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     Volume 4 Issue 54 | July 15, 2005 |

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Time Out

Chess and literature                Chess

Alexander Kotov's "Black and White" is a novel that has chess as its main theme. It would draw a large audience in the seventies when staged at Moscow's Gogol Theatre.
The novel is an example of how deep rooted the chess culture was in the Soviet society and how it influenced lives of the people who regarded it as a form of art.
"Black and White" reminds us of a lot many disparities that human existence is saddled with. But, fortunately, in chess the player with the black pieces doesn't have to face that kind of discrimination. All he needs to do is manoeuvre patiently and attain equality. The modern approach is however more aggressive and in many openings the second player doesn't merely fight for equality. Masters today are playing for the full point even when playing with the black pieces. The attempt on the part of Black to fight for the initiative very early has changed many basic tenets of the game in a perceptible manner.
In Bengali literature, you won't find much about chess. But Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam's " Sheuli Mala" is an exception. It is really amazing that the great poet knew so much about the game. In "Sheuli Mala" you find the names of some of the greatest players of the twenties, like Alekhine, Capablanca and Bogolyubov. Azhar, the main character, is shown as a great player who had defeated FD Yates. Was it really possible for an Indian to achieve such a feat at that time? Perhaps Nazrul was not day-dreaming as Mir Sultan Khan appeared on the international chess scene in the late twenties and won instant recognition as a great master. Nazrul also wrote about some technical points of the game. For example, the strength of the double bishops was known to him.
Nazrul was a reasonably good player and would spend a lot of time on chess. But one does not get impressed about his knowledge of the game until coming across "Sheuli Mala".
Today we will watch a game played by FD Yates who had lost an imaginary match to Azhar, the hero of "Sheuli Mala".

White-Eugene Znosko Borovsky
Black-Frederick Yates [E11]
Ramsgate 1929

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.c4 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 Qe7 5.Nc3 00 6.e3 d6 7.a3 Bxc3 8.Bxc3 Ne4 9.Qc2 f5 10.Bd3 Nxc3 11.Qxc3 Nd7 12.00 e5 13.dxe5 dxe5 14.e4 f4 15.c5 Nxc5 16.Bc4+ Be6 17.Bxe6+ Nxe6 18.Qxe5 Rae8 19.Rac1 c5 20.Rfd1 b6 21.Qd5 Kh8 22.Qc6 Rd8 23.Qa4 Nd4 24.Nxd4 Qxe4 25.Qxa7 cxd4 26.Rc7 d3 27.Rxg7 d2 28.Qe7 Qc2 0-1

Position after 23....Nd4


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