Today’s 5-second tactics
“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
The following miniature took place at the Montcada tournament (Barcelona) yesterday. It is not often that one sees such a strong grandmaster as Vishnu go down in such surprising fashion!
wgm Cori T., Deysi–gm Vishnu, Prasanna. V
1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 c5 3.e3 Nc6 4.Be2 cxd4 5.exd4 Bg4 6.c3 e6 7.Qb3
White’s opening is harmless, but Cori has had much success with off-beat and discarded theoretical lines. The present position has certain similarities with the Exchange Variation of the Caro Khan. Black can now play 7…Rb8!?, defending the b-pawn, and follow it up with …Bd6 and …Nge7, with normal chances.
Perfectly playable, ofcourse. The game now becomes interesting after White’s next move…
A sharp tactical shot! How should Black react? Taking the Bishop is possible, but it leads to a messy position difficult to evaluate and not without some discomfort for the Black King. The mainline goes something like: 8…Qxf4!? 9.Qxb7 Qc1+ 10.Bd1 Nd8 11.Qxa8 Bxf3! 12.gxf3 Qxb2 13.Ba4+ Ke7 14.O-O Qxa1 15.Qb8! Qxa2! 16.Qb4+ Kf6 17.Qxf8 Qxa4 18.Qxd8+ Kf5!? 19.h4 f6!? (Diagram below):
What can one say? Both sides stand badly!
Vishnu probably decided that playing like this in a serious game is reckless (though playable) and declined the invitation on the Bishop. A rational judgement! Black’s best continuation, in my opinion, is to simply move the Queen to d7 (8…Qd7) After 9.Nbd2 Nge7 10.h3 Bxf3 11.Nxf3 Ng6 12.Bg3 Bd6 I even prefer the Black side! Note that 9.Ne5 does not work: 9…NxN and 10…Bxe2.
At first sight a reasonable move ( 9.Bxd6 Qxd6 10.Qxb7?! Rb8 11.Qa6 Bxf3 12.Bxf3 Rxb2 with advantage), but infact the losing move! Vishnu can be forgiven for not seeing the subtle refutation…
Do you see what is wrong here?
Vishnu must have not noticed that after 10…NxN? 11.PxN Qxe5 12.Qa4+! picks up the Bishop on g4, which can not retreat to d7 because the e-pawn is in the way! Now, no matter how Black plays, he loses significant material. The game continued:
Black has not less than three pieces attacked, and don’t forget the pawn on f7!! If now 11…Rb8 then White wins with 12.Qxf7+ Kd8 13.Qxg7! NxN 14.QxR! and Black has nothing but a couple of harmless checks beginning with 14…Nd3+, as the reader can verify for himself. Neither is 11…Nxe5 12.Qxa8+ Ke7 anybetter: 13.Qxa7+! Nd7 14.Kxe2 and White will quickly consolidate.
THAT LEAVES THE GAME CONTINUATION:
11…Nd8!? 12.Qxa8 Qc7!?
With some dreams of being able to trap the White Queen in the corner after Black castles…analyis shows. however, that this is just that (a dream):13.Kxe2! Nf6 14.Nd2 O-O 15.Rhc1! followed by Kf1-g1. The Black side can not get in the …Nc6 he so very much wants: 15…Ng5!? 16.c4! (16.NxN Nc6 17.QxR+ is also crushing) 16…NxN 17.Pxd5! etc.
HOWEVER, Cori was not so certain at the board, and so played a less precise move , but one that does not leave in doubt the win:
13.Nc6!? Qxc6 14.Qxc6+ Nxc6 15.Kxe2
Black played a couple more moves before throwing in the towel