Today’s 5-second tactics
Solutions later today
Candidates Tournament, 1985. Position before Black’s 30th move. A terrible position for White who, despite having a piece more (for 3 pawns)–can hardly move! Not unsurprisingly, Black has a knock-out blow that forced Timman to resign on the spot!
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
Sigeman International just a few days ago. White has a dominating position , and with his last move (45.Kd5!) he intends to transfer his majesty to b6, making short work of the Black Queenside. Black, clearly in a desperate situation, tries his best practical chance:
Hoping to activate his Rook along the b-file.
WHITE TO PLAY AND WIN!
Today, May 22nd, marks the 100th anniversary of the closing ceremony of one of the most celebrated tournaments of all time: St.Petersburg 1914, with Emanuel Lasker narrowly edging out the young Capablanca by half a point. The tournament began on the 21st of April, and was played at the St.Petersburg Chess Club. The time control was relaxed and allowed for serious chess: 2 hours for the first thirty moves, followed by 1.5 hours for the next 22 moves, and then 1 hour for each of the following 15 move intervals. Even so, there were some remarkable blunders:
Position after White’s 24th move (24.Rb3??). Curiously, just a few moves before White had a simple way to win! Now he is going to get mated! As Marshall would later write in his memoirs, ”I broke down completely…”
BLACK TO PLAY AND MATE IN TWO!
However, there was also some very pretty chess!
Position before Black’s 34th move. Clearly Black has the game in the bag, but Tarrasch is resisting and his last move, (34.Qe3), hopes to delay the inevitable by getting into an endgame. Curiously, if Black exchanges Queens at this moment then he will unlikely be able to win the ending! But Capablanca was not going to have any of this nonsense…and finds a way to win in just two moves!
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
Position after White’s 22nd move (22.Kf1?). With the White Queen offside, munching a useless pawn on a7, Capablanca seizes the opportunity to begin a lethal attack on the Kingside. Do you see the idea?
WHAT IS BLACK’S BEST CONTINUATION?
One of the most famous combinations of the 20th-century! This example has found itself included in more chess anthologies than probably any other!
BLACK TO PLAY AND WIN!
Position after 30 moves. White is a pawn up but things are not so simple. Black has considerable counterplay on the Queenside, or should Capablanca try to rush things with 31.Rxf7? then 31…Bg6! wins! All the more remarkable, therefore, for the winning idea that Capablanca hatches!
WHAT IS WHITE’S WINNING IDEA?
Montpellier 1985. Candidates Tournament. Timman,J—Spraggett,K: 30…Rd2! 0-1 Wins the house.
22nd Sigeman 2014.5.17 Fressinet,Laurent–Grandelius,Nils: 45.b5!! axb5 (No better is 45…bxa5 46.Pxa6 when the pawn wins as in the game) 46.a6 Rd8+ 47.Kc6 b4 48.Kb7 b3 49.Rc3 1-0
St.Petersburg 1914 Marshall,F—Alekhine,A: 24…Rxg1+! 0-1 Mate next move on e1.
St.Petersburg 1914 Tarrasch,S—Capablanca,J: 34…Bd2! Crushing. White gets mated if he takes the Bishop: 35…Qe4+ 36.f3 Qxf3+ 37.Kg1 Nh3mate; and if he exchanges Queens he loses a piece: 35…NxQ 36.Rd1 NxB 37.RxB NxB etc. Rather than resign, Tarrasch tries a final trick: 35.Qa3 (attacking the Rook on f8) 35…Rb8! 0-1. Black’s threats have no answer.
St.Petersburg 1914 Alekhine,A—Capablanca,J: 22…Nf5! 23.Rd2 Now , as Tarrasch pointed out afterwards, the strongest way to win is 23…Qg5! 24.f3 (24.Qb7 d5!) 24…Qe6! 25.BxN There is nothing better. 25…RxR+ 26.Kf2 Rf1+! 27.Kg3 g5! Etc. IN THE GAME continuation, Capablanca won with the less strong , but more flashy 23…Nxg2!? 24.KxN Qg4+ 25.Kf1 Qh3+ 26.Ke2 RxB+! and eventually won.
St.Petersburg 1914 Nimzowitsch Aaron–Tarrasch Siegbert: 19…Bxh2+! 20.Kxh2 Qh4+ 21.Kg1 Bxg2!! 22.f3 ( no better is 22.Kxg2 Qg4+ 23.Kh2 Rd5 24.Qxc5 Rh5+ 25.Qxh5 Qxh5+ 26.Kg3 Qg5+ 27.Kf3 Qxd2 etc) 22…Rfe8 23.Ne4 Qh1+ 24.Kf2 Bxf1 25.d5 f5 26.Qc3 Qg2+ 27.Ke3 Rxe4+ 28.fxe4 f4+ 29.Kxf4 Rf8+ 30.Ke5 Qh2+ 31.Ke6 Re8+ 32.Kd7 Bb5 mate. 0-1
St.Petersburg 1914. Capablanca,J—Alekhine,A: 31.Ne6 Bb5 ( 31…fxe6 loses quickly to 32.Rf8 and mate follow and 31…Rxb2 32.Rxf7 gives a winning attack) 32.Qc8 Re7 33.Nf8+ Kg8 34.Nd7+ Kh7 AND NOW the simplest way to win is 35.Nf6+! gxf6 36.Qf8! Rd7 37.Rxf6 Qc1 38.Rf3! and the Rook can not be stopped to penetrate along the g-file ) Capablanca won anyway, but with the less precise 35.Qc5 Qe1 36.Qf5+ Kg8 37.Qxb5 Rxd7 38.Re2 Qd1 39.Re8+ Kh7 40.Qf5+ g6 41.Qe5 f6 42.Qxf6 Qd6+ 43.Qxd6 Rxd6 44.Re7+ Kg8 45.Rxa7 1-0