Today's 5-second tactics
Today’s tactical training examples are all from the super-strong European Team Championship, taking place right now in Warsaw Poland as I write. Some are relatively easy, but the others can be quite difficult and challenging. Good luck!
The Bishop Pair does it again!
wgm Ptacnikova, Lenka
gm Cmilyte, Viktorija
Position after 19 moves of play. Black looks to have everything under control, but never under-estimate the power of the bishop pair, they have been known to perform miracles!
WHITE TO PLAY AND FORCE MATE!
gm Skoberne, Jure
gm Agdestein, Simen
Position after White’s 29th move (29.Rc5). Things have not gone very well for the Norwegian grandmaster , who has been struggling since the opening. The pressure on the d-file must be decisive. White’s last move , attacking the Queen, is a desperate gamble: Simen is hoping for 29…PxN (attacking the Queen) 30.RxQ PxQ? 31.Rxd8+! turning the tables completely!
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
The King walk.
This cute finish is worth close study! Enjoy!
wim Sahl, Sheila Barth
Apparently White has managed to catch Black in an opening that she was not familiar with, and now with some clever sacrificial play Olga is able to have yet one more worthy game for her ”Best 100 games” collection!
13. Bxc6+!! bxc6 14. Qxc6+If now 14… Nd7 then White will have no problems after 15. Nxd7 Qxd7 16. Qxa8+ Ke7 (16… Qd8 17. Qxd8+ Kxd8 18. Re4 wins easily: 18… Nf6 19. Ra4 Bc5 20. d3 Kc7 21. Be3 etc) 17. h3 with a completely winning game.
Now White can force mate in 3: 15. Nexf7! Bxf7 16. Rxe6+ Bxe6 17. Qxe6#
INSTEAD, WHITE CHOSE A DIFFERENT WAY:
If now 15… Bxg6 16. Rxe6+ is mate next move, so Black’s move is forced
15… Kf6 16. Rxe6+!
After 16… fxe6 17. Qxe6 it is mate: 17… Kxg5 18. d4 Ne3 19. Bxe3#
16… Kxg5 17. d4+!
It is my experience that delaying playing d4 (which is not such a bad move on move 1) can be advantageous! Here it is devastating!
17… Kf5 18. Qe4#
Those bishops again!
wim Jelica, Mara
gm Peng, Zhaoqin
Position after 17 moves of play. While White has an obvious positional plus (Bishop pair, very active pieces and control of all the major lines), Black’s position seems solid and resilient…but remember what I wrote about the Bishop pair being able to perform miracles!
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
A very surprising move!
wgm Corke, Anya S
Position after White’s 9th move (9.Bf4!?) An interesting position, arising from a misplayed (by Black) Scandanavian Opening. The most precise move for Black now is the cold blooded 9…Nc6! , with wild play after 10.Nxg6 Qb4!. Worse still, for White, would be 10.Nxf7? Qxf4 with a clear edge, the discovered check harmless. INSTEAD, Black played what looks like an even better move (but it isn’t!) :
Looks reasonable as 10.Nxg6 simply hangs a piece!
A very deep concept whose point will become clear on the next move! Black’s next move is more or less forced as 10… Qb4 11. Ne5+ e6 12. a3! Qe7 13. Be3 is simply an extra pawn for White.
The immediate discovered check is not only harmless but actually loses, as the reader can verify for himself. White can get a good game with 11.g3!?, but things are not entirely clear after 11…Bg4!. INSTEAD, White’s next move is a bombshell!
A beautiful move! And surprising, as it blocks the Bishop on c4. But the move achieves a great deal, not only threatening the Queen, but especially mate in one move (12.Ne7++) Worse still, Black has no good move!
Black found nothing better than 11… Qxf7 but after 12. Nxe7+ Kh8 13. Bxf7 Rxf7 14. Nxc8 Nd7 15. c3 Rxc8 16. Qb3! White has both a material and positional advantage. Black resigned on move 28.
wfm Savola, Laura
wgm Klinova, Masha
Position after 19 moves of play. Both sides have all their pieces in play, but the monster in the position is the pawn of f5.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
The uninvited guest!
wfm Exler, Veronika
wim Olsarova, Tereza
Position after 11 moves of play. White is behind in develpment. Correct for White is to quickly develop his pieces, for example: 12.Qd4 followed by Be3 and Nd2. INSTEAD, White got hypnotized by the pin on the e-file:
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
Cmilyte, Viktorija–Ptacnikova, Lenka: 20.Bh7+ Kh8 21.Qxf6!! 1-0 It is forced mate, regardless whether Black captures the Queen or not.
Agdestein, Simen–Skoberne, Jure: 29… Qxc5! 0-1 After 30.NxQ RxR+ 31.Kh2 Be5+! wins the house.
Peng, Zhaoqin–Jelica, Mara: 18.Nxf6+! Nxf6 ( No better is 18…Rxf6 19.Bxf6 Nxf6 20.Rxb7 Qc8 21.Rbxd7 Nxd7 22.Bxa8 etc ) 19.Rxb7 Qxb7 ( Giving up hope, but there is no way to avoid defeat: if 19…Qc8 20.Bxf6 or if 19…Qa5 20.Bxf6 ) 20.Bxb7 Rad8 21.Bxf6 1-0 There is no good defence to the c-pawn advancing.Klinova, Masha–Savola, Laura: 20.f6! Bh8 21.Bxh6! 1-0
Olsarova, Tereza–Exler, Veronika: 12…Nf2!! 13.Qd2 ( The point is that after 13.Kxf2 Qh4+ 14.g3 Qxh2# ) 13…Rxe1+14.Qxe1 Nd3! 15.Qe3 Qf8! 16.Bd2 Nxb2 ( More to the point is the immediate 16…Re8 17.Qd4 Re2 etc ) 17.Qd4 Nd3 18.Be3 f5! 19.Na3 f4 and Black won quickly