Even if you are a very good short distance runner, you probably never dream of running a hundred meter race in less than ten seconds unless you are a Usain Bolt in the making. But in a game of chess, you can always look forward to an opportunity to use various chess tactics for creating a combination which would make Alekhine proud. From a tyro to a virtuoso, the field of memorable chess combinations is open to all.
We harped on this theme in Chess Combinations: beauties from lesser known masters – 1 to encourage you to see how a mundane position transformed into something sublime. In similar vein, we show you another chess game which, without being spectacular, still earned the First Brilliancy Prize in the tournament at Kemeri in 1937. What will probably strike you is that the attack looks like an improvisation rather than the outcome of deep calculations involving complex chess tactics.
The position, after 13 moves have been played, shows that White has gathered most of his pieces in positions from where a concerted attack can be launched. Both Bishops are lined up towards enemy castle, Knight is ready to jump to the g5 square and the Rook on h-file can do its part in targeting the KRP. Once the Knight moves, White Queen can join the force by moving to g4 or h5 square. As against that, only Black Queen and KB has an attacking line to h2 but need much more than that because of White Rook on h-file. Black’s Knight on f8 is the only defensive force but has reduced the freedom of movement of the Black King.
The game continued as follows.
|Position after 13. … Nf8:|
|14.||Ng5||h6||The Knight foray was only to provoke the advance of h7 pawn to create a weakness in enemy castle, but Black had to play g6 or h6 because of pressure on h7 pawn.|
|15.||Qh5||e5||White made his expected Queen move and to counter White’s flank action, Black is planning an action in the center – all standard chess strategy.
The Knight at g5 of course could not be taken because of Qh8#, so White could go ahead with his other preparations.
|16.||Bd2||exd4||The Bishop move was to bring out the Rook to play its role against Black’s center action. In such preparatory stages for attack and counterattack, timing is most important lest the opponent seizes the initiative.|
|17.||Rc1||Qe7||The Rook movement gained a tempo for White in his plans to position the Rook on the 7th rank.|
|18.||Ne4||Ng6||The Knight still had no compulsion to move as explained at move 15, but White was getting ready to spring his surprise! Black’s Knight move was to attack the Rook that was behind all White’s threats and the Rook had nowhere to go without falling victim to Black’s Knight or Bishops.|
|Position after 18. … Ng6|
|19.||Bg5!||The surprise! The Bishop attacked the Queen with impunity, forcing it to move away from the 7th rank as other alternatives were not feasible.
19. … hxg5 20. Qh7+ Kf8 21. Qh8+ Nxh8 22. Rxh8#
|20.||f4||Qd5||White was not giving any respite to the harassed Queen|
|22.||Bxg6!||22. … fxg6 23. Qxg6+ Kf8 24. Rxh6 wins
22. … fxg5 23. Qxh6! gxh4 24. Bh7+ Kh8 25. Be4+ wins the Queen
|Position after 23. … Be6|
|24.||Bxf6||The threat is: 25. Bxf7+ Bxf7 26. Rg4+ with a hopeless position for Black|
|25.||Bxh5||Rec8||25. … Bg7 26. Bxf7+ Bxf7 27. Rg4 loses for Black|
|26.||Bxf7+||Kh7||The Bishop cannot be taken for reason already explained|
|29.||Rh5||Resigns||With three connected pawns against one on the King side, the win for White is a matter of routine.|
|The position after 29. Rh5|
You must also appreciate that brilliant attacks and combinations do not always create a threatened or actual checkmate but leave only a winning advantage. Steady play with standard endgame tactics should be enough to convert these advantages into a win which is the ultimate objective.