The highlight of anyone’s chess career is to represent your country at the highest level, the Chess Olympiad, which takes place every two years. Australia first participated in 1964 and has sent both a men’s team and a women’s team to just about every Olympiad since then.

One of the more unusual Olympiads took place in 1976 at Haifa, Israel. The event was boycotted by both the Arab and Communist nations but never-the-less attracted a strong field with the USA being one of the favourites. The Australian team arrived a few days early for this event and had arranged to spend time on a Kibbutz (a collective farm) to get used to the climate. My strongest memory is arriving at the kibbutz at dinner time after a 20 hour trip from Sydney and being seated down by our host for dinner. A plate was place in front of me containing a gherkin and a fish head. I stared at the fish head and it stared back at me! “Where was the bit you eat” I pondered. That night my dinner was a mars bar!

Despite this unsettling experience, Australia started well and soon found itself playing against the mighty USA team – big thrill for our players.

On board two Max Fuller was paired against grandmaster Larry Evans, the famous chess columnist and author, and they reached the following position.

See diagram below with Black to play. Now clearly Black is better, but his King is exposed and he has two pawns in danger of being captured, so Max may have chances to draw.
[fen caption=”Black plays 1…Nf4. What should White reply?”]3kr3/1p4Q1/p7/3p4/1PP5/8/P3nqPP/3R3K b KQkq [/fen]

Evans played 1…Nf4 and Black is now threatening mate with 2…Re1+ so White must choose between 2.Rg1, 2.h3 or 2.Qg3. Unfortunately Max chose the wrong move and had to resign. Which move did he chose and what was Evans’ devastating reply?

1.Rg1 Re1 is hard to meet but White has a few checks to annoy Black.
1.h3 was best and White still has chances.
1.Qg3?? is what Max played, but after 1…Qxg3 2.hxg Ne2! White has to resign because of the threat of …Rh8# and 3.Rxd5+ Kc8 4.Rh5 Nxg3+ wins the R. A quirky finish!