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Shelby Lyman on Chess: Simple, Powerful and Elegant

Hint and Explanation: Remove a Key Defender

It has often been said that Bobby Fischer’s play was similar to that of the great Cuban chess genius Jose Capablanca.

Their styles were alike enough: Gain a material or positional advantage, simplify and press for the win.

The process was sometimes described as technical, as if it were no more than a mechanical exercise in pure technique.

Early in their careers, both — unlike most young players — had spurned suspect moves and dubious tactical play even if they might provoke a sudden collapse by a distracted opponent.

Both relentlessly searched for clarity and truth on the chessboard.

But we shouldn’t be misled. The apparent simplicity of their styles belied the creativity and elegance of their games.

The young American consciously modelled himself after the Cuban, who was born and flourished half a century earlier.

As Fischer reached the apex of his powers, his Soviet adversaries focused discussion on the apparent transparency of his moves, as if that were a weakness waiting to be exploited.

But they did so without effect, as his powerful play crushed them, game after game,

Below is a win by Daniel Naroditsky against Samuel Shankland from the U.S. Championship in St. Louis.

Shankland Naroditsky

1. Nf3 Nf6

2. c4 g6

3. Nc3 Bg7

4. e4 d6

5. d4 O-O

6. Be2 e5

7. O-O exd4

8. Nxd4 Re8

9. f3 Nc6

10. Be3 Nh5

11. Nc2 Be5

12. Nd5 Bxb2

13. g4 Ng7

14. Rb1 Bf6

15. Kh1 Ne6

16. f4 Bg7

17. g5 Nc5

18. e5 Ne4

19. Bd3 Bf5

20. exd6 Qxd6

21. Rb3 Ne7

22. Nxe7ch Rxe7

23. Qf3 Rd8

24. Ne1 Bd4

25. Bxd4 Qxd4

26. Nc2 Qc5

27. Rb5 Rxd3

28. Qxd3 Nf2ch

29. Rxf2 Qc6ch

White resigns

Solution to Beginner’s Corner: 1. Qxg5! (threatens both 2. Qxg7 mate and 2. h7ch Kh8 3. Ng6 mate!).