No Openings

In Aikido and the Harmony of Nature, Mitsugi Saotome relates Use following story of impenetrable defense: no openings.

Once in Ayabe, O Sensei [the reverential Japanese title for Ueshiba] , . . was visited by a very accomplished kendo master. Anxious to test himself and to prove a point, the kendo master challenged O Sensei. They walked into the garden together, the kendo master carrying his katana, O Sensei empty handed. The .sun flashed off the brightly polished steel as the kendo master moved into his kamae (attack stance], O Sensei standing quietly before him. And they stood. Sweat began to break on the kendo master's forehead, rolling down his cheeks like tears. It fell like ¿1 thousand prisms from the strained and glistening muscles of his powerfully developed forearms. And still they stood. O Sensei calm and detached, aware but not waiting, only reflected the image of the man and the sun-drenched steel before hint. Five, seven, maybe ten minutes passed. Exhausted from the struggle of attempting to attack the universe, the kendo man surrendered. Tic had been unable to move.

The greatest pleasure of boxing is making the other guy miss.

—Floyd Patterson, who in 1956 became the youngest man to win the world heavyweight championship

Of course, even after completing Samurai Chess, we do not expect that you will be able to stop your opponent moving the pieces through the sheer power of your presence alone. We do aim to offer you the keys to sound defensive play. Just as the best defense is a good offense, a solid defense provides the underpinning of every successful attack.

Like a great martial artist, [Karpov] had the bewildering ability to deflect the power of lethal blows back upon his opponent, He was a defensive genius, who often won by absorbing his opponent's power, as Kasparov said, like a spider. For decades over the board, he had defended the indefensible, wriggling out of mortal predicaments to come out on top. He had done this, In part, through an ability to appear cool and confident even while under heavy attack, Kasparov had said that Karpov was difficult to hit. How can you hit an opponent if you cannot find him?

—American chess writer Fred Waitzkin on Anatoly Karpov

ARON NlMZOWlTSCH-THE boffin of blockade

The Grandmaster who best illustrates the third Samurai principle is Aron Nimzowitsch. He was a dominant figure among the post- World War I generation of hypermodem Grandmasters whose cast of chess thought was impregnated with the twisted logic of years of carnage on European battlefields. Their play was enigmatic, even discordant by classical standards, but their cre-

I'nvs radiated the same strange beauty as the work of Picasso, I ilka, Ducbamp, and Stravinsky in other realms.

White: Sämisch; Black: Nini/.owitsch

Copenhagen 1923 Queen's Indian Defense

In ihis game Nimzowitsch interprets the military tech-i ¡i< |ues prevalent in World War I in a chessboard paradigm. Trench campaigns, blockade, ,md defense in depth are all or-¡'..niized first to blunt White's ,(Hacking potential and then to f I rain the enemy position of all energy, prior to the final strike.

1

d4

âfô

2

c4

e6

3

b6

4

g?

Ahl

S

Ag2

Ad

6

&c3

0-0

rj

0-0

d5

8

c6

9

cxd 5

9 e4 places Black under considerably more pressure.

10 AH

space on the queen's flank. The correct reaction by White would have been the brisk counterattack 12 a4.

Samisch misses his chance. The text move looks plausible; indeed it is hard to believe, given the apparently fluid nature of White's development and the virtually symmetrical pawn structure, that White's position will be reduced to rubble in a mere 13 moves.

Nimzowitsch steals some

13 &xc6 ilxc6

14 h3 Sd7

15 &h2

Samisch is running out of ideas, and from this point on Nimzowitsch gradually assumes the initiative.

16 Ad2 f5

17 ttdl b4

Inexorably, White's pieces are driven backward and Black's strategy of suffocation takes grip.

18 &bl AbS

19 Sgl Ad6

20 e4

A cunning move that would have floored many op ponents. At a stroke, Black loose knight on b5 is attacked by While's queen, and il Black defends the knight with 20. .. g6, then 21 exd5 throw.-. Black's camp into turmoil. Nevertheless, Nimzowitsch has organized his defenses m depth and is ready for this.

The perfect response. Nimzowitsch sacrifices his knight for two pawns and simultaneously enters the breach in White's forces, the traditionally vulnerable pawn on f2. The conclusion is spectacular.

21 ttxh5 Bxf2

abcdef gh

22 Sg5 Haf8

U'liiic resigns

U'liiic resigns

:í b c d e f g h

lliis is one of the most ■mnazing finishes in the entire luxury of chess. On a crowded i»s;ud, White has succumbed i<i die Zugzwang syndrome, /.ugzwang, a German chess h'Mn imported into English, means "compulsion to move," White has been totally block aded, and any move he makes leads to disaster. Normally Zugzwang occurs only in I he endgame with few pieces on the board. To have achieved this at the height of a middle-game struggle almost: defies belief.

Let us see what happens if White tries to make a move:

a) 26 Sdl or 26 Bel, then 26 . . , B e2 traps the white queen.

b) If White moves his king ' with 26 &h2, then 26 . . ,

B 5B also traps the queen since White's bishop on g2 is now pinned.

c)26g4 B 5B 27 AxB Sh2 checkmate.

d) If 26 Ac l, then 26 . . . ¿Ixbl wins material, or if 26 Afi, then 26 . . . Axfl does the same.

Concealed beneath the stifling blockade of the greatest defen ■ .tvc geniuses lurks a devastating ability to counterpunch,

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