Diagonally yours

Forget the opening theory and the variations in this game for a moment. It’s a favorite of mine because all the pieces seem to align in funny diagonal geometries.

Slater – Guzman (2018), New England Open 1998

1.e4 d5 2.d4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 e3 5.Bxe3 c6 6.Bd3 e6 7.Nge2 Nd5 8.Nxd5 exd5 9.Qd2 Be6 10.0-0-0 Na6 11.Nf4 Bd6 12.Rde1 0-0 13.g4 Nb4 14.Kb1 Nxd3 15.Qxd3 Qb6 16.Nh5 c5 17.Bh6 c4 18.Qe3 c3 19.b3 g6 20.h4 Qb4 21.Nf6+ Kh8 22.h5 Qa3 23.Qxc3 Bb4 24.Qe3 Rac8 25.Qe5 Bd6


26.Bg7+ A very pretty shot. Possibly my opponent was expecting a queen retreat and a draw by repetition. I think the constellations of black pieces (h7-g6-f7-e6-d5) and white pieces (the light square pawn chains) are curious, with the most notable diagonal alignment being this final concatenation from d4 all the way to h8. Fittingly, none of the vertical-moving rooks ever played more than a bystander role for either side.

26…Kxg7 27.Ne8+ 1-0 

27…Kh6 28.g5  and of course 27…Kg8 28.Qg7 are both mate.

Come to think of it, this game has not one but TWO  into-thin-air tactics: 26.Bg7+ and also 17.Bh6.


2 thoughts on “Diagonally yours

  1. i really enjoy when a cool game also results in cool patterns and shapes. it’s creating art.

  2. Hence Kramnik’s description of himself as a painter eh.

    But amateur chess is less like high art and more like reality television. You only watch because of the high likelihood of someone thoroughly embarrassing himself. :)

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