"That was a
mistake," Pandolfini said. For the past half hour, since he had entered the
lobby, he hadn't said a word about the game. He had watched with a strange
little smile and explained to everyone who asked him about the position that he
couldn't distinguish the pieces on the monitor. This wasn't true; it was just
that he didn't want to talk about it.
have moved his bishop. That would have increased the pressure," Pandolfini
is still lost; there's no saving it," answered Litvinchuk, who was higher
rated than Bruce and one of the strongest teenage masters in the United
"There is a
chance for a draw," Bruce said, speaking evenly and still looking directly
at the screen, "if Josh moves his knight to the opposite side of the board,
to hi, apparently out of play, and allows Jeff to pick off his remaining pawns
with his king. It might work." Bruce seemed to be straining to make
something out of nothing. According to his unlikely scenario Josh could salvage
a draw—and win the tournament—by taking his one remaining knight out of action,
temporarily sacrificing another pawn, which would put him in precisely the
necessary position to win back all his material. Even if it were theoretically
possible, Josh wouldn't think of it; perhaps a strong master would, and maybe
he wouldn't. Litvinchuk began to analyze. The entire maneuver would take 15 or
16 moves. Litvinchuk said he wasn't sure; it was very complicated.
Josh sat rigidly
for 10 minutes, began to make a move and then drew back his hand and thought
again. Then he moved his knight to hi. Downstairs in the lobby parents and
Jeff takes the rook pawn with his king, Josh pushes his g-pawn, using it as a
decoy to lure the bishop away from a defense of the queenside," Bruce
Jeff took the
rook pawn. "Push the g-pawn, Josh," said Pandolfini.
g-pawn, the g-pawn," the kids and parents watching the game urged. They had
no sense of the value of the move; they had simply fallen in step behind
Pandolfini. When Josh pushed the g-pawn, people cheered.
Jeff thought that
his opponent had given up and was giving his material away without a fight. But
Bruce and Josh were sharing the same vision as surely as if they were talking
to each other through the monitor. As Pandolfini calmly laid out his fanciful
idea, Josh made the moves. He didn't even seem excited. It was like one more
afternoon in the living room analyzing an endgame position with his
doesn't take the second pawn, bring your knight back to the queenside and start
winning them back," said Pandolfini. By now Litvinchuk was beginning to be
convinced, and as Bruce called out the moves, he nodded while, like a chorus,
parents and kids urged Josh on.