SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
WHEN THE DEFENCE ERRS…
It is important to never lose one’s head when under attack. The attacker has the advantage in that many of his threats are not real and it is left to the defender to know the difference. Defending against a phantom threat can be fatal…
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 30th MOVE (30.Qh6):
Played in Istanbul just the other day. White has gambled on his attack breaking thru on the Kingside when he sacrificed a piece over on a3. To be fair, with Queen, Rook and 2-Knights White has a dangerous attack! Black’s Queen and Rook are over on the other side of the board…
HOWEVER, it is never enough to simply have threats and the initiative to win. You must also have the advantage! And in this case Black’s position does not lack defensive resources sufficient to contain White’s ambitions….
The reader can verify for himself that this would be the case should Black now play the calm 30… Be7!. If now White tries 31. Ng5 then 31… Bxg5 32. Qxg5 Nxd4! and the initiative changes hands. Or if the more direct 31. Nf6 Bxf6 32. exf6 then 32… Qe2! 33. Rxg6!?–what else?–33… fxg6 34. Qxg6 Kf8 and the Black King escapes unharmed.
HOWEVER, in the heat of the moment, it is easy to lose one’s head! Instead Black played what looked to be even stronger, but is infact a grave mistake:
Trying to force back the White Queen, but overlooking a neat shot!
Ouch!! If now 31… gxh5 32. Nf6 Kh8 33. Rg8 mate!
The Colombian grandmaster is known for his tactical sharpness. White now recovers his piece investment and eliminates one of Black’s best defenders. The game is now lost….there followed:
31…Bg7 32. Nf6 Kf8 33. Qh7
And White won in short order
Position after 23 moves. White is very well coordinated but Black has every piece–except his Queen–in play defending his postion.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
24.Nxf7! Rxf7 25.Bxf7 Rxf7 26.Nh5! winning material in all lines
MISSING A KEY DEFENSIVE RESOURCE…
POSITION AFTER 27 MOVES:
Yet one more example taken from the Istanbul Olympiad! An exciting position, very unbalanced and tricky. Such positions are not just difficult to evaluate correctly, but they are also difficult to play properly!
HOWEVER, here White has the upper hand. Unfortunately, Solak chose the wrong path and lost quickly: 28. Qe6? Bh4! Now the advantage changes hands! 29. g3?! Rf8 30. Bf4 Rxf4 31. Ke2 Rd6 32. Qh3 Re4 33. Kf2 Rf6 [0:1] It is rare that a mere 2000 player defeats and experienced grandmaster!
GOING BACK to the position above, what is the correct way for White to win? What hidden shot did White not see?
White should have played 28.Bxb6!! If 28…KxB then 29.Qe3! and the Knight will enter the fray via a5. Or if 28…Kb7 then 29.Bc5! and Black’s position soon collapses, as the reader can readily verify for himself.