SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
POSITION AFTER 20 MOVES
It is characteristic of the isolated queen-pawn game that sudden attacks and explosive changes in the position appear out of the blue. This game is no exception. None of the pieces have been exchanged and this is about to change right now…Black’s last move (20…Ne4 was very provocative!)
A typical motive in this type of position. White draws the Black King into the open. White’s exceptionally well posted Bishop on a2 suddenly becomes a lethal threat.
A double attack on the weak pawn on e6 is difficult to meet. Afterwards it was found that the best defence was the paradoxical 22…Kg8! when White would be better but not immediately winning (as in the game) After 23.Bf4! Rc6 ( 23…Rxc3 24.Be5! gives an even stronger attack ) 24.Bxe6 Kh8 25.Bxc8 Bxc8 26.Qe2 Nxc3 27.Rxc3 Rxc3 28.Rxc3 Bd7 29.d5 White has both a material and positional advantage, but atleast Black can still fight.
The defender is always faced with a more difficult task than the attacker, in particular because he must deal with both direct (real) threats as well as phantom threats. No doubt Black saw White’s next move, but he must have overlooked the 25th move.
Very pretty! After having sacrificed the Knight on f7, White now throws in his Rook on c2 ! Black has no choice but to accept the gift…
23…Rxc2 24.Rxc2 Rxc2 [ no better is 24…Bxe4 25.Rxc8 Qxc8 26.Qxe4 etc ]
Ouch!! Were it not for this move then none of White’s play would make any sense. Black can not interpose the Bishop because 26.Be6 and 27.Ng5 wins the Queen. Now Black is forced to move his King to the backrank where it becomes even more vulnerable
25…Ke8 26.Bxe6 Qa4
There is no better place for the Queen. Now the Black Monarch is at the mercy of the White attack. Note that Black’s Queen, Rook and Night are all so helpless in the final phase of the attack
27.Nd6 Kd8 28.Nf7 [Faster is 28.Bg5! ] 28…Ke8 [or if 28…Kc7 29.Bf4 etc ]
A curious position. Black is a Rook up but is helpless against White’s attack. The Queen and Minor pieces ensemble is one of the most potent attacking forces in the game. In the meantime, Black must do his best to defend against the immediate threats (30.Bd7ch)
29…Bc6 30.d5 [30.b3! is faster. Both players were probably in time trouble]
30…Bb5 31.Qf7 Kd8 32.d6!
Black’s defences now cave in and Black has just desperate moves left. 32…Bf6 allows a mate in 2 starting with 33.Qf8 Take a look at how the game finished in the pgn viewer.
IM Mikhail Podgaets
Mikhail Yakovlevich Podgaets was born in 1947 in Odessa in the Ukraine. He became an IM in 1972. Although he had a very short playing career, he won the championship of the Ukraine in 1976. He later became Karpov’s trainer, and co-wrote several books on the Caro-Kann with Karpov. Podgaets died in 2009.