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    Entries in stalemate (1)

    Tuesday
    Nov102009

    This Week's ChessBase Show: Stalematin' Sammy

    The late American grandmaster Sammy Reshevsky (1911-1992) was one of the strongest players in the world for the middle third of the 20th century. His credentials are many: a tie for third in the 1948 World Championship, a Candidate in 1953 (= 2nd) and 1968 (and qualified in 1950, but didn't play), seven times the U.S. Champion (and tied for first an eighth time, losing in a playoff), drawing a match with Bobby Fischer in 1961. And those are just some of the highlights. His great results go back as far as winning the U.S. Open in 1931, and continued up until he drew a match with Vassily Smyslov the year before his death.

    Despite his great strength and many accomplishments, he had his weaknesses too. He was a time trouble addict, and although he generally handled it well it cost him from time to time. He was a bit lazy about his opening preparation, and that too cost him on occasion, though not that often back in the pre-computer days. And a somewhat weird weakness was an apparent blind spot to stalemate. It is this quirky flaw that will be the subject of our ChessBase show this week. On three occasions, each about a decade apart and always in an important event, Reshevsky let wins slip by missing his opponents' stalemate tricks.

    This makes for a bit of schadenfreude-style entertainment for us, but it's instructive, too: by being reminded about this pitfall, we're less likely to fall for it ourselves, and more likely to wriggle out of a loss by using it on a hapless opponent. We'll explore this in more depth tomorrow, and I hope to see you then. To join in the fun, log on to the Playchess server at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday night/3 a.m. CET Thursday morning. Go to the Broadcast room and look for Reshevsky-Stalemates under the Games tab. The show is free for premium members, or 50 ducats for those who want to watch "a la carte".

    * Image source: Wikipedia.