Thursday, October 30, 2008

The day I lost to the World Champion

[original photo: Chessvibes]
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
I've lost a lot of games of chess to a lot of different people: if I had to remember all the faces and put names to them, I wouldn't bother with the game at all because I'll probably be the World Champ├Čon at Pelmanism.

However, I was reading the latest New In Chess and there was a face that looked familiar. I know her, I thought. I'm sure I lost to her just the other month. So I looked in my scorebook and yes, sure enough, I had. D Harika, an international master from India: she beat me in the sixth round at Benasque. Nothing exceptional in that, I lost to four other people in the same tournament: rather more exceptional was that the New in Chess report was about the World Under-20 Junior Championships, in which, the month after putting paid to me, my exceptional opponent had won the girls' title. A rather more difficult feat, perhaps.

Dronavalli Harika. (As with Viswanathan Anand, the family name comes first, the other way round from the way we are accustomed to.) Well, here's a thing: how many world champions of any kind am I ever likely to play?

position after 11...Qd8-c7

It wasn't much of a game: I got overoptimistic straight out of the opening and failed to appreciate that the f4 advance I thought I was provoking was, in fact, my opponent's main idea. (Moreover, as it happens 12.e4 would have won straightaway. Which is a few moves too early to be lost in that line of the Slav - and never mind who the opposition may be.)

Not, perhaps, much of a struggle. Not, perhaps the world champion. Not, perhaps, actually the world champion at the time our game was played. But who cares? She's a world champion and I played her one-on-one. It's as close as I'm ever likely to get.


Anonymous said...

OK then, own up. Who tipped off Private Eye...?

Anonymous said...

BTW you're going to have to provide some evidence that 12.e4 wins. It looks a bit dubious to me...


Campion said...

After 12 e4 Black surely has to try 12... Bxh2+ (otherwise e4-e5 will just win a piece).

Then 13 Kh1 and I guess black can try 13 ... Bg6 14 e5 Bh5 15 Qe1 Ng4 with a view to grabbing another pawn with B/Nxe5. But then after 16 Be2 neither capture on e5 seems enough...

Does the above excuse for analysis hold water?

Anonymous said...

I was thinking something like 12. e4 Bxh2+ 13. Kh1 Bg4 14. f3 Qg3 (... Bh5 15.g4 +-) 15.fxg4 Qh4

and here if 16. Bg5 then Qxg5 17. Kxh2 Qh4+ 18. Kg1 Nxg4 scores at least a lot of pawns for black after 19.g3

if 16. g3 then Bxg3+ 17.Kg1 Nxg4

What do you guys think?