Combo Absurdo

Tony Miles

© Mark Huba

With his sharp eye for the unusual and the bizarre, Tony Miles offered this ‘candidate for the most absurd combination of the year award’.



Amsterdam 1978

Having been positionally outplayed Bellon now produced the incredible

21 Bxa6!!???

The ‘justification’ lying in the variation 21…Bxa6 22 Qxd5 Bb7 23 Rxh7!! Bxd5 24 Rh8+ Kg7 25 R1h7 mate. However, there are one or two snags.

Firstly even if Black falls into the trap 23…Nf8 still seems to win for him. Secondly 21…e4 throws a medium-sized spanner in the works. e.g. 22 Nh4 Bxa6 or 22 Ne1 c4 (or 22…Bxa6).

Sosonko found a ‘thirdly’.


Expecting 22 Qb5 Bc6 0-1, but overlooking . . .

22 Qc2!

bellon 2

Now 22…Bxa6 23 Qxg6+ really does work. So . . .

22…e4 23 Bxb7! 

and unfortunately 23…exf3+ 24 Nxf3 Qxb7 25 Qxg6+ still works. Consequently Sosonko was forced to play


and after

24 Nh4

White, with a sound extra pawn drew comfortably. . .

Tony Miles

International Chess, Number One (1979), p.5

‘the Spaniard proved a severe test for all the leading players managing to trick all of us at one time or another’



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