Fundamental Chess Tactics
 1911465171, 9781911465171

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Fundamental Chess Tactics

Antonio Gude Translated by Phil Adams

A comprehensive guide to tactical ideas – learn how to win material and storm the enemy position!

Contents Symbols Preface Introduction

5: Drawing Combinations 5.1: Perpetual Check 5.2: Repetition of Position 5.3: Stalemate 5.4: Fortress and Blockade

1: Glossary of Attacking and Strategic Terms

5.5: Positional Draws

2: Double Attack


2.1: Double Attacks with Queens and Rooks 2.2: Bishop Forks 2.3: Knight Forks 2.4: The B+N Connection 2.5: Pawn Forks 2.6: The Discovered Double Attack 2.7: Another Type of Double Attack Exercises Solutions

3: The Role of the Pawns 3.1: Pawn Promotion 3.2: The Far-Advanced Passed Pawn 3.3: Connected Passed Pawns 3.4: The Pawn-Wedge 3.5: Passive Sacrifices 3.6: The Kamikaze Pawn Exercises Solutions

4: Attacking the Castled Position 4.1: Weakness in the Castled Position 4.2: Rooks and Files 4.3: The Greek Gift


6: Combined Tactical Themes 6.1: Material, Endings, Zugzwang 6.2: One Sacrifice after Another 6.3: Extraordinary Combinations 6.4: A Diabolical Position Exercises Solutions

7: Opening Disasters 7.1: Open Games 7.2: Semi-Open Games 7.3: Closed Games

8: Tactical Examination Test 1 Test 2 Test 3 Test 4 Test 5 Test 6 Hints Solutions

Index of Names

4.4: Other Bishop Sacrifices

Index of Openings

4.5: Panic on the Long Diagonal

Copyright Information

4.6: The Knight Sacrifice

About the Author

4.7: The Exchange Sacrifice

About Gambit Publications

4.8: The Queen Sacrifice

About Gambit Chess Studio


Other Gambit Titles on Chess Studio and Kindle


Symbols x + ++ # 0-0 0-0-0 !! ! !? ?! ? ?? Ch 1-0 ½-½ 0-1 (n) (D)

capture check double check checkmate castles kingside castles queenside brilliant move good move interesting/probably good dubious bad move blunder Championship the game ends in a win for White the game ends in a draw the game ends in a win for Black nth match game see next diagram

Below diagrams: + = ☆

Show how to win/gain an advantage Show how to draw Easy



☆☆☆ Hard

Preface What others call life is, for chess-players, nothing more than a mere pause between one game and the next. VIKTOR VARAKIAN (character in a story) As has been said so often, strategy dictates what to do and tactics takes charge of doing it, in other words, how to do it. ‘Tactics’ refers to a wide range of actions and manoeuvres that are used to put into effect our plans and counter the opponent’s ideas. In other words: concrete moves and sequences of play. The struggle on the chessboard is governed by strategy, which is the H.Q., the great brain in the background, which inspires and directs the action. In this book we shall be talking about calculation, threats, counter-threats, attack, defence and counterattack. Even though tactics are involved in all aspects of chess, when players refer to tactical play, they have in mind a sharp style, especially the kind of struggle that involves sacrifices and combinations. Following the same tendency, the term strategic or positional play is given to the kind of game in which almost no complications exist and more static considerations are predominant: the occupation of open files, pressure on weak points, prophylaxis, positional attacks, the accumulation of small advantages, etc. We shall follow this general trend, and talk about tactics in the sense of sharp, dynamic play, with an undoubted emphasis on combinative play. Starting from three main themes (the double attack, the role of pawns and the attacking the castled king), I have sought to develop a theory regarding decisive attacking (or drawing) combinations – a theory which is intended to bring classical ideas up to date and which is based on the dynamic use of active pieces (and their contact with the opposing pieces), open lines and spatial and positional superiority. Is this a new discovery? No. It is nothing more or less than the approach and tone of modern competitive chess. In this work we study the factors that favour combinative possibilities, the techniques involved in attacking the castled king and also thematic combinations. Allow me to expand on a point from the previous paragraph. The double attack underlies the vast majority of combinations, and the role of the pawns, about which one could never say enough. Both these important matters are discussed extensively in these pages. Pawns are essential in the game of chess, not because Philidor said so, or because numerous theoreticians have repeated it ever since, but because everyday chess demonstrates

it to us with tangible signs and proofs. Thus all contacts between pawns, structural characteristics, aspects of pawn promotion, etc., are covered here. Let us not forget two things: 1) all weaknesses in chess have something to do with pawns; 2) the only possible way to inject new life into the game is for a pawn to reach the final square of his file. The great chess-players play an ever more intense, ultra-dynamic form of chess, and the struggle to gain the initiative has reached unimaginable heights. Never in the history of chess have there been such rich struggles as in the last few decades. All of this cannot help but be favourable to chess and enrich the quality and complexity of the struggle over the chessboard, but there is also a counterweight to this. Now that we are so accustomed to opening systems that appear to violate traditional chess principles, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that those principles still have a good deal of validity. The opening of the following game gives us an idea of some of the excesses in theoretical experimentation: 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 e5 Bf5 4 h4 Na6 5 g4 Bd7 6 h5 f6 7 f4 Nh6 8 Bh3 c5 9 f5 e6 (D).

White to play

Hypermodernism is a thing of the past. Even futurism, if such a thing exists, is anachronistic. This is hyperfuturism! This game, contrary to what might be thought, was not played by two amateurs but by two respected GMs: John van der Wiel and Stuart Conquest, in the European Team Championship (Batumi, 1999). Let us pause in our humble reflections to consider the process by which the players managed to reach this interesting position. Out of a total of 18 moves, 13 were made by pawns! White has only developed one piece, moving his king’s bishop to the edge, where it protects his pawns on g4 and f5 and, as is to be expected, it is restricted by them. Black has an appreciable advantage as regards piece development, because he has already mobilized three pieces, in

spite of having allowed himself the luxury of moving one of them twice (3...Bf5 and 5...Bd7, a not uncommon manoeuvre in the Advance Variation of the Caro-Kann Defence), while both knights, in flagrant revolt against classical principles, have been developed on the edge of the board. A masterly avant-garde strategy? Perhaps, though in this game, White ended up winning in 49 moves after a complicated struggle. Let us now talk about the question of competition. “The greatness of a man lies in firing the arrow, not hitting the target”, wrote the Cuban poet Lezama Lima. Many years earlier, World Champion Emanuel Lasker had expressed a similar idea, although more prosaically: “Man is responsible for his work, but not for its results.” The times in which we live, however, do not confirm such fine declarations of principle. What is the use, nowadays, of playing a magnificent game, if in the end we lose? The young chess-player who has just entered the arena must harden himself against all kinds of adversaries and circumstances. In order to play chess well, there is nothing which can take the place of practice. Dozens of manuals and monographs do not suffice to teach a player many of the qualities which are required for success in competitive chess, qualities which can only be acquired in the day-today struggle over the chessboard: fighting spirit, concentration, tenacity, the ability to adapt to new situations, persistence in defence, control of the attack, handling material advantage, struggling against disadvantages of whatever kind they may be. Concentration, fighting spirit. Yes, I know, I’m repeating myself. But no matter how often it is repeated, it will not be often enough. The player must adopt the correct combative attitude, which only he can learn, or perhaps his trainers or clubmates can instil into him. But his best teachers, those who will best give him the correct combative attitude are, without doubt, the opponents he encounters. The support of technical knowledge is, however, fundamental. Manuals, technical publications, playing through master games, these are all essential tools for acquiring an appropriate base of knowledge. For it is also perfectly obvious that setting out to play completely lacking in theoretical knowledge is not the same as doing so bursting with such information. The player who studies opening theory, endings, strategy and tactics, is in a greatly superior position to that of the player who attempts to sit down at the board and fight unarmed. We live in a sophisticated world. No one can ignore the huge transfer of information brought about by new technology. But just as important as the information

itself is knowing how to assimilate it. A player can be crushed under the weight of the openings he studies or the games that he plays through. Learning to think about chess can protect him from that danger. Perhaps the most used word in our game is analysis. Nonetheless, a player does not sit down and examine each and every one of the legal moves possible in a position. His knowledge, his experience and his intelligence dictate to him which moves to consider and which to discount. In other words, his mind works selectively. The more expert and competent the player, the more easily and surely will this process of selection be for him, but in order to reach this point he must first play, study, and play again as much as it is possible for him to do. With regard to questioning and the usefulness of keeping a minimum critical distance, I consider that one of Kasparov’s most valuable contributions to chess-players is the stance he adopted in this respect, when he advised the reader to “trust it, but check it!” (in his book Sicilian: ...e6 and ...d6 Systems). Technical principles are there to be followed, but not blindly, and certainly not word for word. A North American author, talking about competitive sport in general, refers to what he calls over-correction. It is rather like allowing ourselves to be run over because our faith in the rules (the green light) stops us thinking that anyone might disobey them. And there we are left, injured but with right completely on our side. Principles and positions have to be continually questioned. You must never take anything for granted. Principles are not unchangeable. Chess continually presents us with surprises, details which invalidate a combination, or which render a manoeuvre ineffective, in blatant contradiction to some theoretical principle. The player should pay heed to everything that an expert comments or states about any aspect of chess. But he must also learn to think for himself, to make his brain work, in order to keep a small, questioning light switched on at all times.

Introduction The book is made up of eight chapters, each of which is divided into various sections. The study of the material is progressive within each section; that is to say that the positions in the first few diagrams are easier than the ones which follow and, usually, considerably easier than the final ones. In this short introduction I would like to explain what can be found within each chapter. Glossary of Attacking and Strategic Terms I have included a short dictionary, to help the reader with any unfamiliar terminology. The glossary also includes a number of entertaining examples, and may be read ‘normally’ as a potted course in the basics of strategy, rather than just referred to as a work of reference. Double Attack I consider that this tactical theme is always present in a chess game. It is difficult to find a single game where there has not arisen the possibility of a double attack, either potential or actual. The study of its appearance, of the forms it takes, of the technical resources which it allows has led me to deal with this theme at some length here. The Role of the Pawns A beginner tends to discount the influence of the pawns on the game. But as he goes through the learning process, he comes to understand, more and more clearly, the importance of the pawns. They are fundamental in at least three aspects: 1) in the opening, for their essential participation in the struggle for the centre; 2) in the middlegame, for the protection they give to their king; 3) in the endgame, for the expectations created by the possible promotion of a passed pawn. I could add many other aspects, such as the creation of strong (or weak) squares, the exploitation of structural weaknesses, the concept of the ‘pawnbreak’ and the clearing of lines at critical moments, etc. The pawn will be studied here as a tactical factor and therefore particular attention will be paid to the themes of pawn promotion, the far-advanced passed pawn, connected passed pawns, and also two categories which have hitherto received little

attention, but which nonetheless occur in play: the passive sacrifice and the kamikaze pawn.

see, most of the players are genuine masters, which shows that no one is exempt from making fatal mistakes in the opening.

Attacking the Castled Position Exercises This chapter can be considered an extension of the same topic in FCM (specifically, Part 4, ‘Target: The Castled King’), but this time widening the spectrum of typical combinations, since in FCM the attacks were, by definition, mating attacks. Here new refinements are introduced, with some original contributions, such as the in-depth study of the open and half-open file, the invading rook, and the sections ‘Panic on the Long Diagonal’ and ‘The Exchange Sacrifice’, as well as a more sophisticated treatment of the Greek Gift sacrifice. Drawing Combinations In apparently hopeless situations, abandoning hope is not the only option. If you are technically wellequipped, if you are aware of the resources which can bring about stalemate, perpetual check, or the construction of a fortress position, to mention just a few such cases, you can possibly gain many wonderful extra half-points. Don’t think that this only happens once in a while; it happens every day and even at the highest level. Here you will be informed about all those procedures and resources. Combined Tactical Themes This chapter, to a certain extent, summarises the preceding ones. The positions here are more difficult, precisely because the combinations reflect the interconnection between various tactical themes, the way in which different themes are interwoven. Starting with a few ‘materialistic’ sections (combinations which lead to material advantage or to a superior endgame), the text introduces us to some stunning combinations, in ‘One Sacrifice after Another’ and ‘Extraordinary Combinations’, ending with the extensive study of ‘A Diabolical Position’, in order to highlight the role of analysis in chess. Opening Disasters The inclusion of 75 miniature games is more than justified. In principle, it satisfies the innate curiosity of the player to witness complete games, especially if they are sharp, as in these cases. The commentaries are brief, but the intention is to point out the drastic refutation of poorly played openings, and these miniatures allow us to examine tactics in the initial phase of the game. The miniatures are from the period 1950-2000, and as the reader will

In five chapters (2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) a series of exercises has been included. The method is the same as in FCM: they have been organized into three levels of difficulty. In most cases your task is to find a clear win or a path to a large advantage, except in Chapter 5 (‘Drawing Combinations’), where, logically, the side to move must find a saving idea. Tactical Examination In addition to the exercises included in those five chapters, there is a final test to help you assess your tactical ability after studying the book. The eighth and final chapter is an exam, made up of 6 tests with 16 positions in each, i.e. 96 in total, with three levels of difficulty. All the positions have been carefully chosen for their instructional value, and their order roughly corresponds to the sequence in which topics are discussed in this book. Here and in the earlier exercises, it is possible that the reader might find some positions easier than others, even when they are classified as being at the same level. Likewise the reader might well find some positions more difficult to solve than others classified at a higher level. This should not be regarded as an inconsistency. It is merely a consequence of each of us having certain abilities more highly developed than others, so that some combinative manoeuvres turn out to be easier (or harder) to perceive than others. Some positions have longer variations, but others contain one or even several more difficult moves. All that has been taken into account as a result. In the solutions, I have attempted to anticipate alternative solutions that the reader might have come up with, and to explain whether they are also good (e.g., simply a different move-order), or if they fall short (e.g., yielding a mere advantage when there is an instant win available).

1: Glossary of Attacking and Strategic Terms

A pawn that cannot receive support from neighbouring pawns, because it has been left behind by them and the square directly in front of it is a weak point.

ADVANTAGE In chess an advantage can be of two kinds: material or positional. It can happen that one side has one type of advantage and the other side the other. If one player has both types of advantage, his superiority may well be decisive. ATTACK A systematic offensive against the enemy position. It can take many forms, but the main ones are the direct attack (against the king) and the positional attack (to weaken the enemy position and create invasion points for the attacking pieces). BACK-RANK WEAKNESS A very important tactical motif. It occurs when the back rank has very little protection from the enemy major pieces, and the king has no flight-squares available. In the next diagram you can see an example of a tactical sequence based on the weakness of White’s back rank.

The black pawn on d6 and the white pawn on f3 are both backward pawns. The d5- and f4-squares would be strong squares for an enemy piece to settle, as it could not be attacked by a pawn. BAD BISHOP A bishop that is obstructed by friendly pawns fixed on squares of its own colour, particularly central pawns. Note that a ‘bad’ bishop is not necessarily a bad piece. BAYONET ATTACK Originally used by Schlechter in reference to the move 12 g4 in the Møller Attack (a line of the Giuoco Piano), this term evolved to describe similar attacks involving the move g4 (or even ...g5 by Black). It is also associated with the move b4, and indeed is the name of an important line of the King’s Indian Defence that features this move. BLOCKADER

Black to play

Reshevsky – Fischer Palma de Mallorca Interzonal 1970 White has just played 1 Kh1-g1? (the correct move was 1 Qb5), and now Fischer exploits the weakness of White’s back rank: 1...Qd4+ 2 Kh1 2 Rf2 Re1#. 2...Qf2! 0-1 There is no defence. 3 Qb5 is met by 3...Re1, winning. BACKWARD PAWN

A piece that takes on the task of blocking a passed pawn. The best piece for this task is the knight and after that the bishop. The queen and the rook are less good in this role because, among other reasons, they can be attacked by pieces of lesser value.

The black knight on d7 is a good blockading piece because as well as its scope being in no way restricted, it controls the c5- and e5-squares, from which the passed pawn might eventually receive support from an adjacent pawn. CAMP Each of the two halves of the board. Thus, the white camp is the half made up of the first four ranks, and the black camp the half made up of the last four ranks. CENTRALIZED PIECE A strategic theme which is self-explanatory. A piece in the centre of the board is normally more active than one situated at the edge. Hence the importance of centralizing pieces. CENTRE The centre of the board is the four squares d4, d5, e5 and e4. The centre is very important throughout the game, and the struggle for control of the centre is an essential element of the opening and the middlegame. The group of 16 squares bounded by the squares c3-c6-f6-f3 is sometimes called the extended centre.

Black to play

In this position the Ukrainian Grandmaster Vasily Ivanchuk, possibly worried by his opponent’s threat of mate on h8, after a minute’s reflection opted for 1...Qf4+??, instead of delivering immediate mate himself with 1...Qxh1#. Ivanchuk ended up losing on time 13 moves later. This must be one of the most notorious cases of chess blindness in master practice. CLASSICAL CENTRE If one side has both centre pawns located on their fourth rank (e.g., white pawns on e4 and d4) he is said to have the classical centre. This is regarded as a significant strategic achievement, provided the pawns are well supported and not subject to attack. CLEARANCE A tactical device which consists of clearing a particular line or square, thus opening new attacking prospects for other pieces of one side.

CHARACTER OF THE POSITION This expression alludes to the kind of elements which predominate in a given position and which confer on it a ‘character’. Thus we have closed positions, blocked, open, chaotic, symmetrical, etc. CHESS BLINDNESS A self-explanatory term coined by Siegbert Tarrasch (1862-1934). A surprising case arose in the game Anand-Ivanchuk, London rapid 1994, after White’s move Kf2-f1.

White to play

Marković – Kosić Yugoslav Ch, Subotica 2000 White won thanks to clearing some lines:

2 Re1 bxc5 3 dxc5 Kd7 4 Qe7+ Qxe7 5 Rxe7+ Kc8 6 Bxf6 a5 7 d7+ Kc7 8 d8Q++ 1-0

It turns out that the white queen’s move was anything but innocent: not only did it threaten mate on h6, but it was also preparing this attack on the black queen, which besides gaining the c-file paves the way for the rook to invade on c7.

Even more conclusive was 8 Rg7!.



There is no alternative: the queen has to keep protecting the f5-pawn.

1 Bg7! Bb7 If 1...Qxg7, 2 Rh8+ Qxh8 3 Qe7#.

A forcing manoeuvre, generally with a sacrifice of material, seeking to achieve a specific purpose. Combinations are classified in many ways. If they are classified by theme, the most common are: double attack (and the fork), pin, deflection, discovered attack, decoy, interference, removing the guard, clearance, self-blocking. There is a somewhat academic debate about whether a combination necessarily involves a sacrifice, as well as what truly constitutes a sacrifice. Consider the following case.

3 Nxh6 A further pseudo-sacrifice, as the knight is taboo. 3...Bc5 If 3...gxh6 then 4 Rc7 Qxc7 5 Bxc7 Rd1+ 6 Kh2, and Black is completely lost, because of the control White exerts along the diagonals and because the a5knight has no time to get back into play. Neither is 3...Qd2 any use, in view of 4 Qxf5+ Bg6 5 Bg8+! Kh8 (5...Kxh6 6 Bf4+ Qxf4 7 Qxf4+) 6 Qxg6 Qxc1+ 7 Kh2 and Black has to give up the queen in order to avoid mate. 4 Nxf5 Bf7 There is no defence: White attacks with an advantage in both material and position. 5 Bb1 1-0 COMPENSATION A situation in which one side has some advantages in exchange for being material down. There are many kinds of dynamic or positional compensation. CONNECTED PASSED PAWNS

White to play

Ufimtsev – Furman Gorky 1950 The white bishops are extremely powerful, since they move about at ease on two open diagonals, while four black pieces remain lined up on their back rank. Of course, the queen and rook occupy open files and they cannot be said to be poorly situated. But they would be better placed further up the board, which would give them a greater range of influence. On the other hand, the a5-knight is out of the game. White has a problem: the f5-pawn is attacking two white pieces. 1 Qf4! In a sense this is a sacrifice, but a trivial one, as the punishment for taking the g4-knight would be instant mate: 1...fxg4? 2 Qxh6#. 1...Kh7 2 Rc1

Two or more passed pawns on neighbouring files, capable of supporting each other. COUNTERATTACK When under attack, rather than merely parrying the opponent’s threats, it may be possible to launch an attack of our own – that is, a counterattack. Judging whether to defend or counterattack requires good calculation and judgement, and may require a material sacrifice. If the attacker’s pieces end up looking misplaced, then the counterattack may prove devastating. DECOY A tactical device to draw an enemy piece to a particular square or line. The idea is that the piece will be vulnerable, or obstruct other enemy pieces.

Black to play

White to play

Ilchenko – Sozina

Smirnov – Rotstein

USSR 1971

Correspondence 1976


1 Nb6!!

Black decoys the enemy king to g1 in order to force a mating sequence.

This brilliant move diverts the opposing knight from its control of the c7-square.

2 Kxg1


2 Rxg1 Nf2#.

The capture is forced because the queen is tied to the defence of the e6-pawn.

2...Rbxg2+ There was another, more prosaic, mate in three with 2...Rgxg2+ 3 Kh1 Rxh2+ 4 Kg1 Rbg2#. 3 Kh1 Rg1+! 4 Rxg1 Nf2#

2 Rc7! A new deflection, this time of the queen, to deflect it away from the defence of e6.

A smothered mate.



If 2...h5 then 3 Qh3! Qxc7 4 Qxe6+ Kg7 5 f4!, threatening 6 Qf7+ and 7 Qh7#.

This term can be used in a general sense (putting up an organized resistance to an enemy attack), or more specifically, as in covering a piece or a square, or parrying a particular threat. DEFLECTION A tactical device in which an enemy piece is drawn away from a particular square or line. This may result in it being unable to carry out an important defensive duty. Here is an example of a double deflection.

3 Qxe6+ Kg7 Or 3...Kh8 4 Nf7+ Kg8 (4...Kg7 5 Bb2+ Kg8 6 Nh6#) 5 Ng5+ Kh8 6 Bb2+ Bg7 7 Nf7+ Kg8 8 Nh6++ Kh8 9 Qg8+! Rxg8 10 Nf7#. 4 Bb2+ Kh6 5 Qh3+! Kxg5 6 f4# DEVELOPMENT A key concept in opening play. Mobilizing the pieces is called development. Thus, we can also talk about underdevelopment or about an advantage in development of one side compared with the other. DISCOVERED ATTACK This is a tactical device that often has devastating effects. It occurs when a piece is moved and thus reveals an attack by another piece situated behind it. If the attack cannot be ignored (e.g., an attack on the queen or a threat of mate), then the moving piece can go with impunity to any square within its reach. Conversely, if the moving piece gives check, then there may be no time to parry the discovered attack.

