SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
DANGERS ALONG THE OPEN H-FILE
POSITION AFTER 23 MOVES:
From this weekend’s 4NCL (British Team Championships). White clearly has a dominating position, with Black still unable to even connect his Rooks. Black anticipated 24.Qh4 Rh8! resisting, atleast for the time being.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
Superior piece coordination is not an idle concept: White struck with the decisive 24.Rh7-ch!! KxR (what else?) 25.Qh4-ch! and Black resigned. He gets mated after 25…Kg7 26.Qh6-ch and 27.Rh1.
A similar theme occurred in the Capablanca Memorial’s Premier section this weekend in the game between Russian gm Rakhmanov (my team member in Barcelona !) and the Cuban im Cordova.
POSITION AFTER WHITE’S 27th MOVE (27.Ne3):
The game has been tense. White has not hidden his ambitions on the Kingside but Black has sought active counterplay on the Queenside. Here Black must play 27…Qd2! to keep things alive. INSTEAD, his sense of danger escaped him for a brief moment when he decisively erred with the natural looking 27…Rb2? The Russian star immediately played 28.g4!
Only here did Black realize what he had done. After the intended 28…Nxe3-ch 29.QxN Qd2 30. Qf3 Qg5 White has a tactical shot that mates:
Cordova did not enter into this line and instead let White capture his Knight on f5 with his pawn. It did no good and White won easily enough.
SUPERIOR COORDINATION TACTIC
POSITION AFTER 24 MOVES:
From the Serbian Championship which wound up a couple of days ago. White has developed logically and naturally, while Black seems to have done the opposite! His King is stuck in the centre and his Rooks are misplaced. This gives White the opportunity to strike first!
25. Na7! If now 25…e5 then 26.NxN RxN 27.e4! wins in every line, for example 27…Kc7 28.RxR! QxR 29.Qa3! hitting the Rook and threatening to win the Queen as well!
Black played 25…QxN and after 26.RxN! he resigned as he will lose at least a Rook, as the reader can readily verify.
Mickey Adams does it again!
I don’t hide my admiration from the readers of how inspiring it is to watch Adams’ games where he nurses a small advantage for the whole game and turns it into a full point! The game below is worth playing over several times, there is just so much to learn from it.POSITION AFTER 40 MOVES:
From this weekend’s 4NCL team championship. It has been a long manoeuvring game where Black has had absolutely no counterplay and must limit herself to passively defending against White’s build up on the Kingside.
It is impressive the congress of White’s pieces on the Kingside, especially tripling on the closed f-file! As well, White’s Knights are actively posted. All that rests is to find the way to break in, not such an easy task given the closed nature of the position.
Adams finds the way:
An awkward for Black to have to meet. If Black simply waits, then Adams will exchange pawns on h5 and then pick up the straggler with a timely Nf4-Nxh5, giving a decisive passed h-pawn.
40…PxP 41.Qxg4 Rh8 (what else?) 42.Nf4!
An ominous armada is about to strike on any of the Black pawns (e6,f7,g6)! Plus, don’t forget that White might also try advancing his h-pawn to make way for placing a Knight on h5! Black is helpless to do anything but wait for the axe to fall!
43…Nd7 (as good as any) 44.Nxf7!!
Precisely calculated and completely sound! Black gave up a few moves later, unable to avoid huge material losses.