No one likes to defend, but often we have no choice. However, there is defence and there is defence! Sometimes the defence can be not just as brilliant and surprising as a well played attack, but it can be more: it can be HEROIC ! Witness the following examples of counter-attack.
(White to play)
White has sacrificed a whole Rook to reach this position, forseeing that he has a magnificent shot that wins the game and probably bags the brilliancy prize to boot!
The double-exclam is for sheer brilliance, determination and… because it is White’s only chance to justify his Rook sacrifice. If Black now accepts the Queen sacrifice then he gets mated with the classical Rook and Bishop mate: 2.Rg3ch and 3.Bxf6 mate (ofcourse, Black can extend his life one move by throwing in the Queen , but to what avail?)
However, there is a flaw to White’s excessive confidence? Do you see it?
White must have fallen out of his chair after Black’s counter-Queen- sacrifice!!
Defending against mate on g7 and threatening a mate himself on g2. White’s attack is stopped dead in the water: if 2.hg4 gxf6 wins easily (the g-file is closed!).
(Black to play)
Here there is no doubt that Black has difficulties on his back-rank! White threatens a variety of mates starting with either 1.Qf6 or 1.Rxe5 Rxe5 2.Qf6.
Passive defence seems depressing: 1…Qd8 can be met (amongst other things) by 2.Qe2 intensifying the pressure along the e-file. Or 1…Bg7?? loses immediately to 2.Re8ch
Black’s only chance for salvation is in counter-attack!
Cold blooded defence! Black simply ignores White’s mutiple threats! Would you have the courage to do this? However, this is the only way for Black to proceed….
If now 2.Rxe5 Rxe5 3.Qf6 (diagram,right) then Black has a perpetual check starting with 3…Qb1ch and 4…Qe4ch. If White tries to avoid this then he will lose!
SO WHITE TRIED HIS OTHER ‘TRICK’!
Obviously Black can not take the Queen because of Re8 mating, and White is threatening mate himself, for example 2…Qxc3 3.Qg7ch!!! BxQ 4.Re8ch and mate next move!
SO WHAT CAN POOR BLACK DO? RESIGN?
This is why I love chess!! Black saves himself with a counter-Queen-sacrifice! How incredibly deep is our little game… White does not have 3.Qg7ch
because the White Rook is pinned to the King!
If now White takes the Queen with either Rook or Bishop then he has 3…BxQ; and finally, if 3.Qxe5 Black has 3…Qxh6! with a defensible position. Wow!
(This is from an actual game; Kupper vs Schmidt, Lugano Ol 1968)
White has embarked on a sacrificial attack against the Black King. Admittedly, this attack seems crushing, the pawn on f6, the Bishop on b2 and the Queen ready to pounce on Black with Qg5 seem to deny Black much chances of saving himself. If 20…gxf6 (getting rid of the pawn but opening up the position of the King) then simply 21.Rxf1! leaves Black dead in the water (note: 21.Qxf6 would allow Black to struggle on with 21…Qd8)
BLACK SEEKS HIS ONLY CHANCE: COUNTER-ATTACK!
This surprising move allows the Black Queen to move directly to the Kingside, aiding the Black monarch. Clearly White should not take the Pawn as the Black Queen will simply take the pawn on f6….
A beautiful and resourceful move! If now 21… exf4?? 22. Ne7 Kh8 23. fxg7#; or 21… Qxf6? 22. Bxe5 and White’s attack rages on
Black must play with great precision!
22. Kxg2 Qxf6!
If now 23. Bxe5 Qxf5 24. Qxf5 Ne3 wins the Queen and the game!
In the game White could find nothing better than exchanging Queens, leaving Black with a won position! After 23. Qxe5 24. Bxe5 Rfe8 25. Bd4 Nd2 26. Kf2 Rad8 etc. The reader can play thru this interesting game in the pgn viewer.