DISCOVERED CHECK This is a special case of a discovered attack in which the attack uncovered is a check. DOUBLE ATTACK A tactical device in which two targets are attacked simultaneously, which as a rule makes it very difficult for the enemy to defend. This is the most common form of tactic in chess. DOUBLE CHECK This is like a discovered check, but with the moving piece also giving check. It is an immensely powerful tactic, since it can only be answered by a king move. If the king has no moves, it is mate.

file (f7 and f6) are doubled. The white pawn on a2 is an isolated pawn. DOUBLED ROOKS This occurs when two rooks of the same colour are situated on the same file or rank. This greatly enhances their power, provided there is something useful for them to do on that file, as they protect one another, and will continue to do so as long as they remain doubled. The greatest fighting power is assembled when all three major pieces (queen and two rooks) are lined up on the same file (or rank), in which case they are said to be tripled. Even when on their back rank, it is useful to have the two rooks protecting each other – they are then said to be connected. EVALUATION The overall assessment of a position based on a variety of factors, such as: material, pawn-structure, activity of the pieces, coordination between pieces and pawns and, above all, the safety or otherwise of each of the kings. EXCHANGE SACRIFICE The sacrifice of a rook for a minor piece. FLANK

White to play

White wins with 1 Qa8+!, since after 1...Kxa8 there follows the horrific double check (and mate) 2 Re8#. Mate could also be achieved by reversing the sequence: 1 Re8+! Rxe8 2 Qb7# (or 2 Qa8#), in which case the theme of line-clearance is employed. DOUBLED PAWNS Two pawns of the same colour on the same file.

The two halves of the board, starting from the files where the kings and queens are situated. The half made up of the e-, f-, g-, and h-files is called the kingside and that made up of the a-, b-, c- and d-files is called the queenside. FLIGHT-SQUARE A square available to the king (or another key piece) in case it needs to flee from checks or other threats. For example, if White has castled kingside, then playing h3 provides a square for the king (i.e. h2) in case of a check along the back rank. FORK When one piece simultaneously attacks two enemy units. The simplest form of double attack. FORTRESS A position in which the side which is materially or positionally inferior succeeds in securing a draw by creating an impregnable set-up. GAMBIT

The two pawns on the c-file (c2 and c3) are doubled isolated pawns, and the two black pawns on the f-

The sacrifice of one or more pawns in the opening, generally with the idea of speeding up development. The term has been incorporated into the names of several openings, such as the King’s Gambit (1 e4 e5 2 f4) and the Queen’s Gambit (1 d4 d5 2 c4). GOOD BISHOP

A bishop that is not obstructed by friendly pawns fixed on squares of its own colour.

controls some important terrain, but may prove weak as pieces are exchanged and the endgame approaches.



A piece that has unintentionally been left to be taken.

A piece which, while not currently under attack, has no protection from any other piece (or pawn) of its own colour. This tends to invite tactical motifs. GM John Nunn coined the acronym LPDO, standing for “Loose Pieces Drop Off”!

HANGING PAWNS A pair of pawns on neighbouring files, which have been separated from the rest of the pawn-structure.

LUFT German for ‘air’. In chess it is often used to signify a flight-square or escape hole for a castled king, to avert a threatened or potential back-rank mate. MIDDLEGAME The second phase of the game, which begins when the opening is over (that is, when both sides have more or less finished developing their pieces). In this phase the game plans are implemented and attack and defence are the priorities. MINIATURE A game won in 25 moves or fewer. The white pawns on c4 and d4 are hanging pawns. Hanging pawns constitute an important strategic theme in the middlegame. They can prove weak, especially as they are hard to liquidate: if one of them is exchanged, the other is left as an isolated pawn. On the other hand, they cover many squares and can support each other’s advance.

MINOR EXCHANGE The side which has a bishop against a knight is sometimes said to have the ‘advantage of the minor exchange’. In many positions the bishop proves a more effective piece than a knight, though there are plenty of situations (especially blocked positions) where the knight is just as strong, or even the superior piece.

HOLE A square in one side’s pawn-structure which cannot be protected by a neighbouring pawn, and so would be a strong and safe square for an enemy piece.

OPENING The initial phase of the game, in which the pieces are mobilized. A player’s usual objectives in the opening are the rapid development of his pieces, the struggle to control the centre and putting his king in a safe place (generally by castling). Traditionally, openings are classified into three large groups:

INITIATIVE An important dynamic factor, generally defined as the ability to make threats. The player with the initiative exercises control over the action, but may or may not have an actual advantage. INTERFERENCE

 

A tactical device in which a vital line (or square) is obstructed, allowing some other tactic to be employed.

ISOLATED PAWN A pawn that has no pawns of its own colour on either of the neighbouring files. The isolated centre pawn (most commonly the Isolated Queen’s Pawn, or IQP) is one of the most important strategic themes for the evaluation of a whole range of positions, as the structure can arise from a variety of major openings. By sitting on a central square, the pawn

Open Games (those that begin with 1 e4 e5) Semi-Open Games (those in which Black responds to 1 e4 asymmetrically) Closed Games (all the rest) OPPOSITE-COLOURED BISHOPS A light-squared bishop of one side opposed by a dark-squared bishop of the other side. This is an important strategic theme in the middlegame and the endgame. In an endgame with just opposite-coloured bishops, pawns and kings, the defender has excellent drawing chances, as there are many blockading possibilities. With more pieces on the board, they tend to favour the player with the initiative and the

safer king, as an attack on ‘his’ colour squares is harder to parry. OUTPOST A square in enemy territory, supported by one or more friendly pawns and which cannot be defended by any enemy pawn.

Hoogeveen 2000 The black queen is fulfilling two important defensive roles: it is protecting the squares g7 and d5, which is the trigger for a combination. 1 Rxe6! Rxe6 Obviously 1...Qxe6? is impossible owing to the mate on g7. 2 Bxd5! A pin, exploiting the fact that the black queen cannot abandon the defence of g7. 2...Re8 3 Re1 g6? Here 3...Kh8 would preserve the piece, but not save the game, after 4 Bxe6 gxh6 5 Qf4. 4 Rxe6 1-0 If 4...Rxe6 then 5 Qe5, reinforcing the pin, with decisive effect. PASSED PAWN

The d5-square is a strong square for White. However, d4 is not strong for Black, since the white pawn on c3 protects it. OUTSIDE PASSED PAWN This can be a decisive factor in the endgame, particularly king and pawn endings. If both players have a passed pawn, the one further from the kings is usually the more dangerous, as it diverts the defending king further away from the rest of the pawns. OVERLOAD

A pawn which has no enemy pawns in its path, either along its own file or on either of the adjacent files. A passed pawn can prove extremely powerful, as only the enemy pieces stand between it and promotion, and this may leave them unable to perform other important duties. PAWN-CHAIN A formation in which the pawns are situated diagonally, supporting one another. The first link in the chain (the pawn furthest back) is called the base of the chain, and is its weakest point.

A tactical motif which is the basis of many combinations. It consists of exploiting the fact that an enemy piece has taken on more than one specific defensive function. Let us look at it via an example.

White has two pawn-chains (a3+b4+c5 and g2+f3+e4), a3 and g2 being the bases of their respective chains. Black has only one chain, the base of which is the pawn on d7. White to play

Dvoirys – S. Ernst

PAWN FORK An attack by a pawn on two enemy pieces.

PAWN-ISLANDS A group of pawns of the same colour that are disconnected from other friendly pawns. An isolated pawn is one island. Hanging pawns also make up a single island. In the initial position, both sides have one island of eight pawns. In the endgame, it is generally an advantage to have fewer pawn-islands than the opponent.

pinned piece. In other cases, it may be viable to move the pinned piece, possibly as a sacrifice. In the following position, Black won by using two pinning ideas:

PAWN-MAJORITY The side with more pawns than the opponent in a certain part of the board (kingside, queenside or centre) is said to have a pawn-majority. This is significant because in the endgame (or even the middlegame) it may be possible to use this majority to create a passed pawn. If the pawns are equal, then the opponent will also have a pawn-majority of his own in another part of the board. Black to play

Ivanchuk – Yermolinsky USSR Army Ch, Frunze 1988 1...Bc1+! 0-1 White resigned in view of 2 Kxc1 Qxb3 (the knight is now pinned), 2 Ka1 Rxc5! 3 Qxh3 Rxa5+ 4 Qa3 Rxa3# and 2 Ka2 Bd5! (a new and decisive pin) 3 Qxd5 Qa3+ 4 Kb1 Qb2#. PLAN

Black to play

For instance, here White has a central majority and Black has a queenside majority. PAWN-STORM Analogous to an infantry attack. It is a pawn offensive, usually against the enemy castled position. PAWN-STRUCTURE The arrangement of the pawns on the board. An examination of the two sides’ structures, taking into account all the strengths and weaknesses of the various pawns, is a major basis in determining the plans for both sides. PIN An attack on a piece that cannot move away without exposing a more valuable piece behind it. A pin can only be carried out by the pieces which move along a straight line (queen, rook or bishop). A pin against the king is an absolute pin: it is illegal to move the

The plan is the general idea that the player has about the actions he must undertake to achieve his objectives. For this, he must evaluate or form an opinion of the position, which will allow him to act consistently. In any case, and since the plan is a dynamic fighting process, his evaluations must be continually reviewed, after moves by both sides. POSITIONAL SACRIFICE A sacrifice effected not with the idea of carrying out an immediate combination, but in order to exploit certain advantages or peculiarities of the position. In other words it is a medium- or long-term material investment. PRESSURE A concrete attack, of a positional nature, on a square, a line or a sector. Thus, it is usual to talk about “pressure along the d-file” or “pressure on d5”, etc. PRINCIPLE A technical recommendation, the value and usefulness of which have been verified in practice. Principles are indications or reference points which should be followed, in general, but which a player

should always be prepared to question. Modern chess masters emphasize concrete analysis and decisions over playing ‘according to principle’. Some advise that “in the struggle over the board exceptions must always be sought.” REMOVING THE GUARD A tactical device that consists of eliminating a key defensive piece to ensure the success of the combinative manoeuvre, such as the elimination of one or more pawns from the wall which defends the king.

rooks together on the seventh rank are a force of nature. SACRIFICE A voluntary surrender of material (pieces or pawns) for some concrete gains, either tactical or strategic, and long-term or short-term. SELF-BLOCKING A tactical device in which the attacker forces his opponent to occupy vital squares (such as escaperoutes for his king) with his own pieces, thus hindering his defence. Often related to decoy.

White to play Black to play

Bisguier – Larsen

L. Larsson – Erlandsson

Zagreb 1965 White has a winning position on the kingside, based on the disappearance of the black h-pawn and the set-up of his pieces, which stand ready to weave a mating-net for the black king.

Correspondence 1966 Black wins by employing self-blocking tactics: 1...Qh3!! 0-1

Eliminating the piece defending the h7-square.

After 2 gxh3 Bf3!, both the f- and h-pawns have been immobilized and White cannot prevent the mate with the knight on h3.



A sad necessity. If 1...Bxf6 then 2 Bg7!, with a double threat of mate on h8 or h7.

A tactical device based on the geometrical attack on two enemy pieces situated on the same line (rank, file or diagonal). In contrast to a pin, in a skewer the more valuable piece is situated in front of the piece of lesser value. If the more valuable piece moves aside, the less valuable piece is exposed to capture.

1 Rxf6!

2 Rf1 Re8 3 Bf8! Bf6 4 Rxf6! The rook destroys any living creature that dares to set foot on f6. 4...exf6 5 Qh6! Threatening mate on g7. 5...Rxf8 6 Qh7# (1-0) ROOK ON THE SEVENTH RANK In general the rook as an attacking piece is considered to be in its optimum position when it reaches its seventh rank, especially when the enemy king is on its back rank and is poorly protected. Two

The precise means by which we carry out our plans and objectives – the interplay between the pieces. TEMPO Time, but in the sense of time on the board, not on the clock. 1 tempo = 1 move. If, e.g., we spend two moves doing something that could have been done in one move, then we have wasted a tempo. TENSION

White to play

C. Golmayo – Mackenzie Havana 1889 At the moment the black queen is pinning the g7pawn but White has an elegant solution, based on a skewer: 1 Qa2+! (decoy) 1...Qxa2 2 g8Q+ (skewer), followed by 3 Qxa2. SMOTHERED MATE This is a mate inflicted by a knight on a king which is completely hemmed in by pieces of its own colour. For example, here is a smothered mate (aided by an e-file pin) that can arise in the CaroKann Defence: 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7 5 Qe2 Ngf6?? 6 Nd6#. SPACE Generally speaking, it is an advantage to control more squares on the board than the opponent does. The side that controls more space can manoeuvre his pieces with greater ease. Note that merely occupying space is not the same as controlling it: it is useless to stake out a large territory by advancing lots of pawns if you cannot keep control of it, as the enemy pieces will quickly invade the interior weaknesses left in the pawns’ wake. STRATEGY Chess strategy refers to the choosing and refining of plans throughout a game, based on the characteristics of your own position and that of your opponent. TACTICAL MOTIF A characteristic of the position which can give rise to a combinative sequence. The best known tactical motifs include back-rank weakness, overload, weak king, weakened castled position, underdevelopment, undefended pieces, etc. TACTICS

A situation where two pawns are attacking one another. If a player decides the leave the pawns as they are, rather than taking or advancing, then he is maintaining the tension. By doing so, we retain more options, and if we feel that the opponent has no good way to resolve the tension, then we can say that we have favourable tension, as it limits the opponent’s options while increasing our own. Pawn tension is a particularly important factor when the pawns are in the centre. THEME The type of manoeuvre that characterizes a combination. Some major themes are: double attack (and fork), decoy, pin, deflection, discovered attack, interference, removing the guard, clearance, selfblocking. THREAT A move or sequence of moves which one of the players plans to carry out and which, if executed, would have negative consequences for the opponent. TRANSITION The passage from one phase to another of the game, i.e. from opening to middlegame or from middlegame to endgame. At this point, an adjustment and a re-evaluation are needed, as the priorities in each phase are somewhat different. For instance, once the endgame begins, we need to give more thought to king activity, rather then merely king safety. A similar re-evaluation may be needed after any major change in the position, such as an exchange of queens. VALUE OF THE PIECES We must distinguish between the theoretical value of the pieces, usually defined as a numerical value referring to each piece, and their relative value. If we assign the pawn an arbitrary value of 1, then the conventional scale of values for the remaining pieces is: knight = 3, bishop = 3, rook = 5, queen = 9. The king, which has no absolute value, since the game depends on its survival, is usually given an approximate value of 3½ as a fighting piece. The relative value is what each piece has in a given

position, and it corresponds to its activity and playing strength.

1 Rd7!


1...Nxd7 2 Nc6

A series of moves united by a guiding thread or a logical connection. A forcing variation is a series of moves in a combination, sometimes its main variation. ‘Variation’ also refers to the theoretical ramifications of each opening.

Now mate cannot be prevented, since any move of the black knight is answered by 3 Nf6#. If Black could miss a turn, then he could avoid mate.

The threat is 2 Nf6#.

This is a pawn that cannot be protected by other pawns, and is subject to attack by the enemy pieces.

There is an appreciable harmony in the fact that each of the white pieces controls two of the six squares in the range of action of the black king: the white king f7 and f8, and each knight two squares of the same colour.



A square which cannot be protected by pawns and which the opponent can exploit in some way. Also known as a hole.

Another useful German term meaning ‘in-between move’. It describes a move interpolated into a series of exchanges (or some other sequence of apparently forced moves) to improve the outcome. Also known as an intermezzo.


X-RAY A combinative motif that occurs when a piece operates as if through an enemy piece, thanks to another piece of its own side, situated on the same line of action. ZUGZWANG A German word which has been incorporated into the universal chess vocabulary. It means literally ‘move compulsion’ and refers to a situation where the right to move becomes an unpleasant burden, as any legal move worsens our position. That is, we would prefer to pass the move to the opponent rather than having to make a move. A famous problem composed by the French poet Alfred de Musset is based on zugzwang.

White to play

A. de Musset La Régence, 1849 White to play and mate in 3 The solution is:

2: Double Attack

The following examples are very simple cases of double attacks.

Let us imagine, for a moment, that our opponent is attacking an important target in our position, in fact the most important, the king. We are in check. In theory, at least, we have three possible ways to respond to this check, namely: Move the king. Where to? If there is more than one option, we shall have to decide which one. Block with a piece. Which piece, and on which square? There might be several possibilities. Capture the enemy piece. If this is possible, we should first ask ourselves why our opponent is presenting us with such an easy option. Perhaps the capture can only be made using a piece of greater value than the piece that is checking us, in which case it is clear that an exchange is of no interest to us, unless it is essential to deal with the check in this manner. These are just a few examples of how our brains work when confronted with a concrete problem such as a check. My point here is to emphasize that an attack against a single target can present us with a wide range of defensive possibilities. It is quite another thing when the attack is multifaceted: a simultaneous attack on two targets, for instance. In chess this is generally known as a double attack. An important and common special case is when both attacks are made by a single piece. This is called a fork. If, when making a move that threatens mate, our opponent simultaneously attacks some other target, our range of possible replies is considerably reduced. We find ourselves walking on treacherous ground. Perhaps there is no good defence. The strength of the threat lies in having been able to generate a double attack, simultaneously, in just one move.

White to play

Here White is able to exploit the favourable geometry of the position, thanks to a pair of forks: 1 Rc8+! A fork, decoying the black queen into a second fork (with check), which this time is decisive. 1 Ne7+? achieves nothing after 1...Kg7. 1...Qxc8 2 Ne7+ White wins the queen and emerges with a winning endgame. The next example illustrates excellent coordination between bishop and knight. Although the black queen and king are occupying the far ends of the long a1-h8 diagonal, the white pieces set about bringing them closer together.

Since the vast majority of combinations are based on the idea of double attack, in this chapter we shall examine in detail the most varied types of double attack, how they are generated and how they can be exploited. Starting with the most basic forms of double attack, we shall build up towards an examination of more sophisticated combinations. One of the characteristics of the double attack, and one which reinforces the justification for our making such a detailed study, is that this tactical device arises not only as a combinative theme, but also often appears during the game in episodes of play which are totally lacking in combinative content.

White to play

1 Be5+! A fork: the queen is now decoyed into a deadly trap. 1...Qxe5 2 Ng6+

Another fork, with check. Next comes 3 Nxe5, winning the queen, after which White wins easily, thanks to his pawn. Let’s now move on to study the double attack according to the piece which executes it, or some other factor: 2.1: Double Attacks with Queens and Rooks 2.2: Bishop Forks 2.3: Knight Forks 2.4: The B+N Connection 2.5: Pawn Forks 2.6: The Discovered Double Attack

White to play

2.7: Another Type of Double Attack

2.1: Double Attacks with Queens and Rooks Owing to their great linear power, the strongest chess pieces are naturally adept at setting up double threats in many varied situations.

Gude – Dunkelblum Antwerp blitz 1976 This position was reached in a blitz game (5 minutes per player). Black was hoping that the b5-knight would retreat to d4, when he could continue with ...c5, gaining a breathing space, although Black should not become too excited; e.g., 1 Nbd4? c5 2 Nc2 c4? allows 3 Bxc4!. But White has something much stronger, thanks to a simple (although double) attack: 1 Nxc7! The first fork, on the a8-rook and the d5-pawn. 1...Qxc7 If 1...Nc5 then 2 Qxd5+, etc. 2 Qxd5+ Another fork (checking the king and attacking the knight). 2...Kh8 3 Qxe4

White to play

In this simple-looking position, with five pieces and no pawns, White is a rook up, but one of his rooks is attacked by the enemy king, and furthermore Black threatens mate on h8. What should White play? Are there any possibilities of defence, or prospects of victory? Yes, with 1 Rh5!. A double attack: with this aggressive move, White prevents the mate, while at the same time attacking the rook and threatening mate with 2 Ra6#. After 1...Rxh5 White plays 2 Ra6+, when any move by the black king to the fifth rank is answered by 3 Ra5+ (a skewer) followed by 4 Rxh5 – pure geometrical magic!

White emerged with two extra pawns and won. If now 3...Bf5, White can play, for instance, 4 Qc4. Artur Dunkelblum was, at the time of this friendly game, a retired international master, and at the age of 70 he still bore on his shoulders the responsibility of running an important diamond-cutting factory. Originally from Cracow (Poland), he had arrived in Belgium as a child. He finished second in the 1950 Gijon international tournament and was the champion of Belgium in 1949. Between 1928 and 1968 he represented his adopted country in no fewer than ten Olympiads.

White is two pawns up, but the continued presence of all six major pieces on the board means that the realization of the material advantage is a long way off. It is important that the white king is threatened by two enemy major pieces, which control sensitive squares in its close proximity. 1...Rg1+! 0-1 If 2 Kxg1 Black plays 2...Qxe1+ (regaining the rook with a decisive fork) 3 Kg2 Qxd2+. This outcome is also associated with the theme of loose pieces, in this case the rook on d2.

White to play

Velimirović – Zahilas Greek Team Ch, Athens 2000 Black has a piece for two pawns. Is that the whole story? No; it doesn’t even scratch the surface. Black’s kingside pawns are doubled, so that there is an invasion route along the seventh rank where, as it happens, there is already a white rook. As if this were not enough, the other white rook is ready to join the fray. In addition, there is a peculiar circumstance here: all five black pieces are lined up along their bank rank! The sole factor in Black’s favour is White’s back rank, so 1 Re4?? fails to 1...Ra1+. 1 Qe6+ Kh8 2 Qf6+! 1-0 A perfectly safe check that terminates the struggle. The queen is taboo (since 2...Rxf6 allows 3 Re8+, mating). There is no defence. The white queen’s invasion was made possible thanks to the weakness of Black’s back rank. The other combinative themes here are double attack and deflection.

Black to play

Zhu Chen – Spassky Ladies vs Veterans, Marbella 1999 This position allows a double attack, because the white queen is tied to the defence of the rook on d1. 1...Qg6! 0-1 There is no defence. White cannot avoid loss of material, since 2 Qxg6 allows 2...Rxd1+ (a zwischenzug) followed by 3...fxg6, while if 2 Qe2 or 2 Qf3, then 2...Rxd1+ wins a rook.

Black to play

Molander – Karttunen

Black to play

Finnish Ch, Helsinki 2000

Skripchenko – B. Socko

Cappelle la Grande 2000 White has conducted a pawn-grabbing expedition and is now a pawn up but Black has the more active pieces and more lines of attack. Both kings remain in the centre, which always sharpens the play.

The threat of 5...Nf2+, etc., is conclusive and White soon had to resign.

1...Bg5! Exploiting the situation of the white queen and seeking to deflect the d2-bishop, which is protecting the c3-square. 2 Bb5+ There is nothing better. If 2 Bxg5, then 2...Qxc3+, and either the rook falls with check, or else 3 Ke2 Rg6 leaves White in deep trouble. 2 Qh7 Qe5! leaves the white queen trapped. And finally if 2 Qh5, then 2...Bg4! 3 Qxg4 Bxd2+ 4 Kxd2 Rxg4. With the text-move, White wants to connect her rooks.

