Chess Combinations: beauties from lesser known masters – 4

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Before starting on this fourth article in this series on chess combinations, please read the boxed note at the start of Chess Combinations: beauties from lesser known masters – 3 to make the best use of the moves and comments in the chess game covered here.

The game was played in the tournament at Bad Woerishofen in 1989. The game employs Ruy Lopez opening about which you have read in Chess Opening basics: Ruy Lopez (or the Spanish opening) and saw another example in Chess Combinations: beauties from lesser known masters – 3.

However, the present game follows the line of Marshall Gambit (ECO code: C89) where Black offers his KP in return for opening of diagonals b7-h1, d8-h4 and the e-file, hoping to use those at opportune time, and removal of White’s KN which normally acts as a defensive piece. The first diagram shows the position after 17 moves which were all played in line with the theories. In fact, you will find identical position in Euwe-Donner game played at Amsterdam in 1950 where the line changed track from move 18 and White won after 42 moves.

Let us see how it goes in the present game.

Position after 17. … Kh8: 

 

18.
Qf1
Qh5
 
Black had to avoid Queen exchange as it did not leave him with any compensation for his sacrificed pawn 

19.
Nd2
g5
 

20.
Bxd5
cxd5
 
White removed the Knight to reduce pressure on f4 pawn to avoid the need to break up his castle. 20. fxg5 f4 21. gxf4 Nxf4 (threatening 22. … Nh3+) 22. Bxf4 Bxf4 with all kinds of threats. 

Position after 20. … cxd5: 

 

21.
a4
bxa4
 
White is desperate to open some lines for movement of his pieces. 

22.
Rxa4
Rae8
 
White’s pawn structure totally immobilized his QB which also had to support the f4 pawn. Black exploited this to place his Rook on the open e-file […] Continue Reading…

Chess Combinations: beauties from lesser known masters – 3

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Please note:

The best way for beginners to get better at chess and learn these ideas is to setup the position on a chessboard and go through the moves instead of trying to picture it. At this stage, understanding the ideas is more important than taking the burden of memorizing the positions.

As you keep gaining in experience, you do need to develop your power of visualization as without that, you won’t be able to work out deep combinations in your actual play.

In fact, in these articles on chess combinations, that is the purpose behind showing the positions after every few moves as the game progresses. Starting from one diagram and noting the moves till you reach the next one, check if your mental picture of the board tallies with that next diagram.

Continuing our theme on creating chess combinations, played out at a tournament at Bad Pistyan in 1922. Black chose the Neo-Steinitz defense which enhances Black’s chances in the Ruy Lopez opening that normally tends to be more in favor of White. But Black went one step further to take up initiative for a King side action based on his center control of e5 and d4 squares. White’s last move 12. Qd2 indicated his intention to bring a Rook to d1 for increasing control on d4. Black intended to undermine it by attacking the White Knight at f3 with 12. … Bg4. The Bishop would also pin the Knight against the Rook when it came to d1. Because if Black’s initial center control and King side pawn actions, White pieces have been somewhat restricted in their movement.

You should examine how Black continues his campaign from this point onwards.

Position after 12. … Bg4: 

 

13.
Rfd1
Nd4
 
The threat is 14 … Bxf3 15. gxf3 Nxf3+ attacking the Queen also. 

14.
Bxd4
exd4
 
[…] Continue Reading…

Chess Combinations: beauties from lesser known masters – 2

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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 […] Continue Reading…

Chess Combinations: beauties from lesser known masters – 1

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In Chess Combinations: the eternal beauties of chess, we tried to examine our fascination for beautiful combinations. We also made the point that you do not always have to look at the games by the likes of Morphy, Marshall, Capablanca, Alekhine, Tal, Kasparov and others of their ilk for unearthing such beauties. Even amateurs at local clubs or tournaments are known to have produced brilliancies. In fact, in this series of articles we only want to look at such combinations from games of players whose names may not be universally familiar.

Besides the enjoyment you may derive from such combinations, these may also help you to understand the tactical ideas that gave rise to those surprising moves. Once you get to analyze the situations that produced it, you may be able to create some beauties of your own, who knows?

In the position shown below, you do not see any immediate danger for Black King even though White Queen is in readiness to pounce on h7 pawn if his Knight could come to g5. Most of White’s attacking pieces are on the Kingside, and either of White Rooks could come to g-file or h-file via third rank when the opportunity arises. Against this offensive battery, Black’s close defensive pieces are the Knight at e7 and Rook at f8, other pieces being mostly on the Queenside. If Black had a knight on f6 square, it would greatly help the defenses but his Knight at d4 cannot go there now as an exchange attack by White Knight at e4 will break up the castle. Let us see what transpires now.
 

Position after 18. Qh3: 

 

18.

Nf4
 
An attempt to drive the Queen away and to reposition Knights. 

19.
Qg4
Ned5
 
White threatened the Knight while shifting focus on g7 pawn and creating a pin on that pawn. Black brings […] Continue Reading…

Chess Combinations: the eternal beauties of chess

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Ask any chess player which aspect of chess he/she finds most interesting and it is most likely that chess combinations will have this pride of place! Of course, combinations are nothing but chess tactics of one or more kinds strung together by a series of moves. Why this fascination with chess tactics?

We tried to explore the roles of chess strategy and chess tactics by raising questions on What is chess strategy? Isn’t a chess game all chess tactics?. Here we are trying to examine what lies behind our preoccupation with chess tactics.

Good strategy adds fillip to chess combinations, giving it a direction leading to the ultimate win which is the prime goal of any chess player. But all strategies become meaningful only with the support of appropriate chess tactics. On the other hand, you may be able to produce brilliant combinations without being much aware of the presence or absence of underlying chess strategies.

Also, chess tactics is much more visible than chess strategies. That is why tactical players get much more adulation from the spectators or those who study their games when compared to the positional players. Even the best players fall prey to this temptation and can be seen to go for sacrifices and other tactics to get the win when some prosaic moves could fetch the same result!

All the above may be correct observations but they still do not answer the question on our fascination with combinations. Appreciation of chess-playing public may be an incentive, but not the complete answer. When you are playing with your friend with no one looking, don’t you still look for creating something in the lines of Morphy or Tal? And when you do create one, you will surely like the rest of your world to know about it! Read some other […] Continue Reading…