Tag Archives: chess 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:


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


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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Solutions to Wednesday exercises

In all the three positions from yesterday we can recognize one element in common: the presence of the Isolated Queen’s Pawn. It is well known that the side with the IQP should strive for pushing the rupture d4-d5 in this case. After this move is played, the pawns in the center (d4 / e6) dissapear from the board and the activity of the pieces becomes the primary element. Knowing the concept, it’s time to have a look at the moves, it takes precise calculation:

DelaVilla-SionDe la Villa – Sion, Leon 1995

Solution: 17.d5! exd5 18.Nxd5 Nxd5 19.Bxd5 Qb8 20.Bh6 +- With a decisive advantage. 20.Bxf7+! was even stronger, you can see for yourself.

Kamsky-KarpovKasmky – Karpov, Elista 1996

Solution: 18.d5! exd5 19.Bxf6! (key move) Bxf6 20.Bxh7! (20.Nxd5 Bd8 21.b4 Qxa3 22.Ra1 Qb3 23.Bc4 traps the queen) Kxh7 21.Rxd5 White is clearly better, Karpov continued with 21…Bxc3 sacrificing his queen and but it wasn’t enough to save the game.… Read more

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Isolated Wednesday


Find the right sequence of moves for white in the next three diagrams:

DelaVilla-SionWhite to play

Kamsky-KarpovWhite to play

Topalov-GauselWhite to play

Good luck!… Read more

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