The Star Late Edition



The world’s premier chess league is the German Bundesliga and for many years it has provided a steady source of income for chess profession­als across Europe and beyond.

The players receive fees to represent various teams, some of which are the chess sections of famous football clubs.

One of the shortest decisive games ever contested in the Bundesliga, was appropriat­ely conducted on April 1st.

Stern,R (2476) - Landa,K (2596) [E23]

Bundesliga 2006-7 Muelheim GER (15) 2007

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qb3 (A move that was popular with the American GM Yasser Seirawan)…c5 5.dxc5 Nc6 6.Bg5 h6 7.Bxf6 Qxf6 8.Nf3 b6 (8…0-0 and 8…Bxc5 are valid alternativ­e, but the more aggressive text contains some hidden venom) 9.cxb6 axb6 10.e3? (10 Rc1 avoids Black’s next)… Ra3!

(A genuine bolt from the blue, and quickly a dazed IM tendered his resignatio­n as an inevitable …Rxc3 seems to demolish White’s position) 0–1

However, when a computer program casts its dispassion­ate eye over the position it instantly finds resources that a shell-shocked human would not think to look for-11 Qd1 Rxc3 12 Nd2! (Taking advantage of the position of the rook).. Rxe3+ 13 fxe3 Qxb2 14 Rc1 and while Black is much better, White has avoided a lot of blushes and can continue to resist.

‘... the myth has developed that many of Lasker’s wins were based on swindles, pure luck or even the effect of his cigars. In reality, there was nothing mystical or underhand about his games; they were based on a deep understand­ing of chess, an appreciati­on of deceptive positions and some shrewd psychology. Another myth for which there seems no real evidence is that Lasker deliberate­ly played bad moves in order to unsettle his opponents. Certainly Lasker played bad moves, as all chessplaye­rs do from time to time, but the point which struck me when analysing his games was how often he adopted a safety-first strategy. Lasker was a great fighter and had a strong will to win, but his winning efforts hardly ever crossed the boundary into recklessne­ss; in almost every case, he played moves that appeared provocativ­e but were no worse than the alternativ­es, with the important difference that they were more likely to induce a mistake.’ (‘A complete chess education from the games of World Champion Lasker’ by John Nunn)

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