Excitement at the NAJCC!
Many thanks to Jesse Wang, co-organizer of the North American Junior Chess Championship (Kitchener,ON) for pointing out this really cool finish from one of the key games played. ENJOY!
North American Junior Chess Championship Montreal 2014.8.1 White had just played 15.Qg3!?, attacking both the e-pawn and the g-pawn.
A thematic idea in the Sicilian defence (for this reason White often slides his King into the corner before moving his Queen to g3). White must now make a decision: to exchange Bishops and be slightly worse (pawn structure) or to seek complications. Kleinman chooses the latter…
Letting the Bishop on d4 be taken with check…VERY original!
16…Bxd4+ 17.Kh1 Ke7!
All forced! Isn’t Black just a piece up here?
White had forseen this powerful shot! First impression is that Black is lost, given the pressure along the f-file, and especially f6 and f7. Black can not play 18…Qd6 (protecting the Knight) as 19.Qxf7+ wins back the material investment with a wnning attack to boot!
One surprise after the other! Black is daring White: ”Do your worse!”
Both players have walked a very tight line and we now have the critical position infront of us. Black is temporarily two pieces up, but his King is wide open to attack. I recommend the student to spend some time analyzing this position, trying to understand it. It is fascinating and several remarkable tactical ideas are hidden from view, though not far from the surface.
Analysis shows that White can maintain a relative balance –but not more–with the precise 19.Qxf7+!: the main line goes something like 19…Kd8 20.Qxh5 Qd6! 21.Rf7 with just enough positional compensation for the piece: 21… Kc8? (21…Ra7!) 22.Qg4+ Kb8 23.Qg7! winning
INSTEAD, White thought he saw a win and played more aggressively:
Who can resist taking the f-pawn with the Rook? And it is check!
A very original position: even though Black is two pieces up, White is ready to vacuum all of Black’s pieces along the 7th rank, including the Queen. Curiously, however–and this is why we love chess so much–Black is actually winning (or very close to it), BUT ONLY if he finds the correct defence. And this ONLY defence is hidden deeply in the position (hint: the unlikely hero is Black’s Rook on a8)
BUT FIRST, LET ME SHOW YOU HOW THE GAME ENDED:
Good try, but no cigar! At first sight, Black, attacking both the Queen and the Rook on f7, seems to be winning…
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
Threatening mate, and Black has no good move: 20…NxQ 21.R1f6++, or 20…Qd8 21.Qh6+ and mate follows shortly.
IN THE GAME CONTINUATION, Black tried the desperate 20…QxR+, but after 21.QxQ+ Kd6 and now 22.Nd5 is the fastest: mate in 6 moves! (White played the mundane 22.QxN, which is also crushing, and won easily enough. (1-0)
GOING BACK TO THE POSITION AT MOVE 19:
Black should likely win with…
A very difficult move to find, with a brilliant scorpion-sting at the end! Best now seems…
20.Qxh8+ Kxf7 21.Qxh7+
Hoping for 21…Ng7? 22.Rf1+! Ke6 23.Qg6+ winning!
Brilliant, surprising and beautiful! Relatively best now for White is to capture the Knight, but Black should win eventually, his extra piece outwaying the 3-pawns. But who can resist taking the Black Queen?
BLACK TO PLAY AND FORCE MATE IN 3-MOVES!