SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Here are some examples of tactical chess from the Benasque International Tournament (link) taking place as I write. The first two solutions will be given later. Try your hand! Good luck!
The Black Queen has been busy munching some White pawns and now the Black King finds himself stuck in the centre, the White pawn on e6 a menacing presence.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
LADRON PINTO (2350)
The White Queen on b3 is eyeing the f7 pawn. Should the Black Queen move away then e4 will be very embarrassing for the Black pieces! Therefore, the Black Queen is staying…how did Granda take advantage of this?
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
The King walk…
Black has played a passive line of the Queen’s Gambit Declined but has a solid position, if nothing else. Remarkable, therefore, how White is able to open the Black position like a can of beans!
The beginning of one of the year’s most powerful attacks!
Black should not accept the sacrifice: 18…exf5? 19.e6! Qf6!? (19…PxP? 20.Rxe6 is game over) 20.Ne5! NxN 21.PxN and the Black position collapses like a house of cards.
White is threatening a forced mate beginning with 20.Ne7-ch (amongst others!)
Black is playing the only moves and was now probably braced for the natural looking (and also strong!) 20.Nd6!?, but a surprise awaits him:
The spectators are going wild! Vasquez rips open the Black King’s hiding place…losing immediately would be taking the other Knight (f5): 20…PxN 21.Bxe6 Kg7 22.Qxf5 and the end is near!
A fascinating position. It is not often that one seens such a display in modern tournament praxis…
There is no going back…for either player!
The Black King has been forced up to his 4th-rank.
23. Qh3-ch Kg5
And now the fastest win is 24.Rc3! h5 (forced) 25.Qe3-ch!! Kf5 (25…Qf4 allows a forced mate beginning with 26.h4-ch!) 26.e6! Kf6 (forced) 27.e7! Qf7 (forced) 28.Qh6! and Black can not last much longer…
Vasques played instead the weaker 24.Re4?!, but won anyway!
A beautiful attacking conception!
It has been a very interesting game up to now, but White’s last move (21.Nf3) let slip his edge. Curiously, Marin must have felt quite comfortable along the a1-h8 diagonal with his Queen and Bishop battery (b2,c3).
HOW DOES BLACK SIEZE THE ADVANTAGE IN THE POSITION ABOVE?
SOLUTIONS:EXAMPLE 1:Margvelashvili vs Roeder
White played the crushing 19.Bxd5! and Black resigned. If 19…cxd5 then 20.Qc2! threatens a variety of mating patterns. Black’s back rank is weak and there is the Qa4-ch threat. Should Black not recapture on d5 but instead try to hold firm with 19…Rc8 then 20.Qa4! will soon pocket a couple of pawns, adding to his extra piece.
Granda vs Ladron
Granda won with 28.Bg4! Rc7 29.Ne4 snaring the Queen. Black resigned.
Marin vs Margvelashvili
21…d4!µ 22. exd4?![ Relatively best is 22. Bd2!? d3 23. Bd1 Ne4 24. Nb5 Qe7, though Black is firmly in control] 22… exd4 23. Nxd4 [23. Bxd4? Nxd4 24. Nxd4 Ng4! 25. Bxg4 Qf4 etc] 23… Ne4! 24. Ndb5 Qf4 25. Bf3 What else? [25. Bxg7 Qxf2 26. Kh1 Nd4!; or25. Bf1 Ne5! 26. Bd4 Nd2!] 25… Nxc3[ A slight imprecision: 25… Ne5! 26. Nd4 Nd3 is faster] 26. Nxc3 Be5! Now Black wins by direct attack 27. Nab5 Qxh2 28. Kf1 Re8 29. g3 Bc8 30. g4 Bxg4 31. Bxg4 Bxc3 [0:1]