While searching newspaper archives for something else the other day I came across a rather amusing game with rather amusing annotations, considering the white bishops to be motor cars.
It was published in the Reading Observer in 1916: they had in turn taken it from a ‘foreign periodical’ published ‘about ten years ago’.
Let’s take a look.
1. e4 e5
Unusual and playable: Black could reply with either c6 or Nf6.
After this move transposition to the Ruy Lopez is possible.
3. Ba4 b5
4. Bb3 a5
Black aims to trap the motor car – sorry, bishop. White decided to ignore this and develop instead.
5. Nf3 a4
‘The motor car drives into the window of a modern horse butcher.’ Stockfish considers the position unclear, but these positions are easier (and more fun) for the attacker to play.
7. Nxe5+ Ke6
Black had a difficult choice. Ke8, Ke7 and Ke6 are all playable, but Kf6 loses.
This time White has the choice. 8. Nc3 was another way to offer the knight: Black could meet this with Nf6. 8. d4, defending the knight, was another option.
Black would have been better advised to decline the second piece with 8.. Ke7 9. d4 Nf6. Now White could win the rook on a8 by playing Qf5+ followed by Qd5+ but instead decides to throw some more wood on the fire.
9. d4+ Kxd4
Brave or foolish? 9.. Kd6 would have enabled him to defend successfully. 9.. Kf6 would have lost the queen. But this move should have lost the king.
Missing a mate in 4: 10. Be3+ Ke5 (10.. Kc4 11. Qe2+ Kb4 12. Qd2+ Kc4 13. Qc3#) 11. Qf5+ Kd6 12. Bc5+ Kc6 13. Qd5#.
This is unclear, as is 10.. Kd5. But 10.. Kc5 would have been the best option.
Here Black resigned: ‘A second motor-car drives amongst them and runs down the butcher’s master, so that he cannot proceed any further. Loss of the Queen or mate follows in a few moves.”
No it doesn’t! 11.. Ke4 allows a mate in 2 and 11.. Kd4 apparently allows a mate in 7. Yes, and 11.. Kf6 loses the queen. But Black could have played on with 11.. Kd5 when there’s no mate. White has nothing better than 12. Qf3+ winning the rook on a8, when the position is totally unclear. A great example of premature resignation, I think.
Here’s the game.
This is a really good game for you (or your students) to analyse if you want to improve your tactical and calculation skills.
Coincidenally, two days after I discovered this I played a game in our club online blitz against a new and inexperienced member who favours tactical play.
I was White and the game started 1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Nf6 3. d3 a5 (playing to trap my bishop, the same idea as in the Motor Car game) 4. Nc3 c6 5. f4 b5 6. fxe5 Ng8 when I had to choose between sacrificing on b5 gaining three pawns for the piece or on f7, gaining two pawns for the piece but bringing his king out. I chose the seemingly more cautious but unclear Nxb5 and won quickly anyway, but Stockfish tells me I should have played Bxf7+ instead, with a clear advantage.