Chess is a game that requires a lot of skill, strategy, and concentration. One wrong move can turn the tide of the game, and even the best players can make mistakes. Throughout the history of chess, there have been some famous blunders that have changed the course of the game and even influenced the outcome of entire matches. In this article, we will take a look at some of the most famous chess blunders of all time.
One of the most embarrassing moments in Alekhine’s career
Alexander Alekhine was one of the greatest chess players of all time, known for his attacking style and brilliant combinations. However, even the best players can make mistakes, and Alekhine was no exception.
Have a look at the position after 34. ♕d1. Alekhine’s attack is devastating, and he could have easily won the game after 34. … ♞c3! 35. bxc3 ♝xe4 36. cxd4 ♛f3 37. ♖xe4 (the only defense against a checkmate) ♛xd1. Instead, the World Champion chose the dubious 34. … ♞f4? and after the logical response 35. gxf4 even worse follow-up 35. … ♝xe4? that loses a piece after 36. ♘g3. However, that was just a start. Alekhine could have retreated with his queen (e.g. 36. … ♛g6) and hoped for further complications to enforce at least a draw. But nothing like that happened, as one of the strongest grandmasters of all time played the incredible 36. … ♛xf4?? to make his own desperate situation even more hopeless. On top of everything, White overlooked the king-queen fork (37. ♘h5+) and only captured the bishop (37. ♘xe4). It was enough to eventually win the game, but the story of double blunders stayed in the chess history forever.
Petrosian versus Bronstein – the champion’s blind spot
Tigran Petrosian was a Soviet Armenian chess player and World Chess Champion from 1963-1969. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest defensive players in the history of chess, known for his strategic brilliance and ability to counterattack against his opponents.
Black has got almost his full army on the board, but he is almost completely paralyzed, and all he can do since the move 29 is just jumping with the knight across the path f5-d4-c6 and back. Perhaps the move repetition was one of the reasons of Petrosian’s carelessness because a grandmaster of his qualities would never overlook a queen loss after 36. ♘g5?? ♞xd6. When it comes to blunders, nobody is truly immune.
Fischer’s careless fingers – pièce touchée, pièce jouée
The situation after White’s 12th move is difficult to comprehend if the circumstances are unknown to the reader. That’s actually what happened to some reporters, who had commented Fischer’s illogical 12. … h5 as “a strange attempt to invent a new line that was instantly refuted”. What really happened there?
Fischer wrote about this game in Chess Life in July 1963:
“In this position, at Buenos Aires, 1960, Unzicker played against me 12. ♕g3. I hope that none of my readers will make the move that I did in reply: 12. … h5. I touched the pawn, intending 12. … h6 – and noticed, just in time, that White could play ♗xh6. So, I had to play the meaningless h5, which weakened my king-side and I eventually lost.”
Arlamowski’s smothered mate
One of the shortest games at the master level could belong to the category Tricks and Traps as well, and anyone who plays Caro-Kann should be familiar with it. Although it looks like something an inexperienced player would only fall into, the participants definitely weren’t beginners. Everybody knows Paul Keres (1916-1975), the Estonian chess grandmaster and one of the strongest players of his time. And Edward Arlamowski (1906-1983) was a Polish chess player and journalist, who was awarded the title of International Master in 1950 by the World Chess Federation (FIDE).
These are just a few of the many famous chess blunders that have occurred throughout the history of the game. Even the best players in the world can make mistakes, and it is important to learn from them and continue to improve. Chess is a game of strategy and skill, and every move counts.