Norbury goes Ape, explorations of the Reverse Polish

Allergy advice: may contain cheap tactics.

In this article Ken Norbury looks at the Reverse Polish/Orang Utan.

Forking Good Game

This game is somewhat flawed and has more to do with psychology than `best move chess` From the beginning Black is intent upon drawing his opponent into a fist fight where crude and nasty tactics have a fair chance of success. Keen observers may recognise certain similarities to the obscure lines in the Greco Counter Gambit (1.e4 e5 2. Nf3 f5 3Bc4 b5) where White can get into trouble quickly, even when making natural looking moves. Once committed to this kind of counter attack there is no turning back. Black has to find new ways of applying pressure and causing chaos and confusion, whilst always looking to justify and benefit from his early seemingly recklessness play. In this Reversed Orang Utan it should come as no surprise that there are elements of provocation and devilment in which false move can cost the game for either side.
Black is technically on the back foot in the initial stages but takes advantage of some inaccuracies that allow him to regain material and threaten checkmate.

Orang Utan clambers over Stonewall

Towards the end both players overlook the possibility and consequence of White checking with his Black Bishop rather than pulling his other Bishop back to d1. Although this ruins the spectacle and delight of Blacks second Knight sacrifice on d4 in the game it should not detract from the ingenuity of the play as a similar idea would have worked with the Knight moving instead to b4 as Whites pawn structure then would prevent the check.
Black throughout has chosen to engage in direct attack as White seemed to be want to hide safely behind the Stonewall Pawn Formation, and needed to be shaken out of his comfort zone. White wrongly goes out his way to swap Queens perhaps in the belief that this would lessen the impact of Blacks attack. Once the Rooks get a foothold on the seventh Black has some psychological sway as the aggressor. Even if the second Knight had gone, White although technically up by one and a half according to the computer, might still have found difficulty in co-ordinating his pieces.
There are many lessons to be learned from encounters such as this, not least that attitude intent and ambition although not necessarily tangible can have huge determinative effect on the direction and results of games. Had White had a little more self-belief he could have mustered a better defence but needed to do something other than swap hold and stodge.
As it turns out the choice of the Reverse Polish paid dividends as it signalled the fact that Black was not content with a normal game and was willing to use imagination to surprise and defeat his opponent.

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