The Gazette - November 2012
Edited by Rebecca Blaevoet
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.
A Harem of Fair Queens
A humorous tale from St. Petersburg (translated by Hans Cohn)
The match between master Know-all and category 1 player Slyboots was nearing its climax. Know-all wrote in the local press:-
“In the penultimate game of our match in which I was white the following interesting position arose:
White: Kh2 Qa8 pawns b7 a6 b5 c5 d5 b2 h7 g4 (10);
Black: Kh4 Ng5 Nd4 pawns c7 d7 f6 h3 (7).
Black to move.
Black played 1…N(d4)f3+ 2. Kh1 Ne4 with the fond hope that he could mate me. I answered this with a brilliant, deeply calculated combination: 3. h8-Q+ Kg3 4. Qh3+ Kh3 5. Qh8+ Kg3 6. Qh2+ Nh2 7. b8-Q Nf3 8. Qc7+ Kh3 9. Qh2+ Nh2 10. Kg1 Kg3. My opponent still thought he could mate me in 4 moves by …Nd2 …N(h2)f3+ …Ne4 and …Nf2. But I continued 11. b6 Nd2 12. b7 N(h2)f3+ 13. Kh1 Ne4 14. b8-Q+ d6 (otherwise there is perpetual check at h8 and b8) 15. Qd6+ Kh3 16. Qh2+ Nh2 17. Kg1 Kg3 18. a7 Nd2 (the same manoeuvre as on move 11) 19. a8-Q N(h2)f3+ 20. Kh1 Ne4 21. Qb8+ Kh3 22. Qh8+ Kg3 23. Qb8+ and I forced a draw by perpetual check. In this game, for the first time in the history of chess, White had a whole harem of queens – 5 in all. Even if I should lose the match, the moral victory is mine.”
The last game arrived. Slyboots only needed a draw to win the match. Soon a complex position arose:
(Editorial Note): We apologise for any typographical errors.
White: kh1 e4 bb1 pawns b2 c7 d6 e5 f6 g6 h6 (8);
Black: kc8 qe8 pawns b3 h3 h2 (5).
Know-all, who this time was black, played 1…h1-q and explained the move to the spectators crowding round the table: “I am threatening to win by 2…qe4 3. be4 qa4 and 4…qa2 mate.”
After the moves 2. qg4+ kb7 (not 2…qd7 White exchanges queens and wins) Know-all explained: “I am not giving my opponent the slightest chance; 3. qb4+ ka64. qc4+ ka5 5. qc5+ etc. White might obtain a perpetual check.” In extreme time-trouble, the following moves were played rapidly:
3. qd7+ kd7 4. e6+ kc8 5. d7+kc7 6. d8-q+ kd8 7. e7+ kd78. e8+ ke8 9. f7+ ke7 10. f8+ kf8 11. g7+ kf7 12. f8-q+ kf8 13. h7+ kg7 14. h8-q kh8 and White is stalemated! “Did you keep count?” asked Slyboots smiling at his depressed opponent. “It seemed to me that I had six queens altogether”.