When I joined the Rust, I explained to the editor that chess is a hard game to describe and animate, he said write in terms of your personal experiences.
Chess is not a sport and a chess article is hidden away in the recesses of a newspaper – normally with a bridge and countryside column. Aside from Fischer and Spassky a world championship rarely makes the front page. If I was asked which sport it most resembles I would say boxing. The two contestants face each other in a bruising contest where ball, pitch, club or luck play no role. It is about wearing down your opponent.
I have just won a game on the internet which illustrates this. This is on a website where you have a competition with a certain number of days to make your move. In this case it was one day which makes for a rapid game. My opponent – Michel Roth from Luxembourg – was some 50 points better than me, my grade being 1980 his 2030, so we were well matched. I launched a promising attack with my knight capturing a pawn on the seventh rank in front of his castled king, resulting in a material and positional advantage for me. My game plan was now to attack his exposed king but my opponent defended his position redoubtably.
We reached a position of impasse when every line of attack was thwarted. I decided to sacrifice to expose his position. I saw three possibilities: two different checks with my knight or a threat of check with my queen. I suddenly realised that if I moved my queen from the diagonal protecting my king he had a discovered check which would put him further ahead in material and almost certainly win him the game. I set up my position from the computer on my board and must have studied it for at least half an hour. There must be a win here I thought. Indeed there was, but not by any of my intended moves. All I had to do was move my queen along its diagonal to threaten discovered check and capture his queen. He immediately resigned. It is this balancing of options that makes the game so fascinating and why I enjoy it every bit as much as Alan, Derek or Ivan do a victory of their team or Daphne a fine meal.