Once: This is one of those "easy when you know the pattern" sort of gubbins.
Purdy told us to "examine moves that smite". And 99 times out of 100, he's right. Checks, captures, threats and all that macho stuff.
But not today. 37...a4 begs to be examined because ... because 99 times out of 100 it would be the answer. Push the pawn that opens line against the stalemated white king. And I'm willing to bet that 99% of us started out on today's Tuesday adventure absolutely convinced that the answer was going to begin with "a" and end with "4".
Except that it doesn't work. If anything 37...a4 lets the white king out of his prison cell via bxa4 and Kb3.
So if the machismo doesn't work, what do we try? Well, it's time for a bit of emotional intelligence. Getting in touch with our feminine sides. Unless you are already a female of the feminine persuasion in which case it's just getting in touch with your ... ahem ... side. Or something like that.
So it's time to wear a splash of pink, share a gossip over a skinny latte, buy some shoes, have a hug, allow yourself the chance to cry, have another hug.
In other words, it's time for a spot of empathy.
No, not empathy with the Ra8. We know what he wants (don't they all?). He just wants a full frontal assault down the a file. He's nothing but trousers, testosterone and Purdy's moves that smite.
No, we need to get in touch with the white king on a2. What does he want? what does he really want? Really? And don't tell me that what he really really wants is to zig-a-zig ah. We tried that brand of girl power and it turned out to be little more than marrying a famous footballer and buying lots of handbags. Oh, and naming your kids after the place where they were conceived. Which is possibly why the Best Boy in the World rejoicing in the middle name of Caravan. Or then again maybe not.
What does the white king on a2 want? What all men want - freedom. He is stuck in a dead-end relationship caused by the pawns on b2,b3, b4 and a5. And that's the clue. The white king would love to break up those pawns. Or as the Queen B would have said, if you like it then you should have put a ring on it. So put your hands up ...
That means that the very last thing we should be doing is playing 37...a4. Why break up the pawns that are doing such a good job?
And as my first wife (aka the ice queen) knew only too well, sometimes you need to know what someone wants in order to give them the opposite.So what does the white king not want? A nasty check on a1, that's what.
And that is all she wrote, girlfriend. Talk to the hand. Leave dem pawns where dey be. Give away that good fer nothing bishop. Slap down Re8 then R8e1 then Ra1#. Sure he gets to wriggle and play some moves in between. But he's stitched up as tightly as a Gucci handbag. He just doesn't know it yet.