FANTASY author Sir Terry Pratchett once remarked “Most gods throw dice, but Fate plays chess, and you don’t find out till too late that he’s been playing with two queens all along.” Two queens is bad enough, but what if it were more?
“The Harem” is the nickname given to a game World Champion Alexander Alekhine is claimed to have played, which became famous for its five queens! But doubters have long suspected that it was simply concocted by Alekhine, who had “previous” in not letting the truth get in the way of a good game when writing for chess magazines.
One of the most fantastic multi-queen actual games was played in 1959 by 16 year-old Bobby Fischer against future World Champion Tigran Petrosian. Interest peaked when the queen count reached four; the complexity was beyond human calculation thereafter. Such multi-queen games are a rarity, but we saw one recently at the European Individual Championship in Legnica in Poland.
In today’s diagram, Andreas Skytte Hagan has just played 50 ...g1Q – and the ensuing headache resulted in Yannik Pelletier not only to lose but also withdraw immediately from the tournament!
Y Pelletier - A Hagen
Euro Individual Ch., (7)
King’s Indian Defence
1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 d4 0–0 5 e4 d6 6 Be2 e5 7 0–0 Nc6 8 d5 Ne7 9 Nd2 Ne8 10 b4 f5 11 c5 Nf6 12 f3 f4 13 Nc4 g5 14 a4 Ng6 15 cxd6 cxd6 16 Nb5 Ne8 17 Bd2 h5 18 Be1 a6 19 Nc3 Nf6 20 a5 g4 21 Nb6 Rb8 22 Nxc8 Qxc8 23 Rc1 Qd7 24 Na4 g3 25 h3 Nh7 26 Nb6 Qe7 27 Rc3 Qh4 28 Bd3 Ng5 29 Qe2 Rf7 30 b5 Nf8 31 bxa6 bxa6 32 Bxa6 Nfh7 33 Rc8+ Rf8 34 Rxb8 Rxb8 35 Qc2 Nxh3+ 36 gxh3 Qxh3 37 Bc8 Qh4 38 Bf5 Ng5 39 Bb4 Bf8 40 Qg2 Rb7 41 Rd1 Rc7 42 a6 Rc2 43 Qxc2 Nxf3+ 44 Kf1 Qh1+ 45 Ke2 Nd4+ 46 Rxd4 f3+ 47 Kd3 f2 48 Kc4 f1Q+ 49 Rd3 g2 50 Kb5 g1Q 51 Nc4 Qff2 52 Qb3 Qb1 53 Kc6 Qxb3 54 Rxb3 Qc2 55 Rg3+ Kh8 56 Kb5 Qa1 57 Ra3 Qd4 58 Rc3 0–1