Play like men

When we sat down to play chess at the club Tuesday, my opponent David Harris tried to set up his digital clock and found the battery dead. I pulled out my ancient Jerger windup. Seated on a neighboring board, Rolf Wetzell offered to lend his digital clock instead, but David, in his typical dry humorous manner, made a dismissive gesture and said “Who needs increment? Tonight, let’s play like men!”

So we did.

Harris (2070) – Slater (2128)
1.e4  In ancient Persian and Indian forms of chess, anyone who played the un-manly 1.d4 was unceremoniously fed to wild animals.

1…e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Bb4  The testosterone-fueled McCutcheon variation! Named after a bloodthirsty Scot who rebelled against England and killed all his battlefield victims with dental floss.

5.e5 h6 6.Be3 Ne4 7.a3 Ba5 8.Qg4 Kf8 Castling is for cowards!

9.Ne2 c5 10.b4?! A manly sacrifice! White plans to attack on both wings at the same time! See diagram 1.)


10…Nxc3 11.Nxc3 cxb4 12.axb4 Bxb4 13.Bd2 Bd7 14.h4 Nc6 15.Rh3 Ne7 16.Bd3 Rc8 17.Rg3 g6 18.Ne2 Bxd2+ 19.Kxd2 a6 20.h5 g5 21.f4 Nf5 22.Bxf5 exf5 23.Qf3 Be6 24.fxg5 hxg5 25.Qa3+ Kg7 Mutual hyperaggression has earned both players a terrible position!

26.Qe3 Kh6 27.Qb3 Rc7 28.Rb1 Qe7 29.Rc3 Rhc8 30.Rxc7 Rxc7 31.g3 Qd7 32.Qa3 Qe7 33.Qe3 b5 34.Nc1 Rc4 35.Nd3 Qa3 36.Rb3 Qa1 37.Nb2 Rc6 38.Nd3 Rc4 39.Nb2 Rc8 40.Nd3 Qh1

Ha ha, on to sudden death! (I laugh at sudden death!) Second time control is g/30.

41.Nf2 Qh2 42.Rb1 f4 43.gxf4 gxf4 44.Qe2 Qg3 45.Rb3 Qg5 46.Qf3 Bf5 How’s that bad French bishop look now, Mr. Phelps? See diagram 2.


47.Nd3 Rc4 48.Qf2 f3+ 49.Kd1 Qxh5 50.Ne1 Be4 50…Rxd4+ didn’t occur to me – 51.Qxd4 f2+ wins, though White can keep slogging on for a few moves with 51.Nd3 instead.

51.Ra3 Rc6 52.c4 Trying to close lines and keep the Black rook out.

52…bxc4 53.Qe3+ Kg7 54.Nxf3 Rg6 Simplification is for cowards!

55.Kc1 Rg3 56.Rxa6 Fighting to the end! See diagram 3. This could still go badly for Black with 56…Qxf3?? 57.Qh6+.

To the death!

56…Qh1+ 57.Kb2 (57.Kd2 c3+) Qb1+ 58.Ka3 Rxf3  0-1 Afterwards we all went outside to drink beer, smoke cigars and shoot stuff.


11 thoughts on “Play like men

  1. Up here in Alaska we actually shoot our game during the game. I was playing Old Schmidtty (1573) out at his cabin in our annual “Midnight Sun” Swiss when he spotted a brown bear out his front window, and since he had a tag, he jumped up and grabbed his 30-06, went out on the porch and dropped it, losing only three minutes on his clock after 10…Qc2 in the Closed Ruy (1/2 -1/2, 37).

  2. Why, back in my hey day in Maine, we had the Black fly open. We’d load up the ATV’s with sets and clocks and head down the mud-laiden skidder trails to find the best location near a stagnant pond. Being held outdoors in early May, you had lots of univited spectators. Each player tried hard to hold off swatting at the buggers as it took time off the clocks. If queens were exhcanged, we’d have to chug a warm moxie without showing a vein.

  3. So the “French” bishop (more like “Stench”, heh…) reaches a fairly active square on move 46. Nice.

    Fortunately, you were playing someone of Harris’s caliber, else you would have been punished for sacrificing your bishop on move 1.



  4. BP – So that’s the origin of the popular Maine expression “Hey, your Black Fly’s Open.”

    M Phelps – In the McCutcheon Black can lose on move 20 or possibly win on move 60. Activating the bishop on move 46 is actually ahead of schedule.

    re: Harris’ caliber: Before the round somebody told David “[IM]Rizzitano says you’re underrated – based on your play he thought you were a 2300.” So as he resigned David said “I guess Rizzitano is wrong” and I replied “Or maybe I’m a 2400!”

    And then we both fell on the floor laughing.

  5. You guys crack me up – “Increment is for sissies! – tonight we play like men”…

    Nice game BTW, very shwashbuckling although I must admit being clueless on the theoretics – like why didn’t Black castle? Why did White’s Queen shuffle back and forth?

    So many questions, so little time…

  6. LEP:
    a) Eric VI The Victorious, of the House of Yngling?
    b) Bjorn Borg?
    c) Charles “Chuck the Hammer” Martel?
    d) Bela Legosi?
    e) Charlene Tilton?

    Black would get schnockered by Bxh6 within a move or three. White usually doesn’t bother castling either because Black has no piece activity for the first thirty moves.
    The Queen shuffle – he’s just prodding Black for weaknesses and he overlooked …Kh6 as a move/safehouse. After I got there g5 looked fairly safe so he decided to go prod somewhere else.

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