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Why I’m Such a Lousy Chess Player

White to Move and Mate in 2

Actually, I do not know the solution to the above chess problem, although it is a famous one by fellow Hungarian György Bakcsi. I suppose, given a large expanse of time, I could figure it out. (My source is here, but no solution is given.)

I probably would never have gotten into this position. You see, I am an odd sort of chess player. Instead of seeking unbalanced positions that lead to a win, I seek balanced positions that have a high aesthetic value. And that’s when I lose. I have frequently lost to people who learned the moves from me. I’m very good at teaching people how to play chess; but I’m not very good at teaching people how to win at chess. Oh, I can go over the corridor mate, the fool’s mate, and various other typical positions as samples; but I am useless at showing how to set up the position.

And yet I love chess. If I could, I wouldn’t mind traveling with a chess set and chessboard, setting it up in a public place, and going over the moves of such great players as Capablanca, Alekhine, and Keres. You know what would happen, though? Someone would come up and offer to play chess with me. I would invariably turn my would-be opponent down, because I am more interested in studying chess than playing, especially with strangers.

No matter, I still love the game. When the children of my friends try to interest me in their computer games, I always tell them there is only one game for me, and that is chess. It is infinite. The different combinations of the first 10 moves by white and black alone is a number larger than the number of atoms in the universe.

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