The lack of chance contributes in large measure to the appeal of chess. One cannot blame the cards, the dice, or the referees.
Consider a historic game between William Davies Evans and Alexander MacDonnell in London in 1826. The game opened with a variation on Captain Evans' signature opening.
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.0–0 d6 5.b4 Bxb4 6.c3 Ba5 7.d4 Bg4 8.Qb3 Qd7 9.Ng5 Nd8 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Ba3 Nh6 12.f3 Bb6+ 13.Kh1 Bh5 14.Rd1 Qc8
Captain Evans did not play 15.Qb5+. Rather, he won the game in more dramatic fashion.
I found the correct move, which was the one Evans played.
MacDonnell answered with 16...Qh4, threatening checkmate. Kaber put this position in as a training position with the tease, "play better than Captain Evans." Evans finished off MacDonnell with 17.Qb5+ c6 18.Qxe5+ Kd7 19.Qe6+ Kc7 20.Bd6#. Kaber offers the quicker checkmate 17.Bb5+ c6 18.Qe6+ Qe7 19.Qxe7#.
Kaber also offers as a variation, 16...Qf6 17.Nxh8+/=. Kaber's analysis is wrong. After 17...O-O-O! black has a substantial advantage. The knight on h8 is trapped and its capture will produce material equality. White's king is more vulnerable than Black's, and his queenside knight blocks in the rook, while several moves are needed to free the horse.
Evans' dramatic victory offers tactical fireworks that prevailed due to inadequate defense. Evans benefited from luck: MacDonnell did not play to his full capabilities.
In the final round of our Club championship last week, I was playing on the top board attempting to upset the likely winner. My miserable play resulted in this position with Black on move:
Play continued 30.Qxb8 Qe4+ 31.Kg1 Nf3+ 32.Kf2 Nd4 33.Rxd4 cxd4
The game concluded with a forced repetition 36...Qxd4+ 37.Kc1 Qxc4+ 38.Kb1 Qe4+ 39.Kc1 Qc4+ 40.Kd2 Qd4+ 41.Ke2 Qe4+ ½-½
With this draw, my opponent still managed to secure the Club championship, but his taste of victory is bittersweet and he gave up a few rating points. My tactical bluff worked because my opponent did not play to his ability.
Saturday morning in the first round of the annual Dave Collyer Memorial tournament, I faced an unrated player. He was unfamiliar with the Réti opening, played some odd moves, and the resulting melee went badly for me. I eventually won the game and went on to have an excellent tournament, but I was lucky that my opponent overlooked something when he played 19...Bc5? from this position.