Today’s 5-second tactics
“Decisiveness is often the art of timely cruelty.” ― Henry Becque
From the Philly Open last Saturday. Position before Black’s 28th move. White stands better, Black having little coordination and even a pawn less! Black must do something quick, for otherwise White will simply advance his Kingside pawns and win the game.
Note that the immediate 28…b3?! 29.a3 stops Black’s Queenside play cold. A better practical try would be 28…c3!?, but after 29.BxN! NxB (29…b3? 30.Bxd5+! wins) 30.Qc2 followed by Qb3 Black still has problems to solve.
Therefore, Black decided to play psychologically and try to shock White, playing a tricky but inferior move (inferior to 28…c3, that is):
Threatening the immediate …Nb3+ winning the Queen.
Psychology is important in chess because , as humans, our logical thinking processes can sometimes be derailed by emotions and fears, resulting in our playing (or our opponent for that matter) a confused and lower level of chess. Most mistakes, for example, can be explained by psychology. HERE White should have played 29.Kb1! (getting his King out of harm’s way) and after 29…Nd3 30.RxN! PxR 31.Bxf6! and 32.g5 with excellent winning chances.
INSTEAD, White simply walked into Black’s trap:
29.PxN? b3! 30.Qb1 forced 30…c3!
It is not clear what White had overlooked, but he is dead lost. Black threatens mate starting with 31…Pxb2+, and if 31.Bxf6 c2!! wins the house, and I love the picturesque 31.Bc1 c2! mating the White Queen!