SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
POSITION AFTER 9 MOVES:
One of those often-irrational Scandanavian Defences featuring opposite side castling…Black’s last move (9…e6) provokes an immediate crisis
10. dxc6! Rxd1 11. cxb7+ Kb8 12. Rxd1
A unbalanced position!
With Rook, Knight and Pawn for the Queen it is hard to believe that White could ever be worse or is risking anything more than a half-point. However, the question of whether White has the better chances is another matter all together! After the correct 12… Bd6! 13. Nd4 (13. h3?! Bxe2 14. Nxe2 e5! and Black has everything under control) 13… Qh5! 14. Re1 a6! the game is wide open and anything is still possible.
HOWEVER, here Black plays less strongly when he neglects the …Qh5 manoeuvre:
Optically very strong, but infact a serious mistake that gives White a chance
Threatening a decisive check on c6
Black’s next move is easy to criticize, but 13…Qb6!? 14.Nc6+ KxP 15.Rd2! threatening 16.b4! is not appetizing!
Now White has real threats!
In particular, the Bishop pair is now free to exert pressure on the King’s position. White is threatening, among other things, just Ra4 followed by Be3. If the Black Queen now tries to escape to the Kingside with 14…Qh5 then White 15.h3! wins material.
So Black resorts to desperate measures:
Trying to make some room for the Black King to move about
15. Bxc6 e5!?
Now the intended 16.Ra4 would still be strong, but Vasiukov did not want after 16…Qb6 to retreat his Bishop to g2. Besides, he saw another very pretty way to continue the attack:
Threatening the simple 17.Ra4
Taking the Rook gives White a winning ending after 17. Bf4+ Qc7 18. Na4 Qxf4 19. gxf4 Bd7!? 20. Bxd7 Nxd7 21. Rd1 etc; and if instead 16… Rd8 then 17. Rxd8+ Qxd8 18. Nb5 wins immediately.
So Black has little choice but to retreat the Queen
Simply threatening to take the Bishop
Defending the Bishop and threatening either Bxa7+ or Nb5
Black is desperately hoping for a reprieve from White’s threats.
After this Black is lost!
Black was hoping for a reprieve from all of the threats, but now White intends to open the a-file with a coming Nb5. Black can not long prevent it.
If now 18… Be6 then 19. Nb5! Qxb7 what else? 20. Bxb7 axb5 21. Rb4 etc, or if instead 18… Qa5 19. b4! Qd8 20. Nb5! That leaves few options for Black….
Black is busted.
If the King retreats to b8 then White will take the Queen and win super easily…so Black decided to play for the spectators:
One of the most brilliant attackers of his generation (or of any generation, truth be told!) grandmaster Evgeny Vasiukov ‘s games have already been the subject of previous blog entries.