The answer as to what happened wasn’t obvious. Biggg Boss Ross correctly identified (as befits a winner of the Sunday Times Chess Problem Competition) that 45 …Qd5+ wins (46. Ne4 Qxe4+ 47. Rf3 Qxf3+ 48. Kg1 Qg2#.) Unfortunately that isn’t what Black played.
The position had arisen from a couple of Queen checks in an attempt to find a perpetual check. At this point, in the actual game, Black resigned! He had completely missed the mate in two (with the possibility of a couple of pieces being sacrificed to delay the inevitable.) He had considered a further check by Qe4, but had completely missed the fact that he could check by Qd5, as he’d thought that he then couldn’t deliver a further check in pursuit of his desire for a perpetual, as the pawn was in the way.
So who was the guilty party? The game was Garland (Latimer) – Ricketts (Heathcote Arms) on Board 2 in the Minor League Cup last week, so it was moi. Probably this was the biggest debacle of my chess playing career, although there have been a few. (Up to this point my being mated in 13 moves in the County Championship by Colin Ross probably held the title, although my play as Black against Dorothy Blampiad at Hinckley this year ran it very close.) At the time we were leading 3-2, so half a point would have secured the victory. As soon as I tipped my King TCPFKAR said “Why didn’t you play Qd5?” It was then obvious without too much analysis that I had blundered. To be fair, my team mates offered to enter a vow of silence about the matter to save my blushes, but you’ve either got to laugh or cry. (The only redeeming feature of the game was I managed to extract a new rude comment out of Fritz for an earlier move where I set up a Knight fork for Mick by moving my Queen into its optimal position for a fork, Fritz said “strolling merrily down the path to disaster”, which I don’t recollect I’ve seen before.)
I had thought that as we’re publishing games on the site we ought to have an award for the best game each year. I now think we need an award for the worst – I’d be a shoo-in already for 2012-3.