Today's 5-second tactics
The 2013 edition of the Tchigorin Memorial is taking place between October 4 and October 13 in St.Petersburg. One of the strongest Open tournaments this year, the event boasts not less than 22 players rated over 2600; there are 43 players rated over 2500 and more than 100 players rated over 2300! This weekend I intend to provide the reader with numerous exemples of top-flight tactical chess taken from this grand event.
gm Eljanov, Pavel
Position after 21 moves of play. Yesterday’s round. White’s pieces are a bit dis-organized and he should probably play the defensive 22.Be2 keeping things glued together. If 22…Rc2 then he can continue 23.Bd1 Rc6 24.f3!? followed by bringing home the Queen in the next couple of moves. OR 22.Qd4 immediately, which seems similar. White should be ok. INSTEAD, Matlakov decided that he’d counter attack with the immediate:
Often it is better just to accept that one is a bit worse and limit oneself to making modest moves, which– while not very exciting,–do slowly resolve the more pressing issues and problems. This is one such situation. White’s idea is that it is better to attack than defend: if 22…Rd8 then 23.Ba5 is nasty. Or if …Nc6 (or …Bd7) then White can exchange his way to equality.
The problem with White’s way of think here is purely geographic in nature: 4 of White’s 5 pieces are stuck offside on the A and B files, leaving his King (way over on the other side of the board) pretty much to fend for himself.
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
A magificent move that must have come as a shock to White. Eljanov calculated this move to perfection and there is simply no defence. The main threat is just …Qg4
If now White takes the Bishop with 23. gxh3 there would follow Qxh3 (threatening …Nf3) 24. Be2 (24. f3 Rc2 25. Rf2 Nxf3+ etc or 24.Bd6 Nf3+ 25.Kh1 Nh4 etc ) 24… Rc6! 25. Kh1 Nf3 etc ; No better is 23. f4 Rc2 24. Rf2 Rxf2 25. Kxf2 Qc2+ etc.; And if instead 23. Be2 Rc2 24. Bd1 (24. gxh3 Rxe2 25. Kg2 Qf5 etc) 24… Rc6! the Rook shifts over to g6 and enters the attack against the King. For exemple: 25. Re1 Bxg2 26. Kxg2 Rg6+ 27. Kf1 Qh3+ 28.Ke2 Qg4+ 29. Kf1 Qg2+ 30. Ke2 Rf6 31. Rf1 Qg4+ 32. Ke1 Qxb4+ And finally, if ; 23. Bd6 Qg4 24. g3 Qf3 etc.SIMPLY THERE IS NO DEFENCE in any of these lines. White therefore tries his last option:
Stopping the immediate threat of …Qg4
23…Nf3+!! 24.gxf3 Re4!
Brilliantly executed! The Rook can not be taken as the Queen would penetrate on g4. Now if 25. Qd1 Rxb4 26. Be2 Rh4! and it is all over. White has little option:
25.Qxd5 Rxb4 26.Rfd1
26…Rxb5! 27.Qxb5 Rc5!
White can not allow the Rook to go to g5
28.Rd8+ Qxd8 29.Qxc5
Did Black overlook this?