Today’s 5-second tactics
Andorra Open, 1991. Position before Black’s 24th move. A sharp Leningrad Dutch has given way to White being near winning on the Queenside but having his King wide open on the other side. At first I thought of playing 24…Ng4!?, but did not see a clear line after 25.Qf3!, though Black maintains a strong and dangerous initiative. Then a clever idea came to my mind…do you see it also?
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
Canadian Zonal , Vancouver, 2002 Position before Black’s 29th move. Black had previously sacrificed a pawn to open the game and try to catch the White pieces offside. It worked! The White position is riddled with pawn weaknesses, while the Bishop on b4 and Knight on e2 are causes for concern.
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN MATERIAL!
Candidates Tournament, Montpellier 1985. Position after 31 moves. White has a clear advantage but the former world champion is defending very resourcefully. White was intending to play 32.Rf7 followed by Qh6 with a mating setup, but at the last moment he realized that Spassky has 32…Rxb2+ with a perpetual check! I could have defended against this with 32.Qf3!?, but after 32…Rxb2+ anyway. 33.KxR QxN+ and 34…Qe4+ Black could force an ending where White’s win is not so guaranteed. I felt that White deserved better!
I used up 10 minutes of my remaining 15 minutes and finally found the solution…one that I am very proud of!
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
Andorra Open 1991 Monnard Laurent –Spraggett,K 24…Rb4!! Driving away the White Queen from the Kingside 25.Qxb4 Qg4+ 26.Kh2 ( 26.Kf1 Qh3+ 27.Ke1 Qh1+ 28.Kd2 Rd8+ ) Qh4+ 27.Kg2 Ng4 28.Be3 Qh2+ 29.Kf3 Ne5+ (29…Nf6! Is even faster) 30.Ke4 Rxf4+ 31.Bxf4 Qxf4+ 32.Kd5 Qxb4 33.Nxa6 Qc4# 0-1
Canadian Zonal Vancouver 2002 Hebert Jean–Spraggett Kevin: 29…Nd3!! 30.Rxd3 Qc2! The point. Even though White is a piece and a pawn up, he must lose material and remain with a position filled with pawn weaknesses. 31.Rd2 Qxb1 32.Qxb6 Bxd5 33.Nf4 Ba8! 34.Nh5 Ba1! 35.Ba5 Rb8 36.Qxa6 Qxb3 37.Bc7 Rbc8 38.Bf4 Bxf3! 39.Rd3 Rc2! 40.Bd2 Rxd2 0-1
Candidates Tournament Montpellier 1985 Spraggett K–Spassky Boris: 32.Ka1!! Rxb2!? (Otherwise White will proceed Rf7 and Qh6.) 33.Qg3+!! Kh8 34.Rf7! Rg2!? 35.Rxh7+! With a forced mate 1-0