Today’s 5-second tactics!
“But Time, unfortunately, though it makes animals and vegetables bloom and fade with amazing punctuality, has no such simple effect upon the mind of man. The mind of man, moreover, works with equal strangeness upon the body of time…”
gm Shimanov, Aleksandr (2650)
im Bernadskiy, Vitaliy (2550)
Bronstein Memorial. Minsk. 14-02-2014 Position after White’s 24th move (24.e4). White must act quickly to create counter threats as Black is ready to invade via the h-file. Infact, it looks as though it might already be too late….Black now played what he thought was the spectacular death-blow:
Unleashing the Black Rooks and threatening mate on the move! This tactical idea is a common theme when the Rook-file is open.
This looks forced…
This strong move threatens mate (…Rh1+!) and there is now no adequate defence
The game ended quickly
26. Rxf1 Qh3 27. Rfb1
27… Qh1+! 28. Bxh1 Rxh1+ 29. Kg2 R8h2#
This all looks convincing, but let us return to the position after Black’s 24th move:
The critical position. Actually, it is VERY fascinating and hides some very clever and subtle resources for both sides. Truth be told, with best play on both sides, the game is a FORCED DRAW! It is worthwhile studying how…
Removing the Bishop from attack by the Black Rooks and simply threatening to win with RxB. Black has no choice but to capture the Bishop. Alternatives are not good enough: 25… Ne3?! 26. fxe3 (26. Rxe3? Rh1+! wins) 26… Rh1+ 27. Kf2! Bxg2 28. Kxg2 R1h2+ 29. Kf3 Qh3 30. Rg1 and if anyone is better it is White; even worse is 25… Rh1+ 26. Bxh1 Ne3 (26… Rxh1 27. Kxh1 Ne3 28. g4) 27. Bf3! etc.
25… Bxg2 26. exf5!!
This brilliant move is the saving clause and the key to understanding the position! White not only threatens a strong counterattack with f6+ and Re7, but he also threatens to simply capture the Bishop on g2 as the White King can escape unharmed via f3. If now 26… Be4?! 27. f6+ Kg8 28. Nxe4 dxe4 29. Qxe4 and White is just better; or if instead 26… Rh5 27. Kxg2! Rxf5 28. Qe3 Rfh5 29. Rh1 and that is that; finally, if 26… Bh1 27. f6+ Kg8 28. Re7!
BLACK HAS NO CHOICE BUT TO DEFEND HIS BISHOP:
Those with a sense of humour can not fail but to notice that the Black pieces on top of the White King are trying to defend themselves! This gives White valuable time to continue his counter attack…
Black must be careful not to fall into the trap: 27… Kh7? 28. Re7! Rh1+ 29. Kxg2 Qh3+ 30. Kf3 when White escapes and wins
27… Kg8! 28. Rab1!
Taking advantage of the open b-file, White threatens to win with Rb8+. If now 28… Qh3!? 29. Re8+! Kh7 30. Qh4+! Qxh4 31. Rxh8 Kxh8 32. gxh4 Rh3! 33. Kxg2 Rxc3 34. Rb7 and White has good chances to win the ending ; worse is 28… R8h6? 29. Rb8+ Kh7 30. Ree8! Rh1+ What else? 31. Kxg2 Qh3+ 32. Kf3 Qh5+ 33. Ke3 and the King escapes.
HOW DOES BLACK SAVE HIMSELF?
This brilliant finesse gains an inportant tempo by attacking the White Queen. Notice that the Rook can not be taken: 29. gxh4 Rh1 30. Kxg2 Qh3#
29. Rb8+! Kh7What now? If now the intended 30. Ree8? Rh1+! 31. Kxg2 Qh3+ 32. Kf3 Rxf4+ and Black wins , as the reader can readily verify.
Another surprising resource!
30… Rxh4 31. Ree8!
White threatens mate. Black can not simplify by taking the Rook on e8 with his Queen, as both his Rook and Bishop are enprise. Black must count himself lucky that he can still draw…
31… Rh1+! 32. Kxg2 Qh3+ 33. Kf3 Qh5+!
Neither side can escape perpetual check!
NOTE A: The reader can verify for himself that 31…g5! also leads to a forced draw.
NOTE B: On the 24th move, Black’s best chance was to not enter the complications with 24…Bf1, but to continue 24…Pxe4.