Black to play

Roux Cabral – Eliskases

2...axb5 3 Bxg5 Qxc3+ 4 Ke2 Bg4+ But now the white king will succumb to a direct attack. 5 f3 Ra6 6 Qh7 exf3+ 0-1 There are other aspects of the double attack, where it arises simply through a simultaneous attack on two geometrically connected targets.

Mar del Plata 1949 White threatens mate on g7 and is relying on his powerful passed pawn on a6, but Black has something even more precious: the right to move next, and therefore the possibility of reaching the objective first... 1...h3+ 2 Kf1 If 2 Kh1, then 2...Rxg3!, while if 2 Kg1, then Black continues as in the game. 2...Rf7! 0-1 A triple attack: protecting against the mate threat, attacking the rook and, more importantly, threatening 3...Qd1#. There is no satisfactory defence; e.g., 3 Ke1 Rxa7.

Black to play

Soultanbéieff – Euwe Zaandam 1946 White has just played Ne4, relying on the fact that if Black captures the knight (1...Nxe4), then 2 Rxd7 invades the seventh rank. Let’s see how Max Euwe read the play. 1...Nxe4! 2 Rxd7 Qf5! Now we see the double attack – the basis of most winning combinations – in action. Black attacks the rook on d7 and the f2-pawn at the same time. 3 Rxb7 Qxf2+ 4 Kh1 Qxe3

White to play

Ma. Tseitlin – Asif Cappelle la Grande 2000

Black has cheerfully advanced his kingside pawns, even though he has not yet finished the development of his queenside pieces. In contrast, White has a solid position and threatens to double rooks on the dfile. A factor to be considered: if the e5-pawn were not protected by the queen, the bishop check on this square would be very strong. 1 Bxf3! Deflecting the queen from the e5-square. 1...Qxf3 This loses by force, but otherwise White has won a pawn for very little. 2 Bxe5+ Bf6 3 Qf7! A double attack, exploiting the weakness of the back rank and pinning the f6-bishop. There is no satisfactory defence.

1 Nd4! The knight is activated, based on a latent fork, since 1...Nxd4? is not playable owing to 2 Qxd4, attacking both black rooks. 1...Kd7 If 1...e5 then 2 Qe3 Nxd4 3 Qxe5+ Kd7 4 Qxd4; 1...Bd7 allows 2 Nxc6 Bxc6 3 Qd4, once again attacking both black rooks at the same time; similarly 1...Nb8 runs into 2 Nxb5!, freeing the d4square for the white queen. 2 Bxb5! axb5 3 Qxf7+ 1-0 If 3...Kxd6 then 4 Nxb5+ wins. Here we have seen how the ‘ghost’ of the fork hovered over the position and proved the decisive factor.

3...Bxe5 4 Qxe8+! Better than 4 Qxf3 Bxa1. 4...Kg7 5 Qxe5+ 1-0 White has won the exchange and a pawn, while his attack still rages as his major pieces sweep the board. For instance, 5...Kg6 is met by 6 Rd6+, while the king cannot retreat to its back rank either, due to 6 Rd8+. But after 5...Kf7 6 Qc7+ he faces the same gruesome choice. Black to play

Grishchuk – Shirov FIDE Knockout, New Delhi 2000 This position was reached in the second game of the semi-final match between these two contenders. The last move was g6, with which White brought about a crisis in the game. However, although he manages to open the g-file, it is difficult for the young Grishchuk to achieve an advantage. But his Latvian GM opponent commits a dreadful blunder, as Grishchuk will reveal by making a double attack. White to play

Hellers – Bareev World Junior Ch, Gausdal 1986 Black might well have been thinking along the following lines: “Once I’ve rounded up the intruder on d6 I’ll be a pawn up.” But he was surely also aware of the danger he was in, with his king still in the centre. White starts up the ‘truth machine’, and highlights the weaknesses in Black’s position, namely that there are three loose pieces (both rooks and the knight).

1...Rxd1+ 2 Rxd1 fxg6 3 hxg6 All very logical: Shirov has reduced the pressure with these exchanges, but he now suffers from a lapse in concentration or, perhaps, over-confidence (he had won the first game with relative ease). 3...Rf4? Not so much ambitious as careless. Instead, it is not easy to see how White could proceed with advantage after natural moves such as 3...h6 or even 3...Rf6 4 gxh7+ Kh8. 4 Qh2! 1-0

The prophesied double attack: the h7-square (with mate on h8 to follow) and the rook are both threatened. Black resigned because after the only reply, 4...Rh4, White can play 5 Qb8+ (now we see another aspect of the double attack, which was aimed, in reality, against the whole h2-b8 diagonal) 5...Bf8 6 Rf1, and there is no defence (if 6...Qd6 then 7 Bxe6+, followed by mate). The young Alexander Grishchuk made a real breakthrough towards the end of 2000. After reaching the semi-finals in New Delhi, in the Istanbul Olympiad he made one of the best individual scores at the age of just 17.

Attacking and defending at the same time. 8...Kd7 The bishop cannot be captured: 8...Kxd6 9 Nc4+ and 10 Nxb2. 9 Rd1 1-0 There are too many lines open in the vicinity of the black king. With total precision the Armenian champion fully exploited the possibilities offered by the position.

Black to play

Polugaevsky – Ftačnik Lucerne Olympiad 1982

White to play

Ara. Minasian – De Sousa Ubeda 2000 Black only needs one move to castle, but then he would lose the e7-pawn. So he has problems. White will exploit the situation of the enemy king in the centre (motif), based on double attack (theme).

Here we have an interesting position, in which White’s kingside is very weak. The black bishops, on adjacent diagonals, in conjunction with the queen, constitute a real threat to the enemy king. Right now, Black has to solve the problem of the attack on his knight.

1 Bf4!? Qb7


Naturally 1...Qxf4? is impossible, owing to the mate on e7.

Very elegant: the threat is 2...Ng3+; the knight is offered to lure the white queen away from the defence.

2 Rxe7+! Deflecting the black queen from the defence of c6. This sacrifice was also possible on the previous move, but with the development of his bishop White has won a tempo. 2...Qxe7 3 Qxc6+ Qd7

2 Qxh5 Qg3! This sets up a powerful double attack on g2 and h3. 3 Nd5 3 Bxb7? is impossible owing to 3...Qxh3#. 3...Rxd5! 4 Rf1 Qxg2+!

Now Black threatens mate on White’s back rank, but White is able to capture the rook on a8 with check.

Spectacular and decisive.

4 Qxa8+ Ke7 5 Qxa6 Qd1+ 6 Qf1 Qxc2

5 Kxg2 Rd2++! 0-1

Black regains some pawns, but with his king in the centre and deprived of pawn-cover, the situation is one of red alert.

The concluding double check. If 6 Kg3, then 6...Rg2+ 7 Kf4 Rf8+, followed by mate.

7 Na3! Qxb2 8 Bd6+!

The following game is from a match between two of the strongest Soviet teams of the time (CSKA and

Trud). GM Vladimirov is in a position to exploit the confluence of geometrical motifs in his favour. Before reading on, consider how he might do so, using the weapons provided by the theme we are studying.

White to play

Kasparov – Ligterink Malta Olympiad 1980 Black to play

Tseshkovsky – E. Vladimirov European Clubs Cup, Moscow 1986 1...Bxa2! Relying on the fact that the rook on a1 is overworked (defending both the other rook and the a2-pawn). 2 Rxd8+ Rxd8 3 Rxa2 Now we shall understand the keys to the brilliant sacrifice on a2. If White declines the bishop, for instance with 3 h3, giving his king an escape-route, then after 3...Bb3 4 Qxb3? axb3 5 Rxa7 Rd1+ 6 Kh2 b2, the pawn reaches the promotion square. 3...Rd1+ 4 Ne1 Qb7! A difficult move, because there were several possible ways to deflect the white queen. 5 Qa5 If 5 Qc3 then 5...Qb1 6 Re2 a3!. 5...Qd5! This deflection is also a double attack on White’s queen and rook. 6 Qc3 Qxa2 0-1

The future world champion, Garry Kasparov, was able to demonstrate the superiority of his position in this game from the USSR-Holland match. Black’s pieces are not very well coordinated and his king, even though it can receive some support from the rook on a7, is relatively unprotected for the moment. 1 Nc8!! The double attack par excellence; here we have a very refined combination, based on the idea that 1...Rxc8? is answered with 2 Qf5, with a double threat of capturing the rook and mate in two (3 Qxh7+ Kf8 4 Qh8#). 1...Nc6 1...Rc7 2 Rxb8 Bf8 (2...Rcxc8 3 Rxc8 Rxc8 4 Qf5) 3 Nxd6! Rxb8 4 Nc4 is the key to this clever combination, based on the deflection of the black queen, which is unable to maintain the defence of the rook. If 4...Qb4 then 5 Qxc7 Qxc4 6 Qxb8, etc. 2 Nxa7 Nxa7 3 Bd5 This move is better than 3 Qf5 g6 4 Qd7. 1-0 Ligterink resigned, since if 3...Bf6 White plays 4 Rb7, with unbearable pressure on f7. Where to include a combination which starts with a fork, which then leads on to a second one by a different piece? In the following sequence a knight is sacrificed to allow a decisive attack by the queen.

6 Rb8+! The point is 6...Nxb8 7 Rxb8+ Kg7 8 Qg6#. The importance of the pawn on h5 should not be underestimated, since it supports the decisive check on g6. The game concluded: 6...Nd8 7 Qh4 Kh7 8 Qe4+ 1-0

2.2: Bishop Forks Forks by a bishop occur less frequently in practice than with a queen or a knight, but its characteristics need to be known precisely, so as to be alert to the possibility of achieving it (or avoiding it) over the board. White to play

Vasiukov – Taimanov USSR Ch, Tallinn 1965

One of the characteristic factors that permits the exploitation of a fork by a bishop is the possible promotion of a pawn, as in the next two examples.

Black is threatening the g4-pawn and it is difficult to imagine that White has any choice but to defend it. However, the position is very tense, and its main features can be summarised like this: a) The white rooks control the b-file. b) The black rook on a7 occupies a purely passive position. c) The e4-rook is loose and therefore can become a target. d) Black’s king is more exposed than White’s. 1 Nf6! A powerful triple-purpose knight move: it protects g4 and attacks Black’s queen and e4-rook. 1...Kxf6

White to play

White wins easily with 1 g8Q+ Kxg8 2 Bc4+ and 3 Bxa2.

What else can Black do? 2 Qf3+ Kg7 3 Qxe4 The first phase of the operation is over and White has won the exchange. 3...dxc3 This pawn appears to create momentary anxiety but White had calculated well. 4 h5! Here 4 Rd5 was also very strong, and after 4...Qe7 5 Qxc4 Qe6 6 g5 c2 7 gxh6+ Kxh6 8 Rc1, White wins. 4...gxh5 5 gxh5 Kh8 The black king has been completely denuded and prefers to shelter in the corner, to enable his major pieces to defend along on their second rank, but probably Taimanov did not see that he was about to be mated.

White to play

In this case the bishop appears doomed, but, once again, the right of next move completely turns the tables: 1 b8Q+! (a fleeting, but effective, fork by the

new queen) 1...Rxb8 2 Bg3+, winning the rook with this skewer.

only question for Black is how to bring matters to a conclusion.

The next position is a very useful example for grasping this type of piece arrangement, which allows the exploitation of the cross-pin.

1...Bg3! An ingenious move, which is, in reality, a double attack (on the d6-knight and on h2, following the exchange ...hxg2+), which leads to a second double attack. 2 gxh3 If 2 hxg3, Black wins with the double check 2...hxg2++, followed by 3 Kg1 Rh1#. 2...Bxd6 0-1

White to play

Despite the absolute material equality, White is able to exploit the pin on the black bishop, thanks to a double attack: 1 Rg8! Black loses a piece, since if 1...Rxg8 then 2 Bxd5+ and 3 Bxg8, while 1...Bxg2 is met by 2 Rxd8+ and 3 Kxg2. As we have been able to see, this simple combination employed the devices of the pin and deflection/decoy. Let’s now see some other examples, of gradually increasing difficulty.

Black to play

Zheliandinov – Mikhalchishin Lvov 1995 There is no doubt that the black pieces are much better placed and are working together harmoniously, while their white counterparts seem rather inhibited. Compare, for instance, the respective pairs of bishops: what stands out in particular is the power of Black’s b7-bishop on the long light-squared diagonal. Black has a way to exploit his advantage immediately. 1...Rxd2! Decisive. 2 Rxd2 Bxe3! 0-1

Black to play

Reinderman – Anand Wijk aan Zee 1999 Black is the exchange up with a dominant position. The white pieces are not cooperating with each other, which makes his survival very difficult. The

This double attack terminates the struggle. The white queen cannot abandon the defence of g2, so White must resign. If 3 Qf1 then 3...Bxf4+ 4 Kh1 Qg3 5 Kg1 Be3+ 6 Kh1 Qxh3#, while 3 Qg3 allows 3...Bxf4! 4 Qxf4 Qxg2#.

White to play

White to play

Chistiakov – Simagin

Tal – Krogius

Moscow 1935

USSR Ch, Kiev 1964/5

White is a pawn up and, naturally, his aim is to make it count. If we look for possible targets in the black camp, we see that the most immediate is the black pawn on d5, which is protected only by the c6bishop. 1 Rxc6!

In this ending with a practically symmetrical pawnstructure, it seems doubtful that White’s two small advantages (the bishop-pair and control of the only open file) will be enough to win. However, White has another advantage, one of incalculable value in the hands of someone like Mikhail Tal: the right to make the next move!

White immediately sacrifices the exchange to win material.

1 Bxb6! cxb6 2 Rd6 Rc8

1...Rxc6 2 Bxd5

Tal the chess magician now pulls out of his sleeve a trick based on a fork by his bishop:

The pawn has fallen and the white bishop now attacks both enemy pieces.

3 Re6!?

2...Rc8 The only move to keep the knight protected. 3 Be6 Insisting on the double attack, to force the rook to go to c6. 3...Rc6 4 Bd7!

This wins a pawn by force. 3...fxe6 The only reasonable alternative was 3...Kf8 (3...f6? would be disastrous, owing to the discovered check) 4 Rxe5 Rd8. 4 Bxe6+ Kf8 5 Bxc8 Krogius resigned 17 moves later.

Now the rook has no safe squares. The only solution is to return the exchange, but that leaves Black two pawns down. 4...Rd6 5 Bxd6 Nxd6 1-0

White to play

Beliavsky – Cebalo Slovenian Team Ch, Bled 1998 The black king is in an unsafe position and this alone must be worth more than the missing pawn. On the other hand, the pin along the a2-g8 diagonal immediately suggests that White should look for a way to win the pinned rook. The problem is how to do it. If you think about this yourself, you will see that it is not so easy.

The game continued 1 Qa3? Qe7 2 Ra7 Rb7, and White was highly fortunate to draw 19 moves later. It is also worth noting that a more dramatic sequence, 1 Qxb7+? Rxb7 2 Rxe8?, would fail to 2...Rb1+ (the glorious zwischenzug!), and Black wins. 1...cxd4 Or: 1...Qxa7? 2 Rxa7+; 1...Rb1+ 2 Kf2. 2 Qxb7+ Rxb7 3 Rxe8!

1 Be6+!! Any attempt to exploit the pin directly would fail. If, for instance, 1 Rd4? (or 1 Rc3?), the reply would be 1...d5! (e.g., 2 exd5? Rxd4 3 d6+ Qc4).

A pseudo-sacrifice of the exchange. 3...Kxe8 3...Rb1+? 4 Re1.

1...Kxe6 2 Rd4

4 Bxc6+ Rd7 5 Ke2!

Now, on the other hand, with the black king on e6, the defence mentioned in the previous note does not work, because now the capture exd5 comes with check.

A very important move, because it gains a decisive tempo. Taking the rook immediately would be no use, because after 5 Bxd7+? Kxd7 6 Ke2 Kc6 7 Kd3 Kc5, the game is heading for a draw.


5...Ke7 6 Bxd7 Kxd7 7 Kd3

2...Rc8 3 Rc1.

Black is lost. The difference is that now the black king is unable to defend his pawn on d4.

3 Rxc4 Qb7 White is a clear exchange up and the black king remains in a vulnerable position. 4 Rfc1 Rd7 5 Rc8 1-0 Opening the invasion diagonal for the white queen.

2.3: Knight Forks The fork by the knight is one of the most deadly and effective, thanks to the peculiar nature of its move, which permits the creation of combinations which are often hard to foresee and calculate. While the action of the line-moving pieces can be perceived at a glance, the action of the knight demands much greater attention, since the objects of its attack can be scattered all around the board.

White to play

Ragozin – Alatortsev USSR Ch, Tbilisi 1937 As can be seen, both sides have pieces lurking with latent threats against the opposing king. It is White’s move and he has an elegant continuation available with which he can terminate the struggle. But be careful – White needs to play very precisely. 1 Nxd4!

Black to play

Rajca – Casper Brandenburg 1973 If you had the choice, which side would you take here? Perhaps the passed pawn on b4 would incline

one to prefer White. But the fact is that there is a cunning trick, based on the theme that we are studying. 1...d4+!! 0-1 After 2 Qxd4 Nf5+, 2 Kxd4 Nc6+, 2 Kf4 Ng6+ or 2 Ke4 Qe2+ 3 Kf4 (3 Kxd4 Nc6+) 3...Ng6+ White loses his queen.

White to play

Capablanca – Fonaroff New York 1918

Black to play

Adam – Demitriescu Correspondence 1934 Who would think that White’s position is desperate? However, the g3-knight is loose, there is a black pawn on b4 controlling the a3- and c3-squares and the black knight is active... With just one move Black decides the struggle in his favour: 1...Qe5!

Black is a pawn down, but with his last move he perhaps thought that he could regain it. If the white queen moves, for instance by 1 Qg4?, then Black plays 1...Rd8 with sufficient counterplay. Also 1 f4?! Bxb2 is far from a clear win for White. But the fact is that the position is deceptive, and White now has a winning sequence: 1 Nh6+ Kh8 2 Qxe5! Qxe5 3 Nxf7+ 1-0 3...Kg8 4 Nxe5 leaves White a piece and two pawns up, while 3...Rxf7 is not possible owing to 4 Rd8+ and mate. The double attack on f7 in the last variation above was aided by the weakness of Black’s back rank, but enabled above all by the perfect deployment of the white pieces, all on optimal squares.

A double attack on the queen and the knight, to which there is no adequate response: a) 2 Qxe5 Nd3+ 3 Kb1 (or 3 Ka1) 3...Rxc1#. b) 2 Ne2 Qxd4+ 3 Nxd4 Nd3+ and mate on c1. c) 2 Rc4 Nd3+ 3 Kb1 Qxd4 4 Rxd4 Rc1#. Was it not Archimedes who said “give me a fork and I shall move the world”?

Black to play

Ozsvath – Honfi Hungary 1973

This position is a good example of a fork, thanks to the excellent cooperation between the major pieces and the knight on d4.

The lesser of the evils. 1...Ke7 is equivalent to capitulation, as it allows 2 Rxh8.


Black has obtained rook and knight for queen and pawn, but his exposed king is another factor that works against him.

A spectacular queen sacrifice, designed to lure its white counterpart to the key square for the whole combination. 2 Qxc1 Rxc3!

2 Nxf7+ Ke7 3 Qxf4 Kxf7

4 Bc4+ Kg7 5 Rd1! Bf5 6 Qc7+ Kh6 7 h3! 1-0 If 7...Rac8 then 8 Qf4+ Kg7 9 g4 Bd7 10 g5 wins.

A second sacrifice, this time inviting the queen to step into a knight fork. 3 Qe1 If 3 Qxc3 then 3...Ne2+, followed by 4...Nxc3. Any other queen move would be met in the same way as in the game. 3...Rc1! Invasion at the decisive point. 4 Qxc1 The queen is pinned and now White cannot prevent its loss. 4...Ne2+ 0-1 Next comes 5...Nxc1.

Black to play

Jelesijević – Honfi Trstenik 1979 White’s queen and rook are aggressively placed in the vicinity of the black king. However, he has no concrete threat and in reality his position is on the verge of collapse. Black’s counterattack, based on a double attack, proves decisive. 1...Qxd1! 2 Bxd1 Ne4 As well as attacking the queen, the black knight threatens checkmate on f2, so White is compelled to give up his queen, leaving him the exchange down with a losing position. White to play

I. Sokolov – Oll Pärnu 1996 The fact the black queen is undefended attracts White’s attention. He has a considerable advantage in development. Furthermore the enemy king is still in the centre. It is White’s move and he finds a winning sequence. 1 Rd8+! Drawing the black king into the knight fork. 1...Kxd8 White to play

Sorokin – Piankov Linares (open) 2000 The white pieces have punched a hole in the enemy kingside and are now able to unleash a combination to win material. Notice the weakness of the dark squares around Black’s king, although in this case that will not be the decisive factor. 1 Rxe6!

impunity? Here is where the theme of deflection comes in, which can also be considered as example of the overworked piece, since the black queen cannot defend the squares e8 and c7 at the same time. 2...Qxe8 3 Qxc7 Rb2 4 Rad1 1-0 The rook invasion on d8 will be decisive, since both 4...Nd7 and 4...Bd7 are answered with 5 c6.

In fact, 1 Rxg6+! Kxg6 2 Qd3+ f5 3 exf6+ Kxf6 4 Nxe6 also wins. 1...fxe6 2 Nxe6+ Kh7 3 Nxc7 White has won two pawns and the rest is easy. 3...Rf3 4 Qg5 Qxg5 5 hxg5 Bc6 6 e6 Nb8 7 e7 The pawn decides the game. 7...Rxb3 8 Re6 1-0

Black to play

Rosselli – Vistaneckis Munich (team event) 1936 White is a pawn up, but it happens to be Black’s move. This provides him with an important tactical option. 1...d3! A sacrificial pawn advance to clear the d4-square. White to play

Botvinnik – Sharov USSR Trades Unions Team Ch, Leningrad 1928

2 Kxd3 If 2 Rb7+? Kf6 3 Kxd3, Black has 3...Nc5+ and 4...Nxb7.

If we set up this position and sit down on the white side of the board, we can see immediately that the c5-pawn is easily defended, for instance with 1 Rac1, since 1...Rxc5? fails to 2 Rxc5 Qxc5 3 Qxb8.

2...Rxc2! 3 Kxc2?!

But it is also important to pay attention to general considerations: the black pieces occupy passive squares, in particular the knight ‘on the rim’ and the bishop, which has not even moved yet. The white pieces, in contrast, are all active, apart from the rook on a1.

3...Nd4+ 4 Kd3 Nxb5 5 f4?! g4

1 Nf6+! Kh8 If 1...Qxf6 then 2 Qxc7. 2 Ne8! Setting up a very direct double attack: White threatens mate on g7 and attacks the rook on c7. How is it that the knight can sit on this square with

3 Rb7+ Rc7 4 Rxc7+ Nxc7 5 e5 gives White better drawing prospects. and White resigned 13 moves later. The Munich ‘Olympiad’ was an unusual one, since Germany was not yet affiliated to FIDE. It was organized to commemorate the centenary of the Munich Chess Club, and Isakas Vistaneckis was the third board for Lithuania. He later emigrated to Israel and became a doyen of the chess world, reaching the age of 90. Sometimes positions arise which, if our attention is as alert as it should be when playing chess, can be won right in the very opening, thanks to the

existence, hidden or not, of a conclusive fork. The following is such a case.

