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Tactical Game Highlights: Episode 03

May 30, 2014
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In this episode of TGH, I am featuring tactical motifs that happened and those that were missed by players from the recently concluded 23rd Annual Chicago Open which fielded numerous GMs and master-level players.

To start off, here's a nice attacking game by one of Chessity's active members Mike Zaloznyy known here as Visa:

Zaloznyy, M. - Mattson, D.

23rd Chicago Open 2014.05.24

BD_10663_162_0.pngDiagram #1

White to play


White has a good IQP position as he has active pieces, good control of the center, and the enemy king position has already been slightly weakened with h7-h6. Therefore, the best way to increase pressure is to bring more pieces towards the enemy king starting with:

1.Qc2! c5 the most principled reaction: a flank attack must be countered with a strike in the center! Unfortunately, doing so is not enough in some positions...

(1... Nbd7 2.Bxh6! gxh6 3.Qg6+ Kh8 4.Qxh6+ Nh7 5.Bc2 Ndf6 6.Rfe1 with a winning attack as Black cannot stop menacing rook lift idea: Re1-e3-g3!)


BD_10663_162_1.pngDiagram #2


 2... Rxf7 3.dxc5 Bxc5 4.Qg6!

Great energetic and focused play by White, as as White now successfuly brought his queen close to the enemy king. Notice that White's queen and all of his minor pieces are useful in the attack. You may ask how is the knight on c3 helpful when it's a little distant from the enemy king? Let's check what happened:

4... Nd5 without the c3-knight, Black can easily block the pin along a2-g8 diagonal with a piece on d5! Because of White's sufficient central control the d5-blockade easily crumbles

5.Nxd5 Bxd5 6.Rd1!

BD_10663_162_2.pngDiagram #3


 6... Bxf2+ 7.Kh1 Rd7 8.Bxd5+ ( 8.Rxd5 Rxd5 9.Bxh6 Ra7 10.Bg5! 10... Qd7 11.Rd1 also wins)

8... Kh8 9.Bxh6 gxh6 10.Qxh6+ Rh7 11.Qxh7+! and Black resigned due to the inevitable material loss.

The next game features one of the GM upsets in the early rounds:

Jimenez, Fidel - Menon, Gopal

23rd Chicago Open 2014.05.22

BD_10663_162_3.pngDiagram #4

Black to play


After being under pressure in a complex middlegame early on, the dust has cleared and Black takes his chance to launch counterplay against White's castle:

1...b3! 2.cxb3 axb3 3.a3 O-O 4.h5 White plans to bust open Black's weak castle as well, and tells Black "It's on!"

4... Bxa3! the destruction motif again

BD_10663_162_4.pngDiagram #5

"Oh it's on alright!"

5.bxa3 Rxa3 now Black plans to double up on the a-file


BD_10663_162_5.pngDiagram #6

"What about now huh?"

White cleverly places his bishop where it both defends Black's entry point and plans to destruct Black's castle! 

6... b2!!

BD_10663_162_6.pngDiagram #7


"What are you gonna do about my attack now?" By giving up the b-pawn, Black continues to open lines of attack and even interferes with the f6-bishop's control of the important squares around the White king.

Not 6... gxf6?? due to 7.Rhg1+ Kh7 8.Qg2 Ra1+ desperation 9.Kxa1 Qa5+ 10.Kb1 +- with mate next move.

7.Bxb2!? should also lead to a winning attack, but the game move is more powerful as it limits the king's escape squares

7... Qb3! (7... Rfa8!? should also lead to a winning attack, but the game move is more powerful as it limits the king's escape squares)

8.Rh2 Rc8! with the threat of Qa2 mate!

9.Qc2 Rxc2 10.Rxc2 Ra1+ 11.Kxa1 Qxc2

Black's attack gained him a decisive material advantage which he duly converted to a full point later.

The next game highlight shows that a mating attack can launched even in the ending:

Harmon Vellotti, Luke - Erenburg, Sergey

23rd Chicago Open 2014.05.23

BD_10663_162_7.pngDiagram #8

White to play


 1.b4! an important move to create a mating net around the enemy king.

1... axb3 

If 1... h5 2.Re7 Rd8+ 3.Ke4 +- and Black cannot prevent Ra6 mate next move without losing decisive material.


BD_10663_162_8.pngDiagram #9

Mating net

Keeping the mating threats going, not giving Black time to play useful defensive moves, such driving the White king away. The main idea is to either divert or eliminate Black's important b5-pawn.

2... bxa4 (2... b2 (2... b4 with c4 available to the king, there must be a mating net! 3.Re7 Rd8+ 4.Kc4! 4... b2 5.Ra6#) 3.axb5+ Kxb5 4.Rdb7+ Kc6 5.Rb6# demonstrates White's main mate idea)


BD_10663_162_9.pngDiagram #10

Threatening the inevitable Rb7-b6 mate next move. If 3... Rd8+ White will hide his king with 4 Kc4 the point behind diverting the b5-pawn to a4, therefore Black resigned.

Stay tune for the next blog where I'll feature more tactical ideas from the games in Chicago Open!


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dhritisurana_play 08:53 - 31 May 2014
Thanks a lot...They are indeed good examples

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