Chess has the reputation for being a boring game. Old men pondering over a chess board for hours on end before making their moves is an image of chess that may well have been true in the 19th century, but not today. Today we have chess clocks, chess computers and the internet so that you can play chess virtually anywhere, anytime, at whatever speed you like.

Indeed there are some players, like Check Norris at Chess Kids On-line, who never play games that are slower than 2 minutes per player. I guess that’s part of the modern day desire for activities to be short and snappy although there are still a few traditional players left. Some people still actually go to their chess club and play real, live opponents using a slow time control just like we all used to do back in the 1970’s before chess computers came along.

I was following one such game “live” on the internet a couple of night’s ago with Check Norris and it was so BORING! Young Anton Smernov was playing in the Norths Chess Club Championship and had reached a totally blocked position. As the higher rated player he naturally wanted to play on, hoping that his opponent would eventually blunder. By about 11.30 pm Check and I had had enough so we retired for the night with the position still blocked and nothing much happening. The players played on however and agreed to a draw at 1am after 135 moves. It turns out however that we had left too early as after midnight both players had a chance to win but missed their opportunities. No doubt they had been exhausted by their labours, but you dear reader, with a fresh mind, may be able to do better.
Let’s look at the position after 101…Rb8. Anton (White) may have a chance for a breakthrough with 102.b4! as 102…axb4 103.Rxb4 cxb4 allows 104.Rc6+ winning. How would you advise him? Should he seize the chance and play 102.b4 or not?

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