Black resigned on the spot in view of 1...Qxe7 2 Nxf5+ and 3 Nxe7.

White to play

White to play

Krasenkow – V. Mikhalevski

Seirawan – Kogan

European Ch, Saint Vincent 2000

Philadelphia 1986

By bringing out his queen’s bishop and subsequently blocking its return (...e6), Black has weakened important squares (d7 and c6), which allows White to make a little combination that proves decisive.

On the board there is material equality and the distribution of the pawns is balanced. Nevertheless White’s positional advantage is overwhelming. The b5-pawn restricts the mobility of the black pieces (the knight is out of play on b8), whereas White’s pieces have enviable scope.

1 Qxb5+! 1-0 With this simple queen sacrifice White wins the game. If 1...axb5 then 2 Bxb5+ Qd7 3 Bxd7+ Kxd7 4 Ne5+ Ke8 5 Nxg4.

1 Bxe6+! 1-0 Capturing a pawn with check and also attacking the d5-pawn. White offers the bishop in order to decoy Black’s bishop to the key square. Black resigned, since 1...Bxe6 is met by 2 Qf8+! (this time White sacrifices his queen to force the enemy king to f8, where it can be forked decisively) 2...Kxf8 3 Nxe6+ Ke7 4 Nxc7, leaving White two pawns up with a winning endgame.

White to play

Hodgson – Efimov Mondariz Zonal 2000 It is White to play in this position, and the capture of the c6-pawn obviously deserves consideration. But 1 Nxc6 Rxb6 2 Nxd8 Qxd8 allows Black to fight on for a while. The theme of the fork grants White a clearly superior option. 1 Re7! 1-0

Black to play

Kharlov – Maksimenko Ålborg 1993

After 1...Na7, White’s only advantage would be his passed pawn on d5, which would be difficult to convert owing to the presence of opposite-coloured bishops. But Black is about to make a blunder...

3...Kxh8 4 Nxf7+ Kg8 5 Nxd6 Balance sheet: White is a pawn up with the more active pieces and the better pawn-structure (Black has doubled isolated pawns on the g-file).

1...Nxa5? Black allows himself to be tempted into an unsound combination; he expects to regain the piece with the pin on the white queen. 2 Qxa5 1-0 At this moment Black realized his error and resigned. His plan of 2...Bd8 would have been answered with 3 Qxc5+! Qxc5 4 Nd7+ Ke7 5 Nxc5, when White has won a piece.

White to play

Alekhine – Tylor Margate 1937

White to play

Levenfish – Riumin Moscow 1935 Here the white pieces are placed extremely aggressively (the only piece not aiming at the enemy’s castled position is the e1-rook, which is controlling the only fully open file). But you would think that Black’s defensive set-up on the kingside was perfect: three kingside pawns on their original squares, knight on f6, rook on f8 and the extra support of the bishop on g6. Nevertheless, Levenfish will reveal a structural fault in Black’s kingside defences... 1 Qxg6!! A queen sacrifice, as surprising as it is unexpected, which achieves two objectives: it eliminates one of the defenders of f7 and it opens the h-file. 1...hxg6 2 Bxf7+! Rxf7 3 Rh8+! Is it really possible for White to get away with sacrificing in succession a queen and two pieces? This further sacrifice is the key to the whole combination: the black king is forced into a decisive knight fork.

With all four white pieces putting pressure on Black’s king position (which has already been weakened by the advance of Black’s kingside pawns) a sacrifice on g5 obviously comes to mind (1 fxg5 is not possible because it would expose the rook on g3 to attack). The problem is that 1 Nxg5 can be answered with 1...Bxf4... 1 Nxg5! Bxf4! Not 1...hxg5 2 Rxg5+ Rxg5 3 Rxg5+, winning the queen. 2 Qc3+ An important zwischenzug. 2...R8f6 If 2...Be5 then 3 Nf7+ Rg5 (3...Kh7 4 Rg7+ Bxg7 5 Qxg7#) 4 Nxe5. 3 Ne4+! This rook sacrifice opens lines leading to the black king, with decisive effect. 3...Bxg3 4 Rxg3+ Kh8 4...Kf8 5 Qb4+! is conclusive. 5 Qxf6+! Rxf6 6 Rg8+! This further sacrifice sets up a knight fork that will leave White with a winning endgame. 6...Kxg8 7 Nxf6+ 1-0 7...Kf8 8 Nxh5 dxc4 9 Kg2, etc.

Tartu 1938 White has just made a terrifying zwischenzug (capturing a knight on f7), but Black has foreseen this and launches an even more terrifying counterattack, based, as might be expected, on a fork. 1...Bxg2+! 2 Kxg2 Qxb3! Black regains the sacrificed piece and at the same time clears the e3-square for a deadly knight fork. 3 Qe4 If 3 axb3 then 3...Ne3+, followed by 4...Nxf5, with a decisive advantage to Black. White to play

Kosten – Pytel Aix-les-Bains 1991 An underlying threat of a knight fork can sometimes be the basis for a decisive invasion. Such is the case here, where Black has seriously weakened his castled position and, despite the defensive support of his queen and f8-bishop, his king will have grave difficulties staying alive.

3...Qd5! Black continues to play on the knight fork theme. 4 Nh6+ Kh8 4...gxh6? 5 Qxd5+. 5 Nf7+ Rxf7 6 Qxd5 Ne3+ 7 Kg3 Nxd5 8 Rxf7 Black has a winning position, a piece and a pawn up.

1 Re7! Qf6 The rook is immune from capture: 1...Bxe7 loses to the knight fork 2 Nxh6+, followed by 3 Nxf7. If 1...Qg6, White wins by invoking the same theme: 2 Rg7+! Bxg7 3 Ne7+ and 4 Nxg6. 1...Qh5 is met by 2 Ng3, with the double threat of mating on h7 and capturing the queen. 2 Bd4 Qa6 2...Qc6 3 Qe1 threatens 4 Qe5. 3 Nd6 1-0 The white queen’s invasion on g6 or h7 will prove decisive.

White to play

Petrosian – Simagin Moscow Ch (5) 1956 This position will present us with a geometric feast of criss-crossing lines. White has two minor pieces for a rook and two pawns, which, in theory, could be considered a fair exchange of material. This balance of forces cannot be altered by taking the rook (1 Nxf7?) since this would acquiesce to a draw by perpetual check (1...Qd1+ 2 Qg1 Qf3+ 3 Qg2 Qd1+ 4 Bg1 Qh5+, etc.). Tigran Petrosian saw a brilliant combination which solves all his problems, based on a fork. 1 Qa8+! Kg7

Black to play

Keres – Kaila

If 1...Ke7 then 2 Qxa7+ Kf6 3 Qxf7+ Kxg5 4 Qd5, winning.

2 Bxe5+!! A decisive fork, decoying the black queen to the critical square. Instead, 2 Qh8+? Kg6 3 Nxf7 Qd1+ 4 Kg2 Qe2+ once again allows Black to draw by perpetual check.

Now is the moment for White to profit from his investment. 8...Rcf8 9 Bd4 1-0

2...Qxe5 3 Qh8+! Kxh8 4 Nxf7+ 1-0 This knight fork is the key to the whole combination. White regains his investment with substantial interest.

Black to play

Hug – Spassky European Team Ch, Bath 1973

White to play

Gheorghiu – Kinnmark World Junior Ch, The Hague 1961 White has an ideal deployment of his pieces, which occupy dominant squares and are perfectly coordinated. Black, in contrast, has still not developed his c8-bishop and a8-rook, and his castled position is poorly defended. 1 Rxd6! This exchange sacrifice signals the start of the attack. 1...Qxd6 2 Nxf7+! A knight fork, based on the weakness of Black’s back rank. 2...Rxf7 3 Re8+ Qf8 A sad necessity, since if 3...Rf8, there is no good answer to 4 Qd2!!, with a double attack on the queen and the h6-pawn, with mate on g7 (4...Qxd2 5 Rxf8#). 4 Rxf8+ Rxf8 5 Qd2! Setting up a threat with which we are already familiar: 6 Qxh6+ and 7 Qxg7#. 5...Kg8 6 Qd4! Yet another double attack, on c5 and g7. 6...Rf7 7 Bxc8 Rxc8 8 Qxc5

White has just captured a piece on c5 and is expecting the response 1...Qxc5. But this type of logic (taking things for granted) is not always good in chess. The reader is therefore invited to look for other, bolder options. As in so many other cases, the key is an (unexpected) winning zwischenzug. 1...Rd2! To deflect the white queen from the defence of f3 and lure it into a knight fork. 2 Nd3 Other defences were also unsatisfactory. For example: 2 Qe3 is met by 2...Nc4 3 Qf4 Qxc5, with a double attack on f2 and the b2-bishop. If 2 Ba3 then 2...Rxe2 3 Rxe2 b6 4 Nb3 Qxc3, with an attack on b3 and f3. 2...Rxe2 with a decisive material advantage to Black.

Biel 1988 With his last move, Black was hoping to neutralize the impressive white line-up on the open file, but his uncastled king and lagging development will allow White to demonstrate his great positional advantage. 1 Qxe8+! Bxe8 2 Rxe8+ White has sacrificed queen for rook and minor piece, but his assault on the black king will prove decisive. 2...Kd7 3 Nh7! This looks irrelevant, but it makes it difficult for the black queen to cover the critical e7-square. 3...Qd4+ 4 Kh1 White to play

Puschmann – Lengyel Budapest 1971 The g-pawn is missing from White’s castled position, but his knights, in advanced posts on e5 and g5, are monsters which, with the crafty collaboration of the h4-bishop, will take full advantage of the tactical landscape.

Not, of course, 4 Kf1??, in view of 4...Ng3#. 4...Ng3+ 5 Kh2 Ne4 Black tries to gain the time to create an escape-route for his king. 6 Nxe4 c6 6...Kxe8 would fail to 7 Neg5+ Kd7 8 Nf8+ Kd8 9 Nf7+ Kc8 10 Re8#.

1 Ngf7+!

7 Nc5+! dxc5 8 Nf8+ Kd6

A surprising check.

If 8...Kc7 then 9 Ne6+.


9 Rd8+ 1-0

If 1...Kg8 then 2 Nxh6+ gxh6 3 Rg3+ Kh8 4 Qe8! Rxe8 5 Bf6+ Qg7 6 Bxg7+ Kg8 7 Bxh6+ Kh8 8 Nf7#.

Finally a knight fork concludes the game: 9...Kc7 10 Ne6+ Kb6 11 Nxd4.

2 Bd8! To deflect the black queen from the defence of f7 and lure it into a knight fork. 2...Rf8 2...Qxd8 is met by 3 Nxf7+ and 4 Nxd8. 3 Bxc7 Bxc7 4 Nf7+! Kg8 5 Nxh6+ 1-0

White to play

Smejkal – Djukić

To conclude our survey of the knight’s ability to execute spectacular forks, we shall look at a study by the famous Russian composer Alexei Troitsky, an artist who was unique in his field, capable of arousing in the spectator (dazzled as we are by his magnificent creations) the greatest aesthetic emotion. The master Romanovsky wrote in his book Middlegame Combinations: “The base of every combination is composed of two important creative means, dynamism and harmony. The union of both of these creates forms, of which the artistic content gives rise to the aesthetic of the combination.”

4 Rxh4! Qc8 4...Qxh4? 5 Ng6+. 5 Rh8! The rook continues its implacable persecution of the enemy queen. 5...Qb7 At last the queen seems to have reached an open space. 6 Rb8!

White to play

A. Troitsky Deutsche Schachzeitung, 1910 White to play and win A surprising task. With studies or artistic composed positions, it is natural that the solution should contain a certain element of surprise, since only thus will the reader be interested in positions that look quite natural or even banal. In this position, materialistic sequences such as 1 Nc6+? followed by 2 Kxg2 are futile, since after 2...Qxb2 it is Black who is playing for a win. Also insufficient for White to win would be 1 Nc6+? Kd6! (not 1...Kd7? 2 Rb4 Qc8 3 Rb8, pursuing the queen) 2 Rb4 Qc8 3 Kxg2 Qg4+ 4 Kf1 Qd1+, with a draw by perpetual check. The reader with ambitions as a solver needs to aim higher. 1 Rb4! Qc8

But it is a pure mirage and the rook shatters the queen’s dreams of freedom. The queen finally succumbs; after 6...Qxb8 (or 6...Qa7) White wins with 7 Nc6+ and 8 Nxb8. It is impressive to note that the rook is able to pursue the black queen thanks to the latent protection of no fewer than six knight forks. At the same time one is aware of the great aesthetic impact produced by the symmetrical to-and-fro manoeuvre of the rook, b8h8-h4-h8-b8, each time attacking the enemy queen. I definitely believe that it has been worthwhile to make you aware of the power of the knight fork as a tool of great practical application.

2.4: The B+N Connection Let us now examine, in view of its importance in practice, a type of finish which is made possible by the splendid collaboration between bishop and knight. The following combination is easier than some of the previous ones, but will serve as an introduction to the one that arose in the game Andreev-Dolukhanov.

Naturally, the capture of the rook with 1...Qxb4? loses to 2 Nc6+ and 3 Nxb4, the first appearance of the latent knight fork. Also 1...Qa8? would be horrible due to 2 Rb8!, winning the queen (2...Qxb8 3 Nc6+ and 4 Nxb8). 2 Rb8! A second ‘free port’ for the rook, thanks to the knight fork. 2...Qh3 2...Qxb8? 3 Nc6+, etc. 3 Rh8! The rook glides about as if on a skating rink and no square on the board seems closed to it. 3...Nh4 Notice that there is not a single square available to the queen, since they are all controlled by White. Once again, 3...Qxh8 fails to 4 Ng6+ and 5 Nxh8.

White to play

Meera – Kadam India 1999 Black has weakened his castled position with the advances ...f6 and ...g6, which have left his king

somewhat exposed, a situation made worse by the presence of hostile elements in that sector. Furthermore Black still has undeveloped pieces on his queen’s flank, which is cut off from the king. However, Black was relying on his last move (...Nf7), attacking the bishop, to ward off some of the danger.

In fact, while this is a spectacular idea, and proved successful in this game, it may not be the best move. In John Nunn’s Chess Puzzle Book, Nunn indicates the quieter positional continuation 1...Qc5! as greatly favouring Black. 2 Rxh2 Qxa3!!

1 Qxf6! Nxf6

Now we see the truth. Despite appearances, the black queen is very strong.

Obviously forced; anything else would allow 2 Qg7#.

3 bxa3

2 Nxf6+ Kh8 3 Bg7+! 1-0

After 3 Kb1? Nc3+ 4 bxc3 Ka8!, the b-file, from which Black’s pawn has disappeared, works in Black’s favour.

Knight and bishop dominate all the squares around the black king, so that the capture of the bishop is forced. After 3...Kxg7 comes 4 Nxe8+ and 5 Nxc7. This culmination to the sequence is a characteristic feature of some combinations in which the knight, thanks to the splendid collaboration of the bishop, finishes with a fork on the duo K+Q (or K+R).

3...Bxa3+ 4 Kb1 Nc3+ 5 Ka1 And now what? 5...Bb2+! The vital point: there is optimal cooperation between bishop and knight, which decoys the king onto the key square for the fork. 6 Kxb2 Nxd1+ 7 Kc1 While this is probably OK, computer analysis points to 7 Kb3 Nxe3 8 fxg5 Kb7 (8...Ng4 9 Rh1 and now 9...Kb7 10 Bc4 or 9...Nxe5 10 Ba6) 9 Rh6 Re8 10 Bc4 as a more direct way for White to stay afloat. 7...Nxe3 0-1??

Black to play

Andreev – Dolukhanov Leningrad 1935 In this position, where both kings have castled on the queenside, there are some aspects which are quite revealing about piece activity. First of all, the doubled pawns in Black’s castled position seem to suggest that it is Black’s king which is the more exposed. However, the white pieces are not, for the moment, in a position to exploit the holes in Black’s structure. The black pieces are more active: the knight occupies an advanced post, the queen and bishop are lined up against the pawn on a3, and the rooks are on the active side of their respective open files. 1...Rxh2?! Is Black’s position so strong that he can even sacrifice the exchange for such a poor bishop?

White apparently resigned in view of 8 fxg5 Ng4, even though the ending should probably be drawn with accurate (and active!) play by White. However, the main point of this example is not the details of the ending, but rather the combinative idea itself, which could have been a clear-cut game-winner in slightly altered circumstances, and which may inspire the reader to look for effective ideas that share similar themes. If we recall the previous position, we can see that the pattern of the combination is the same and it is a brilliant idea that is well worth remembering.

2.5: Pawn Forks All the chess pieces are capable of making a double attack; even the humble pawn can fork two enemy pieces. The first position below shows the clearest case in which the possibility of a fork by a pawn can be exploited. For this, the pawns must be arranged in a phalanx (i.e. alongside one other).

1...Qxa6 Any retreat by the king allows mate on the back rank. 2 Qxa6+ Kxa6 3 b5+ White wins the exchange. There should be no doubt that chess is a subtle game, in which a small detail can often prove decisive. The next position, in any case, is evidence of this.

Black to play

White has a clear advantage in material, but it is Black’s move and there is a fortunate coordination between his rook and kingside pawns. 1...Re3+! First, Black executes a fork by the rook, decoying the enemy queen onto the fatal square. 2 Qxe3 f4+ A pawn fork. White to play

3 Qxf4 gxf4+ 4 Kxf4 Ka5

Vaganian – Dvoretsky

and Black wins easily. Some of these positions featuring a pawn fork can seem very simple, but they continue to appear, even at the highest level of the game. Here is an example from a game between two high-level grandmasters.

USSR Ch, Erevan 1975 There are no obvious weaknesses in the black camp, apart from the (apparently) awkward position of the knight on a5 (of course it threatens to land on c4 immediately, since it is indirectly protected by the rook on c8) and the d7-bishop’s dependence on the f6-knight for protection. But can this be translated into something positive? 1 b4! With this pawn sacrifice Vaganian initiates a winning sequence. 1...Bxb4 2 Ne4! Now this move is strong, because the bishop on b4 is loose. Remember that a loose piece is a tactical motif. 2...Bb5

White to play

Illescas – Vaganian Barcelona 1989 Illescas won with:

If 2...Bxd2 then 3 Nxf6+ gxf6 4 Qxd2, with a decisive advantage. 2...Nxe4 is met by 3 Bxb4, winning the exchange. 3 Qb1! Bxd2

1 Ba6+!

In the line 3...Nxe4 4 Bxb4 Nc3 5 Bxc3 Rxc3 6 Qb4 White wins.

The black queen is decoyed to the a6-square.

4 Nd6!

A crucial zwischenzug. 4...Qe7 If 4...Qc6 then 5 Nxb5, and if the black bishop retreats, then 6 Nxa7 wins the exchange. 5 Nxc8 Rxc8 6 Qxb5 with a decisive advantage in material.

2.6: The Discovered Double Attack In the following example, a simple discovered attack forces immediate resignation. Black to play

Stanciu – Drimer Romanian Ch, Bucharest 1969 Black is two pawns up and the white bishop is pinned. White has no immediate threat, and while Black is a little tied up, he has three relatively safe moves to choose from: 1...g4, 1...b5 or 1...Kf7. But he played... 1...Nc6?? ...seeking to exploit the pin. But he was greeted with a nasty surprise: White to play

Bouton – Grabuzova Cappelle la Grande 2000

2 Rh8+! ‘Fatal attraction’ – the black king is forced to move to h8, allowing White to break the pin by making a discovered attack with check.

1 Rg4! 1-0


The rook ‘discovers’ an attack by the white queen on the black queen, while at the same time it attacks the rook on g8. Black cannot avoid material losses. If 1...Qxe5 then 2 Rxg8+ Kd7 3 Rxe5, leaving White a rook up.

2...Kf7 3 Qf1+ is no improvement for Black. 3 Bxg7+ 1-0 After 3...Kxg7 4 Qxd5, White seizes the booty made available by the discovered attack.

The next game is a good example of the dangers posed by the discovered attack, always latent in positions in which one of the players suffers a momentary lapse of concentration.

White to play

Tolush – Mititelu

Warsaw 1961 The half-open g-file, occupied by a white rook, is a bad omen for Black, although his king looks well protected by the pair of knights. However, the hpawn is missing from the king’s protective cover and furthermore White’s queen and knight are very well placed for direct aggression. The solution to the enigma is like the story of Columbus and the egg – in other words “easy when you know how”.

The threat is 5 Qh4# and the white queen controls the three squares on Black’s back rank to which the black rook could go to provide his king with luft. After 4...g5 5 Qxg5 Rf8 6 Re1, the threat of 7 Re7 is decisive. The next confrontation took place during the Ladies vs Veterans match, which used to be organized annually by the Dutch millionaire Joop van Oosterom.

1 Qxf6! Notice that this move is possible thanks to fact that the g-file is half-open and already occupied by a white rook. 1...gxf6 2 Nge4+! 1-0 A deadly discovered check. After 2...Kh8 3 Nxf6 there is no adequate defence against the double threat to capture the queen and mate on g8. If the black knight moves, then 4 Nxd7 leaves White a piece and a pawn up.

White to play

Zhu Chen – Korchnoi Ladies vs Veterans, Munich 2000 The young Chinese player now made a serious blunder, allowing her illustrious opponent to entrap her with a double attack: 1 Rxh4??

White to play

Dlugy – Stoyko USA 1991 A brief glance should be enough to appreciate the superiority of White’s position: all his pieces are free to move, while Black’s queenside pieces remain undeveloped and his king is in a situation of positional asphyxia. 1 Rh6! Is this an offer to exchange queens? White threatens 2 Ng6# and also attacks the black queen. There is only one possible way for Black to stave off immediate defeat. 1...Qg5 If 1...Qxa3 then 2 Ng6#. 2 Ng6+ Qxg6 3 Rxg6 hxg6 4 Qe7! 1-0

Why not 1 f4 instead? For example: 1...Qg3 2 fxe5 h3 3 Qe2 (3 Qf2?? h2+) 3...h2+ 4 Kh1 Qxe5 5 Qxe5+ Rxe5 6 Kxh2, and White wins. Now Korchnoi found a trick: 1...Qf6! 0-1 This is a double attack, directly on the rook and indirectly on the queen, since Black threatens a discovered attack with ...Nf3+. Unfortunately for White, her two attacked pieces cannot defend each other.

and GM Geller will clarify the situation with his usual mastery, thanks to a latent discovered attack. 1 Rd4! An elegant pseudo-sacrifice. 1...Rxf4 If 1...Bxd4? then 2 Bxd4+ Qxd4 3 Nxg6+ (here is the discovered attack) and 4 Qxd4+. 2 Rd8+ Rf8 Or 2...Bf8 3 Rxf8+! Rxf8 4 Bd4+. 3 Rxf8+! Bxf8 4 Qxe4 1-0 White to play

White wins after 4...Bxe4 5 Bd4+ Rg7 (5...Bg7 6 Rc8+) 6 Rc8.

