Put it in the Grimoire

“There were also less elevated spells such as to ‘put down fear or anger’ which involved writing a magic sign on a laurel leaf and showing it to the sun, saying ‘I call on you, the great god in heaven, [strong] lord, mighty… protect me from all fear, from all danger that threatens.'” – Owen Davies, Grimoire

I have been writing a cross-cultural literary comparison of occult knowledge all night, and I thought I’d take a break to play some chess. I don’t know if I’ve accidentally peeved a warlock during my research, but something made me want to play quite aggressively. If I ever feel this way again I’m bringing a laurel leaf or two to the tourney!

1. e4 c5 2. c3 e6 3. d4 cxd4 4. cxd4 Nf6 5. e5 Nd5 6. Bc4 Nb6 7. Bb5 (I’m not sold on this move since black would like to play a6 anyway)….a6 8. Bd3 Nc6 9. Nf3 d6 10. a3 {I’m out of book now. I’m also unsure about what to do I can either castle here or play a waiting move. I see now that this is slightly weakening and ought to have simply castled. I wanted to preserve castling, the best waiting move, for later since I couldn’t form a plan. The only piece I’m certain about is my queen’s knight, which must go to d2.} Qc7 11. Bf4 Be7 12. Nbd2 d5 {I believe that closing the position in this manner assists white. White’s pieces are better-placed. The game looks as if it will come down to a race on respective sides of the board. Sacrifices feature heavily in these positions.}

13. Ng5 { This launching maneuver does give up a center pawn. Perhaps this was a mistake since I don’t want the game to be opened.} Bxg5 14. Bxg5 Nxd4 {There is a decent amount of initiative for the pawn.} 15. O-O Qxe5 16. f4 {This is, as you can obviously see, a slip. When I calculated this line before white’s 13th, I failed to see the weakness on e3. There’s something to be said for rechecking your lines after the first few moves of a variation.}

16…Qd6 17. f5 e5 18. f6 gxf6 19. Rxf6 {? Bxf6 is beautiful. It exploits black’s loose pieces and king position. If black saves his rook the e-pawn will fall – as will his king before long. I didn’t see the threat to the rook and dismissed this line. Black’s queen is not in any danger.} Qc5 20. Kh1 {? I did not even see that I could have prevent the double check by interposing with the bishop.} Ne6 21. Rc1 Qd4 22. Nb3 {I am giving up pawns hoping that black’s queen, getting overzealous, will take on b3 and fall due to …Rxc8.} Qxb2 23. Rc2 Qxa3 24. Rxc8+ {I had this plan (a bad one, I’m seeing now) and thought that after sacking some pawns black’s queen would be offsides. In fact it’s eminently defensible for black. The subtlety is tough to see, we both missed it. Black has to recapture with the knight to take the sting out of the second exchange sacrifice. A knight hopping to e7 should break up white’s attack.} Rxc8 25. Rxe6+ fxe6

26.Qh5+ Kd7 27. Qf7+ Kc6 28. Qxe6+ {?? It’s seductive, but it loses. The queen
will seize black’s third rank and black will survive. Necessary was Be7! to
kick the queen first. I missed the simple mate on d6 that’s necessary to
evaluate the position properly. I believed the queen could go to b2 without
issue.} (28. Be7) 28… Qd6 29. Na5+ Kc7 30. Qf7+ Qd7 31. Qf6 {This is an
improvisation. I had planned to play Be6 but that is losing. I’m glad
alternatives exist. Try not to make it up as you go…} Rhf8 32. Qxe5+ Qd6 33.
Qg7+ Nd7 34. Be7 Qe6 35. h3 {I don’t want to limit my pieces by having them do
guard duty for my back rank.} Rf7 36. Qb2 b5 {Black could have gobbled the
bishop, but I thought he might not. He was low on time and the attack will
still continue (albeit with a perfectly winning game for black).} 37. Bb4 Kb6 {
The king wants to go to the center of the board. His pieces offer greater
protection there then on the side.} 38. Qd4+ Nc5 39. Nb3 Qc6 40. Nxc5 {?! It’s
not so easy for white. The position is equal.} (40. Bxc5+ Qxc5 41. Nxc5 Rxc5 {
White has some good chances. Soon he may have conntected passers of his own.})
40… Kc7 41. Ba5+ Kd6 42. Ne4+ Ke7 43. Qa7+ {The simple Bb4+ was fine. This
attempt to win the rook is faulty. In severe time trouble don’t give yourself
tactical headaches.} Kf8 44. Bb4+ Kg8 45. Qd4 Qc1+ 46. Qg1 {My opponent has
about ten seconds left.} Qf4 47. Nd2 {? I have about thirty seconds left so I
think I’ll start hanging pieces now.} Rc1 48. Qxc1 Qxb4 49. Qc8+ Rf8 50. Bxh7+
{? This attempt to deflect the king doesn’t work either. The rook is defended.}
Kxh7 51. Qd7+ Kh8 52. Qxd5 Qb1+ {? White drops his queen.} 53. Nxb1 Rf1+ 54.
Kh2 1-0



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