SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
My readers will enjoy this!
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 17th MOVE (17.Bb2?!)
From the Russian Higher League Team Championship yesterday! A fascinating game with both players showing flashes of genius mixed with flashes of mutual madness! After White’s imprecise (weak) 17.Bb2 Black responded with the equally imprecise (even weaker) 17…Qc6?!, giving White the advantage! INSTEAD, in the diagram above, Black has a move that gives him a CLEAR advantage. CAN YOU FIND IT?SOLUTION AT BOTTOM OF PAGETHE GAME CONTINUED IN HIGHLY ENTERTAINING FASHION:
18. Nxf6! Bxf6
A surprise is awaiting the Black pieces
19. Bxh7! Kxh7 20. Qh3! Kg8 21. Bxf6
What should Black do? Bad is 21… gxf6? 22. Qg4! Kh7 23. Rf3! Qxf3 24. Qh4! Kg7 25. gxf3 and White should win. Simplifying with 21…Qxg2?! gives White excellent winning chances after 22.QxQ BxQ 23.BxR BxR 24.Be7!
A brilliant deflection! Apparently 21… Rd2! would just transpose into the main line in the game after 22. Rf3! Qe4! 23. Rbf1 Qf5! 24. Qxf5 Bxf3! 25. Qh3 Rxg2 26. Qxg2 Bxg2, as the reader can verify. Finally, 22. Qg4?! (threatening mate) would allow Black to solve all of his problems after 22… Qxg2! simplifying into a much better ending than in the game.
THAT ONLY LEAVES…
22. Rf3! Rxf3 23. Qg4!
Threatening mate in one move! Wrong now would be 23… g6? 24. Qh4! when 24…Rf1 25. Kxf1! Qxg2 26. Ke1! leaves White with excellent winning chances as the King can escape the checks: 26… Qe4 27. Kd2 Qg2 28. Kc3 Qf3 29. Kb2 Qe2 30. Ka1 Qh5 31. Qxh5 gxh5 32. Rg1 Kh7 33. Rg5! And Black’s pawns are falling.
BLACK THEREFORE MUST PLAY MORE ACCURATELY:
This Rook deserves a medal!
24. Rxf1 Qxg2! 25. Qxg2 Bxg2 26. Bxg7 ( Black has an easier time drawing after 26. Kxg2 gxf6 27. Rd1 a5 28. Rd7 a4!) 26… Kxg7 27. Kxg2 Rd8!
White is a pawn up but Black’s counterplay along the d-file gives him excellent drawing chances. White tried hard, but the game was drawn in 41 moves.
17…Ne8!! gives a clear advantage to Black. He threatends simply …f5. After the plausible 18.Qh3 RxB!! 19.QxR Qc6!! the mate threat on g2 will allow Black to win the Knight on e4, leaving him with two pieces for the Rook. (20.Rbe1 f5)