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Tactical Game Highlights: Episode 02

Apr 28, 2014
IGM 2437
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Previously in Tactical Game Highlights (TGH), I showed my game against Premkumar in which I successfully utilized my development advantage by creating threats and preparing a tactical shot that entailed a pin and double attack. Then in the other game versus Sanchez, I effectively made the most of my better piece placement and control of the center by opening lines of attack with d4-d5!

In this episode, I'll show my other games from the same FIDE weekend event which feature positional factors of king safety, weak squares and weak pawns.

Toolin, C. - Sadorra, J.

FIDE DCC III 2014.04.13

BD_10663_123_0.pngDiagram #1

In this rich and comlplex middlegame, White had just played his bishop to f1, aiming to target my backward e6 pawn via h3. Therefore, I quickly created pressure on his weak pawn on h5 with:

1...Be8! 2.Bxh6! this is the accurate move-order.

Playing 2.Bh3 first gives me an interesting option 2... Bxh5 3.Bxe6+ Kh8 4.Bxh6

BD_10663_123_1.pngDiagram #2

In my calculations I spotted the counter-attacking capture 4... Nxd4!? (4... gxh6 transposes to the game) 5.g4 (if 5.Bxd5 gxh6 Black has a strong initiative and very well-placed pieces in an open game.) 5... Nxf3+ 6.Qxf3 gxh6 7.gxh5 Bd4 ~~ and although it wasn't entirely sure about the correct assessment of the arising situation, I felt that I wasn't risking anything and White has to be more careful due to his exposed king.

Back to the game:

2... gxh6 3.Bh3 Here, my opponent overestimated his position, and thought that he could safely take my pawn and play actively.

If he had sensed the impending danger around his kingside, he would've found the more prudent 3.Rxe6 Bxh5 4.Be2 Bg4 5.Re3 restraining Black's kingside pressure to a minimum with hopes of eventually neutralizing it.

3... Bxh5 4.Bxe6+ Kh8 5.g4 My opponent was counting on this defensive cover against the unpleasant pin along h5-d1 diagonal.

BD_10663_123_2.pngDiagram #3

Black to play



Unfortunately for him, my well placed pieces, open lines & his slightly unsafe king are factors that allow me to stage an ambush...

5... Bxg4! a tactical strike characterized by motifs of destruction and the pin

6.Bxg4 Rg8 7.Ne5 Bxe5 8.dxe5 Qh4 9.f3 Here, I felt like I was solving another training puzzle at Chessity :)

BD_10663_123_3.pngDiagram #4

Black to play



9... Raf8! The beginning of a nice tactical sequence. It always helps to bring more pieces to the attack which makes tactical exectutions more powerful and destructive. Like I've shared before from training here, "No mercy, only accuracy!"

10.Re2 If he played 10.Rf1 I prepared to then get rid of the g4-blockade10... h5 11.Qe1 Qh3! which should also lead to mate eventually.

10... Rxf3 11.Rg2 Rg3!

BD_10663_123_4.pngDiagram #5

The key move in the line which I had to foresee before playing the 24th move. By playing this I remove the most important defender of his king and also of his blockade on g4 (removing the defender).

12.Bf3 Nd4 

BD_10663_123_5.pngDiagram #6

Another important move, but one that is easier to find because it brings another piece to the attack with tempo, which also happens to be a centralizing move! This motif can classified as a zwischenzug because it is played before engaging in a forcing move on g2.

12...Nxe5? is inaccurate because it controls less squares in the enemy camp and allows White to resist 13.Bxd5 Rxg2+ 14.Bxg2 Qg3 15.Qe2.

13.Bxd5 Rxg2+ 14.Bxg2 Qg3 the last attacking move that uses the pin.

15.Qf1 Nf3+

BD_10663_123_6.pngDiagram #7

and White resigned.

The next game came from an imbalanced opening which led to a situation in which I have the bishop pair while he has a pawn but a king that's stuck in the middle.

