David VS Goliath – NM Erick Takawira

Live sports made a comeback to sports channels after a long break due to the unfriendly Covid-19 pandemic. The empty stadiums could not deter the drama which is keeping us all glued to our screens. Of great interest has been the biblical David VS Goliath playing out in different sports fields.

Sport is fascinating in all its forms either contact or non-contact. It is true in football as it is in chess that people love it when an underdog beats a favorite. Lyon has knocked out Goliaths Juventus and Manchester City out of the UEFA Champions League. We might never really know how an average team finishing 7th in their own league (“Farmers League” or is it?) could outplay champions from the so called best leagues in the world. Does this mean Lyon do not want to be underdogs anymore? These are questions we might never get answers to but what we know is Lyon is in the semi-finals of the champions’ league for the 1st time in history.

The chequered board has its own drama of world champions on the receiving end of a beating from unknown lower rated players or in the great Garry Kasparov’s words “chess tourists”. In the game below Kasparov lost in 22 moves and we might never know if Huzman (his opponent) was a “chess tourist”.

The games below feature three great world champions Kasparov, Vladimir Kramnik and Vishwanathan Anand and starring their lesser known opponents.

Huzman,Alexander (2574) – Kasparov,Garry (2830)

EU-Cup 19th Rethymnon  2003

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Nf6 3.c4 c6 4.Nc3 e6 5.e3 a6 6.b3 Bb4 7.Bd2 0–0 8.Bd3 Nbd7 9.Qc2 Bd6 10.Ne2 c5 11.0–0 b6 12.cxd5 exd5 13.Ng3 Bb7 14.Nf5 Bc7 15.dxc5 bxc5 16.b4 c4 17.Be2 Ne4 18.Bc3 Nxc3 19.Qxc3 Nf6 20.Rfd1 Bc8 21.Rxd5 Qe8 22.Bxc4 1–0

Anand,Viswanathan (2770) – Touzane,Olivier (2368)

FIDE-Wch k.o. Moscow 2001

 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nxe5 d6 4.Nf3 Nxe4 5.d4 d5 6.Bd3 Nc6 7.0–0 Be7 8.c4 Nf6 9.Nc3 0–0 10.Re1 Be6 11.cxd5 Nxd5 12.a3 Bf6 13.Be4 h6 14.Bc2 Nxc3 15.bxc3 Bc4 16.Nd2 Bd5 17.Rb1 Bg5 18.c4 Bxd2 19.cxd5 Bxe1 20.dxc6 Ba5 21.Qd3 g6 22.cxb7 Rb8 23.Bxh6 Re8 24.Qf3 Re6 25.Bb3 Rf6 26.Qg4 Rb6 27.Bg5 Qe8 28.Qf3 R8xb7 29.h4 Qd7 30.g4 Rxb3 31.Rxb3 Rxb3 32.Qxb3 Qxg4+ 33.Kf1 Qxd4 34.Be3 Qa1+ 35.Kg2 Bb6 36.Bxb6 axb6 37.Qg3 Qc1 38.h5 Qc6+ 39.Kf1 Qh1+ 40.Ke2 Qxh5+ 0–1

James Tarjan (2412) – Vladimir Kramnik (2803)

Isle of Man Open Douglas ENG 2017

1.c4 Nf6 2.g3 c6 3.Nf3 d5 4.b3 Bg4 5.Bg2 e6 6.0–0 Nbd7 7.Bb2 Bd6 8.d3 0–0 9.Nbd2 Re8 10.h3 Bh5 11.Re1 a5 12.a3 e5 13.cxd5 cxd5 14.Nh4 Nc5 15.Qc2 Ne6 16.Rac1 Nd4 17.Qd1 Nb5 18.Nb1 Qd7 19.Kh2 Ra6 20.Nf3 e4 21.dxe4 Nxe4 22.Rf1 Bb8 23.Nc3 Nbxc3 24.Bxc3 Rae6 25.Be1 h6 26.Rc2 Ba7 27.Qc1 Bb6 28.e3 Qb5 29.Nd4 Bxd4 30.exd4 Bf3? 31.Bxf3! Nxg3 32.fxg3 Qxf1 33.Bf2 Qd3 34.Rc3 Qf5 35.Kg2 Rf6 36.Qc2 Qd7 37.g4 Rc6 38.Rc5 Rd8 39.Qf5 Rxc5 40.Qxd7 Rxd7 41.dxc5 d4 42.Kf1 d3 43.Ke1 d2+ 44.Kd1 Kf8 45.Bg3 Ke7 46.Bd6+ Ke6 47.Kxd2 b6 48.Ke3 bxc5 49.Bxc5 Rd8 50.b4 axb4 51.axb4 f5 52.b5 fxg4 53.hxg4 g6 54.b6 h5 55.g5 Kd7 56.b7 1–0

These games are surely immortalized by Huzman, Touzane and Tarjan who defied all odds to beat these great champions. There has to be a lesson in there about believing in your own capabilities and having the will-power to overcome whatever comes your way! We don’t know what will happen to Lyon but we now know what they are capable of.

Stay safe and beat Covid-19 (Goliath)

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