Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Precisely the blunder...

To say that E. J. Diemer was an eccentric would be a bit of an understatement. In fact, that statement itself is probably an understatement. In this article from BDG World 43, January 1991, an international master who himself played some pretty BDGs in earlier days provides an illustration.

By IM Gerard Welling

At the Hastings Chess Congress in 1937 Emil Josef Diemer created a stir in a game with an English gentleman. Diemer had a bad position, but after a move by his opponent he replied quickly, then jumped up, and to the chagrin of his opponent exclaimed: "Precisely the blunder that I have been expecting!" Well, in a tournament as venerable as Hastings this was seen as an act of bad manners, but I am sure it was not so intended.

In a conversation in the mid-1980s Diemer told me about the ability to predict future events. He was very much absorbed in deriving mystical meanings from words and the relationships of letters in them. To him words did hide the essence of past and future... Diemer also talked and wrote about a sixth sense he had in anticipating his opponents' moves. He could not explain why, but he was sure that a perceptive person could sense good moves, and perhaps even his opponents' moves, beforehand.

It is a well known fact that Dutchmen do not believe in fairy tales, so I was very skeptical about this occultism. But quite recently I found this game, published in a Russian magazine in 1974. The strange Black moves are a complete success, as White seems to play completely into Diemer's hands.

Hammargren - Diemer, E. J. [A04] 
Stockholm 1974

1. Nf3 f6 2. e4 c6 3. d4 Qb6 4. c4 e5 5. d5 Bc5 6. Qc2 a5 7. Nc3 Na6 8. Na4 Bb4+ 9. Kd1 Qc7 10. Be3 d6 11. Bb6 Qe7 12. a3 Bc5 13. Bxa5 f5 14. Bd3 Nf6 15. Bb6 O-O 16. Nd2 Ng4 17. Bxc5 dxc5 18. Nf3 b5 19. Nb6 Nb4 20. Qe2 Nxd3 21. Nxa8 fxe4 22. Rf1 bxc4 23. Nb6 cxd5 24. Nxc8 Rxc8 25. Ne1 Qd7 26. Qc2 Nxh2 27. Rh1 Qg4+ 0-1

  Did Diemer play 1. ..f6 and 2. ..c6 and other uncommon moves because he knew what his opponent intended to do? I don't think so. Diemer's play has always been sharp and provocative, and in my own practice I have seen that it is not uncommon to overreact to such an approach by an adversary. The number of plausible moves is not that extensive. I can imagine that a person of Diemer's romantic nature might look for a more mysterious explanation. But still I think it is worthwhile to play through this game, and to admire the originality of Black's conception...