Fiendish Moves #3

 Uitumen – Lein

Sochi, 1965

Black to play


A fine move, and the only good one.

     13 fxe5 Bg4 14 Qb3 Qf2

     15 Qxb7?

It was better to play 15 Rd1, and if 15…Be2 only then 16 Qxb7.

 15…Qxe1 is only good for a draw after 16 Qxa8+ Kd7 17 Qb7+.

      15…Rd8 16 Rd1 Bxd1 17 Qxc6+ Ke7 18 Qc7+ Rd7

     19 exd6+ Kf6 20 e5+ Kxe5 21 Qxd7 Qxf1+ 22 Kh2 Bxd6

‘One of the most extraordinary positions that I have ever seen in tournament chess;’ wrote Harry Golombek in the BCM, ‘Black’s king threatens to deliver a knock-out blow by means of a discovered check!’

      23 c4 Qf4+ 24 Kh1 Kf6 0-1

A year later the Swiss player Dieter Keller repeated the line against Grandmaster Hans-Joachim Hecht.

Hecht had declined the piece offer by playing 13 Re3 but after a few moves regretted not capturing the knight.


Hecht – Keller

Zurich, 1966

Black to play

          16…Nd1!! 17 Qxb6 axb6

‘A surrealistic picture. Despite the exchange of queens Black maintains a fearsome attack.’ (Richard Forster)

     18 hxg4?

The path of least resistance. 18 Kg1 Be2 19 Rxd3 Bxd3 20 Bxd3 d5 21 Bc2 Bc5+ 22 Kf1 (22 d4 Nxc3!) 22… Nf2 23 d4 Bxd4 24 cxd4 Nxe4 leaves Black with an edge.

   18…hxg4+ 19 Kg1 d5 20 Bxd3 Bc5+ 21 Kf1 dxe4

     22 Bc2

White can improve with 22 Bxe4 Rh1+ 23 Ke2 Nf2 24 Bf5 Rxc1 25 d4 Ba3 but the final result should not be in doubt.

     22…Bf2  0-1

23 Rxg4 Rh1+ 24 Ke2 Re1 mate would make a picturesque finish.


This game appears in Richard Forster’s The Zurich Chess Club, 1809–2009 (McFarland, 2011), a book that sparkles with such little-known gems.

Zurich Chess Club


The rarely seen Bird’s Defence to the Ruy Lopez has been used by adventurous players such as Boris Spassky, Viktor Kupreichik, Nigel Short, Vassily Ivanchuk, Ivan Sokolov, Alexander Morozevich and Richard Rapport.

The Victorian master Henry Bird, a lifelong advocate of the variation, was especially fond of …h5 and liked to play it as early as move 5 – with mixed results. For more on Bird’s loyalty to this and other offbeat openings Hans Renette’s fine biography is indispensable.


See also
Fiendish Moves #1
Fiendish Moves #2
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