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Alexander Beliavsky vs Leif Erlend Johannessen
"Find the Worst Move" (game of the day Jun-12-2011)
9th Linares Anibal op (2002), Linares, Spain, rd 2, Mar-01
Queen's Gambit Declined: Tartakower Defense. General (D58)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
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May-17-06  Caissanist: Ha, I missed it! It is not always so easy to find the worst move, sometimes you have to be really good to be that bad.
Jun-10-06  Whitehat1963: Whoops!!
Aug-21-06  Caissanist: I was able to locate four other find-the-worst-move games, so I couldn't resist making a collection. My favorite is Filip vs K Darga, 1961 (find the worst after 32..Kf5).
Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: Even Super GMs can make the worst possible move on the board, as in 69. Kf4?? allowing 69...Qb8#.

Any other 69th move seems to hold for White.

Premium Chessgames Member
  patzer2: This oversight was so notable that included it as a key example in their encyclopedia under the topic "Blunder (chess)."
Premium Chessgames Member
  GrahamClayton: Sometimes retreating moves are the hardest moves to see.
Oct-21-10  Tigranny: Beliavsky had an advantage in the endgame because of Johannessen's weak c pawn. Instead, he blew it with Kf4.
Jun-12-11  azax: This game came back to me around move 55. I don't remember where, but I've seen it introduced as "Grandmaster plays only move that allows mate in 1." A great embarrassment for Johannessen, I'm sure.
Jun-12-11  backyard pawn: Help-mate! I missed it too.
Premium Chessgames Member
  piltdown man: I can do that. One doesn't have to be a grandmaster after all.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: I can imagine exactly what happened to Beliavsky.

After a long, drudgy game, he finally sees a clear road to victory. It's been tough, but he will prevail with an impressive finish. In fact, he's thinking of logging into his secret <> account and sending the game to the Pun Submission Page for GOTD consideration.

But what will the pun be? His mind begins to drift as he considers the question. "Falling Leifs"? "Scarlet Johannessen"? "Anibal Crackers?" "Tartauncovered?"

Soon, his whole mind is concentrating on the potential pun as he automatically executes his plan of infiltrating with the king, and...

Be careful what you wish for.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Infohunter: <azax: A great embarrassment for Johannessen, I'm sure.>

You mean for Beliavsky.

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: I think he did mean Johanssen; have you ever won a game and had to apologise to your opponent? I have, and I think that's what Azax meant.
Jun-12-11  Ryan Razo: Beliavsky was out of his wits when he made his 69th move. Very automatic; very pathetic!

69.fxg6+ was simply good!

Jun-12-11  solskytz: In Queen ending sometimes what makes the difference is who has the active king!
Jun-12-11  azax: <Infohunter> Yes. V_V

I am not meant to function on low sleep.

Jun-12-11  IRONCASTLEVINAY: I made such moves lots of time
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I can just imagine white's thinking going something like this:

Moves 1 to 38ish: I'm doing okay. My king is safe. I've got good pressure on the queenside. Sooner or late his backwards c pawn is going to hurt him.

Moves 38 to 48: uggh. Not liking this so much any more. His bishop pair is a serious pain in the proverbial and his queen is annoyingly deep in my position.

Moves 48 to 60: now it looks pretty drawish. Round and round we go. Can't think how I'm gonna win this, but then again he can't either.

moves 60 to 68: hey, I'm liking this position again! I've got the better queen position, his g6 pawn is weak, what's not to like?

68. f3 Kick his queen away so that I can commence aggressive action on the kingside.

68...Qb1 Aha, he's getting desparate now! He knows he can't win so he's playing for perpetual check starting with Qg1+. Not a problem, I'll just advance my king out of checking range and then start pushing passed pawn. 1-0, here we come.

69. Kf4 Qb8+

That's annoying. I hadn't thought of that queen check. Not a problem though. I'll just move my king to ... er ... block with a pawn ... er ...

I'd better offer a quick handshake and get outta here before the post mortem. I bet this one is gonna be a chessgames GOTD before too long...

Very funny, as long as it isn't you who plays the only move to allow mate in 1.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: When it comes to worst moves, it would be hard to beat this position, composed by Sampsa Lahtonen and found as #382 in Tim Krabbé's Open Chess Diary at

click for larger view

White has 52 legal moves. 51 are mate in one. #52 forces Black to mate in one. What is <THE> WORST MOVE>?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: <Phony Benoni> That took me much too long to find! 1. Qxc4+? Rxc4#

I started by examining each move one at a time. But with 52 possible moves that clearly was going to take an age. Stop, rewind, think logically.

So then I tried to construct a way for black to give mate. 1....Qe3# is one possibility. Moving the c3 rook is another.

But black isn't stalemated so there is no way that white could force him to play 1....Qe3#.

If this isn't a near-stalemate trick, then the only way to force black to play a particular move was if it was the only move that black could play to get out of check.

So we need a check that white plays which forces black to recapture with the Rc3. And then the lightbulb moment as we spot 1. Qxc4+ Rxc4 - double check and mate.

Very clever and a good workout.

Jun-12-11  rilkefan: I thought about Qxf5+ after a few moments, but ...exf5 wasn't mate... I guess the convention is always to show the position from the white POV.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: <Once> Took me a few minutes too!

<rilkefan> Some people prefer to have puzzles with Black to play displayed from Black's point on view, but that drives me crazy.

Jun-12-11  Riverbeast: Woops!
Premium Chessgames Member
  kevin86: Blunder week ends with a helpsuimate in one. WOW!
Jan-03-12  gazzawhite: While this was the only move that allows mate, in the game N J Fries Nielsen vs Hoi, 1981, white plays the only move that FORCES mate by black!
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