whitebeach: <Zoat> A quick Google on Larry D. Evans shows that he’s still teaching chess, although he now appears to be in California.
I remember him very well from our lone meeting. It’s hard to forget a person who makes two queen sacrifices against you in the same game.
On a nice spring day in 1979 I wandered into the Marshall Chess Club on 10th St. in Manhattan. A quiet afternoon: a couple of players analyzing some game, nobody much around. But there was one thirtysomething guy, same age as me, alone at a table like he might be up for a game. I asked, and he said sure. He looked familiar, but I just figured I’d seen him around the club.
I drew the white pawn. The score is below. Even though it was strictly an informal pickup game, I was so awed that I wrote it down immediately afterward.
1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 f5
The Schliemann. I’d been playing chess since I was six and had never faced this variation. Didn’t even know its name.
4. d4 fxe4 5. Nxe5 Nxe5 6. dxe5 c6 7. Bc4 Qa5+ 8. Nc3 Qxe5
I had lost a pawn to what I later learned was an ancient trap. My opponent was playing at skittles speed, so it was obvious he was heavily booked or very good or both.
9. 0-0 d5 10. Bb3
Weak. I should have tried for play against his king in the center by 10. Re1 (10 . . . dxc4 11. Rxe4). This position would have become complicated very fast (for example, not 10 . . . Bd6 11. g3 and the threat of Bf4 gives white real prospects). But I was shaken. I had that feeling you get when you realize the opponent is much stronger than you. (My rating hovered in the mid-1900s at the time.)
10 . . . Nf6 11. f4 Bc5+ 12. Kh1 Qe7 13. f5 0-0 14. Bg5 Kh8 15. Qe2 Bd7 16. Rad1 Rae1 17. Bd5?
Suicide, but by this point I was, well, suicidal.
17 . . . cxd5 18. Nxe4 Qf7 19. Nxf6 gxf6 20. Bh6 Rg8 21. Rf4 Bc6 22. g4?
Just stumbling along. I knew I was dead lost but wanted to see how he’d wrap it up. I had no clue it would be the shot he played almost instantly:
22 . . . Qc4!!
I actually saw most (though not all) of what was to come, but when you’re drowning you don’t look for every splinter in the stick that floats by. I grabbed the queen and hoped he’d miscalculated.
23. Qxc4 e3+ 24. Rd5 e2! 25. Re4 Rxe4 26 Qxe4 e1(Q)+! 27. White resigns (27. Qxe1 Bxd5 mate).
A week or two later I was flipping through a Chess Life, saw my opponent’s photo above his column, “The ABC’s of Chess,” and knew why he’d looked familiar: Larry D. Evans, of course. His piece that month was on the Schliemann Variation of the Ruy.