Category Archives: tactics

Active Defense

The other day I was analyzing the recently game played in the Russian Team Championship between Grandmasters Nepomniachtchi and Sjugirov and one variation caught my eye, so I decided to share it with you. The game was a Najdorf Sicilian, namely the Adams Attack, where both sides have been fighting to mate each other’s king. After 27 moves, the game reached the following position:

NepoSjugirov1

GM Nepomniachtchi, I (2714) – GM Sjugirov, S (2669), TCh-RUS Men, Sochi, 2015

In this position, black played 27…Be8, allowing white to play 28. h5, followed by g6. The game ended with a beautiful queen sacrifice by Nepomniachtchi. If you haven’t already seen the game, I recommend you replay it and try to find the final blow.

Having seen what happened in the game, I wondered if black could have played 27… g6 instead of 27…Be8 in this position. The variation I looked into looks like this: 27… g6 28.Read more

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Rocket Rooks

ivory-tower

Rooks are strong pieces. That’s no secret, but do you really know how to use them and get the maximun of their potential? In the next examples we’re going to see some fantastic rook lifts that will change the way you look at this piece.

Our first example is the game Zhigalko,S -Antipov,M Yerevan, 2014 in which, after 12 moves of an English opening, the players reached a typical Isolated Queen’s Pawn position:

Zhigalko-Antipov1Zhigalko,S -Antipov,M Yerevan, 2014
White to Play

We can see that black has firmly blocked the pawn on d4. However, he still has some problems to solve – it is not easy to develop the Knight on b8, as Nd7 would allow white to trade on d5, forcing black to take with the e6 pawn and losing the blockade. In that case of symetrical pawn structure white would have some advantage due to the more active pieces. Capturing on c3 is also a dubious option for black since the white pawns would gain considerable space after white plays c3-c4.… Read more

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Chess tactics from Qatar Masters

For the last few days we have all been enjoying the Qatar Masters Open which is probably the strongest open that I can remember, with players like Kramnik, Giri, Mamedyarov, Akopian and a huge list of many other GMs rated above 2600. This event, which comes to an end today, has been a pleasure to watch.

Here are a few positions from the tournament, find the best move:

Fedorchuk,S – Chandra,A (White to move)

Jobava

Jobava,B – Hovhannisyan,R (White to move)

Naroditsky

Naroditsky,D – Donchenko, A (White to move)

Salem

Movsesian,S – Salem,A (Black to move)

Efimenko

Indjic,A – Efimenko,Z (Black to move)

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Puzzle solution

puzzle1

FEN: 1r5r/1p1q4/2p2Qp1/1PkBpp1p/2Pp2bP/3P1PP1/4P3/1R2K2R w K – 0 1

White has an obvious advantage because of the unfortunate position of the black king. However, finding a straight win with little time on the clock isn’t always easy and regular, mediocre moves get in the way – we’ve all been there. White has two ways to end this game shortly:

A-) 1.Bxc6 (perhaps the most natural and easier to see move , it’s clean and simple enough) 1…Qd6 (1…bxc6 2.Qxe5+ Kb6 3.bxc6+ +-) 2.Qxd6+ Kxd6 3.Bd5 +- White’s next move is fxg4.

B-) 1.Bg8!! such a beautiful move, white is simply threatening to take the rook on h8 and now: 1…Rhxg8 2.Qxe5+ Kb6 3.c5+ Ka5 4.Qf4! with mate in 4. If instead of 1…Rhxg8 black plays 1…Rbxg8 then 2.bxc6 and white wins

The actual game continued : 26.Qxe5 (this move is also good) cxd5 27.fxg4? (”habitual play” just to restore the material balance, after 27.cxd5 white is winning) 27…Rhe8 28.Qf4 hxg4.… Read more

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