Charousek – Wollner Vienna 1893 The last moves were Ra1-e1 and ...Nb8-c6 (to stop the threat on e8). White already enjoys a material advantage, which means that the win should not be difficult for a magician of the chessboard such as Rudolf Charousek. What is noteworthy, however, is the beauty of the finish, which I hope the reader will appreciate. 1 Qe8+!! A devastating queen sacrifice. 1...Bxe8 2 fxe8Q+ Rxe8 3 Bxd6# (1-0) The power of this type of double check is perfectly illustrated here.

Black to play

Hübner – Timman Bugojno 1978 White has established his knight in enemy territory and is attacking the rook on d8. But the weakness of the white king on the long diagonal will prove to be the decisive factor. That might sound rather abstract, but all will be revealed as soon as Black plays... 1...Bxg2! This combination is possible thanks to the active position of Black’s knight and also his queen, ready to invade on h3 or to occupy the long light-squared diagonal. 2 Nxd8

White to play

Geller – Kapengut USSR Ch, Leningrad 1971 It is clear that the white pieces are more active and that Black has the burden of the knight on a5, out of play. However, the situation in the centre is far from clear: the defence of the e6-bishop is dependent on the f4-knight, and this is pinned... It is White to play,

If 2 Kxg2 then 2...Qh3+ 3 Kh1 Nf3, with unstoppable mate. 2...Qe4! 3 h3 To give the king an escape-square on h2. Black was threatening 3...Nh3# and 3 Qxg5 is met by 3...Bh3! (but not 3...Bh1?? 4 f3 Qxf3 5 Rc2) 4 f3 Qe2, when there is no defence against mate on g2. 3...Nf3+! 0-1

The white king is forced into the line of fire, allowing a deadly discovered check: 4 Kxg2 Nxd4+ followed by capturing the white queen with 5...Nxb5.

White to play

Keres – Gligorić Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade Candidates 1959 White to play

Sorokin – Perić Ubeda 2000 It is clear that White dominates the situation: he has his five pieces all directed against the enemy’s castled position and his three major pieces concentrated along the g- and h-files. Black has neutralized the pressure of the enemy bishop on the b1-h7 diagonal by playing ...g6, but in doing so has weakened the dark squares around his king. White to play and win! 1 Qxg6! Spectacular, but not difficult. The other demolition method also works: 1 Rxh7+! Kxh7 2 Qh5+ Kg7 3 Nxg6!, and the c2-bishop comes back to life; if 3...fxg6 then 4 Qxg6+ Kh8 5 Rh3+, and the black fortress lies in ruins.

Sometimes the latent possibility of a double threat can be employed in a very simple manner. Such is the case here, even though both players were among the most outstanding grandmasters of their time. The position is ready for the mechanism to be set in motion. 1 Rxg7+! Bxg7 There is little choice. After 1...Kh8 2 Rg5 White has won a pawn and keeps a very strong attack. 2 Qg4 With the double threat of 3 Qxg7# and 3 Nh6+ (discovered attack), winning the queen. Gligorić played the ‘heroic’ 2...Qxf5 in an attempt to survive, but after 3 Qxf5, it is clear that White should have no difficulty in winning. Before reading on, evaluate the next position and decide what you would play as White.

1...fxg6 1...f5 is answered with 2 Qxh7+ Qxh7 3 Ng6+ Kg7 4 Rxh7+ Kxh7 5 Nxf8+, etc. 2 Nxg6+ Kg7 3 Nxe7+ Kf7 3...Kh8 allows 4 Rxh7#. 4 Nxg8 1-0 If 4...Rxg8 then 5 Rxh7+, winning the rook on c7.

White to play

Antunac – Hübner Dresden (team event) 1969

The white pieces are clearly much superior to their black counterparts, but does their greater activity compensate for being a piece down?

due to the disappearance of the g-pawn and the advance of the f-pawn.

1 Rc7!!

Not only does White refuse to retreat his knight, but invites the e6-pawn to feast on the bishop instead.

Impunity (invasion of the seventh rank) and treachery (queen sacrifice). 1...Qxh5 2 Re7+ Kf8 The Yugoslavian GM Antunac has set in motion the combination known as the see-saw, made famous by the Mexican Carlos Torre in his game against Emanuel Lasker, in Moscow 1925 (see FCM, page 50). The rook is a force of nature, operating under the protection of discovered checks from the bishop. 3 Rxb7+ Ke8 4 Re7+ The rook repeats the check, but not the position, because the b7-bishop has disappeared from the board.

1 Bd5!

1...Kf8 Naturally, it was not possible to play 1...exd5? due to 2 Nh6+ and 3 Qxd7. To 1...Kf7 the reply would be 2 Bxe6+! Qxe6 (or 2...Kxe6 3 Nh6+ f5 4 Qxf5#) 3 Nh6+ and 4 Qxe6. 2 Nxe7 Kxe7 3 Re1 The only inactive piece is brought into play, putting pressure on e6. 3...e5 4 f5 Nf8 5 Qg7+ Ke8 6 Qxf6 White has an extra (passed) pawn and an overwhelming positional advantage.

4...Kf8 5 Rxh7+ Ke8 6 Rxh5 White regains the queen, simplifying into an endgame in which he has an extra pawn and the more active pieces, against a poorly coordinated team of black pieces.

White to play

Inkiov – Pritchett Dubai Olympiad 1986

White to play

Alatortsev – Goglidze USSR Ch, Leningrad 1933 White has a clear positional advantage: his pawnstructure is excellent, with a chain of three pawns on each wing, and all his pieces are active, with the exception of the a1-rook (which can easily be brought to a good square). In contrast, the enemy position presents a sorry sight: the rooks are doubled on the b-file, where, for the moment, they are ineffective. The black bishop is hemmed in by the pawns on d6 and f6, and the queen and the pinned g6-knight occupy passive positions. Worst of all, though, is that Black’s castled position is very weak,

There is absolute material equality in this position, but White has certain tactical factors in his favour, such as the magnificent deployment of his major pieces and latent pressure on the f-file. In addition, the g5-pawn controls vital points close to the black king, not to mention that the black pieces are rather discoordinated. We shall see how White took advantage of the accumulation of these factors. 1 Nd5!! A veiled double attack, since the threat to the black queen is made possible by the pressure of White’s queen and rook along the f-file. 1...Bxd5 1...Rxd5? allows 2 Qxf7+ Kh8 3 Re8+ Rxe8 4 Qxe8+ Kh7 5 Rf7#. 2 Bxd5 Rf8

Now the weakness of the f7-square has been highlighted. 3 Re8!! A decisive deflection.

The aim of the combination has been accomplished: White has forced the black king to a square where it can be subjected to a decisive knight fork. 6 Nf6+ exf6 7 Qxd7 White went on to win.

3...Rxe8 Or: 3...Rxd5 then 4 Qxf7+ Kh8 5 Rxf8#; 3...Qc7 4 Rxf8+ Kxf8 5 Qxd4. 4 Bxf7+ Kg7 5 Bxe8 The double threat (of mate and against the d7-rook) wins material.

White to play

Keres – Spassky Gothenburg Interzonal 1955

White to play

Ragozin – Veresov Moscow 1945 The black king lacks protection or, to put it another way, White’s attackers outnumber Black’s defenders. White’s major pieces, concentrated on the kingside, together with the knight, underline the passivity of Black’s queen and e8-rook. 1 Rxg6+!

The ‘sweeping’ power of White’s two bishops is tremendous and added to the privileged positions of the other three white pieces (all attacking points in the enemy castled position) this grants White a decisive positional advantage, which should be ripe for exploitation. Notice, in particular, that White’s queen and b2-bishop are both aiming at the g7square. If it were not for the knight blocking the long diagonal, White would have mate in one. 1 Qxg7+!! 1-0 A spectacular queen sacrifice. Let’s see why Black resigned:

This exchange sacrifice acts as the detonator for an ambitious combination.

1...Kxg7 2 Nxd7+



If 1...Kxg6 then 2 Qg3+ Kh6 3 Qf4+ Kg7 4 Qxf7+ Kh8 5 Nf6, winning, while 1...hxg6 would met as in the game.

The only move.

2 Rf7+! This rook sacrifice enables the white queen to enter on h7. 2...Kxf7 3 Qxh7+ Ke6 3...Kf8 is answered with 4 Nf4 Rec8 5 Nxg6+ Ke8 6 Qg8#. 4 Qxg6+ Ke5 5 Qg7+ Kxe4

Discovering a check on the long diagonal.

3 Nf6+ Kf7 If 3...Kh8 then 4 Nxe8+ and 5 Nxc7. Now comes another discovery which is, at the same time, a double attack. 4 Nd5+ There would follow 5 Nxc7, with an extra piece.

White to play

Black to play

Volkevich – Lyskov

E. Jimenez – Gligorić

Moscow 1952

Palma de Mallorca 1967

There is greater harmony in White’s position: he has a strong knight outpost on e5 and a good pawnstructure, including a queenside majority. Black’s only trump seems to be the c8-rook, which at the moment is pinning the c3-knight. But it is White’s move and he detects, in the general layout of the pieces, a combination culminating in a decisive double attack.

Black’s pieces are all magnificently placed. If Black could make a wish, he would perhaps ask for his d5rook not to be pinned, but the fact is that White has no way to exploit the pin. Also the pawn on f6 is doomed. Can Black exploit the awkward deployment of the white pieces? 1...Nc5!

1 Nxd5!

Yes he can: a double attack on White’s queen and e1-rook.

The pinned knight breaks the pin in an aggressive manner.

2 Rxe8+

1...exd5 1...Rxc2 is met by 2 Nxe7+ Kh7 (2...Kf8 3 N7g6+ Ke8 4 Rxc2) 3 Rxc2. If 1...Qb7 then White plays 2 Ne7+! anyway.

If 2 Qg3 then 2...Rxe1+ 3 Qxe1 Rd1. 2...Qxe8 Renewing the threat on White’s vulnerable back rank.

2 Qxc8+!

3 Qf3

Not content with having sacrificed the knight, White ‘simplifies’, with this exchange of queen for the two enemy rooks.

3 Qe3 is met by 3...Rd1+ 4 Kf2 Ne4+, and in the event of 3 Qc4, there is a decisive interference: 3...Bd3 4 Qc3 Na4 5 Qd2 Bb5 6 Qe3 Rd1+ 7 Kf2 Rf1+ 8 Kg3 Qxe3+ 9 Bxe3 Rxa1.

2...Rxc8 3 Rxc8+ Kh7 4 Rh8+! The culmination: the rook forces the black king onto the key square. 4...Kxh8 5 Ng6+ After 6 Nxe7, White will have gained a decisive material advantage: the exchange and a pawn.

3...Bg4 0-1 Deflecting the white queen from the f1-square: 4 Qxg4 (4 Qf1 Rd1) 4...Qe1#.

A brilliant tactical concept.

2.7: Another Type of Double Attack Setting up a double attack with a single move does not necessarily require that the two threats should be made by one and the same piece. The move might very well enable other pieces to threaten something. The following examples illustrate situations of this type.

White to play

Donovan – C. Howell Hove 1997 Of course, the position is explosive: White’s g3-rook and e5-knight occupy aggressive posts par excellence. Black has his king in the corner and his queenside pieces remain undeveloped, while his queen is a long way away from the possible zone of operations. The problem that White must solve is how to increase his attacking potential on the kingside.

Black to play

White solved this with...

Klavinš – Tal Latvian Ch, Riga 1958

1 Be7!! This is a very spectacular double attack on widely separated targets (f6 and a4), all the more so because the black queen can capture the rook on a1 with check! 1...Qxa1+ 2 Kf2 The problem with stable structures is that ‘life goes on’. In other words, Black has very real problems here which are not going to go away any time soon. 2...Bg7 2...Bxe7? 3 Nxf7+ Rxf7 4 Qxh5+ Rh7 5 Qe8+ and mate next move. 3 Bf6! White is truly inspired. 3...Qc1 3...Kg8 is no better; for example, 4 Qe4!, with the threat of 5 Qxh7+ and mate in two: 5...Kxh7 6 Rxg7+ Kh8 (or 6...Kh6) 7 Nxf7#. 4 Bxg7+ Kg8 Or 4...Rxg7 5 Qxh5+ Rh7 (5...Kg8 6 Qxf7+ Kh8 7 Qxg7#) 6 Nxf7#. 5 Bh6+ Kh8 6 Nxf7+! Rxf7 7 Qe5+ Kh7 8 Rg7+ Kxh6 9 Qg5# (1-0)

White has exchanged two minor pieces for a rook and two pawns. His pieces are well coordinated, but his queen has been left in a vulnerable position, which was not helped by his last move, Be3-d4. Black must try to take advantage of the white queen’s predicament. 1...d5! With this move Black prepares a double attack. Firstly, by opening the diagonal of the f8-bishop, Black threatens 2...Rxd4 3 Qxd4 Bc5, winning the queen. Also, with the advance of the d-pawn Black prepares the lesser threat of 2...dxe4. White is forced, naturally, to deal with the chief threat and plays 2 Kh1, but after 2...dxe4, Black has won a pawn, which is passed, strong and very well protected, so that it can be considered to constitute a decisive advantage.

White to play

White to play

L. Schmid – Langeweg

Kudrin – Nieminen

European Team Ch, Hamburg 1965

Port Erin 1999

White already has a decisive positional advantage. He has complete control of the d-file and the long dark diagonal. Black’s castled position has been weakened and White has a knight ready to seize the important f6-square. In addition, a black rook has strayed to e3, where it is more a target than having any positive role to play.

All White has are two excellent minor pieces, together with an enemy king which is not very well protected. But something else is also clear: the key square e6, which is simply crying out to be invaded. Now we shall see what can be achieved with a double attack.

1 b5!

This sets up a double attack on e6 and g6. Black can neutralize each of these two threats... but not both at the same time!

This is much better than the immediate double exchange sacrifice on d7: 1 Rxd7? Nxd7 2 Rxd7?! (2 Nd4 is more promising, but far from clearly winning) 2...Bxd7 3 Nf6+ Kf8 gives White nothing better than a draw with 4 Nxh7+ Kg8 5 Nf6+ Kf8, etc. With the text-move, White critically improves this idea. 1...cxb5 2 Rxd7! Nxd7 3 Rxd7 Bxd7 4 Nf6+ Kf8 5 Nd5! 1-0 Now we can perceive the difference: the double threat (mate on h8 and attack on the black queen) is a great improvement. The key was to prepare the ground for the knight to be able to occupy the d5square. The power of a double threat cannot be emphasized too strongly. The next position will serve as an optimal example, even though at first sight there seem to be few grounds for optimism.

1 Bxf7!

1...Bxg5 If 1...Rxf7 then 2 Ne6+, winning the queen. 2 Qxg6+ Kh8 3 Qh5+ Kg7 4 Qxg5+ Kxf7 5 Rxe5 Qd6 6 Rf5+ Ke8 7 Re1+ Kd7 8 Qg7+ 1-0 8...Kd8 and 8...Kc8 are both met by 9 Rxf8+.


Exercise 4: White to play ☆ Exercise 1: White to play ☆

Black had responded to dxe5 with ...dxe5? (a lesser evil was ...Ng6). How did White punish this error?

White has a piece for two pawns, but the black queen threatens back-rank mate. What do you propose?

Exercise 5: White to play ☆ Exercise 2: Black to play ☆

In view of the pin, it seems that White is going to lose his rook. What do you think?

What does the pin on the bishop suggest to you?

Exercise 6: White to play ☆ Exercise 3: White to play ☆ Look for a decisive move to terminate the struggle.

Is there a way for White to take advantage of this position?

Exercise 7: Black to play ☆ The white queen has no safe squares, so use your imagination and come up with an idea.

Exercise 10: White to play ☆ White played 1 Qe3. How would you reply?

Exercise 11: White to play ☆ Exercise 8: Black to play ☆ Here it is a question of finding the decisive discovery. Seek and ye shall find.

Pay attention to the tactical details and you will gain a lot of points!

Exercise 12: White to play ☆ Exercise 9: Black to play ☆ The position is ripe for action: destroy the defence and pin to win.

What were we saying about details? Here a little touch of magic is needed.

Exercise 13: White to play ☆ The position of the black king is very weak. The question is how to demonstrate this.

Exercise 14: White to play ☆ All the white pieces are active. Tell the world why the black position is as leaky as a sieve.

Exercise 15: White to play ☆ Look how many white pieces are aiming at the black king and look how poorly protected it is!

Exercise 16: White to play ☆ If you manage to win the exchange here, you will have played like a world champion.

Exercise 17: White to play ☆ How can White make use of a simple combination, based on a double attack?

Exercise 18: White to play ☆☆ Show how White can exploit the pressure on the critical squares d4, f5 and g6.

Exercise 19: White to play ☆☆ There is an unusual invasion route here. Don’t miss the opportunity.

Exercise 20: White to play ☆☆ The geometrical connections must be your guide. Establish contacts between the pieces.

Exercise 21: White to play ☆☆ The threat of mate on the long diagonal can be neutralized. It is your job to do so.

Exercise 22: Black to play ☆☆ The first move is spectacular, but you are already familiar with this type of move.

Exercise 23: Black to play ☆☆ Active pieces, weak back rank... Fertile terrain for a combination.

Exercise 24: White to play ☆☆ Have you noticed that Black’s king and queen are in range of a knight fork? The problem is that the f6square is protected...

Exercise 25: Black to play ☆☆ The black pieces are very active and excellently coordinated. Demonstrate this.

Exercise 26: Black to play ☆☆ The position of the white king is very insecure, with so many black pieces dancing round it. What do you suggest?

Exercise 27: Black to play ☆☆ Naturally, the pawn on f5 cannot be captured, but have you noticed the position of the white king?

Exercise 28: White to play ☆☆ The arrangement of the pieces is very favourable to double and discovered attacks. Over to you...

Exercise 29: White to play ☆☆ Does the presence of both the white rook and the black queen on the c-file say anything to you? Combine the tactical factors.

Exercise 30: White to play ☆☆☆ The white bishops are fearsome and the black centre is rather unstable. Can you profit from these factors?

Exercise 31: Black to play ☆☆☆

Exercise 34: White to play ☆☆☆

The greater activity of the black pieces suggests the existence of a combination. How can Black win material?

Along with the attack on the white queen, Black has set up an even greater threat. What advice can you give White here?

Exercise 32: Black to play ☆☆☆

Exercise 35: White to play ☆☆☆

How can Black set up a decisive double threat?

Exercise 33: Black to play ☆☆☆ Notice that all the black pieces are aiming towards White’s kingside and also take into account the weakness of White’s back rank.

This position is a composed study: you have been warned. You need to be meticulous.


White to play

3) Böök – Saila

White to play

Stockholm 1946

1) Sveshnikov – Dreev St Petersburg Zonal 1993 1 Qh8+! Kxh8 2 Nxf7+ Kg7 3 Nxe5

1 Qe5! This threatens mate on g7 and attacks the black queen, but 1...Qxe5 loses to 2 Rxf8#.

and White won.

White to play Black to play

2) Santa Cruz – Uhlmann Havana 1964 1...Rxb2+! 0-1 After 2 Kxb2 c3+, the white queen is lost.

4) Feuer – O’Kelly Belgian Ch, Liège 1934 1 Qxd8+ Kxd8 2 0-0-0+ 1-0 White wins the rook on b2.

Black to play

7) Paoli – Andersson Dortmund 1973 1...Bg5! Now 2 Qxg5 Nh3+ costs White his queen. The lesser of the evils is two pieces for a queen: 2 Bxf4 Bxh6 3 Bxh6 Rfe8 However, the material advantage is huge.

White to play

5) 1 Qh6+! Qxh6 2 Rh2+ Kg3 3 Rxh6 and White wins.

Black to play

8) Parker – N. Pert British League (4NCL) 1999/00 1...Rh1+! 0-1 2 Kxh1 Nxf2+ 3 Rxf2 Qxc3.

White to play

6) P. Stamma Essai sur le Jeu des Échecs, 1737 1 Rd8+ Kb7 2 Rb8+! Kxb8 3 Nc6+ winning the queen.

Black to play

9) Bjarnehag – Wedberg Stockholm 1999/00 1...Bd4! 2 Nc4 Rxf4 0-1

White to play

White to play

10) Bhat – Browne

12) Sznapik – R. Bernard

San Francisco 2000

Polish Ch, Poznan 1971

In response to 1 Qe3? Black played 1...Qxh2+! 0-1. After 2 Kxh2 Ng4+ 3 Kg3 Nxe3, White has not only lost a pawn, but will also lose the exchange.

1 Rd8! The threat is 2 Rb7#, and 1...Rxd8 is answered with 2 c7+ and 3 cxd8Q+. White instead played 1 c7+? and went on to lose.

White to play

11) Razuvaev – Meštrović

White to play

Keszthely 1981

13) Fischer – Gligorić Rovinj/Zagreb 1970

1 Nh7! If 1...Rxc8, 2 Nxf6+ gxf6 3 Rxc8+.

1 Rxf6! 1-0 White wins the queen after both 1...Qxf6 2 Nh5+ and 1...Kxf6 2 Bxg5+.

White to play

White to play


16) Spassky – Averkin USSR Ch, Moscow 1973

1 f5! Bxf5 2 Rxf6! Qxf6 Or: 2...Qg5 3 Rxf5+; 2...Re1+ 3 Kf2.

1 Bc7!

3 Nh5+

Pinning the b6-rook.

White wins the queen. This is based on ChigorinJanowski, Paris 1900.

1...Rxc7 2 Qe5 This double attack on g7 and c7 will leave White the exchange up.

White to play

15) H. Kramer – Burstein

White to play

Munich Zonal 1954

17) R. Byrne – Tarjan USA Ch, Oberlin 1975

1 Qxa7+! 1-0 1...Kxa7 (1...Kc8 2 Qa8+ Kd7 3 Rxb7#) 2 Nc6++ Ka8 (2...Ka6 3 Rb6#) 3 Ra5#.

1 Qh3! 1 Qh1! is equally effective. 1-0 A double attack on h7 (mate) and the e6-rook. After 1...Kxf7 2 Qh7+ Ke8 (or 2...Kf8) 3 Qh8+, White wins the black queen.

White to play

White to play

18) Averbakh – Penrose

20) Luther – Gauglitz

England-USSR, London 1954

East German Ch, Zittau 1989

1 Rxd4! f4 1...exd4 2 Bxd4! Qxd4 3 Nxf5+ and 4 Nxd4.

1 Rxg7+! Kxg7 2 Qxd4+! Qxd4 3 Nxe6+ Kf6 4 Nxd4 White has two knights and a pawn for the rook, with a decisive advantage.

2 Rxf4 1-0 2...Qxf4 3 Qxf4 (the e5-pawn is pinned) or 2...exf4 3 Bxf6+.

White to play White to play

19) Lerner – Lehmann Kiev 1978 1 Bf5! 1-0 Deflecting the black queen. If 1...Qxf5, 2 Qe7 (threatening mate on g7) 2...Qg6 3 Qe6+, winning the rook.

