Saturday, March 20, 2010
Diagram and game credit: Tim Krabbe's Chess Curiosities web site, "Practical underpromotion" section.
In the above game, Stahlberg - Czerniak, Buenos Aires 1941, Black is clearly lost. However, he hopes for a trap: If 51. g8=Q, then 51. ... Re2+, etc. -- and White cannot take the marauding, checking rook without stalemating Black, at least for a while.
So Stahlberg played 51. g8=R and Czerniak resigned -- a rare case of real-life underpromotion in a masters' game.
It is no shame, of course, losing to the great Gideon Stahlberg. I am putting this game here not to show Czerniak lost games, too, but to show how much fighting spirit he had: two pawns down, against a great master at the height of his career, Czerniak will still not resign until he sets at least one last clever trap. But it also shows Czerniak's respect for his opponent: once his last chance was gone, he did, in fact, resign immediately.
In lost positions, Czerniak would play on -- as long as there was a chance of saving the game. He would not play on just for spite in hopeless positions, however, in a serious game, merely hoping for a blunder by the opponent.
To fear nobody, but respect everybody, was Czerniak's way of playing chess.