Saturday, April 5, 2008

Simple Tactics

If I were to study as hard on chess as I do for my night studies, I think my chess knowledge will definitely improve. So the next few days, I will continue to study tactics and more tactics and a bit of revision for endgames on the side. This will continue on for the remainder of my tournament at Ryde Eastwood.

In the meantime, I took some time out to play some blitz chess on the internet. And I arrived at the following position with Black to play.

This tactic if you had a look is pretty simple. Black to play and the immediate move 18... e5 suggests itself. There's a discovered attack on the White Queen and this move suggests that it wins the Knight. The question is this. What are the possible ways that White can save itself when e5 is played and what is the most likely continuation for White? Can White prevent the loss of the Knight? And now consider all of White's other responses. If e5 is played, has Black developed any weaknesses and can they be taken advantage of?

Take a pause here now if you do not want to see the answers below:


Yes, White does lose the Knight.

18... e5

Firstly, 19 Nc6 does not work because Black simply goes for the straightforward exchange by trading a Queen+Knight for Queen.

So that just leaves:

19. Nf5 and now the killing move, 19... Qf6! winning the Knight immediately.

A couple of things:

Now did you notice that because of this e-pawn move, the Black d5 pawn now hangs and White cannot counteract the play with 20. Nxd5? That's because of 20... Qxf5 (winning the Knight) ?

Did you also found out if 19... Qf6 is not played that White can also follow up with 20. Nxh6+ and perhaps 21. Nxf7+ and 23. Nxd5 (after the White Queen has moved) as a followup if something is not done about it? In this way White can trade the Knight for 3 pawns after which Black's pawn structure is in ruins and the Black king is feeling a bit airy.

If you have spotted all of this, well done!

It's always good to take your time to calculate when you are using a tactical trick, that you do not fall into a counter-tactic because of miscalculation.

So be careful when you're going in for the kill, that is usually the time when calculation mistakes are likely to occur. The last thing you want is to be on the wrong end of a tactical trick.

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