21) Dieks – Lindblom European Junior Ch, Groningen 1973/4 1 Nxe5+! fxe5 2 Bxc5 Rc1 3 Qh5+!! 1-0 There would follow 4 Qxf3 Bxf3 5 Rxc1.

Black to play

White to play

22) Hug – Korchnoi

24) Geller – Polugaevsky

Switzerland 1978

USSR Ch, Moscow 1961

1...Qxe2!! 0-1

1 Qxh6+! Kg8

After 2 Bxe2 (2 Qxc6 Qf1#) 2...Nxg3++ 3 Kg1 Nxe2+ and 4...Nxc1, Black emerges a piece and two pawns up.

1...gxh6 2 Nf6+ Kg7 3 Nxd7+. 2 Rxe8 1-0 If 2...Qxe8, 3 Qxd2.

Black to play Black to play

23) Horberg – Averbakh Sweden-USSR, Stockholm 1954

25) Zhuravliov – Kapengut Riga 1968

1...Rc1! 2 Qxc1 2 Rd1 allows 2...Qxg2#. 2...Ne2+ 3 Rxe2 Qxc1+ 4 Kf2 Ba6 5 Bd3 Qxa1 6 Bxa6 Qd1 0-1

1...Bxf3+! 2 Bxf3 Rh2+! 3 Kxh2 3 Kf1 Nxf3. 3...Nxf3+ 4 Kg2 Nxd4 with an extra pawn and a practically won ending.

Black to play

White to play

26) Cherniaev – Motylev

28) Kudrin – Ivkov

St Petersburg 1999

Lone Pine 1981

1...Rd2+! 2 Nxd2

1 Nxe5! Qe8

Or: 2 Ke1 Qg3+ 3 Kf1 Rf2+; 2 Bxd2 Nxc3++.

Or 1...dxe5 2 Qg4, with the double threat of 3 Qxg7# and 3 Nh6+, winning the queen.

2...Nxc3+ 3 Kd3 Nxa4 4 Raf1 Qd5+ 5 Ke2 Nc3+ 6 Ke1 Qd3 0-1 A decisive double attack on e2 and e3.

2 Qg4! Qxe5 2...Bf6 3 Nd7!. 3 Nh6+ Kf8 3...Kh8 4 Nxf7+ Kg8 5 Nxe5. 4 Qxc8 with a decisive advantage. If 4...gxh6, 5 Qxd8+.

Black to play

27) Bellon – S. Garcia Cienfuegos 1976 1...Rg2!! 0-1 After 2 Qf3 Nf4+ 3 Qxf4 gxf4 4 Kxg2 exf5, the ending is easily won, while 2 Kxg2 Ne3+ costs White his queen.

White to play

29) Uhlmann – Hennings East German Ch, Weimar 1968 1 Rxc5!! In the game, White missed his chance and played 1 Bf3?! but went on to win in any case. 1...Qxc5 1...Qb6 2 a5.

2 Bxf7+ Kh8 3 Qxc5 Rxd1+ 4 Kf2 Rxf7 4...Rd7 5 Be6. 5 Qh5! Forking the black rooks. 5...Rd2+ 6 Ke1 with a decisive advantage.

Black to play

31) Barcza – Bronstein Budapest-Moscow 1949 1...Nxd3! 2 Qxf5 2 Qe2 Nxe1 3 Bxe1 Qb1 4 Kf1 Qxb4 gives Black two extra pawns and a winning position, since 5 Rxf7? loses to 5...Rxe1+ 6 Qxe1 Qc4+ and 7...Qxf7. White to play

30) Korsunsky – Andrianov Krasnoiarsk 1980

2...Nxe1!! 3 Kf1 Due to the threat of 3...Nf3#, the queen cannot be saved. 3 Kh2 gxf5 leaves Black with an extra piece.

1 Qxd8+!

3...Nc2+ 4 Bc1

This incisive move is more effective than exerting positional pressure with 1 Qc2, although this move does also keep a significant advantage.

4 Ke2 Nd4+.

1...Nxd8 2 Nxe5

4...Rxc1+ 5 Ke2 Nd4+ 6 Kd2 Nb3+ 0-1 Followed by 7...gxf5.

Threatening 3 Rxd8+ and 4 Nf7+. 2...Bb6 2...Nc6 3 Rd7. 3 Rd7 Qf8 3...Qh4 4 Ng6+! hxg6 5 Bxg7+ Kh7 6 Bf6+ Kh6 7 Bxh4. 4 Rxd8! Bxd8 5 Nf7+ Kg8 6 Nxd8+ Kh8 7 Nxb7 With three minor pieces and a pawn for the queen, White has a substantial material advantage. 7...f4?! A desperate advance, which allows White’s e-pawn to advance.

Black to play

32) Mikenas – Aronin

8 e4

USSR Ch, Moscow 1950

and White went on to win. 1...Qb1+!

There is an alternative solution, based on the same general idea: 1...Bxc6! 2 Qd8 Qb1+ 3 Rc1 Qxc1+ 4

Nxc1 Rd7, and, like in the game, White must give up his queen. 2 Rc1 2 Nc1 Qe4 3 f3 Qe3+ and 4...Qxc5. 2...Qxc1+! 3 Nxc1 Rxc6

The queen is immune from capture but creates the terrific threat of double check with 2 Rg8++, followed by promoting the pawn. 1...Rxg2+ If 1...Rxh5?, 2 Rg8+ Kd7 3 e8Q+ Kc7 4 Qxh5.

Setting up a double attack on c1 (mate) and a8 (the white queen).

2 Rxg2+ Rxh5 3 Rxb2 Rxh3+

4 Nd3 Rc1+! 5 Nxc1 Bxa8 6 f4 gxf4 7 gxf4 a5 0-1

4 Kg1 Rh7 5 Rh2 Rg7+ 6 Kf2 Rg8 7 Rh6 Kf7?

The passed pawn wins the game.

An error, but Black had no good options, since White threatened 8 Re5, followed by the advance f5f6.

3...Bxh3 4 Kg3.

8 e8Q+ Rxe8 9 Rh7+ 1-0 Black resigned due to 9...Kg6 (or 9...Kg8) 10 Rxe8 Kxh7 11 Rxc8.

Black to play

33) Ståhlberg – Alekhine Hamburg Olympiad 1930 1...Rxf3!! 0-1 White resigned in view of 2 Nxf3 Qxe3, 2 Rxf3 Qxe3 3 Rxe3 Rxf1# and 2 Qxg5 Rxf2! 3 Qe3 Rxf1+ 4 Qg1 Rxg1+ 5 Kxg1 Ne2+ 6 Kh1 Rf1#.

White to play

35) L. Kubbel Listok Shakhmatnogo Kruzhka Petrogubkom, 1921 1 Qe4+ Not 1 Ra6+ Kb8 2 Qe4? Qb4+ 3 Kc6 Qb7+. 1...Kb8 2 Rb6+! Bxb6 2...Kc8 3 Qb7+ Kd7 4 Ne5+ Ke8 (4...Ke7 5 Qxc7+) 5 Qc6+ Ke7 6 Qxc7+ Ke8 7 Qc6+ Ke7 8 Rb7+, followed by mate. 3 Ka6! Threatening 4 Qb7#. The white king can make this move thanks to the enemy bishop, which protects it from lateral checks. 3...Rd7 4 Qa8+!! Kxa8

White to play

34) Maroczy – Romih San Remo 1930 1 Qh5!!

4...Kc7 5 Qxf8. 5 Nxb6+ Now the knight wins all three black pieces with two consecutive knight forks.

5...Kb8 6 Nxd7+ Kc7 7 Nxf8 White wins.

3: The Role of the Pawns Ever since the distant days of the 18th century (let us call it the time of the French Revolution, or of François-André Danican Philidor) we have known that “pawns are the soul of chess”. Although this expression may sound like rhetoric, it is hardly an exaggeration. Let’s briefly review the responsibilities the humble pawns take upon their shoulders. At the start of the game, they are the first to charge forwards, unarmed, against the enemy lines. They occupy the centre and help the development of the pieces. In the middlegame they bring about a wide variety of strategic and tactical themes, many of which decide the outcome of the game: doubled pawns, hanging pawns, isolated central pawn and the ideal: the creation of one or more passed pawns. As the endgame approaches, it is well known that the value of a passed pawn increases and that most endgame manoeuvres are aimed at promoting a passed pawn and, if one does not exist, creating one.

eight magical pawns, which can turn into supermen, constitute the only reinforcements that can be introduced into the battle. Obviously in a tense struggle, with more or less equal material, the possibility of one side or the other bringing a new queen into play means radically changing the order of battle and the balance of forces on the board. Pawn promotion, therefore, is a tactical factor of the first order. Let’s look at it in detail and with examples, as follows: Promotion to a Queen Underpromotion (Rook, Bishop or Knight)

Promotion to a Queen

And we have not spoken about one of its most important tasks: protecting its king. The pawns in front of the king form an essential defensive barrier, which we must try to maintain intact, without any gaps showing, in order to present the greatest possible resistance to an enemy attack. Black to play

The only possible way of introducing reserves or reinforcements into the battle is the magical transformation of a pawn into a queen or some other piece.

Barcza – Simagin Budapest-Moscow 1949

3.2: The Far-Advanced Passed Pawn

In this ending White is a pawn up but the black pawn on d2 is far-advanced, only one step from its goal. However, any attempt by the black king to control the queening square would fail; for instance, 1...Ke2? 2 Nd4+!. However, there is a simple way to win:

3.3: Connected Passed Pawns

1...Na3+! 0-1

3.4: The Pawn-Wedge

An effective deflection of the defending piece. After 2 Nxa3 Ke2 the promotion of the black pawn cannot be prevented.

The various ways a pawn or several pawns can decide a tactical sequence will be structured into the sections which follow: 3.1: Pawn Promotion

3.5: Passive Sacrifices 3.6: The Kamikaze Pawn

3.1: Pawn Promotion The forces available at the start of the game are always one and the same for each side. There is no possibility of getting back the material which has been exchanged or lost in the course of the game. Nonetheless, the pawn, the humblest piece on the board, contains within itself the possibility of transforming into another more high-ranking piece, if it reaches the promotion square. And so those

New York 2000 There are dangerous far-advanced pawns on both sides of the board and, therefore, elements which can suddenly and completely transform the situation. The immediate advance 1 g7? would be disastrous, since after 1...cxb2++ 2 Kd2 the black pieces assail the enemy king. But there is another possibility, which is sufficient to win the game. 1 Qd8+! Based, naturally, on the possibility of promoting the g-pawn. 1...Qxd8 Black to play

V. Simić – Bilek Uljma 1976 With his rooks doubled on the f-file, White was hoping to be able to neutralize the black rooks doubled on the c-file. However, there is a further worrying factor: the tension between the pawns on b3 and a2. If the white a-pawn were situated on a3, nothing would happen for the moment, although the black pawn on b3 would create latent threats of back-rank mate. Exploiting the peculiarities in the position, Black won with...

1...Kb7 2 Rd7. 2 Rxd8+ Kxd8 3 g7 c2 Black’s only hope rests in either creating a matingnet on White’s back rank with ...Rd1# or else checking on any square, followed by promoting the c-pawn. 4 g8Q+ Ke7 5 Qc8 1-0 If 5...Rd5 White wins with 6 Qb7+ Ke8 7 Qxb3. Races to queen a pawn are subject to just one rule of thumb: whoever queens first generally wins. Let’s look at a classical example.

1...Rc1+! 2 Rxc1 Rxc1+ 3 Kxc1 Black has sacrificed a rook to be able to promote the a-pawn. 3...bxa2 The pawn cannot be prevented from promoting. In the game, Black missed this idea, and following 1...f6? 2 axb3 axb3 3 Rf3, the game was drawn a few moves later.

White to play

G. Polerio L’elegantia, sottilità, verita della virtuossisima professione dei scacchi, 1590 White to play and win

White to play

A. David – Clavijo

‘Normal’ continuations such as 1 Rc2+ Kb1 2 Rxa2? Kxa2 3 Ke3, or 1 Rh1? a1Q 2 Rxa1 Kxa1 3 Ke3 only lead to a draw, because, as soon as the white king captures the two black pawns, its black counterpart gains the opposition on f5, reaching a theoretically drawn ending.

But White can win with an extraordinary blocking move: 1 Ra1!! Kxa1 2 Kc2 Zugzwang. 2...g5 3 hxg5 Now White cannot be prevented from winning. The pawn race would end like this: 3...h4 4 g6 h3 5 g7 h2 6 g8Q h1Q 7 Qg7# This brings us to one of the key factors in pawn endings: time, something which is treated in great detail in the theory books on this type of ending. To dispel any doubts about the power of the passed pawn, in the next diagram we shall see a case in which a pawn which has advanced only as far as the fifth rank manages to defeat all the efforts of the opposing knights.

White to play

Evseev – Praslov St Petersburg 2000 The white pawn on e7 is a winning trump. White opts for a dramatic solution, which tilts the scales decisively in his favour. 1 Qxg6! A winning idea, but it was simpler to play 1 Rd8+! Be8 2 Qg4 Rac7 3 Qe6, with the unstoppable threat of invasion on g8. 1...hxg6 2 Rd8+ Kh7 3 e8Q Rxd8 4 Qxd8 Qe7 There is nothing better. 5 Qg8+ 1-0

White to play

After 5...Kh6 6 Qh8+ Kg5 7 f4+ White forces mate: 7...Kf5 (or 7...Kxf4 8 Qh4+ Kf5 is similar) 8 Qh3+ Kxf4 9 Qg3+ Kf5 10 Rf1#.

1 a6 Now there is no way to prevent the a-pawn from promoting, as the reader can (and should) verify. 1...Nc5 2 a7 Nd7 3 a8Q The resulting ending of queen and pawn vs two knights is an easy win. Note that it is the rook’s pawn that presents the knight with the most difficulties, because the knight can play on only one side of the pawn, which limits its mobility.

Black to play

Szöllösy – Navarovszky Budapest 1972 The real imbalance here is created by the black passed pawns on b2 and d3, since the relative

material equality does not in the least reflect the problems latent in the position. 1...Qf2! The weakness of White’s back rank also counts, of course, since otherwise this move would not be possible. 2 Qxd3? Obviously the queen cannot be captured: 2 Rxf2? b1Q+ and mate next move. However, 2 Rd1 d2 3 h3 is a much better attempt to survive. 2...Bxe4!! The point, and not an easy one to see. We shall soon understand why. 3 fxe4 Qxf1+! 4 Qxf1 Ra8 This is the key: the bishop simply cleared the a8square for the rook. Now White’s queen and bishop cannot cope with Black’s rook and pawn (but what a pawn!). The whole combination is based on the strength of Black’s passed pawn on b2, i.e. on its threat to promote.

mistake; Black should first play 2...b6! (and maybe ...Ke6), preventing Kc5, before playing ...Ba4. Then he is winning. 3 Kxd5? White could draw by 3 Kc5! with the point 3...Bb3 4 Kb4 a2 5 Nxa2 Bxa2 6 Ka3 Bb1 7 Kb2, trapping the bishop – here its ‘badness’ really does work against it! 3...Bb3! Black’s real intention was not to take on c2! The threat could not be clearer: 4...a2. 4 cxb3?! 4 Kd4!? should be met by 4...Kg5! (not 4...a2? 5 Nxa2 Bxa2 6 Ke3, drawing), when White will have to weaken his kingside due to zugzwang. With the text-move, White calmly captures the bishop, since after 4...cxb3?? 5 Nxb3 the knight controls the queening square a1. However... 4...a2!! After this advance, White is lost. 5 Nxa2 cxb3 0-1 As we have already seen in earlier examples, the knight cannot compete with a pawn in this type of position.

Black to play

Arapov – Kurmashov Kaliningrad 1978 If we were to rely just on general principles, we would judge that in this ending Black has a very ‘bad’ bishop facing a good white knight. On the other hand, Black’s only trump (the passed pawn on the a-file) would be offset by White’s 3-1 pawnmajority on the kingside. However, in reality it is Black to play and win! 1...a3! 2 Nc1 Ba4? A strange-looking decision: Black seems to be interested in capturing the doubled c2-pawn in exchange for his pawns on d5 and c4. However, despite the beautiful idea behind this move (which we shall see below) it is objectively a

White to play

Kouatly – Plachetka Bagneux 1982 It seems that White can aspire to no more than a draw by repetition of position. For example: 1 Qc8+ Rg8 2 Qxc4 Rg1 3 Qc8+, etc. But GM Bachar Kouatly conceived an original winning method, based on a manoeuvre known as the staircase. 1 Qd4!! This first move is very elegant: White allows the enemy pawn to queen.

1-0 Black resigned in view of 1...f1Q (1...Rg7 2 Qxf2) 2 Kf7+ Kh7 3 Qe4+ Kh8 4 Qe5+ (now begins the procedure of checking, as if climbing a staircase) 4...Kh7 5 Qf5+ Kh8 6 Qf6+ Kh7 (the point of this manoeuvre is to control the g6-square, and there sacrifice the queen) 7 Qg6+! Rxg6 (7...Kh8 8 Qxh6#) 8 hxg6+ Kh8 9 g7+ Kh7 10 g8Q#. The black queen has been a mere spectator in this drama. Any sacrifice is justified to achieve the promotion of a pawn if, at the end of it all, the new piece proves to be a decisive weapon. The following game is a good example. White to play

In this schematic position it is White to play and promoting the pawn is more than obvious. However, 1 d8Q? leads to nothing better than a queen ending with an extra pawn (which is drawn in this case because Black’s king is already well-positioned). The best move is 1 d8N+! followed by the capture of the black queen, with a winning endgame. This example also serves to illustrate the magic of the knight fork, which we covered in the previous chapter.

White to play

If we assimilate the idea of the previous position, we can take a step backwards to arrive at that ideal solution, in a spectacular way.

Lutikov – Tal USSR Ch, Kiev 1964/5 White is a pawn up and already has a pawn on the seventh rank. The last move was ...Rhf8 and now Lutikov takes the future of his beloved pawn in hand. 1 Bxb7+ Kxb7 2 Qxd8!? White can also win simply with 2 Qe7, amongst other moves. 2...Rxd8 3 Rxd7+! Rxd7 4 f8Q White has emerged with an extra piece and Tal resigned eight moves later.

Underpromotion (Rook, Bishop or Knight)

White to play

Here snatching at the rook leads nowhere (1 exf8Q+? Kxf8, and Black has an extra pawn in the queen ending). But if we are attentive to the arrangement of the pieces, we shall easily grasp the winning idea. 1 Qxh7+! Decoying the black king to the fatal square. 1...Kxh7 2 exf8N+! and 3 Nxd7, winning easily.

And here we have a new variation on the same theme.

due to stalemate, while 1...fxg1Q+? is also an immediate draw because of insufficient mating material. But now, owing to the awkward situation of the white king, Black wins. White can only move his bishop, but wherever he puts it, Black plays 2...Nf3 and 3...Bg2#.

White to play

White wins with: 1 Rc8+! Rxc8 2 Qa7+!! Kxa7 2...Kc7 3 bxc8Q++ Kxc8 4 Qxe7. Black to play

3 bxc8N+!

Sokolsky – Ravinsky

and 4 Nxe7. In all these cases the underpromotion settled matters effectively.

USSR 1938 White has four pawns for the bishop – and what pawns they are! Two of them are already on the seventh rank, and the g7-pawn is the best protected pawn in history. There is really no escape from the straitjacket of White’s position, but this factor also provides Black with a glimmer of hope. 1...Rxc5 Black’s idea is that if 2 a8Q? (or 2 a8R?), then 2...Rc2+!, with perpetual check, because of the stalemate. 2 a8N? is no use either, in view of 2...Rc8 3 Ra6 Rxa8! 4 Rxa8, also stalemate. But instead White can play... 2 a8B! ...with a decisive material advantage.

White to play

Haag – Szabo (analysis) Hungarian Ch, Budapest 1958 In this position, where you might think that it is all over, White cannot prevent the f2-pawn from promoting. However, there is a resource: 1 Bg1 The only move. 1...f1B! This particular underpromotion wins the game for Black. Neither 1...f1Q? nor 1...f1R? would work,

White to play

Mikhalchishin – Schmittdiel Dortmund 1999

(or two) further back, i.e., in the combinations included in this section the passed pawn is generally situated on the fifth or sixth rank, or its career path is a little more difficult.

Does the white pawn on e7 compensate for the missing piece? The Ukrainian GM Adrian Mikhalchishin will prove that it does, thanks to an underpromotion. 1 Rf8! Nxf8 The urgency of the capture leaves no room for doubt. 2 Qf6+ 1-0 Black could have tried 2...Kh7 (2...Qg7 3 exf8Q+), when White must keep a cool head: a) If he promotes the pawn to a queen with 3 exf8Q? then, despite White’s two queens, Black is no worse if he goes after the enemy king: 3...Qc4+, and now 4 Kf2 Qd4+ 5 Kg2 Qg4+ 6 Kf1 (6 Kf2?? Re2+ 7 Kf1 Qg2#) or 4 Kg2 Qg4+ 5 Kf1 Qd1+ 6 Kg2 Re2+, etc.

Black to play

Voitsekhovsky – Sandler

b) But White wins by 3 exf8N+!.

Riga 1982

The passed pawn is a criminal who should be kept firmly under lock and key.

It seems that Black has reached an impasse. The natural retreat of the black bishop would allow 2 Bxf2 exf2+ 3 Kf1, after which there is no way to make progress. However, the ingenious player with Black solved it brilliantly:


1...e2! 2 Bxf2

The passed pawn has a soul, just as a human being does, and desires that slumber unacknowledged deep within, as well as fears, of whose existence it is scarcely aware.

After both 2 Ba5+ Kc6 3 Ra1 Be3 and 2 Rxf4 Rxf4 3 Bxg3 Kc6, Black would win.

3.2: The Far-Advanced Passed Pawn


2...Be3!! An impressive pin (and deflection) which provides a terrific finish to the game.

“The passed pawn is a criminal” and “the passed pawn has a soul and desires...” – two opposing views and yet both equally valid, depending on one’s viewpoint. In these two opinions (expressed figuratively, naturally) from the greatest student of the passed pawn, the outstanding theoretician Aron Nimzowitsch summed up the love/hate relationship a player has with the passed pawn, depending on whether it is in his possession or if he has to fight against it. It is not the purpose of this book to make a detailed study of the treatment of the passed pawn, which is a strategic theme. Here we shall deal only with the tactical aspects, but it seemed appropriate to provide this introduction to the topic, because in the game of chess the passed pawn is an unbalancing factor of the first order. The main difference between this section and the previous one is that here the pawn is situated a step

Black to play

Vaganian – Topalov Istanbul Olympiad 2000

We are witnessing a confrontation on the highest level, between two phenomenal players on top board in the match Armenia-Bulgaria. Vaganian’s position is desperate, due to the passed pawn on c3 and the control of the b-file exerted by the black rook. He has just played Re2-e6 and now we shall see how the Bulgarian GM punishes this intrusion into his camp. 1...Qxe6! After this, the promotion of Black’s c-pawn cannot be prevented. 2 dxe6 c2 3 Qe3 There is no defence. White could have resigned here with a clear conscience.

