Buff up your bluff
By ANDY SOLTIS
Last Updated: 12:47 AM, April 22, 2012
One of the reasons chess players make good poker players is that they’re such good bluffers. Yes, bluffers.
Peter Svidler of Russia, the world’s 15th-highest- rated player, demonstrated his bluffing skills when he found himself lost after 17 moves, with White, at last year’s World Cup.
Svidler’s solution: Start moving quickly.
His faux confidence convinced his opponent, Gata Kamsky of the US, that the game was following Svidler’s home preparation. That helped turn the tables in what was Svidler’s most stunning win of the year.
The opening of this week’s game originated as a bluff. When Bent Larsen played 5 . . . Nd7 in a 1965 Candidates match, he was daring Mikhail Tal to gamble on 6 Nxf7. Tal thought 50 minutes — believing Larsen had it all analyzed in advance. He chickened out with 6 Bc4?! and drew.
The position after 13 . . . g6 is bizarre. White’s queen is trapped on f7 but can’t be captured while Black’s king is forced to march forward, e.g. 16 . . . Kd6? 17 c5+ Kd7 18 Nb6+ or, later, 20 . . . Kxc4 21 d6+.
The king might have survived with 24 . . . Kh3. Three moves later he was doomed, e.g. 27 . . . Ke5 28 Bg7+ Kxd6 29 Rd4+ Kc6 30 Qf3+ and Rxd7. He resigned in view of 29 . . . Kc3 30 Qf6+ or 29 . . . Kxc4 30 Qf4+ Kb5 31 Qe5+ and mates.
Gata choked. Time for Nakamura.