SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
”Are you out of your fuckin’ Vulcan mind?”– Dr.McCoy
”Fuckin’ Vulcan’s never bluff.” — Spock
From Cappelle La Grande last week. Ofcourse, Black has a decisive advantage, but he did not squander it on winning in a pedestrian way. Brodsky played the elegant 29…Rxe2!! and White’s position collapsed like a house of cards. Do you see why?
IT’S A WINNING ATTACK!
POSITION AFTER 24 MOVES:
From a tournament in Moscow last month. Black has just played 24…b5 , hoping to fianchetto his Bishop and get some counterplay. However, White is not going to give Black that pleasure…he strikes first against the enemy King:
Threatening in many lines to simply chop off the h6-pawn, exposing the King. And now ofcourse not 25… gxf6? as 26. Qxh6 Kg8 27. Rg4# makes it much too easy for White! Black’s reply is virtually forced and his only chance of resisting:
The quickest way to put Black away now would be 26. Rg4! threatening a forced mate. If then 26… Qxe5, for example, then 27. Qxh6 gxh6 28. Rxh6#. However, White’s continuation is also brutally effective!
The White Rooks tear apart the Black position! Ofcourse, taking the Rook leads to immediate mate…
26… Kg8 27. Rh5! Bxe4 28. Qxe4
Threatening mate in one move! If now 28… Rfe8 then the King does not get far after 29. Qh7 Kf8 30. Qh8 Ke7 31. Qxg7 Rf8 32. Bxe6! and Black is dead in the water!
29. Nxe6!? Good enough. 29… Qb6 [29… Qf2 also goes off to 30. Rh6, but in a slower manner: 30…Qf5 31. Qxf5 gxf5 32. Nxc7 and White is a piece up in an ending.]
There is nothing to do about the coming explosion on g6
BELIEVE IN ME…
POSITION AFTER 16 MOVES:
From a tournament in Zagreb over the weekend…Black has an awkwardly placed Rook on d6. Kozul finds an ingenius method to exploit this fact and comes up with one of the most original attacking themes seen so far this year!
But then Kozul gets carried away and screws up when a simple win was to be had. He simply hallucinated…But no matter, as his opponent also hallucinates and resigns in a position where he is BETTER! Gawd, I love chess!
This surprising attack combines a number of well known themes, including the pin and the direct mating threat.
If now 17…Re6 then 18.Qxf7! Rxe4 19.Be2 leaves Black helpless to the coming Bf6. And if 17…Rd7 then simply 18.Bf6 forces mate. Black therefore has no other options…
Here Kozul can put Black away with the simple, but effective, 19.e5! Now 19…Nxe5 20.QxN Kg8!?–there is nothing better–21.Qe8-ch is decisive.
And after the plausible 19…Re6 20.Bf6! RxB (what else? After 20…Kg8 21.Qh6! would transpose) 21.Qh6! Kg8 22.pxR etc.
Black must give up his Queen to avoid the immediate mate!
Or, Kozul can win in a slower, but equally decisive manner with 19.Qh2!? and after 19…Kg8 20.Bf4! , winning material in all lines and keeping a dangerous initiative.
INSTEAD, Kozul hallucinates (!!):
19.Bf6? Kg8 20.Qh2??
White might still have been a bit better after 20.Rd1!?, but then that would be a whole new ball game! IN ANYCASE, Black now made the DECISIVE blunder: HE RESIGNED!!
Both players must have thought that Black had to give up the Queen in order to avoid mate.
BUT BLACK HAS THE SAVING MOVE 21…Bh3!!! which turns the tables completely on White and Kozul would have been fighting for a draw!
MURDER SHE WROTE…
POSITION AFTER 14 MOVES:B.Rogulj
Also from the Zagreb tournament this past weekend…Black’s sense of danger must have escaped him when he closed the centre with 14…c4. Now White has a free hand to attack the Black King, and he has 5 pieces (count them: five!: Queen, Rook, Bishop and 2 Knights) to do so with…
15.Rxg7!Bears shit in the woods, don’ they?
Taking the Rook goes off to 16.Nh5 and 17.Qh6 with mate to follow. Black is desperate…
TODAY’S SHOCKING MOVE!
ALSO from the Zagreb tournament. Position after Black’s 10th move (10…Nd4): I suppose everyone was expecting a rational continuation like 11.g4!? Bg6! 12.Be3 Nxf3 13.Qxf3 with an unclear and interesting fight in the works…
INSTEAD, WHITE PLAYED THE UNBELIEVABLE:
Wow! In a lot of the ensuing lines White will only get 2 minor pieces for his Queen, but the Black King is exposed in the centre and his companion the Queen is not any less so…
PERHAPS the most amazing thing is that the sacrifice is entirely sound! The best that I can find after taking a look at it for a bit is an equalish ending….BUT, in practice, Black has to find a lot of good moves and avoid a number of cunning traps before he gets there…
THE GAME CONTINUED:
11…Bxd1 12. Ne6!
For the moment White has ONLY one piece for the Queen, but the Black Queen is under attack…What should Black do? It is not so simple…
If Black tries to return material then he is always a bit worse: for example, 12… Qe7 13. Nd5! Nxd5 14. Bxe7 Kxe7 15. Bxd5 Bxc2 16. Nxc5 dxc5 17. Rfc1
Or if instead the creative 12… Be2!? then White REFUSES the gift with 13. Nxg7! Kd7 14. Nxe2 h6 15. Bh4 maintaining pressure on Black!
SO BLACK’S NEXT MOVE IS REASONABLE:
Ok, so what does White really have here? Black’s King is stuck in the centre, true enough, but a Queen is a Queen! SHOW ME THE BEEF! My readers want the beef…
13. Bxf6! gxf6 14. Nd5!
Now the threats become concrete. The family fork on f6 is a concern.
Unsatisfactory is 14…Kf7? because of 15.Nxc5! with a nasty discovered check coming quickly. Better, but still worse for Black, is 14…Qf7?! when White has the pleasant forcing line 15.Ndxc7! Ke7! 16.Nd5! KxN! 17.Ne3! with and endgame advantage in all lines, possibly even being a pawn up in one or two of them!
THE BEST THAT I CAN FIND FOR BLACK IS 14… Qa4!? 15. Bb5! Qxb5 16. Nexc7 Kf7 17. Nxb5 Be2 18. Nbc3 Bxf1 19. Rxf1 with a roughly equal ending, though with a lot of fight left in the position still.
Black was not able to find this last idea, and probably short of time, fell victim to White’s little critters…
14…Be2? 15. Bxe2!
Remarkably, with only 2 pieces for the Queen, White is much better, if not with excellent winning chances even with PERFECT play on Black’s part.
Depressing as it may be, Black should now seek salvation a pawn down in an opposite colour Bishop ending after 15… Qxe6 16. Nxc7 Ke7 17. Nxe6 Kxe6 18. c3
INSTEAD, THE END COMES UNEXPECTEDLY QUICKLY
Black will soon be a piece down!
A remarkable concept!