SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Here is your X-mas present from me! A collection of tactical exercises and positions to wet your appetite. All are from games played in recent weeks. For those that require solutions, try them! Develop your skills! I will post the solutions early tomorrow. GOOD LUCK AND MERRY X-MAS!!
nm CAMPELO (2247)
From Santos, Brazil earlier this month. White had just played 26.Rxh5. The position is sharp and typical of a Sicilian defence with opposite-side castling. White threatens to break in with 27.Rxh7!, so Black needs to act VERY quickly…
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
From Bogota, Colombia earlier last week. White has played the opening a bit carelessly, making too many pawn moves…
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
fm TERAO (2403)
From Santos, Brazil. White, in a bad way, had just played 27.Qd5, hoping that Black exchange pieces and be content with the win of a mere pawn in an ending. Milos wanted more!
WHAT IS BLACK’S FASTEST WIN?
From the World Cities team championship in the UAE. Position after White’s 22nd move. White is a bit better in a complicated position but Black seems fine. His Knight on e4 and active Queen are important assets. Bennett should now probably continue 22…Qb6.
INSTEAD, probably too focused on the drawing tendencies of opposite-colour Bishops, Black chose the wrong plan:
This forces simplification, but is in White’s favour
23.pxN Rxc3 (23…QxN 24.Be5 is also good for White) 24.Qxb7 RxN
25.Bh6! Re8 26.Rae1! (threatening RxB!) 26…Bf7
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
5.SAMEIR (2100)gm IBRAYEV
From the World Cities team championship in the UAE. Position after 24 moves. Black had just played 24…Be7, attacking the Knight on g5. Wrong now would be 25.PxP PxP 26.Ngxe6? Nb4! winning material for Black.
The Knight must be taken as alternatives lose without a fight: 25…gxf5?! 26.Nh6+! Kg7 27.PxP! and Black has no good move.
25…KxN 26.PxP+ Kg8 27.Nxd5
White’s mass of pawns in the centre and many threats can not be stopped.
Black desperatedly tried to change his luck:
White can now simply take the Rook with a clear advantage, but sees a better move!
and Black can resign with a clear conscience.
From the World Cities team championship, UAE. White’s Rooks have occupied the center files before Black’s. Here this can translate into the decisive win of material if you spot the fundamental idea in the position.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
7.RICHTERS (2100)wgm MAMMADOVA
From the Groningen Open just the other day! Black has accepted a hot pawn and now finds himself with his King stuck in the centre. For the moment things seem to be undercontrol as the King is nestled amongst loyal pawns…however, that can quickly change…
WHITE TO PLAY AND OBLITERATE BLACK!
From the World Cities team championship, the UAE. Position after 27 moves. White has an obvious positional advantage with his absolute control of the open d-file. Extra: the Black e-pawn is vulnerable and a very easy target.
WHITE INCREASED THE PRESSURE ON BLACK:
Where should Black retreat his Bishop?
Not appetizing, though necessary, is 28…Bh7 , as after 29.f4!? Qa5 30.f5! Black is slowly being suffocated. Especially, Black’s backrank is weak as the King has been denied an exit via h7.
INSTEAD, Black refused to compromise:
Now, atleast, Black’s King can escape to h7 if need be
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
World Cities team championship, UAE. Position after 31 moves. This is a really nice game, worth re-playing several times. The opening and middlegame has been played in modern style with the pieces and pawns all over the place!
As the smoke clears, the Kings find themselves on opposite sides. Both sides have passed pawns, but it is White’s move and his passed h-pawn proves to be a more dangerous item
Now 32…d4 fails to either 33.Bf4 or (even better!) 33.Nf7! Rf8 (what else?) 34.Bf4+ Ka7 35.Rc8! and Black’s King is in danger of getting mated! Trying to block the pawn with 32…Rh8 fails to 33.Nd7+ and 34.Qg7! So Black decides to retreat his Queen to deal with the h-pawn:
32…Qe8 33.h7! Kb8 (it makes no difference what Black plays at this point)
WHITE TO PLAY AND PUT AN END TO BLACK’S SUFFERING!
im ROY CHOWDHURY
From the Groningen Open taking place this moment. Position after White’s 19th move (19.Bc4). A sharp position with a lot of hidden tactics. White must have been confident about her position: the open f-file and coming Ne5 will soon force concessions from Black. Black, was his part, does not lack targets: the pawns on e3 and h3 are within the Bishops’ sight. Plus the g3-square is more Black’s property than Whites..in this kind of position not only is the move important (who has the move) but also great energy and precision is required by both sides…19…Bh3 is now tempting, but only good for a draw after 20.PxB Bxe3+! 21.QxB Qg3+ with a perpetual check.
Black finds the vulnerable spot in White’s armour!
20.Bxb5 Rb8! 21.Qd3
The White Queen moves to get out of harm’s way
21…Rxb5! 22.QxR Bxe3+ 23.Kh1 Ne4!!
