In part 2 of Chess strategy and chess tactics in a nutshell, among the tactics and combinations that can be used against the opponent during the middle game, we suggested identifying the weaknesses in the opponent’s position to selectively target them. Amongst the possible targets, the most important defensive piece was named as one such target. In Chess sacrifices as Chess Tactics, we took up this point and indicated that a chess sacrifice to remove an important defensive piece or to draw it away to open lines of attack is an established chess tactics. We will examine an example from master games to see the application of such attacking chess tactics.
Here, we will look at the game between Salo Landau (1903-1943) and Salomon Flohr (1908-1983), played at Bournemouth in 1939.
Salo Landau was born in Poland but was sent to Netherlands when the Landau family fled the Russians in 1914. Among the chess players in Netherlands, he was ranked no.2 after Max Euwe and became the Dutch champion in 1936 in absence of Euwe who had become the World Champion by that time. Landau was capable of beautiful combinations and won the First Brilliancy Prize for his game against Eero Book (1910-1990), the Finnish champion, in the tournament at Kemeri in 1937. Tragically, like Treybal whose game you have seen in Chess Sacrifice as a Chess Tactics: forcing the King to a path of doom, Landau and his wife and daughter became victims of Nazi atrocities, losing their lives in concentration camps.
In the early 1930s, Salomon Flohr was one of the strongest players in the world and as the Czech champion had a celebrity status in his country. During Second World War, he fled to USSR to escape the Germans and became a Russian citizen. He was awarded International Grandmaster title in 1950. He made important contributions to the theory of many chess openings.
The position in the following diagram has been taken from the referred game after completion of 28 moves.
You can see that the position is open for both the players. Black has just moved his Q to d6 to take control of d-file with his Q and R lined up on the White KB and the Queen also provides support to his important defensive piece viz. the Knight on f6.
But White Q and KB have got the open b1-h2 diagonal to the Black King’s castle and his doubled rooks on the g-file are very menacing for the Black King’s position. In fact, to face this threat, Black brought his Rook to g8 in his previous move. White’s QB is also lined up on the long semi-open a1-h8 diagonal with Black’s Knight in its firing line.
This is how the game developed from this position.
|29.||Bh7||Nb4||White was trying to draw the Knight away with the offer of a piece sacrifice to open the a1-h8 diagonal for his QB.
29. … Nxh7 30. Rxh7 (threatening Qxh7# on next move)
30. … Nf6 31. Rh7#
30. … Rxg7 31. Bxg7+ Kg8 32. Be5+ loses the Queen
|31.||Bxg8||gxf5||Other possibilities were:
31. Bxg6 Rxg6 32. Rxg6 fxg6 33. Bxf6+ Kg8 34. Qxg6+ Kf8 35. Qg8#
31. Bxg6 fxg6 32. Rxg6 Rxg6 33. Qxg6 Qf8 34. Bxf6+ Qxf6 35. Qxf6+ Kh7 36. Qg7#
|32.||Rg7||Ng4||With the Knight pinned, White was threatening 33. Rh7#
|33.||R7xg4+||f6||A quicker end was 33. Rh7+ Kxg8 34. Rh8#|
|35.||Rxd7||Resigns||White threatened 36. Rh7#
If 36. … Qxd7 then 37. Bxf6+ Qg7 38. Rxg7 followed by 39. Rh7#
In keeping with the theme of present article, White first tried to use the chess tactics of offering a piece sacrifice to draw the defending Knight away. But when Black refused to tread that way, White used the Queen to force the g-pawn to move as Black had to cut the communication between Q and KB. In the process, Black’s defending Knight got pinned and could not play any effective role in guarding the castle. White did not hesitate to sacrifice his Queen for reopening the g-file for his Rook pair, as these together with the Bishop pair had enough play to corner the opponent’s King. White Knight made a futile move to block the Rooks but by that time Black had practically no defense left!
What a smooth-flowing attack by Landau!