SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
From the recently completed Asian Nations Cup. Both of the players below are female competitors. White’s play deserves much praise.
POSITION AFTER 19 MOVES:
Wang Jue (2350)
wgm Ding Yixin (2350)
A sharp position from the Sicilian Defence, with opposite side castling and pawn storms. White is ahead in the race, but if he delays even one move then …b4 could open his King to great danger. The key idea in this type of position is to find the correct plan to build the initiative with threats…
A beautiful solution to the problem! White vacates the e4 square for one of his minor pieces. If now 20…d5 then 21.Ne4!! (anyway!) is devastating.
Or if 20…b4 then 21. Pxd6 Nxd6 22.Ne4! PxP 23.NxN! QxN 24.Be4!! with mutiple threats.
Threatening simply Qh5! If now 21…PxB 22.Qh5! and Black is soon mated. Or if the clever 21…Bb7!? then 22.Bd3!! PxB 23.Qh5 with a similar ending…Black tries to build a trench around his King:
21…Kxg7!? 22.Qh5! Rh8
Black is holding on for the moment and seems to have everything covered…
A pretty little move that , besides the obvious threat to the Rook, opens the way for the Rook along the d-file. Clearly Black can not take the Bishop as it would be mate in 2 moves starting with 24.Qh6-ch
And now the most efficient way to put Black away is 24.Rhf1!! RxB (what else?) 25.Rxf7-ch!! with a forced mate in 5 moves, as the reader can easily verify for himself.
INSTEAD, Ding played the prosaic 25.BxR , which was good enough to win in 34 moves.