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Understand The Position 26: “The Bet”

GM Ján Markoš | November 25, 2011 – 11:483 Comments | 2,917 views
Understand The Position 26: “The Bet”

This series is called “Understand The Position”. I admit that when I recently came to the first board of the Slovak Extraleague match between Slovan and Trencin, I did not understand the position, which appeared there, at all.

Translated by: Dusan Turcer

First moves of the game IM Milan Pacher – GM Zbynek Hracek were as follows:

1.h4!? e5 2.g4!? d5 3.g5!?

Is this a provocation? Chess public will remember how British Grandmaster Tony Miles played in 1980 against World Champion Karpov after 1.e4 the shocking 1…a6!? and won the game quickly. Eyewitnesses mentioned that Karpov was so angry that he played first 20 moves very fast. He started to think only when his position was critical.

A present-day expert in provocations is Ukrainian champion Savchenko. During this year’s European Championship he played against Gregorian player Paichadze the unbelievable line 1.e4 c5 2.b3 h5!? 3.Bb2 Nc6 4.Nf3 d5 5.exd5 Qxd5 6.Nc3 Qd8 7.Bb5 Rh6!? 8.0-0 a6 9.Bxc6+ Rxc6!? and after all he won the game, although his position was critical many times.

Or is this a new postmodern opinion on chess? Finally, today in galleries, on concerts and festivals such strange things occur, that one may wonder. Perhaps this eccentricity already penetrated into the chess world?

Maybe the leader of the white pieces is just trying to visualize himself? If he had won such a game, he would have been remembered for a very long time…

The explanation of the whole mystery was finally simple. Milan Pacher bet with his teammates that he will start the game against his strong opponent with 1.h4 and he finally decided to bring this act ad absurdum. Although many players didn’t like such an approach to the royal game of chess, I like the hidden rebellion and the half-heartedness of it.

Finally, no damage was caused to anyone. Milan Pacher won the bet, his teammates (and others present) had fun, Zbynek Hracek gained a very easy point. He won the game convincingly. Unlike Karpov, he was not offended, on the contrary, he was amused and he stated that his opponents could be dealing with such bets more often.

And we have something to tell to children on chess trainings…

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