Tuesday, March 07, 2006

(5) Queen and Bishop Vs Queen

"We use thinking for purposes for which it was never intended."
Laurens van der Post

In the first round of the 1982 British Chess Championships, held in August in Torquay, I played black Vs Keith Arkell. The game came down to the rare ending of Queen and Bishop Vs Queen. I had the extra piece, and although the ending is certainly drawn and yields few winning chances, I decided that I would try to win.
At the one hundredth move I agreed to a draw.

The only other occasion that I could recall seeing this ending was in a game from the 1979 World Junior Championships in Skein, Norway. The Yugoslav player Predrag Nikolic, who went on to become one of the world’s strongest Grandmasters, tried to win it.
He too had gotten nowhere.

The boards used for that year’s British Championship were also being used, when the games of the Championship were not going on, for a subsidiary event: the Major Open.

On the morning after my game with Keith concluded I was in the tournament hall and saw that, on exactly the same board on which our game had been played, two players from the Major Open had now reached the same rare ending of Queen and Bishop Vs Queen.
Only this time it was the player of the white pieces who had the Bishop.

At that time I was neither keeping a diary nor particularly polarised towards coincidences. So I took no further details.

I got the ending again in the second round of a 5 minutes per player Internet tournament, Champions Challenge, at Chessbase.com on July 14th 2007.

Absurdly, I, who had only the queen, made a mouse slip and so lost the queen and the game!

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