'Morning, all. Last week I left you with this position from Makepeace - Sweeney, Glorney Cup, Dublin, 2007...
...and this clue:
"Your best bet is to find the game and wonder why black played his 28th move."
I hoped that would make it obvious that the moves played were only part of the story.
The game finished:
27... Qf6?? 28. Bxf7 b5 29. Qg8#
So what of black's 28th? Let's have a quick look.
Yup, he's busted all right. So why play a pointless move such as 28... b5? If I was in serious time trouble, 28... Qxf7 might give me serious difficulties.
Well, I wasn't in serious time trouble, but there was a possibility I could have been. And, given he was playing for his country, I totally understand why Ronan decided to restart my clock. However, that decision was tempered with sportsmanship by not taking the piss.
Because I was playing this game with a broken leg.
Well, at least I thought I was.
Kids can kick pretty hard, and I'd been on the end of a pretty dirty tackle from one of the Under 12s during a kickabout that lunchtime. And I was in a not insignificant amount of pain.
So, after flashing out 27. g3, I hobbled off in search of painkillers, intending to get a professional opinion after the game. Whether this unsettled my opponent, I don't know. I hope not, because that's a pretty ugly way to win.
Having located somebody who could go and buy some painkillers for me, I returned to the board. And, expecting 27... Qe7, when 28. Qa4 offers slim hopes of progress, I was naturally stunned to see the black queen on a different square entirely. Having played the winning move, I again disappeared. And you know the rest of the story of the game.
It's worth mentioning that offering a draw never crossed my mind. There was one further round to be played the following morning and I already knew I wouldn't be playing. I had decided to play for a win until I was dragged away by the Gardai, having assaulted any paramedics pointed in my direction.
As it was, the swelling quickly subsided, the painkillers did their bit, and I was even able to go to a club with the Scottish and Irish squads that evening.
I was able to stand for the prizegiving the next afternoon. I was able to accept the Glorney Cup as England Under 18 captain. And I was able to look happy in this picture, one of my proudest moments.
What happened next Index