has to beware of phrases like ‘time trouble’ and ‘time pressure.’ When one is required 20131215chessto play quickly, especially in rapid and blitz games, the probability of making a blunder is increased. It is easy to understand this when a rapid player is only allowed a meagre 25 minutes on his clock for the game’s completion. In a blitz game, widely referred to as speed chess, a player gets five minutes to conclude his game.  But how does this relate to a classical game, with say 90 minutes per player for its completion, when unbelievable blunders have been committed? Like the one Kasparov suffered at the hands of Anand when he lost his Queen due to a devious discovered attack by the Indian grandmaster! Or in the 1892 world championship match between Chigorin and Steinitz, when Chigorin made a colossal blunder and resigned forthwith in a hopeless position. It is felt that Chigorin’s mistake [?] reflects one of the most famous blunders in all of chess history, and it cost Chigorin the world championship match.

In life we all make blunders in whatever situation we are placed. No one is infallible. This is the lesson that chess teaches us. What qualifies as a blunder, rather than a routine mistake, remains subjective. One view is that a blunder is the culmination of a series of infinitesimal mistakes. In chess, blunders often occur because of a faulty thought process. In particular, attention should be paid to checks, captures, and imminent threats. Neglecting those factors may be the cause of “tactical oversight”  which presumably leads to blunders. Consider last month’s example of the Nakamura-Carlsen game at the Zurich Chess Challenge where Nakamura blundered as he was beating his opponent. Nakamura is the US champion while Carlsen, well, he is the world champion. The event was a triathlon, in which the chess superstars tested their opponents in blitz, rapid and classical games, the latter being the most important of the lot, because they carried a greater number of points. The tournament featured six superstars: Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Gelfand, Caruana and Nakamura, and was touted to be the strongest in chess history, owing to the accumulated FIDE ratings of the players. The Nakamura-Carlsen encounter presented a swing game, in which had Carlsen lost, the outcome of the tournament may have been different. Carlsen won the tournament, one point ahead of the Armenian grandmaster, Levon Aronian.

Nakamura had never beaten Carlsen at classical chess, but he came close in the Zurich Chess Challenge. He chose a variation that had presented difficulties for the world champion during his match with Anand last November in Chennai, and convincingly outplayed his opponent until move 37. d6 ?? (two question marks signify a blunder, while one question mark signifies a doubtful move). Carlsen seemed to have committed no obvious error in his game with Nakamura, other than perhaps a strategic plan going awry. Nakamura’s sorry blunder occurred four moves before the stipulated time control, when players are prone to making mistakes. When asked how could he have survived if Nakamura had not blundered, Carlsen said he kept the game going one move at a time. He intended, I suppose, to play on, hoping that Nakamura would go wrong. Carlsen explained: ‘’If you keep fighting, you will be rewarded.’’

Latest in Features, Sunday

default placeholder

Passport application blues

I was dreading the process of getting my passport renewed since the beginning of this year. I do not know if there are other countries where folks feel anxiety at getting such a task done because of the fear of the long wait.

20160623Stabroek News Cartoon June 23 2016

Thursday’s Cartoon

Thursday’s Cartoon

default placeholder

Government and GPSU: politics without vision

About a week ago, with ‘tears in their eyes’, some of the executive members of the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) shared with the Stabroek News ‘their bewilderment at the lack of movement on the part of the administration to begin the collective bargaining process despite making several public statements about its importance’ (GPSU alarmed at gov’t lack of engagement on public service wage talks).

Saieed Khalil

An Ounce of Prevention: Nipping Domestic Violence in the Bud

By Saieed Khalil   Author’s note: On Saturday June 25th, the University of Guyana’s Diploma of Social Work Class of 2014-2016 in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection, will be hosting a walk to raise awareness of domestic violence.

default placeholder

Pope Francis losing support in Argentina

Pope Francis is very popular around the world, but there are growing signs that his popularity is dwindling in his own country, Argentina.

default placeholder

Public financial management: 1966 to present (Part IV)

This is the fourth in a series of articles on public financial management in Guyana’s post-Independence period. The three previous articles covered developments from 1966 to 2001.

default placeholder

Bryan Hunt

Bryan Hunt has proven that you don’t have to dress like a diplomat to excel at being one. During the period that he has been here, particularly over the fourteen months that he performed the functions of the head of the US Mission, his steady and deft hand has helped to monitor both Guyana’s general and local government elections and stabilize relations with Guyana after accusations by the previous government against Ambassador Brent Hardt of interfering in Guyana’s internal affairs.

default placeholder

The anguish of each belongs to us all

Recently I read two poems which I want to share without much commentary – partly because they speak for themselves. The first is by Primo Levi, the Italian chemist and resistance fighter, who survived the Auschwitz death camp and thereafter wrote books of astonishing grace and hope about agonizing tragedy and ultimate evil.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: