13 May: Shadowboxing

A new cartoon by Frank Stiefel.

Anand and Gelfand are still in the shadowboxing phase of the early rounds. No early knock out in Moscow.

Boxing phrases

You might be surprised to learn how many boxing phrases have entered into our everyday lexicon, and to a certain extent, some of them are applicabe in chess, too. Here a a few examples:

Good Chin – A boxer with a good chin is somebody who can take a hard punch without being hurt or knocked down.

Glass Jaw – A boxer with a glass jaw is the opposite of a one with a good chin. They are easily hurt and knocked down or out. Since glass shatters with hard impact having a glass jaw means that you can’t stand up to a hard punch. Using this outside of boxing, a person or thing with a glass jaw would not be able to stand up to intense pressure or difficult challenges.

Puncher’s Chance – If you have the ability to really hit hard, you always have a chance at winning a fight. Even if the other boxer is technically superior or has been beating you decisively for 11 rounds and 2:30 into the 12th, you always have that punch that can save the day. Therefore, somebody with a big punch that is otherwise outmatched or losing has a puncher’s chance to win a fight. Out of the boxing realm, the phrase generally means having a small chance at success; it’s not impossible, but it’s not likely.

I think everybody chessplayer has had the unpleasant experience that he or she got mated or blundered  in a completely winning position. It also happens in world championship matches. 61 years ago, on 26 March 1951 David Bronstein produced a fatal blunder in his 6th game in the world championship match against Mikhail Botvinnik.

Bronstein-Botvinnik, Moscow 1951, game 6.

In this position, after 45 minutes of deep thinking, Bronstein made the famous blunder-move 57.Kc2?? Botvinnik replied 57… Kg3! (not Kf3?) and his e-pawn could reach e1. What was Bronstein thinking about, and what happened?

Years later, in 1976, he told that he was very aware of the right move 57. Ne6+ and the draw is no problem. But he started thinking about the opening of the game, his mind went astray, and suddenly he had touched his King by accident…. so he had to move it somewhere! There goes the game, the match and the title….knock out.
Fist fighting
The evening service in our hotel is very attentive and every day the maid puts a small card with some historical facts about Moscow in the room. One of the cards provides information about “fist fighting” on “Wild Thursday”in the Butter Week. I like the last sentence. Imagine, Vishy, Boris, the arbiters and the audience in a big free-for-all!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: