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     Volume 4 Issue 55 |July 22 , 2005 |

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Time Out

Those prodigies                Chess

Chess literature is replete with stories of prodigies. This is one game where exceptionally gifted players can do very well even at the age of seven or eight. Prodigies have been an integral part of chess ever since the days of Pillsbury or Capablanca.

How can they excel in a highly complex game like chess? The job is certainly not easy. You have to calculate the moves accurately and then keep a watchful eye on what the opponent is doing. The pressure mounts when the forces get ready for a direct tactical battle. You need very strong nerves in such situations. Even the grown-ups crack under the tremendous pressure of having to make one correct move after another. Matters are made worse by the clock which ticks away as you desperately look for the winning line. So the question is, how can a child remain on track in the maze of unfathomable complications. It's a bit mysterious.

The explanation perhaps lies in the fact that chess is not pure mathematics. The element of calculation is there and people tend to believe that it's a kind of mathematical exercise. In fact, it is a sporting contest where the players with natural ability have a great advantage over their rivals.

GM Niaz Murshed was a prodigy in the mid seventies when he defeated many senior players and made it clear that he was a grandmaster in the making. Niaz became the youngest national champion in the history of the game. Qazi Sadeq Hassan, who was killed by the Pakistan army in 1971, was another young player who could have scaled dizzying heights, but he didn't get enough time to prove his worth. He embraced martyrdom at the age of 19 only.

World champion JR Capablanca became the national champion of Cuba when he was only 12. Capablanca beat the best players of Cuba at the turn of the last century. Havana was an important chess centre at that time and there were quite a few strong players in Cuba.
Here is an interesting rook ending played by Pillsbury.

White-Harry Nelson Pillsbury
Black-William Ewart Napier [C66]
Buffalo 1901

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 Nf6 4.00 Be7 5.Nc3 d6 6.d4 Bd7 7.Bxc6 Bxc6 8.Qd3 exd4 9.Nxd4 Bd7 10.b3 00 11.Bb2 Ng4 12.Nd5 Bf6 13.a3 Ne5 14.Qc3 Nc6 15.Nxf6+ Qxf6 16.Nxc6 Bxc6 17.Qxc6 bxc6 18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Rad1 Rfe8 20.Rfe1 a5 21.a4 c5 22.c4 Kg7 23.Re3 f5 24.exf5 Rxe3 25.fxe3 Kf6 26.g4 Rb8 27.Rb1 Ke5 28.Kf2 Ke4 29.Ke2 f6 30.Kd2 h5 31.gxh5 Rh8 32.Rg1 Rxh5 33.Rg7 Rh3 34.Rxc7 Rxh2+ 35.Kc3 Kxf5 36.Ra7 Ke4 37.Rxa5 Re2 38.Ra7 Rxe3+ 39.Kc2 Re2+ 40.Kc3 Re3+ 41.Kb2 Re2+ 42.Ka3 f5 43.Re7+ Kd3 44.Rf7 Rf2 45.a5 Kc3 46.a6 Rb2 47.a7 1-0

Position after 27.Rb1


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