Today’s 5-second tactics
THE TRAPPER TRAPPED!
Chicago, 1973. Position after Black’s 15th move (15…Nc4). The Canadian star–who back in 1973 was probably one of the two best players in North America after Bobby Fischer–had had a great summer, winning virtually everything that he played in (Quebec International, Canadian Open, US Open, etc).
In this game Black’s strategy is built on his Knight on c4 inflicting damage on White’s position. No doubt Suttles and the spectators expected 16.Rb1, defending against the immediate threat…INSTEAD, Soltis played a shocker:
At first this seems like a blunder, but is infact a very strong move as we shall soon see.
In hindsight, while this move does not have the hoped-for effect, there is infact nothing better: 16…Nb6 17.a4! forces Black to retreat, when the defects in his position soon reveal themselves: 17…bxa4 18.bxa4 Be6 19.Qa6! Qc7 20.a5 Nd7 21.Nb5! etc.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
ONE PIECE TOO MANY…
Abramov Lev Yakovlevich
Moscow,1958. Position before Black’s 30th move. A curious position in that every single one of White’s pieces is in play, including his King! And this is the problem! Pity, really, since White’s pressure on the b-file and White’s Queen and Bishop duo on the Kingside would in other circumstances be unbearable for Black. But the moral is simple: you need to have your King tucked away safely!
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
Moscow 1958 Abramov Lev Yakovlevich–Vatnikov Josif E 30…Qc5+! 31.d4 Qxd4+! 32.Kxd4 Rxf4+ 33.Ke3 (Only defence. 33.Kd3 RxQ 34.Rxb7? Rg3+) Rxg4 34.Kf3?! (A better try is 34.Bf3, but White is lost anyway. A possible finish would be 34…Rh4. 35.Rxb7? Bh6+ etc) 34… Rag2! Now the King can not get out of the mating net 35.Ke3 Bh6+ 0-1
Chicago 1973 Soltis, Andrew–Suttles, Duncan: 17.Qxd7+! Qxd7 18.Rxd7 Kxd7 19.Nxe5+!! The key to understanding the position! The Knight on b2 can not escape and in the meantime the Black Rooks can barely avoid being lost. The game continued 19…Ke6!? ( 19…fxe5 20.Bxe5 etc and if instead 19…Ke7 20.Bg4! ) and now Soltis won the game with 20.f4, but it was later shown that 20.Bg4+ would have been faster