White to play

An. Nikitin – Malaniuk

3...Rb1+ 4 Kh2 c1Q 5 Qg3 Kg7 6 Qh4 Qg1+ 7 Kh3 0-1 7...Rb3+ will win on the spot.

St Petersburg 2000 Undoubtedly Black’s attack on the kingside has reached a dead end and White has invaded the eighth rank. In addition, he has a pawn ‘embedded’ on a6, with an irrepressible urge to become a passed pawn. 1 Nxb6! Opening a path for the impatient pawn on a6. 1...axb6 But the a7-square is still controlled by Black’s two major pieces! 2 Bxb6 1-0 Now the bishop calmly supports the a7 advance and the a-pawn proves decisive.

White to play

Vidmar – NN Zurich 1936 A glance at this position reveals three features: material equality; a white passed pawn on c6; and the black bishop is pinned on the b-file. White was able to exploit the advantages of his position with a simple but elegant combination. 1 f5+! gxf5 2 gxf5+ Kd6 The black king cannot stray too far from the passed pawn. This is the only move since if 2...Ke7? then 3 Rxb4! Rxb4 4 Bc5+ wins a piece. 3 Rxb4! Rxb4 4 Bc5+! A decisive fork, which forces Black to resign. If the king captures the bishop, the promotion of the white pawn cannot be prevented. A graphic demonstration of how strong a passed pawn can be!

Black to play

Medina – Tal Palma de Mallorca 1966 If the black queen could travel towards the other end of the first rank, the ending would be clearly winning. The problem is that the knight is en prise, which forces the exchange of queens. Can the pawn

on a3 somehow serve as a counterweight to its counterpart on h3? Both are on the same rank, but the black pawn is only two steps away from promotion, while White’s has scarcely begun its journey. 1...Qxf3+ 2 Kxf3 Now, if 2...h2? White plays 3 Kg2. But otherwise White can start to think about Bd2, g4 and Kg3, followed by advancing his passed a-pawn. Dreams... 2...Ne3! 0-1 A beautiful move which highlights the enormous power of the h3-pawn. White cannot prevent the advance of the pawn by ...h2-h1Q. The following case is closely related to the previous one, owing to the passed pawn on h3 and the ingenious manoeuvre with which Black is able to exploit it.

Black to play

Yudovich – Botvinnik (variation) USSR Ch, Moscow 1931 The latent power of a far-advanced passed pawn can constitute a devastating weapon. Black’s pieces are more active and the fearsome pawn on e4 compensates for his small material deficit. 1...e3! “With a licence to kill.” 2 Rxf3 Here 2 Nxe3 loses to 2...Rxe3 3 Qxe3 Qxg2#. 2...e2! The typical decisive pawn advance, threatening to queen on two different squares.

Black to play

Kataev – Markov USSR 1977 White is relying on being able to play Bxf4, covering the h2-square. To prevent this, one of the black pieces would have to switch to passive defence and, in that case White would develop his bishop to d2 and bring his rook to h1. If 1...Nd3?, the reply would be 2 Bd2, meeting 2...Nxb2 with 3 Bxf4. However... 1...Rd1!! 0-1 An ingenious move. If the rook is captured, the advance of the h-pawn is unstoppable (2 Kxd1 h2) but otherwise the bishop remains pinned, so that there is no defence against the triumphal march of the pawn in any case.

White to play

Bonin – Djurić Philadelphia 1986 In this explosive situation, all the advantages are on White’s side, including an extra pawn which is passed and well-advanced. If White just wants to continue quietly, he only has to protect the d5-pawn with his queen and Black’s position will soon

collapse under its own weight. But White can do better here and Jay Bonin declines to play in routine fashion.

Kg2 Ne1+ (the fork in action) and 4...Nxc2, or 2 Nb1 Nf3+ 3 Kh1 Nd2, and the pin is decisive.

1 Re7+!!

The ghost of the fork pursues him to the end: 4 Kh2 Nf3# or 4 Kxg1 Nf3+, forking king and queen, while if 4 Kf2 the strongest response is 4...Rg3, with a decisive advantage.

A very spectacular sacrifice, made possible by the passed pawn. 1...Qxe7

2...cxd2 3 Qxd2 Rg1+! 0-1

If 1...Kxe7 then 2 Qxg7+ Ke8 3 Re1+, followed by mate, which Black can only delay by blocking with his queen and knight on the e-file. 2 d6+ A passed pawn advancing with discovered check is a tactical factor of the first order. 2...Ke8 3 Bb5+ 1-0 If 3...Rd7 (or 3...Kf7 4 dxe7 Nxg4 5 exd8Q) then 4 dxe7 Nxg4 5 Bxd7+ (5 Rxd7 also wins) 5...Kxe7 6 Bxg4.

Black to play

Roth – Baumgartner Berne 1959 If you were Black in this position you would need to take care, since White threatens mate in one (Qg7#) while if you opt for the ‘natural’ defence 1...Rd7??, then after 2 Nxh6+ Kf8 3 Qf6+ the power of the tactical team Q+N makes itself felt, since it is mate next move. There is no point in Black’s advancing the e-pawn, because that just loses the bishop. So what can Black play, especially if he wants to win? Black to play

Chandler – P. Littlewood Commonwealth Ch, London 1985 Rook and bishop are usually insufficient compensation for a queen, but in this position the relationship that must be established is a qualitative one: the black pieces are very strong, especially the bishop, which can display all its latent dynamism on the long diagonal, which is clear of pawns. Speaking of pawns, the one on c4, whether doomed or not, is a passed pawn and therefore a nuisance factor, although the question is whether Black can hang on to it.

As always, it is essential to try to view the game with some perspective. What does the position say to us? The four black pieces could not really be better placed. Furthermore, Black has a far-advanced passed pawn on its sixth rank, just two steps from promotion. There just has to be a winning line... 1...Rd1+! 2 Ke2 If 2 Rxd1 then 2...e2+ 3 Kxf2 exd1N+! (do you remember those marvellous knight forks?) and 4...Nxc3. 2...Rd2+ 3 Qxd2 3 Kf1 e2+ 4 Kxf2 e1Q#.


3...exd2+ 4 Kxf2 Bf3! 5 Nd6

The pawn sets off.

5 Kxf3 is met by 5...Re1.

2 Kg2

5...Rf8 0-1

It was not possible to take the pawn because of 2...Nxg4+ and 3...Bxc3. If 2 Nb3 then 2...Nf3+ 3

White to play

White to play

Pogosian – Danielian

Abrahams – Winter

Erevan 1999

London 1946

A first brief analysis (let’s say, lasting a minute) would leave us with the impression that Black has no great problems: he is going to regain the exchange, he is a (passed) pawn up and most probably he will win the white pawn on c6. The only problem, one as old as our game itself, is that it is White’s move!

The material would be roughly balanced here, if White did not have so many extra pawns. However, the black pieces are protecting each other and present a compact picture. Let’s see how White exploits the desire of his passed pawn on d6 to become a ‘beast’.

In reality, the problem is not unique, since the position contains structural elements which means that it is very good for White. You ‘only’ have to see them...

The most effective move.

1 Ra5! Bxf1? If 1...Rc8? then 2 Rc1 Bb2 3 Rc2 a3 4 c7, winning. The best attempt to defend is 1...Bc3 2 Rxa4 Bb5. 2 Ra8!! Now this is a real surprise. To understand this move you need to have a perfect understanding of the dynamism contained in the passed pawn. 2...a3 3 c7 1-0

1 Rh5+! 1...Kxh5 2 Qxf5+ Kh6 3 Qxe4! This is the real surprise and the move that highlights the power of the passed pawn. 3...Rxe4 4 d7 White has a decisive advantage, since the d-pawn cannot be prevented from advancing to the magic square d8. Now we can appreciate the occasional usefulness of a doubled pawn, in this case the one on c3, which prevents the black rook from going to d4.

This example has allowed us to learn something about the latent dynamism of the passed pawn.

White to play

Velimirović – Csom Amsterdam 1974 This position has already become a classic on the theme of pawn promotion. White seems forced to move his queen (to c7, which would leave his d6pawn pinned by the black queen), leaving Black to consider whether he should exchange rooks on the open e-file. But the reality is very different. 1 Bxf7+!

1...Rxe7 2 Rxd8+ Re8 3 e7+ The fearsome discovered check. 3...Kh8 4 Be6! A positional move which proves decisive. 4...Qxb5 5 Bf7 Black only has a few spite checks: 5...Qb1+ 6 Ke2 Qb5+ 7 Kf3 Qf5+ 8 Kg2 1-0 The checks will soon run out and there is no defence.

The first surprise. 1...Rxf7 But that is not all! 2 Qxe8+! Nxe8 3 Rxe8+ Rf8 4 d7 The passed pawn resumes its march towards its desired objective. 4...Qd6 Now you would think that Black has weathered the storm, but... 5 Rf1! 1-0 This cheeky attack on the black rook is conclusive. There is no defence.

White to play

Uhlmann – Darga Hastings 1958/9 An initial scan of this position creates mixed feelings. A tremendous pair of white bishops, the four rooks on the d-file, and the passed pawn on e6! It all contributes to the impression that White would stand better, were it not for the pin on the d3-rook. How will White solve this problem, if solution there be? 1 Rxd6! White to play

Smyslov – Airapetov USSR Team Ch, Leningrad 1948 The power of the white pawn on e6 is important in this position, as also is the excellent coordination of White’s pieces: the queen, the bishop, the rook on the seventh rank... The future World Champion Vasily Smyslov hits Black where it really hurts, exploiting all the dynamic possibilities of his position. 1 Qxe7!! A queen sacrifice, no less! Instead, 1 Rxe7?? would lose to 1...Rd1# or 1...Qd1#.

A pin-breaking combination to exploit the passed pawn. 1...Rxd6 If 1...Bxe2 then 2 Rxd8+ Nxd8 3 Rxd8+! Qxd8 4 e7+, with mate in two. This variation is a good demonstration of the explosive power that the white passed pawn can release. 2 Rxd6 1-0 If 2...Bxe2 (2...Qxd6 3 e7+) then 3 Bf6! (forcing Black to evacuate the blockading square, thus freeing the pawn to advance) 3...Qxf6 4 e7+ Kg7 5 e8N+! (underpromotion!) and 6 Nxf6.

The advance of the passed pawn to the eighth rank could not be permitted, hence the whole sequence was forced.

strong player and a member of the Cercle Royal des Échecs in Brussels, a city where had been living for a long time.

White to play

White to play

S. Rubinstein – Keller

Gdanski – Talla

Vienna 1937

Ostrava 1998

It is clear that White stands better, but it still remains for him to demonstrate exactly how he intends to realize his advantage. If, for instance, 1 Qxe4?, then 1...Be6, when there is no obvious way to penetrate the black position. However, the presence of the pawn-wedge on g6, the bishop embedded on d6 and, yet again, a menacing passed pawn (e5), all point towards the existence of a positive solution.

Black has just played ...g6. Once the bishop retreats, Black will play ...h5, closing the kingside, which would allow him to consolidate his position – though we should note that he cannot castle queenside, as his king has already moved (to f8 and then back to e8). But White has a clear awareness of the dynamic possibilities of his own position and he decides to opt for...

1 e6!

1 gxh6!!

It should be mentioned that the simple 1 Bb4!, intending e6, is also strong.

A strong move. The creation of this far-advanced passed pawn sets Black difficult problems.

The text-move is a spectacular ‘passive sacrifice’ of the bishop. What is White’s idea?

1...gxh5 2 Rhg1

1...Rxd6 2 Qf7+ Kh8 3 e7!! Now he sacrifices the queen! Is the passed pawn really that strong? 3...Rd2+

White’s plan could not be more direct: Rg7, Rag1, h7, Rg8, queening. 2...Nc6? 2...Ba4 is a better try, freeing d7 for the king, while hoping for counterplay with ...b5-b4.

If 3...Bxf7 then 4 gxf7, and the white pawns can promote on three different squares, which renders the defence impossible.

3 Rg7 Qf8 4 Rag1 Ne7

4 Kg3 Rg8

5 h7 Rd8

4...Rc8 5 Qxc4 Rxc4 6 e8Q#.

If 5...Ng6 then 6 Qf6, with a decisive advantage, thanks to the threat of 7 R1xg6! fxg6 8 Qxg6+, followed by 9 Rg8.

5 Qxc4 1-0 The threat is 6 Qxg8+ Kxg8 7 e8Q#, and if the rook moves away, then 6 Qf7 wins. Solomon (a.k.a. Sammy) Rubinstein, White in this game, should not be confused with the great Akiba. But there is a connection: Sammy was his son. In the 1970s, Sammy, although not a professional, was a

The knight is protecting the g8-square and, at the same time, conceives hopes of blocking on g6 or f5.

6 Qf6 1-0 The threat is 7 Rxf7!. The black pieces are awkwardly placed and completely lacking in mobility.

The next example is important, in that it shows us a new facet of the far-advanced passed pawn, namely its capacity to make itself the focus of events or, more precisely, its capacity to grant its owner a decisive attack by sacrificing it.

White to play

Beyen – Filip Ostend (team event) 1971 White to play

Fainberg – Zaid

The d6-pawn is blocked at the moment, so White will try to queen the h6-pawn! 1 Bxg6!?

White has sacrificed his bishop to impose, with the aid of this kamikaze pawn, a forced sequence.

Spectacular and effective, though we should note that a number of other moves are more than sufficient to win, including 1 cxb5, 1 Bb3, 1 Rdd1 and even 1 Rxc5 (with the point 1...Kxd6 2 Rd5+ Kc6?! 3 Be4).

2...Bxd6 3 Bd5 Bb5


Returning the piece is the most logical defence.

If 1...Rf8 then 2 Re7+.

4 Qxb5 Rxa7 5 Rxa7 Qxa7 6 Qe8!

2 Re7+!

Following Black’s defensive manoeuvre, the disappearance of his light-squared bishop has allowed the penetration of the enemy queen on e8, from where, supported by his bishop, White will carry out a decisive attack on the opposing king via the light squares. Black resigned, since after, for instance, 6...Qc7 7 Qg6+ Kf8 8 Qxh6+ Ke8 9 Qxg5, once again it is all about the pawns. White’s pawn on the h-file will advance rapidly, while the black pawn on the c-file is indirectly paralysed (...c4, Qg8+ and Bxc4).

This manoeuvre clarifies the situation of the passed d-pawn but it seems incomprehensible.

USSR 1973 1 Bxe5+! dxe5 2 d6!

2...Rxe7 3 dxe7+ Kxe7 So: what is the tactical key to this operation? 4 Rd8!! 1-0 This is it: the rook pins the bishop, to prevent the enemy rook from halting the h-pawn, which has become the real threat. The d8-square is a safe haven for the white rook, since after 4...Kxd8 5 h7 Black will get a good deal of material for the queen, but his pieces will be too poorly placed to resist. Thus 4 Rd8 is a neat blockading move as well as an invasion of the 8th rank. Although Beyen’s manoeuvre is more sophisticated, it is similar to the one that arose in the game KataevMarkov, at the beginning of this section.

White to play

Black to play

Alterman – Liogky

Spassky – Simagin

USSR 1989

USSR Ch, Moscow 1961

Black’s three pieces are all well placed and one might even think that he has achieved a winning position in view of his possible invasion on b2. However, there is an annoying factor that confuses any prediction: the passed d6-pawn. 1 Rc1! This is White’s only move and completely turns the position around. 1...Qxc1 If 1...Rxb3 then 2 Rxc6 Rb2+ 3 Ka3, and the ending is lost for Black. Another possibility is 1...Qd7 2 Nf6+! gxf6 3 Qxb7 Qxb7 4 Rc7+ Qxc7 5 dxc7, and the pawn queens.

As well as a far-advanced passed pawn (e3), another black pawn has strayed deep into White’s position, also on the third rank (g3), although that one seems doomed. But at this moment it is still on the board. For his part, White also has a passed pawn, on d5. The problem for White is that his king is confronted by two hostile pieces and two enemy pawns, all in his vicinity. 1...Rxf3! Black starts with an exchange sacrifice. 2 Re6

The extraordinary winning shot.

White declines it, at least until his next move, in view of 2 Qxf3 (obviously he cannot play 2 Kxf3 due to 2...Qh5+, winning the queen) 2...e2 3 Qf8+ Qg7 4 Rxg6+ Kxg6 5 Qe8+ Kh6 6 Qxe2 Bf4, winning.



2...Kh8? 3 Qg8#.

A surprise! Possibly Spassky expected 2...Rf2+? 3 Qxf2 Qxe6 4 Qf8+ Kh7 5 dxe6 e2 6 e7 e1Q 7 e8Q, when it is White who wins.

2 Nf6+!!

3 Qxb7+ Kg8 4 Qb8+ Kf7 5 Qc7+ 1-0 After 5...Qxc7 6 dxc7, the pawn reaches its objective.

3 dxe6 Rf2+ 4 Kxg3 4 Qxf2 gxf2 5 e7 e2 6 e8Q f1Q+. 4...Rxe2 5 e7 Rg2+! This tempo-gain is essential. 6 Kxg2 Or 6 Kf3 e2 7 e8Q e1N+! (underpromotion!) 8 Ke4 (8 Qxe1 Bxe1 9 Kxg2 is hopeless) 8...Re2+. 6...e2 Now both pawns queen on the same file. White even queens first, but it is Black who wins. 7 e8Q e1Q 8 Qf8+ Kh5 9 Qxc5+ Bg5 0-1

Black emerges a piece up. Our next example also features Spassky, but this time he is on the winning side.

White to play

Shirov – G. Georgadze Tbilisi 1989 White to play

Spassky – Czerniak Gothenburg 1971 White is a protected passed pawn up (d6) and should have no difficulty in winning the game. The important thing here is to see the efficient way in which White was able to lead his forces to victory, taking advantage of his first opportunity. 1 Qxf8+! Qxf8 2 fxg4 The d-pawn is two squares away from queening, but White’s rook and knight will dominate Black’s only possible blockading piece: the queen. 2...Qd8 3 d7 Now the queen is immobilized, but Black would be only too satisfied if he could maintain that situation. 3...Kg8

White has a dangerous passed pawn on e6, although for the moment it is firmly blocked by the enemy knight. On the other hand, White’s major pieces will make their pressure felt on the kingside. 1 Rxg6! A powerful rook sacrifice. 1...Nxg6 1...Qxg6 2 Qh8#. 2 Rg2 Rc7 If 2...Qe5 then 3 Rxg6+ Kf8 4 e7+! Kxe7 (4...Qxe7 5 Qh8+ Kf7 6 Rg7+ Ke6 7 Rxe7+ Kxe7) 5 Qh7+ Kf8 6 Rg8#, while 2...Qh7 is met by 3 Rxg6+ Kh8 4 Rh6. 3 Rxg6 Rf8 4 Rxg7+ Rxg7 5 Bf3 Rh7 6 Qxh7+ Kxh7 7 Bh5! 1-0 The advance 8 e7 will win the game.

If 3...Kg7 then 4 Nd6, protecting the pawn indirectly, since 4...Qxd7 is met by 5 Nf5+. 4 Nxf6+ Kf7 5 Ne4 Ke7 OK, the black king has arrived next to the queening square. Still, for a humble pawn, is it not a moral triumph that the two most important pieces in chess have had to join forces to combat it? 6 Nd6! 1-0 Once again, White defends the pawn indirectly. But the worst thing (or the best, depending on the viewpoint) is that the knight threatens 7 Nxb7, winning the queen, to which there is no good defence. Black to play

Tarjan – Ljubojević Dresden (team event) 1969

Here there are two pawns which have reached the sixth rank on their path to promotion; they look unnatural, since they are situated on the same file. What really matters is not how they got there, but the present position and the various tensions on the board, which are many. 1...e2! The Yugoslav GM sees no reason to abstain from this pawn fork, ignoring the attack on his bishop.

At this moment White is two pawns up (and three passed against only one). Is it possible for Black to win this ending? 4...f3 The central idea of the combination. This pawn will deflect the knight, after which the b2-pawn will fall and Black’s a-pawn will queen. Simple, isn’t it? 5 Kd2 5 b5 f2! 6 Nxf2 Bxb2+ 7 Kd2 a3.

2 Nxe7+ Qxe7! A surprise, but the knight capture has opened the dfile and the long diagonal, with important tactical consequence. 3 Rxd8+ 3 Qxe7 loses to 3...Rxd1. 3...Qxd8 4 e7 The symmetrical reply of the white pawn. If 4 Re1 then 4...Bxg2+! leads to mate.

5...Bxb2 6 Nxb2 6 b5 is no better: 6...a3 7 b6 a2 8 b7 Be5. 6...Kxb2 0-1 If 7 b5 then 7...f2 8 Ke2 f1Q+! (a finesse, to be able to queen with check) 9 Kxf1 a3 10 b6 a2 11 b7 a1Q+. Grasping all the tactical details of this endgame earned Gilles Mirallès the title of Champion of France.

4...Bxg2+ 5 Kh2 exf1N+! 6 Kg1 Qd4+ 7 Qf2 Bd5+ 8 Kxf1 Qd1+ 0-1 After 9 Qe1 there are two mates in three: 9...Rg1+ 10 Kxg1 Qxe1+ 11 Kh2 Qf2# and 9...Qf3+ 10 Qf2 Rg1+! 11 Kxg1 Qh1#.

White to play

Timoshchenko – Gutop USSR 1984 Black to play

Renet – Mirallès French Ch playoff (4), Épinal 1986 There is complete material equality, but the position is far from equal. The black pieces are more active. And it’s not just the pieces – in addition the pawns are further advanced, and ready to open a breach in the enemy camp. Let’s see how Black achieved this. 1...b4!! 2 axb4 g4!! Two absolutely unexpected pawn-breaks, each one a sacrifice, which White is forced to accept. 3 fxg4 hxg4 4 hxg4

White’s dominant position depends considerably on his strong passed pawn on c7. The problem is that if he restricts himself to defending it with 1 Qc3 or 1 Qc1, Black will continue with 1...Nf6 and it will be difficult to make progress. The problem requires careful thought. 1 Qa8!! GM Gennady Timoshchenko solved the enigma of how to take advantage of the enormous expansive power of the passed pawn and his good piece coordination. 1...Rxa8 2 c8Q+ Rxc8 2...Qd8 is answered with 3 Qxe6+ Kh8 4 Nf7+ Kg8 5 Nxd8+.

3 Rxc8+ Nf8 4 Rxf8+


The famous pattern of the fork: if now 4...Kxf8 then 5 Nd7+ and 6 Nxb6.

2...f5 3 exd7 Qxe1 4 Nf6+ Kf8 5 Qd6+ Qe7 6 Nfxh7+ Kg8 7 Qxe7.

4...Kh7 5 h5!

