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Forbidden moves: how to win chess without touching the pieces

Many grandmasters used psychological techniques that can hardly be considered correct.

Worthy debut

You can secure your victory without even touching the pieces. One of the scandalous cases in the history of chess occurred in 1937. Then, at the Ukrainian SSR Championship, Yefim Korchmar locked his partner, Yevsey Polyak, in the restroom. As a result, Korchmar got a victory point, and he became one of the winners of the championship.

Another common trick is being late for the game. It was practiced by almost all well-known grandmasters from Emanuel Lasker to Robert Fisher, until FIDE equated lateness with a loss. For example, Lasker at the tournament in St. Petersburg in 1909 was late quite deliberately: he was half an hour late for a meeting with Karl Schlechter, with 12 minutes with Fedor Duz-Khotimirsky, and 10 minutes with Savely Tartakover. For five minutes, the second world champion had to wait for Jacques Mises and Henri Burn. Such delays made the opponents of the German chess player seriously nervous.

Fisher used a similar technique during the famous confrontation with Boris Spassky in 1972. The American lingered constantly, which made the Soviet grandmaster very angry. Then he took countermeasures: he arrived on time, but did not go on stage, but remained in the relaxation room behind the curtains. Three minutes after turning on the clock, Fisher appeared, playing white. He was surprised at the absence of an opponent who appeared only two minutes later. Since then, Fisher has not been late anymore. We recall the chess crown, as a result, went to the American.

An important technique that is often practiced before the start of the game is the refusal to shake hands with the opponent. At the chess supertournament in Wijk aan Zee, Bulgarian grandmaster Ivan Cheparinov defiantly refused to pay tribute to tradition and show respect to his partner, the Englishman Nigel Short. The judges ruled that Cheparinov violated the rules. The insidious plan of the chess player from Bulgaria failed, as a result, he twice lost the game with Short. Despite serious sanctions, Cheparinov’s gesture at the same tournament was repeated by Russian Vladimir Kramnik and Bulgarian Veselin Topalov.

Some superstitious chess players believe that famous grandmasters have superpowers and can almost hypnotize their opponents. For example, one look of Garry Kasparov frightened opponents so much that they often asked him to change his expression. At one time, experts also talked about “phisophobia”, which suffered in the 1970s. many chess crown contenders.

The eighth world chess champion Mikhail Tal also allegedly hypnotized his opponents with a piercing, unblinking look. In 159, one of his rivals, American Pal Benko even put on sunglasses. The future owner of the chess crown adequately answered the competitor.

“Tal, who had an inexhaustible sense of humor, borrowed huge sunglasses from Petrosyan and also put them on, to the great pleasure of the audience. Even Benko laughed, appreciating this joke. However, neither glasses nor a sense of humor have saved Benko, ”Kasparov said in his book.
Gambit with candles and conversations at the board
Chess tricks have been known for a long time. As far back as the 15th century, the Spanish grandmaster Juan Ramirez Lucena advised him to seat his partner so that he was disturbed by light. According to him, this will ensure a quick victory.

Another technique directly prohibited by FIDE is talking at the board. However, even in modern history there are examples when chess players could not keep their mouths shut. In 1967, Eduard Gufeld, in a game with Nikolai Krogius, constantly reminded him to count moves. This tactic brought Gufeld victory.

You can shoot down an opponent with other, quite legal ways, for example, constantly offer a draw to an aggressively inclined opponent. Often you can interfere with your competitor completely unintentionally. So, many chess players, for example Tigran Petrosyan, at the moment of excitement were fingering under the table. This habit at one of the tournaments brought out the famous “evil chess player” – four-time USSR champion Viktor Korchnoi. He asked the judge to intervene, but he ignored his request. Then Korchnoi had to put things in order under the table “with his own feet.”

You can win a victory not only by annoying your opponent, but also by creating comfortable conditions for yourself. During the third installment of the Spassky-Fisher match in 1972, the American insisted that the game be held indoors.

Fisher was unpleasant to appear in public after two defeats from the Soviet grandmaster. Spassky agreed. As a result, he lost both the next game and the chess crown. “Fisher should not be inferior even in trifles,” Tigran Petrosyan said on this occasion.

Modern chess players are also very vigilant about their comfort. The current world champion Magnus Carlsen demanded to remove the cameras from the recreation room for applicants for the chess crown.

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