Chess Tactics: Well thought-out combinations

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In several earlier articles, we have discussed about the need for deep calculation for complex combinations and also examined how deep a calculation is possible by a chess master. In “how far deep can you analyze”, we presumed that Fischer in his game with Byrne must have visualized his 24th move to justify his 17th move i.e., a calculation 7 moves deep!

In the diagram below, we see an even deeper calculation for the brilliant tactical play by White. Normally, in tactical play, we keep our admiration reserved for those unexpected piece sacrifices demolishing opponent’s position. An apparently innocuous move by the King to the next square does not even draw our attention! But the experts hold White’s 14th move as one of the most brilliant plays in chess records and the reason for this will be clear after some time!

Position after Black’s 13th move.

a brilliant move

14. Kf1!!! Nxc3

White’s 14th move is considered as one of the deepest moves ever seen in actual play. The reason will be clear when you come to White’s 23rd move!

15. bxc3 Bb7
16. Qg4 Kg7
17. Rh7+ Kxh7
18. Qh5+ Kg7
19. Qh6+ Kg8
20. Bxg6 fxg6
21. Qxg6+ Kh8
22. Qh6+ Kg8
23. g6! Rf7

White is full two pieces down and once Black could ride the attack, White’s position would be untenable. So now the purpose of White’s 14th move becomes clear. Had he not moved his King from e1 to f1, Black on his 23rd move would be able to escape by playing Bh4+ and then Qe7! White must have seen nine moves deep!

24. gxf7+ Kxf7
25. Qh5+ Kg7
26. f5 exf5
27. Bh6+ Resigns

The likely continuation could be:

27. Kh7
28. Bf4+ Kg7
29. Qh6+ Kg8
30. Qg6+ Kh8
31. Ke2 Bh4
32. Rh1 Nd7
33. Bg5 Qxg5
34. Qxg5 with mate to follow soon