SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
All of the examples below are from games played at the European Chess Club Cup. ENJOY!
ATTACK AND COUNTER-ATTACK
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 22nd MOVE (22.Rd4):
A super sharp 4.f3 Nimzo Indian has lead to a hybrid Benoni/KingsIndian pawn structure. White’s last move (22.Rd4) is VERY ambitious: he intends to simply eat Black’s Queenside pawns starting with b4!
Clearly Topalov can not allow this to happen and must react very energetically.
White must retreat his Knight as 23.Nd3 would allow Black to take the Bishop on b5: 23. Nd3? Rxb5 24. Nxe5 dxe5!
23. Nh3 Bxh3 24. gxh3 Rxb5!
Crunch! Timofeev either did not see this strong move or underestimated it.
Now the way to cap Topalov’s fine play was with the precise 25… Nxf3! and White’s position callapses: 26. Rxb4 ( nor 26. Qxb4 Ba5!! 27. Qc4 Nxd4 28. Qxd4 Rb8! ) 26… Rb8 27. Nb6 (27. Qc4 Rxb4 28. Qxb4 Qe5 29.Ra2 Nxd5 etc) 27… Nxe4 28.Qe2 Ned2 etc.
INSTEAD, probably already short of time, Topalov played inexactly with 25…Rb8 26.Qe2 Nh5!? –which was still good enough to keep an edge, but is hardly decisive. The game went back and forth… INFACT, right before Timofeev lost the game he was even winning!
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 26th MOVE:
A very difficult to understand game! Both sides seemed to be trying to out-do the other…just a couple of moves ago Black was even better! NOW, however, the edge is with Kamsky, who has atleast a perpetual check after the forced 26…Kb8, but can probably try for more without any risk.
INSTEAD, the Polish super-gm walked into a forced mate in 3 moves!
When Bartel realized what he had just done, he resigned. 1-0
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 22nd MOVE (22.Nf1)
Black is quite pleased with his position! His pressure along the e-file combined with White’s lack of counterplay gives him a free hand to try his luck on the Kingside…
Curiously, White has no good way to handle this move. Useless would be 23. BxN NxB with a winning attack. Probably the best practical choice is to shed a pawn with 23.Qd2 though after …Bxf3 24. exf3 Rxe1 25. Rxe1 Rxe1 26. Qxe1 Qxf3 White’s chances of saving the game are very slight indeed.
White prefers to keep his pawns…
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
4.”5-SECOND” TACTIC!POSITION AFTER 25 MOVES:MEMETI
The classic ”Bishop pair vs 2-Knights” or ”Nightmare along the g-file”? You decide…but you have only 5-seconds to do so!
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
ANOTHER ”5-SECOND” TACTIC!
POSITION AFTER 33 MOVES:
A wild, wild game! Svidler kept pressing, creating new problems for his opponent to solve. Finally, Ponomariov’s last move (33…Rxh3) was a serious fault. Now comes the time for Svidler to punish Black!
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
THE PASSED PAWN
POSITION AFTER 30 MOVES:
White has a clear extra pawn and the better position. The question is how to best make progress and impose White’s advantage…Riazantsev finds the most efficient path:
31. Rxc5! dxc5 32. d6!
The sacrifice is risk free as nothing can stop White from advancing his d-pawn to the 7th rank. It is difficult to believe that Black would ever be able to win the game, even if he were to successfully blockade this pawn.
HOWEVER, the real problem facing Black is his weak e-pawn: should White win it then his passed d-pawn will get a brother on the e-file! Together they must win.
Black has no reasonable way to stop any of this: 32… Kh8 33. Qd5 Qg8 34. Be6 Qd8 35. d7 followed by taking the e-pawn; 32… Kf8 (trying to use the King to block the pawn) 33. Qd5 and the pawn falls again. Worse still, the Black King is unsafe; 32… Ra7 33. Qd5 Kh8 34. Qxe5 is just the same type of lost position as above.
BLACK TRIES THE ONLY ALTERNATIVE:
32… Qa5!? 33. Qd5 Kh8
Black hopes to first exchange Queens on a1 and then bring in the King to blockade the pawns.
The next few moves see White make progress while Black desperately tries to organize a defence:
34. Kg2!? Rd8 35. Qxe5 Qb6 36. d7 Qf6
Black has not been able to contain the White initiative and now the end is near
37. Qe8! Qf8 38. Qxf8! Rxf8 39. e5!
The pawns can not be stopped.