Sunday, February 19, 2006

Mysterious Verse

Would you believe that only now did I purchase GM Ian Rogers' book, Australia at the Yerevan Chess Olympiad? I was at the first round of the City of Sydney, walking around bored and so decided to buy this book. It's turning out to be an interesting little read. Take Rogers' report on the Aussie team's round 8 match-up against Turkey.

Rogers opens with "Today [IM Stephen] Solomon demonstrated that he was not a normal chessplayer - rather a being in human form with supernatural powers. Solomon's game with Olcayoz could be analysed for months but even Scully and Mulder would be unable to determine how Solomon managed to scrape a draw".

Without further delay, let's take a look at what Australia's number one player is getting all corny about.

Yerevan Olympiad 1996 (Men)
Olcayoz, Alper
Solomon, Stephen J

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. Bg5 c5 4. e3 Qb6 5. Qc1 Ne4 6. Bf4 d5 7. c3 Bd6 8. Bxd6 Qxd6 9. Nbd2 Nc6 10. Qc2 Nxd2 11. Qxd2 O-O 12. Bd3 Re8 13. O-O e5 14. Nxe5 Nxe5 15. dxe5 Qxe5 16. Rfe1 Bf5 17. Bxf5 Qxf5 18. Rad1 Rad8 19. Qd3 Qe6 20. Qb5 b6 21. Qa4 g6 22. a3 h5 23. h3 Re7 24. Rd2 Red7 25. Red1 Qe5 26. h4 f6 27. Qc6 Kf7 28. Rd3 Qe6 29. Qa4 Qe5 30. Qc6 Qd6 31. Qa4 Ke7 32. Rxd5 Qxd5 33. Rxd5 Rxd5 34. Qxa7+ Ke6 35. Qxb6+ R8d6 36. Qb8 Rd8 37. Qc7 Rd1+ 38. Kh2 R8d2 39. Qb6+ Kf7 40. a4 Rb1 41. Qb7+ Kf8 42. b4 cxb4 43. cxb4 Rxf2 44. a5 Rfb2 45. a6 Rxb4 46. Qc8+ Kg7 47. a7 Ra1 48. a8=Q Rxa8 49. Qxa8 Rxh4+ 50. Kg3 Rg4+ 51. Kf3 f5 Rogers: "Magic! Black has achieved the perfect blockade". 52. Qa1+ Kh7 53. Qf6 Re4 54. Qc6 Rg4 55. Ke2 Kg7 56. Kd3 Kh6 57. Qb7 Rh4 58. Qb8 Rg4 59. Qh8+ Kg5 60. Qd8+ Kh6 61. Qc7 Re4 62. Qc1 Kg7 63. Qb2+ Kh6 64. Qf6 Kh7 65. Qf8 Rg4 66. Qe7+ Kh6 67. Qc7 h4 Rogers: "Why not move the rook from g4 to e4 and back and then agree a draw? That's not Solomon's style. With the draw in hand he decides to take the maximum risk possible without actually losing. In the mean time Solomon's teammates were tearing their hair out in frustration." 68. Qh2 Kg5 69. Ke2 Rg3 70. Kf2 Rg4 71. Qe5 Re4 72. Qd6 Rc4 73. Qe7+ Kh5 74. Kf3 Re4 75. Qf6 Re8 76. Qg7 Kg5 77. Qc7 Kf6 78. Qf4 Re4 79. Qh6 Rg4 80. Qf8+ Kg5 81. Qh8 Re4 82. Qd8+ Kh6 83. Qd5 Re8 84. Qc6 Re4 85. Qf6 Ra4 86. Qh8+ Kg5 87. Qd8+ Kh5 1/2-1/2

The grandmaster further reports that teammate IM Alex Wohl was so impressed with this effort that he was moved to pen an epic poem dedicated to Stephen Solomon. Alex apparently read his work to an enthralled audience. Sadly, due to the unprintable nature of that poem, GM Rogers only quoted the concluding lines. They read:

You have to say that Steve sure has guts
And balls the size of coconuts

Now, dear readers, I suspect your reaction is similar to mine. I am absolutely intrigued and demand to find out more about the poem. An email is on its way to IM Wohl. I'll get the rest of that poem, no matter what!

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