Today’s winning 5-second tactics
‘’Concision in style, precision in thought, decision in life.’’
SENSATION: Rook beats Queen!
gm Makropoulos, G
im Zichichi, Alvise
From a tournament in Rome 1981. Zichichi (born 1938, died 2003) was a strong Italian chessplayer wrote many chessbooks and became the Italian National Champion in 1984. He beat several GMs, such as Spasski, Hort, Gligoric, Suetin and Hjartarson. When his player career was over, he became FIDE International Referee, member of the FIDE commitee for game regulations and president of the Italian Chess Federation.
Makropoulos, who is alive and well today and–possibly, apart from himself having won seven-Italian National Titles– needs absolutely no introduction to my readers.
The position is after 26 moves of play. Black stands ever so slightly better because of his more active and better co-ordinated pieces. Especially, the Black Queen–seemingly buried on a8–is infact a very dangerous piece…she looks with x-ray tunnel vision at the White monarch on h1 (there are any …Nxf3 tricks in the position for White to have to worry about). Probably White should play safe with 27.Bd4!?, making room for the White King to escape to g1 should the need arise.
INSTEAD, Zichichi thought he saw a better move (remember Lasker’s axiom!) …
Starting one of the wildest and most chaotic tactical fights that I have ever seen in chess! As it turns out to be over-optimistic (brilliantly, I might add) we should really award it a ‘?!’ sign, but the depth of the play that follows could have hardly been calculated beforehand…so we spectators should just sit back and enjoy the anarchy as the pieces rise up in rebellion. White’s move threatens not just the Knight on e5 (RxN) but also Nc7, forking the Black Queen and Rook. If now 27… axb5?! 28. Rxe5 Rxe5 29. Qxe5 Qxa2 30. Qxb5 Bxf3 31. gxf3 Qxc2 32. Bc4! and White is a bit better.
Defying White to do his worse!
If now 29. Nxe1? Rxe1 30. Nxa8 Rxf1 with mutiple threats. If then 31. Qe2 Rb1! 32. Qc2 Be4! 33. Qc8 Rb2 34. Bc5 looks like it wins, but…
34…Nd7!!! and Black wins: 35. Qxd7 Bxg2 36. Kg1 Bxc5 mating.
Count the pieces: Black has just a Rook for the Queen!
An amazing resource that Makropoulos had to have forseen before entering into this tactical labyrinth! The threat is to just take the White Knight-pawn with either the Rook or the Knight. White is busted. For example:
30. Bxe2 Bxg2#;
30. Nxe1 Rxb2 31. Nc7 Rxa2 etc
30. h3 Nxg2 31. Bxe2 Nh4+ 32. Kh2 Bd6+
30. h4 Nxg2 31. Bxe2 Ne1+ 32. Kh2 Bd6+ 33. Kh3 Bg2#;
30. Qd4 Nxg2 31. Qb6 Be4 32. Qd4 Rxc2 etc
30. Nb6 Nxg2 31. Bd4 Ne1+ 32. Kg1 Nf3+ etc
30. Ba7 Rxc2 31. Qe5 Nxg2 32. Qb8 Be4 33. Bxg2 Rxg2 34. h3 Nh5 etc
30. Qc3 Nxg2 31. Bd4 Rxc2 32. Qxc2 Ne1+ 33. Qg2 Nxg2 34. Bxg2 Bxg2 35. Kxg2 Nd5 36. Kf3 f5 as in the game