On the afternoon of October 31st 2009 I found myself making a comparison between the reaction of Raymond Keene to a knight manouevre executed by Aaron Nimzowitsch and inserting the odd, perhaps rare expression learnt in a foreign language into one´s attempts to converse in it.
The move N(g3)-h1 was eulogised by Keene in his 1973 biography of Nimzowitsch. He wrote that when he first saw the game in which this retreat was executed (the knight quickly re-emerged via f2 to play a key part in his victory) he was so impressed that he kept trying in his own games to create situations in which he too could play N(g3)-h1.
That, to say the least, could not easily be effected. In the thousands of games that I had played I did not think that I had even once played N(g3)-h1 and, apart from the Nimzowitsch game, could not think of any other where I had seen it deployed.
I later determined that this was the game
Knights are hardly ever sent into corners except to make captures, although I could recall a Kaspàrov win over Piket where the final move was (from black) ...N(g3)-h1!.
A few years earlier I had been forced to play N(b3)-a1 against Veselin Topalov, but that was an abject retreat and I lost the game.
The game Korchnoi Vs Fischer from the World Blitz Championship in Herceg Novi 1970 came to me as one very rare example of a knight being pùrposively retreated from the third rank into the corner: Fischer playing ... N(g6)-h8, then ... N(h8)-f7, then ... N(f7)-g5 and going on to win.
It struck me as almost a metaphor for my knowledge of Spanish. Seven years after moving to Spain my command of the language was rudimentary, but every now and again I might encounter a phrase and however improbable, think of how I might subsequently deploy it.
A couple of hours later I was playing a game for my club in Lorca. The position arose -
I played my attacked Knight from g3 to h1 to soon redeploy it at f2.
And I went on to win.