[Our pedagogical series in which we look at a portion of a game I played the previous weekend in which some obvious tactic is overlooked. Readers are invited to practice their skill by seeing if they can spot what was missed.]
If you want to know how bad you are, ask your computer. On arriving home from my weekend in England at the 4NCL I ran my games through the computer - and I do not much like what it has told me.
My final round game from the Monday, against a FIDE Master, should appear some time next week, for no better reason than I won it: I actually played all right, if "thinking you are losing when in fact you are not" can be so described. My Saturday game was agreed drawn in a position Rybka rates as a pawn and a half better for my opponent: I suspected as much when I offered it. But Sunday....
...well, I already knew I played so badly that I apologised to my opponent, the next morning, for having won the game. I knew that there was a dismal series of dismal errors, first by myself and then by my opponent, beginning roughly around my 20th and proceeding a little beyond his 30th (30...Nb2, for instance, wins very easily). There were more errors than I imagined, both within that passage of play, and without.: but that was, at least, in time trouble (fourteen minutes for my last fifteen moves, three for my last ten) and at least I knew already that I'd played quite badly at the time.
But what happened after the time control, which came when the following position had been reached, is beyond all belief - and beyond all understanding. It wasn't just missed by both players with an hour on the clock: it was missed in the post-mortem afterwards. It was not, however, missed by the computer. Had my opponent seen it, it might have beaten all previous contenders for the most completely won position I had ever failed to win.
Horton-Bonafont, 4NCL division 4, round ten, Guildford A&DC IV v AMCA Dragons, board two. Position after Black's last move 40...Qe7xd8.
Play now proceeded 41.Qc8 Rb2+ 42.Kf1 Qf6 43.f4 Qf5 44.Qd8=Q and the c8-queen now covers the squares f5 and h3 - which point, had it been grasped two moves earlier, would have led White to play 42.Kh3! rather than worry about 42...Qf6 or 42...Qg5.
As it is, seeing White's 44th, Black resigned. But what did both players miss during this sequence?
Miss Easy Tactics! index