Sadorra, J. - Pavlovic, Milos M

FIDE DCC III 2014.04.13

BD_10663_123_7.pngDiagram #8

Black had just developed his rook to d8 with the idea to put pressure on d4, or take advantage of the pin on my queen with e6-e5 break. Therefore, I came up with a counter-attacking idea that also helps improve the harmony of my whole army.

1.g4! bringing my other rook to play and create threat against his lonesome queen on the other side of the board

1... b6 2.Rh3

BD_10663_123_8.pngDiagram #9

2... Qc4 3.Rc1 Qb5 4.Bd6 

Continuing to harrass the queen with 4. Rb1 will not lead anywhere (also 4.Rb3?! only helps give Black counterplay becuase the rook on b3 becomes his target 4... Qa4 5.Ra1 Qc4! 6.Rc1 Qa4! ) 4... Qc4 5.Rc1 Qb5.

4... Na5 

During his thinking time, I was expecting and calculating the more stubborn 4... a5 which creates an outpost for his knight on b4 & blockade from b-file attacks. But before he improves his pieces I was already considering breaks like 5.d5!? ( 5.Re3!? was the other idea I considered which prepares the d5 break) 5... Nb4 (5... exd5 6.Bxd5; 5... Ne7 6.Rd3) 6.Qd4 Rg8 7.Rb3!

BD_10663_123_9.pngDiagram #10

And all of my pieces actively pressuring Black's position across the whole board!

Back to the game:

5.Rhc3 preventing the knight from going to c4 and his bishop to c6

5... h5?!

BD_10663_123_10.pngDiagram #11

Attempting to create counterplay on the kingside, but this only betrays him because it creates more weak squares around his king.

5... Qa4 6.Qd2! is the also the best response ( White cannot achieve much by playing passively 6.Qd3 Bb5! 7.Qg3 Qxd4 and Black succeeds in creating confusion. White may still be better but Black gained some fighting chances.) 6... Nb3?? 7.Qg5 f6 8.Qxg7 with mate next move.


BD_10663_123_11.pngDiagram #12

In order to develop an initiative one must create threats. Here, my idea is attack his weak dark squares on the kingside and mate his king on e7! My threat is to interfere his queen with either Rc3-c5 or d4-d5 to allow my queen to land on g5 (interference).

6... f6

If 6...Nb3? 7. Rxb3! (diversion) Qxb3 8. Qg5 and the queen successfully gets to g5 to deliver mate next move; 6.hxg4? 7. Rc5! (interference) bxc5 8. Qg5. 

6.Qc2 simply eyeing the weak g6 square, which is similar to a puzzle I solved here during my training a few weeks before the tournament.

6... Kf7 7.d5!

BD_10663_123_12.pngDiagram #13

Weakening more squares around his king, and splitting the Black army into two.

7... e5 8.Be4 hxg4 

If 8...Rh6

BD_10663_123_13.pngDiagram #14

White to play


When I first saw this line in my calculations I was worried because after 26. g5 fxg5 my bishop will hang on d6. But when I checked the line again in my analysis, I saw that I can use a zwischenzug that makes the line work! 9.g5 ( or 9.Bc7 first9... Rc8 10.g5 +- ) 9... fxg5 10.Bc7! 10... Rc8 11.hxg5 Rhh8 12.Bh7 +- and Black can't do anything to stop the kingside invasion.

Back to the game: 

9.Bg6+ Kg8 10.Rc8!

BD_10663_123_14.pngDiagram #15

Exploiting the weak back rank similar to puzzle# 24842! After realizing that there's no preventing mate, Black resigned.

Here's some sample lines: 10... Bxc8 11.Qxc8 Qd7 (Rxc8 12.Rxc8+ Qe8 13.Rxe8#) 12.Qxd7 Rxd7 13.Rc8+ Rd8 14.Rxd8#; 10... Nb7 11.Rxd8+ Nxd8 12.Qc7 and White will invade the back rank and deliver mate soon.

Hope you enjoyed seeing more connections between the positional factors and tactical motifs! Stay tune for the next episode!

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