Black is now threatening a brilliant checkmate!
For example, for the sake of argument, if White now ”passes’ with 24.RxB, then comes 24…Ng3+ 25.Kh2 Nxf1+ 26.Kh1 Qh2+!! and 27…Ng3f++Also, 24.Ne5 (blocking the Queen’s diagonal to h2) fails to 24…Ba6! winning the house…so White played about the only reasonable move:
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
From the World Cities team championship in the UAE. Position after 21 moves. Chaos! The position must be strategically won for White as his pieces are active and the Black King is wide open, but Black’s counter-chances must never be underestimated. The Bishop-pair, in particular, has been known to turn things around singlehanded!
Logical seems 22.Qd4!?, and if 22…Bc6 23.Bg4! HOWEVER, White finds an even stronger (and surprising!) line:
The whole point! If Black takes the Queen then he is mated in 2 starting with 24.Nf6+
The whole combination had to be calculated very precisely as one slip and White will lose all of his pieces! Curiously, Black is helpless…the game continued:
23…Qd8!? (23…Rf8 24.Raf1!) 24.Qd4 Bc6 25.Rxh7
It is forced mate.
cm FAISAL,Abd. (2255)
gm SIMON WILLIAMS
From the World Cities team championships in the UAE. Position after Black’s 21st move (21…g6). Black has been caught in some of White’s home preparation but has been resisting as well as could be expected since then. Even so, with Black’s Rooks doing nothing, one would expect a decisive blow to be close by:
The English grandmaster does not disappoint the spectators:
Removing Black’s best defender
If Black now takes the Bishop he gets crushed after (22… gxf5) 23. Rxb7+! Qxb7 24. Rb5 Rc8!? what else? 25. Rxb7+ Kxb7 26. Qb5+ Kc7 27. Qc6+ Kd8 28. Qxd6+ Ke8 29. c5 and the pawns just move forward
The game continued:
The lone Black Queen is no match against so many White attackers
Now objectively best is to take the d-pawn, but after 23… Qxd6 24. Be4! b6 25. Qa6 Qc7 26. a4!
There is nothing to do about the advance of the a-pawn (26…Qc8? 27.Rxb6+) For example, 26…f5!? 27.Bd5 Rd8 28.a5! Rd6 29.h3!! and Black is in virtual zugzwang!UNDERSTANDABLY, BLACK’S SPIRIT IS BROKEN AND HE QUICKLY LOST:23…Qd8 24. Qa6 b6 25. Be4! Qd7
SALAZAR, Ca (2000)
im ALARCON CASELLAS
From Bogota, Colombia early last week. A nice little attacking game and an instructive way to break down the Spanish Kingside.
Position after 23 moves. White has attacking chances on the Kingside. Black has too many pieces jumbled over on the Queenside, temporarily out of play. Alarcon decides he does not want to lose time preserving his King Bishop (Black’s last move was 23…Na5) .
He immediately press forward on the Kingside:
24. Nf5! Nxb3 [24… g6? 25. Qh6! -threatening Ng5–25…gxf5 26. Bxf7 Kxf7 27. Ng5] 25. Qg5!Forcing a weakness25…g6 26. Qh6
Energetic play! White does not give Black much choice
26…gxf5 27. Ng5
Threatening mate in 2
27…Nf8 28. gxf5 f6
Instead 28…Nd4 29.f6! is lethal. If now 29.Qxf6? Qd7! and Black successfully defendsWHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
SANTOS MORALES (2100)
From Bogota, Colombia early last week. Position after 26 moves. White as gambled on an attack and the position is extremely complicated. With almost all of White’s forces already taking up attacking positions, is too late for White to go back…he must press forward!
Taking the Knight would have lost immediately: 28.Rxg7+! QxR 29.BxQ KxB 30.Qxd6! and White wins decisive material
Now White continued imprecisely with 28.Qh5?! and after 28…Rb1+! 29.Bf1! PxN 30.Bg7+! Kg8! the game should be a draw by repetition after 31.Bh6+ Kh8!
INSTEAD, WHITE HAS A COMPLICATED WIN:
28.Bxg7+!! RxB 29.Qxd6! Rb1+! 30.Bf1!
Both sides have weak backranks, but White prevails!
An incredible position! The reader can check for himself that the only way to avoid mate is to suffer huge material losses.
And finally, not a tactical game, but an energetic wipe-out!
The english grandmaster actually has a very rounded style of play, but is only discovering this in his 40’s. I had suggested to Nigel before his 1993 world title match with Kasparov that he might want to consider adding something to his 1.e4 repetoire with White, but he did not take me seriously enough….the rest is well known history.
White voluntarily parts with his trusty King Bishop to weaken the Black pawns
Short’s play in this game is exemplary, and –in my view–provides an even more instructive example of how to play the White side than the two listed above! ENJOY!