Shelby Lyman on Chess: Always Bobby

Published: 8/8/2016 7:59:03 PM
Modified: 12/21/2014 12:00:00 AM
Hint and Explanation: 
Force Checkmate

A chess tournament is a physical trial.

Even a single game — particularly a hard-fought one that can last five or six hours — can extend competitors to their limit and beyond.

At that point, my friend and colleague Edmar Mednis, a grandmaster, used to complain, “the mind simply stops working.”

Because professional chess is sedentary — very sedentary, in fact — physical conditioning is essential.

But it is difficult even for younger professionals, who per force spend a good part of their lives sitting motionless, to adhere to a physical regimen.

Few players reveal their putative exercise routines, I suspect, because their good intentions are honored more in the breach than the practice.

A striking exception was Bobby Fischer.

Years after the Fischer-Spassky world championship match in Reykjavik, Iceland, Harry Sneider, a friend, fitness trainer and world champion weight-lifter, recalled Fischer’s training regime:

“He really believed in a good preparation,” Sneider said.

“He loved power (training) with weights, he swam 45 minutes a day and he was a ‘world champion’ walker. He takes enormous strides and can do that for 31/2 hours. He also liked playing tennis.”

As was often said by those who watched him grow up in the New York chess community, “Bobby is always Bobby.”

That is to say, not like the rest of us.

Below is a win by Alexandra Kosteniuk against Anastasia Bodnaruk from the Russian Women’s Championship.



Kosteniuk Bodnaruk



1. e4 d6

2. d4 Nf6

3. Nc3 g6

4. Be3 a6

5. Nf3 Bg7

6. Qd2 b5

7. Bh6 O-O

8. Bd3 Nc6

9. e5 dxe5

10. Bxg7 Kxg7

11. dxe5 Ng4

12. O-O-O b4

13. R(h)e1 bxc3

14. Qxc3 Qd5

15. Be4 Qxa2

16. Bxc6 Rb8

17. h3 Nxf2

18. e6ch f6

19. Rd4 Qa1ch

20. Kd2 Qxb2

21. Qc5 Kh8

22. Qxe7 Bxe6

23. Rxe6 Qa1

24. Rd7 Qd1ch

25. Ke3 Black resigns



Solution to Beginner’s Corner: 1. Qh5ch! gxh5 (or … Kxh5) 2. Rh7 mate! (Djurhuus-Berg ’88).




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