SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The following game was played in Moscow in 1968 and features a really excellent example of an attack against the castled King position. The themes that arise in the conclusion of this attack include sacrifice to expose the enemy King; direct mate threats and back-rank mate threats. And let us not forget the Knight fork (double attack) at the every end.
A well played but little known game! IM Anatoly Bykhovsky
(born, 1934 and today an IA) and GM Ratmir Kholmov
(born in 1925 and recently deceased) have produced some really great chess! Enjoy…
POSITION AFTER 27 MOVES
Black has a very solid looking position. Especially, he has no pawn weaknesses and all of his pieces are well posted and/or centralized. Indeed, it seems as if Black has no cause to be concerned. HOWEVER, in chess not all is on the surface!
While White’s pawn position is less solid than his opponent’s, all of White’s pieces are dynamically positioned (even his Queen on c1, as we shall see!) and ready to spring into aggressive action. Dynamism in chess is very distinct from static means of evaluation of position. The game continuation clearly demonstrates this…
A sacrifice that sounds the attack! The pawn shield in front of the Black monarch is torn away
28… Nxg7 29. Nxf6
Where does the Black Queen go? In many of the variations the White Queen is threatening to go to h6 and deliver mate, and so it is understandable that the Black Queen would like to stay on the Kingside, but this is not possible now. The move 29…Qh4 goes off to 30.Rg4!
Fortunately for Black, the Queen can escape with a check:
29…Qc5 30. Kh1
Now White threatens Qh6 and this threat must be dealt with immediately. If 30… Bxe4!? then White can regain his piece with 31. Qh6 Qe7 32. Rh3 Ne6 33. Nxe4 and remain with a pawn to the good. Perhaps this is only slightly better than the game continuation…
An active defence, but one that does not stop White’s initiative. Black’s idea is to hit the White Rook and prevent the immediate Qh6. Some calculation was required…
31. Rg5! Re5!
Tit for tat! Now White can exploit the weak back rank with the pretty 32. Qd1! and after the more or less forced 32…Rf8 33. Rxh5 Rxh5 34. Nxh5 Rxf1 35. Qxf1 White has a won position; Black must also watch out for 35… Qxh5? 36. Qf8#
White’s next move is , however, is still quite strong!
Driving the Queen off of its active posting.
if now 32… Qd6 33. Rxh5 Rxh5 34. Nxh5 Bxe4 then White must eventually win after 35. Qe1 Qd4 36. Rf4 Qe5 37. Qf1 Bd5 38. Rf5 Bc4 39. Qxc4 Rd1 40. Rf1 Qxh5 41. Qxa6 and the rest is technique, as they say.
Black puts his faith in active defence, eyeing his 34th move…
33. Rxh5 Rxh5 34. Nxh5 Qxe4
No better would be 34… Bxe4 35. Qe1!, theatening a decisive check on c3. Now White can also exploit the weak back rank with 35. Qd2! , but for some reason decided against it. His next move is, never the less, still very strong:
Threatening the Rook on d8 and mate in one move! Black has no option but to play:
If it was Black’s move he would be doing quite well (36…Rg8!), but unfortunately it is not his move and White does not leave any room for doubt as to what the outcome of this game should be:
The Black Queen is over worked and now the towel can be thrown in. Probably short of time, and seeing a trick, Black makes one last desperate attempt to turn the game around:
36…. Bxg2??!! 37. Kxg2 Qe4 38. Kg1 Rg8
Pinning the Queen ! But it is all in vain…
White emerges a Rook and piece ahead. A tough fight!