Friday 5-second chess tactics
Norwegian Championship, just a couple of days ago. Position after White’s 21st move (21.b3). A sharp–and popular– King-pawn opening where Black freely gambits a pawn or two… Black’s previous move was …Re6, with the general idea of doubling on the file. If now 21…Rae8 22.Bb2 everything seems in order for White. None of the direct sacrificial attacks seem to work for Black…
THEREFORE, Black needs to do something immediately. The question is what?
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
Also the Norwegian Championship. Position after 23 moves. Black had just played 23…Ng4, planning to play …Re6 to Rh6. Probably the best defence is 24.Nh4!?, tryng to thwart Black’s intentions with Qf5. However, Leif (who often plays in Portugal and whom I know very well) thought he had a better move:
A good idea but in the wrong position! White’s idea is that after 24…Re6 25.e5 Rh6?! White has the strong 26.Nh4! However, Black has other options in the position above…
WHAT SIMPLE TACTIC DID WHITE OVERLOOK?
gm Hammer, J
Norway once more! Position after White’s 26th move. Clearly Black stands better, his pieces so much better coordinated than White’s. Here Hammer proceeded with the flashy and reasonably strong 26…Rxf2+!? 27.Kxf2 Qd2+ 28.Be2 Qd4+ 29.Kg2 Nxa5 30.Rd1 Qe3 when now 31.Bf3 leaves White with some (small) survival chances.
HOWEVER, there is a much stronger move in the position above which just kills White’s survival chances…
WHAT IS BLACK’S BEST CONTINUATION?
Norway! Position after 30 moves. Hammer is on a roll! Passed (extra) pawn, safer King position, better coordinated pieces…
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
NICE ATTACKING SKILLS!
From the 8th Dvorkovich Cup in Moscow just a couple of days ago! Position after 17 moves. I don’t like Black’s position, principally because of the lack of clear counterplay. The exchange of his dark-square Bishop has allowed White to post his Rook on a strong square (d6), while holding back the natural …b5 break until adequate preparation.
Even so, it is still a race! And in such races , all that matters is getting there first…
The key idea for White! This move allows for the Rook to enter the game via the third rank (g3), as well as later playing h5. There followed:
18…Rac8 (Is this necessary?) 19.Rh3! Qb6 20.Rg3
It is difficult to find better. If 20…Kh8 then 21.h5! h6 (what else? 21…a5 22.Qg5! Rg8 23.h6! is immediately decisive.) 22.Bd3! a5 23.Qf4! and White has mutiple threats.
The crisis has reached a peak!
22.Qh6! g6 forced 23.pxg6 fxg6
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
24.Rxg6+! hxg6 25.Qxg6+ Kf8 26.Qf6+ Kg8 27.Rd3!
Black resigned the next move. It is forced mate.
gm Wang Hao
Today at the Beijing Grand Prix. Position after 18 moves. The opening has not gone as well as expected for Black and here he finds himself having to resort to desperate tactics to try to hold things together. White can take the pawn on c6 and get away with it (19.Nxc6 Qc5 20.Nd5!) but then he would only be a pawn up. Karjakin felt that his position was worth more than a pawn…he was right! The game continued:
19.Nxc4! Bxc4 20.g4!
20…Rab8 21.gxh5 Qb4
There is nothing better for Black. Here Karjakin must have thought that everything wins and he let his guard down. Lasker and Steinitz taught that in such positions one must not take anything for granted…I am certain that my readers have their own experiences to support and/or back up this sage observation.
HERE THE CORRECT WAY OF WINNING IS 22.Na4!!
A deflective sacrífice that wins with ease: 22…Qxa4 ( 22…Bb5 23.h6! Bxa4 ( 23…Kh7 24.Qf6 Rg8 25.Qxf7+Kh8 26.Rd7 ) 24.h7+ mating or if instead 22…Qe7 23.Qh4 Qe5 24.hxg6 Qg7 25.Rd7 etc ) 23.hxg6 fxg6 24.Qe5 and Black can resign. BUT, one needs to have seen this move in order to be able to play it!INSTEAD, Karjakin tried to get fancy and almost let his opponent escape…
22.Rd4?! Qxb2+ 23.Kd2
Karjakin must have thought that this line wins easily enough…he is wrong! While there is no doubt that White still has the advantage, it is quite possible that it is not enough to win!
HERE the correct defence is 23…Rbd8!. After the more or less forced 24.Qf6 Rxd4+ 25.Qxd4 c5! 26.Qf6 ( not 26.Qxc4 Rd8+ 27.Ke3? Qxc2 and Black wins!; better would be 27.Nd5 though after 27…c6 Black is still kicking ) 26…Qb6! there is still a lot of fight left in the position.Black (and Karjakin) must have thought that it made no difference which Rook would go to d8:
A fatal error overlooking a finesse!
24.Qf6 (as in the variation in the previous note) 24…RxR+ 25.QxR
ONLY now did Black realize that the intended 25…c5 26.Qf6 Qb6 would lose to 27.Rb1!! (if Black exchanges Queens then White throws in a Rxb8+) This move would not have worked had Black played the other Rook to d8!
NOW White wins easily enough again. The game continued:
25…Qb6 26.Qxc4 (Now White can get away with this) 26… Rd8+ 27.Kc1
Black has just a few spite checks and nothing dangerous for White. Black resigned after a few innocuous moves…
Tari, Aryan–Urkedal, Frode: 21…Nxf3+!! 22.gxf3 ( 22.Qxf3 Rxe1+ 23.Nxe1 Qd4+ is winning ) 22…Qg5+ 23.Kf2 (A bit better is 23.Kf1, but 23…Rg6 gives a winning attack)23… Qh4+ 24.Kg2 Rg6+ 25.Kf1 Qxh2 0-1 It is forced mate.
Johannessen, Leif Erlend–Urkedal, Frode: 24… dxe4! 25.Rxe4 Rxe4 26.Qxe4 Qh1+!! 0-1 Black wins a key pawn. Even so, resignation is a bit premature.
Urkedal, Frode–Hammer, Jon Ludvig: Black’s strongest continuation is 26…Ne3+! If now 27.Kh3 then 27…Qe4 is immediately decisive. Relatively best would then be 27.Kf3 Qc3! 28.fxe3 Rxh2 29.Rb1 Qe1!! When the White King is helpless.
Hammer, Jon Ludvig–Gronn, Atle: 31.Rxe6!! winning. The Black King is too vulnerable to save himself. 31… Kxe6 32.Re1+ Kf6 33.Qxd5 1-0