[Note that Jon Speelman also looks at the content of the article in video format, here embedded at the end of the article.]
When I checked just now, I was unsurprised to confirm that Australia is the continent with the greatest variety of venomous animals.
Many of these are creepy-crawlies, and it was in connection with creepy-crawliness that I was looking, since today we examine the most toxic of concepts: the creepy-crawly (or as people actually say) creeping move.
This is typically a tiny move with the queen shifting just one square to change the tactics; hard to find, they often have a huge effect, far beyond their visual impression. I’ve also included a second type of move which I personally sometimes miss: collinear moves, in which typically a rook goes some way along a rank or file but not where you are expecting. And a third, in connection with one of my games with Garry Kasparov — I don’t quite know what to call it, in which a piece lands on a hook which was unexpected, at least by me.
I have a feeling that there’s a game by Smyslov (at least I think it was Smyslov) in which, as White, he played something like Qd5-c5 — certainly a one-square queen move round about that part of the board — and it proved decisive. Irritatingly, I can’t find it, and if readers would like to help me out in the comments it would be much appreciated.
When I searched for creeping moves, I instead found a nice win by Boris Spassky [pictured] against Viktor Korchnoi in their Candidates final match in Kiev 1968. (Incidentally, Spassky won this one 6½-3½; I confused it for a moment with the CT final in Belgrade 1977, the humdinger both on and off the board which Korchnoi won 10½-7½, but not before losing four games in a row at one stage).
Next I’ve got a famous Karpov v Spassky game with a glorious retreat. Apart from this, it has several small but deadly moves, most notably Karpov’s 27th.
Then there are a couple of games with collinear rook moves: not so difficult to see in theory, but both of which I was at least a little surprised by when I first saw them.
And finally one of the games I drew with Garry (I had a pretty large minus score but nothing like as bad as against Ivanchuk) in which both 27.Rd4 and — despite being forewarned — 37.Rf4! surprised me at the time.
Creepy-crawlies are fun — at least if they are half a world away. They can be difficult to find during a game, but may have a huge effect. I’d be delighted to receive more examples of these from readers to use in future columns.
Garry Kasparov | Photo: Dutch National Archive
Garry Kasparov’s rise to the top was meteoric and at his very first attempt he managed to become World Champion, the youngest of all time. In over six hours of video, he gives a first hand account of crucial events from recent chess history, you can improve your chess understanding and enjoy explanations and comments from a unique and outstanding personality on and off the chess board.