3 Rxe6 Qf8 4 Qxf8+!

To set up the mating pattern Ng6/Rh8#.

White is a rook down, yet exchanges queens!



The only move.

4...Nxf8? allows 5 Nf6+ Kh8 6 Nf7#.

6 hxg6+ Kg7 7 Rf7+ Kg8

5 Nxh7+ Kg8 6 Ng5

7...Kh8 is met by 8 Ng4 Qxd4 9 Rh7+ Kg8 10 Nxh6+ Kf8 11 Rf7+ Ke8 12 g7, with a decisive advantage.

The main threat is 7 h7+ Kh8 8 Re8+. 6...Bb7 7 Rxg6+ Kf8 7...Kh8 8 Nf7+ Kh7 9 Rg7#.

8 Nd7 8 Ng4! is slightly neater, as it forces mate in two more moves. 1-0 If 8...Qxd4 then 9 Nf6+ Qxf6 (9...Kh8 10 Rh7# or 10 g7#) 10 Rxf6.

8 h7 1-0 Now can you see the passed pawn? With the fall of Black’s h7-pawn, White’s pawn-wedge became a passed pawn and in a single move forced Black’s resignation. That constitutes real power. The Argentinean grandmaster Oscar Panno was the second World Junior Champion (Copenhagen 1953), and qualified as a candidate for the main world title (Amsterdam 1956). Eventually he focused on his profession of civil engineer, but who can give up chess completely? He returned to the board and always was able to display his proverbial consistency. His play is positional, based on deep strategy. Don’t judge by this example.

White to play

Panno – Eliskases Mar del Plata 1957 The annoying pawn-wedge on h6 is just one of the elements of the bind that White exerts over the enemy position: overwhelming space advantage, control of important squares, weakened black castled position, etc. At this stage, the reader is probably wondering: where is the passed pawn? Patience.

White to play

Nesis – Kujala

1 Rxd5! The story begins with a rook sacrifice. 1...exd5 1...Rxc2 2 Rxd7! Bxd7 3 Nf6+ Kh8 4 Nxd7 Qxd7 5 Qf6+ Kg8 6 Qg7#. 2 e6! An attack with fixed bayonets.

Russia-World Correspondence 1993-9 The impressive structure of white pawns on the kingside more than compensates for the missing piece, since on the queenside the position is blocked. In reality, the passed pawn on h6, strongly supported, is the nerve centre of the action. 1 h7!?

And yet the first thing White does is to give up his most precious possession!

AVRO, Rotterdam 1938

Preparing to unpin with ...Bc6.

The black knight on b3 has managed to occupy an advanced post, deep in the enemy camp, while the white bishop on b2 is hemmed in by its own pawns, and would only have a future on some other diagonal; however, the black knight denies it the c1square. On the other hand, Black has an extra (passed) pawn on the a-file. But the fact is that the black knight is out of play and the bishop is about to play a leading role in the marvellous combination which White will now set in motion. White has a far-advanced passed pawn of his own and this will ultimately decide the outcome of the struggle.

3 Kf4 Bc6 4 g6+!

1 Ba3!!

Better than 4 Rh2+? Kg8 5 g6 Rd6!.

An important deflection, the purpose of which is to allow the e-pawn to advance.

It should be mentioned that 1 Kh4, preparing f5 or h7, also wins; e.g., 1...a5 2 a4! Kf5 3 h7. 1...Kxh7 2 f5! Now we can begin to understand White’s intentions: the h-pawn was sacrificed to deflect the black king, so that the remaining white pawn-mass can start to advance. 2...Rd7

4...Kg8 5 Rb2! Rb7 5...fxg6 6 fxg6 Rd8 7 a4!? places Black in zugzwang, as he must allow the king or rook to penetrate. 6 Rh2 A change of career. 6...Rb1 7 g7 Rh1 8 Rd2!! 1-0 If 8...Re1 then 9 Rd8+ Re8 (9...Be8 10 Ra8) 10 Rd6! Bb7 (or 10...Rc8 11 Rd2 Re8 12 Rh2) 11 Rd2!, with the threat of Rh2. Gennady Nesis is a well-known trainer in St Petersburg and a grandmaster of correspondence chess. In the 1980s he won the 1st World Cup of the ICCF (International Correspondence Chess Federation). This next example – a classic – provides a marvellous illustration of the maxim “things are not always what they seem”, which is the first rule of crime fiction, according to Jim Thompson, one of its most prestigious exponents.

1...Qxa3 Practically forced, since if 1...Qe8 then with 2 Qc7+ Kg8 3 Be7 Ng4 4 Qd7 White gains a decisive advantage, since if the queens are exchanged the pawn will queen, and the only alternative is 4...Qa8, against which any move of the bishop will win: 5 Bd6, 5 Bd8 or even 5 Ba3. 2 Nh5+! A fresh and spectacular piece sacrifice, exploiting the pin on the black knight, although in reality it is a pseudo-sacrifice, since White regains the piece immediately. 2...gxh5 If 2...Kh6 then 3 Nxf6, when the active defensive try 3...Qc1+ 4 Kf2 Qd2+ 5 Kg3 Qxc3+ 6 Kh4 Qxd4+ fails to 7 Ng4+!, winning on the spot. 3 Qg5+ Kf8 4 Qxf6+ Kg8 5 e7 Qc1+ 6 Kf2 Qc2+ 7 Kg3 Qd3+ 7...Qxc3+ 8 Kh4 Qe1+ 9 Kh3 Qe3+ 10 g3 and the checks are at an end. 8 Kh4 Qe4+ 9 Kxh5 Qe2+ 10 Kh4 Qe4+ 11 g4 11 Kh3? h5! allows Black to survive. 11...Qe1+ 12 Kh5 1-0 A brilliant combination, by a young player who would become World Champion ten years later. In this combination, several different tactical themes were on view: deflection, pin, elimination of the defender, as well as the theme of this chapter, so that the game could well serve to illustrate each one of these themes separately or all of them together.

White to play

Botvinnik – Capablanca

The next position is a cultured pearl. It went all round the world, thanks to another, almost identical, game, although that one was very probably spurious.

I am referring to the game Ortueta-Sanz, Madrid 1933, played in the course of a match won by Ortueta. The game in question was the last of the match, and was the only one that Sanz won, which in itself is rather suspicious. In any case, the position seems unlikely to occur twice, and the game between the two Polish players had been played two years earlier.

Black to play

4...c4!! The two doubled pawns are competing successfully against a rook and a knight. Now Black threatens 5...c2. 5 Rb4 Or: 5 Nxc4 c2; 5 Re6 cxb2 6 Re1 c3. Black to play

Tylkowski – Wojciechowski Poznan Ch 1931 In Ortueta-Sanz there was no black pawn on h6, while on White’s kingside there were only two pawns on g2 and h2. We are about to see an incredible case – rarely has a humble doubled pawn played such a leading role. Let’s move on to the action. 1...Rd2 2 Na4? This looks like the only logical move, since if the b2-pawn falls, a subsequent attack on the knight will clear the way for the passed c4-pawn to advance. 2...Rxb2!! One of the most incredible sacrifices we are ever likely to see played over the board. 3 Nxb2 c3 Now we can already see the uncontainable power that the passed pawn releases. 4 Rxb6 (D) The only move, since 4 Nd3? allows 4...c4+ 5 Rxb6 (5 Kf1 cxd3!) 5...cxd3 6 Rc6 d2.

5...a5!! And this must be the most extraordinary zwischenzug of all time. 6 Nxc4 Black also wins after 6 Na4 axb4, 6 Rb5 c2 or 6 Rxc4 cxb2. 6...c2 7 Nxa5 c1Q+ 8 Kh2 Qc5 and Black won the endgame. In the interests of accuracy, it should be mentioned that many years later the line 2 a4! Rxb2 3 a5 was discovered, leading to a draw. 2 f5 also holds. It is said that when World Champion Mikhail Tal was shown this position, his eyes popped out of his head. Someone suggested to the famous study composer Henri Rinck that he might possibly use the idea in one of his compositions, but he replied: “There is nothing to compose here. The composing has already been done.”

3.3: Connected Passed Pawns If a single passed pawn can become a decisive force, the possibility of one acting together with a colleague, also passed, can create a lethal tandem, a devastating roller that can annihilate whatever it finds in its path.

Reshevsky – R. Byrne Sousse Interzonal 1967 In this struggle with his colleague and compatriot Robert Byrne, he showed a perfect understanding of the value of connected passed pawns. 1 Ba6! White has a dominant position but above all he has a strong passed pawn on d7! 1...bxa6 White wins after both 1...Rb8 2 Bxb7! Rxb7 3 Rxf6! Rd8 4 c6 and 1...Rf7 2 Rxf6 Rxf6 3 Bxb7. White to play

Kramnik – Svidler Dortmund 1998 In this duel between two stars of the (then) latest batch of young Russian players, it might appear at first glance that Black’s passed pawn on c3 compensates for White’s on d6. But this is not the case, as White will demonstrate to perfection.

2 c6 Now the fearsome duo are armed and dangerous. Who can stop them? 2...Kg7 3 c7 Kf7 4 Rc6 Rc8 5 Rxf6+! 1-0 Eliminating the final obstacle. Black resigned in view of 5...Kxf6 6 d8Q+.

1 e6! A very strong advance, based on a fork (1...fxe6? 2 Bxe6+ and 3 Bxc8), which permits the safe advance of its neighbour, which will dramatically tilt Black’s boat and cause it to capsize. 1...Kf8 2 e7+ Ke8 3 Bxf7+! 1-0 There is nothing else to do except face the facts: if 3...Kxf7 then 4 d7 wins. GM Samuel Reshevsky always had one weak point in his game: his poor time management, which led him into many crisis situations and cost him quite a few losses in time-trouble. But if he excelled in anything, it was his inventiveness and his technique, two explosive ingredients.

White to play

Spassky – Tal USSR Spartakiad, Moscow 1959 These two great players (both World Champions: Mikhail Tal 1960-1; Boris Spassky 1969-72) were to contest many great games in the late 1950s and the following three decades. Black has just made an error (...d3?; instead, ...Nc2 would have been better), underestimating the power that the white passed pawns can unleash. Now Spassky concludes the struggle with precision. Black’s d-pawn has the clear intention of advancing further. But White’s great trump is his pair of pawns on the fifth rank. 1 Qh5! d2

White to play

Only the black rook can help its king, since the queen is completely cut off from the events on the

kingside. So perhaps a better defence would be to bring it over to that wing: 1...Qd4+ 2 Kh2 Qc5 3 e6 Qe7 4 Nf3 d2. However, White then has two winning options: 5 Nxd2 and 5 Qxh6. 2 Qe8+ Kg7 3 Qe7+ Kh8 4 f6 dxe1Q+ 5 Bxe1 1-0 The threat of mate on g7 concludes the game. Here we could see how far-advanced pawns, in conjunction with the queen, constitute a fearsome attacking force.

White to play

Korchnoi – Tal USSR Ch, Erevan 1962 These two giants of the chessboard have reached a critical position, where White has all his pieces in ideal positions, as well as a pair of far-advanced connected passed pawns. But Black has just executed a powerful-looking pawn-break on the queenside. The tension could not be greater. Black to play

Movsesian – Bacrot Sarajevo 2000

1 Rxd7! An unexpected capture, which cannot be ignored. 1...Qxd7

The French superstar has outplayed his opponent in the middlegame struggle and as a result has a pair of connected passed pawns on c2 and d3. Of course, in exchange White has a knight which, with the help of his king, is blocking the advance of the pawns, which moreover now seem to be in trouble (at least the one on d3). How should Black continue?

1...Qxf6+ is answered by 2 exf6! axb2 (or 2...a2) 3 f7+ Kh8 4 Kf6, with the threat of 5 Bg7#.

1...a3! 2 b5 Rxb5 3 Kxd3 Rb1! 0-1

A multi-purpose move: it covers the e3-square and threatens the advance of either of the pawns, above all 4 e7.

The point of the advance 1...a3. Once again, we can see the enormous latent power that passed pawns can release. White resigned in view of 4 Nxb1 c1Q and 4 Rxb1 cxb1Q+ 5 Nxb1 a2, with the unstoppable double threat of promotion on a1 and b1.

2 e6 Qa7 The queen must remain protecting g7, retaining, in addition, the possibility of a check on e3. 3 Qe5!!

3...axb2 4 e7 Kf7 The threat was mate on g7. 5 d7! Much stronger than any of the checks. 1-0 Black resigned due to 5...Qxd7 6 Qf6+ (now the black queen occupies an escape-square) 6...Ke8 (6...Kg8 7 Qg7#) 7 Qf8#. A good demonstration of the power of connected passed pawns, in conjunction with threats against the opposing king. The following example is a splendid illustration of the dynamism that characterizes a chain of passed

pawns, which frequently succeeds in compensating for the absence of a piece.

White to play

Cebalo – Berzinsh White to play

Zaratov – Krogius Rostov 1958 There is seemingly no way for White to avoid the loss of the c5- and b6-pawns, after which it might even be difficult to save the game. However, the idea of creating a chain of passed pawns came to White’s aid. 1 Nd4+! exd4 2 exd4

Berne 2000 For the missing piece, White has one pawn and, above all, the pair of passed pawns d5+c6, ideally supported, from behind, by his rooks, a dynamic factor that outweighs the piece. In contrast, although Black’s kingside pawns have not been weakened, he has all his pieces situated on the back rank, which is a clear indication of passivity. In any case, it is White’s move and he is ready to demonstrate the power of his position.

A fearsome chain of white passed pawns (d4+c5+b6) has been created, with a doubled pawn covering the squares d5 and b5. It remains to be seen whether this formation will justify the piece sacrifice and, above all, if it will be sufficient to win.

1 c7! Qa7


The only move: the bishop has to act as a blockader, since otherwise the pawns will keep advancing.

Black’s best chance to survive may be by sacrificing back immediately with 2...Nxb6. 3 Re1 Kg6 4 Rea1 If 4 Re7 then 4...Nxb6 5 cxb6 Rxb6 6 d5 Rd6, with some prospects of defence. 4...Kf5 5 Rxa6 Rxa6 6 Rxa6 Ke4 7 Ra7 Nb8 8 Ra8 Kxd4 9 Rxb8 Kxc5 10 b7 Kb6 Now, after 11 Rg8 Kxb7 12 Rxg7+ Kc8 13 Rxh7 Rxc4, White reached a rook ending a pawn up, which he eventually won.

If 1...Rxc7 then 2 Rxc7 Qxc7 3 d6 Qa7 4 Bxa8 Qxa8 5 d7 and White wins. 2 d6 Bd7

3 Bd5! Its white counterpart, in contrast, plays a very different role and now turns into a monster. The threat of 4 Qf3 is a very strong one, because it would force the d7-bishop to protect f7, after which the dpawn could resume its advance. 3...Kh8 To respond to 4 Qf3 with 4...f6. 4 g5 Qb6 4...f6 is met by 5 gxf6 gxf6 6 Qh5, with the threat of 7 Qf7; if 4...Bxd6? then naturally 5 Bxa8, etc. 5 Bxa8 Rxa8 6 Qf3 e4 7 Qxf7 1-0 Now 7...e3 loses to 8 Qxd7 exf2+ 9 Kf1 and Black’s checks run out, whereas White still has his two passed pawns and the one on c7 is about to queen.

3.4: The Pawn-Wedge Even when it is blocked by an enemy pawn, a pawn that reaches its sixth rank, especially when it is situated close to the enemy king, constitutes a latent threat of major proportions. It is rather like having a fox in the hen-house. In many cases, the pressure it exerts on squares that are vital to the opposing king proves decisive to the creation of tactical threats and combinations.

White to play

Smyslov – Botvinnik USSR ‘Absolute’ Ch, Leningrad/Moscow 1941 Connected passed pawns against connected passed pawns! Numerically speaking, the black team is winning. But the white pawns appear to have the edge in mobility. First of all, White’s a-pawn can advance with tempo, since it will attack the b7-rook. Secondly, Black’s b- and c-pawns cannot advance, because White’s rooks are preventing them. Finally, it is White’s move. But the real question is: are the black pawns really unable to advance?

White to play

Sturua – V.N. Kozlov Cheliabinsk 1975

1 a6 Rxb6!

Not 5...c2? 6 R6g5, drawing.

Black is the exchange and a pawn up, but his king is seriously exposed as a result of the weaknesses in his castled position. In addition, the white pawn on f6 is embedded in a sensitive spot in Black’s camp and White’s rook controls the g-file. However, with his last move (...Qc1), offering the exchange of queens, Black seems to have eliminated a large part of the danger, since if White declines the exchange then the black queen can move to h6, assisting in the defence of the king. But it is White’s move and he wins immediately with...


1 Rg8+! 1-0

White resigned in view of 6 Rxd1 c2.

1...Kxg8 2 Qg3+ Kf8 3 Qg7+ Ke8 4 Qg8# is mate, while 1...Rxg8 is met by 2 Qxc1. The f6-pawn fulfils the highly important mission of controlling the g7and e7-squares, while the black rook on d7 has the equally important (albeit negative) role of occupying a square that is vital to the king’s escape.

Best. If 1...c2? then 2 Rxb2 c1Q 3 Rxc1 Rxc1+ 4 Kh2, and now 4...Rxb6 is forced. 2 Rxb6 d3! Starting from behind, to jump better, like the tiger. 3 Rg1 d2! 4 Rxf6 Rc7! 4...c2? is met by 5 Rf7+ Kh8 6 Rf6, forcing a draw. 5 Rfg6 d1Q!

The Absolute Championship of the USSR was a match-tournament in which the six contestants played each other four times. It was held, for reasons that remain not entirely clear, to determine the real champion of the USSR. This was after the USSR Championship itself had been won by Lilienthal and Bondarevsky. The participants, in addition to Botvinnik and Smyslov, were Keres, Boleslavsky, Lilienthal and Bondarevsky. Botvinnik emerged the winner, with 13½ points, followed by Keres, with 11, and Smyslov, with 10. The experiment was never repeated.

exerts on the enemy position will prove almost incredible, as White’s continuation in this game will show. 1 g6! h6 1...fxg6? loses to 2 fxg7+. 2 Qxh6+!! Now the tandem of infantrymen will combine the characteristics of the pawn-wedge and the faradvanced passed pawn. 2...gxh6 3 g7+ Kg8 4 gxf8Q+ Kxf8 5 Rxd8+ Qe8 6 Rxe8+ White to play

As can be verified, all Black’s moves have been forced, and now White will emerge a knight up.

Polugaevsky – Gulko USSR Ch, Erevan 1975 We have here a case which, in different forms and variations on the same theme, arises quite frequently. White’s queen and f6-pawn together create a latent threat of mate on g7, a square that is protected by a black piece. In other words, everything is hanging by a thread or, more precisely, by a knight: the one on e6. The problem for White is how to eliminate that annoying piece. Neither 1 Ng5? nor 1 Ng3? works, because the reply to both moves would be 1...Qxf6, eliminating the danger. But in fact there is a brilliant move: 1 Nd6! 1-0

White to play

Dely – Hajtun

Black felt forced to resign since 1...cxd6 2 Rxe6 leads to mate, while 1...Qxf6 loses to 2 Nxe8.

Hungarian Ch, Budapest 1954 The situation of the white king is very unstable, through having advanced his f- and g-pawns. In addition, the bishop on e4 is pinned and the queen is overworked, having to defend both bishops... But the pawn on f6, wedged into the black king’s fortress, is a destabilizing factor of the first order. 1 Qh6!! Sacrificing the c5-bishop with check! The simpler 1 Kg2!, intending Qh6, is also strong (1...Rxe4 2 Qh6 Rxg4+ 3 Kh3!). 1...Qxc5+ 2 Re3 Qf8 The only move.

White to play

Kopaev – Alatortsev USSR Trades Unions Ch, Leningrad 1938 The pawn on f6 has been driven into the black king’s defences, although it still is in tension with the black pawn on g7. But the restrictive effect it

3 Bxg6!! A deadly double attack, threatening mate on h7 and discovering an attack on the e8-rook. 3...Qxh6 Or: 3...Rxe3 4 Qxh7#; 3...hxg6 4 Rxe8 Qxe8 5 Qg7#.

4 Rxe8+ Qf8 5 Bxh7+ Kxh7 6 Rxf8 Bxd5 Black is in no position to offer resistance. 6...Bb7 is met by 7 Rxf7+ and 8 Rxb7, while if 6...Nb6, both 7 Rb8 and 7 Rxf7+ Kg6 8 Ra7 Bxd5 9 h4 Na4 10 h5+ Kxf6 11 h6 Be4 12 Rxa6+ conclude matters. 7 Rxc8 and White won.

White to play

W. Naef 2nd Hon. Men., Gorgiev Jubilee, Spartak Dnepropetrovsk, 1971

White to play

Ma. Tseitlin – Motseashvili Israel 1992

In this composed study, which seems to have nothing out of the ordinary about it (since the position could perfectly well arise in a real game), the pawn-wedge on h6 proves decisive. Nothing is achieved by the obvious checks: 1 Bb2+? Kg8 2 Qc4+ Qe6 3 Qc3 bxc2, and White is lost. However, White can win with a beautiful manoeuvre.

Although White’s king is in the centre, the black pieces cannot get at it. On the other hand, Black’s king is faced with an unpleasant pawn-wedge on h6 and lacks the protection of its g-pawn. As if this were not enough to worry about, there is a white knight already well embedded in his camp.

1 b7!

1 Rxf5! exf5 2 Nxf5 Qd8

The threat is now 3 Bb2+, followed by mate.

The only alternative is 2...Qe8, but then follows 3 Qg4! Nxe5 (or 3...Kh8 4 Ne6! Rg8 5 Qg7+!, etc., as in the game) 4 Rxe5 Qxe5 5 Ne6+ Kh8 6 Qg7+!, just as in the game, although now it is the black queen that ‘defends’ the g7-square: 6...Qxg7 7 hxg7+ Kg8 8 Nh6# (or 8 Ne7#). 3 Ne6! Kh8 If 3...fxe6 then 4 Qg4+ Kf7 5 Qg7+ Ke8 6 Nd6#. 4 Qg4! Rg8 5 Qg7+! 1-0 After 5...Rxg7 6 hxg7+ Kg8 White mates with 7 Nh6#. The knight gets all the glory, but the main credit for the success of the combination should go to the pawn-wedge on f6.

First it is essential to deflect the knight. 1...Nxb7 1...Qxb7 allows 2 Qxf8#. 2 Qf7! 2...a3 3 Bxa3 The bishop cannot be captured, due to the mate on g7, but... 3...Qa8 A most unpleasant pin, since now 4 Qxf8+?? would not only fail to win, but even lose: 4...Qxf8 5 Bxf8 bxc2, and Black has a decisive advantage in the ending. 4 Qf6+ White now begins a long ‘staircase’ manoeuvre, leading to mate in 11 more moves. 4...Kg8 5 Qe6+ Kh8 6 Qe5+ Kg8 7 Qd5+ Kh8 8 Qd4+ Kg8 9 Qc4+ Kh8 10 Qc3+ Kg8 11 Qxb3+ Kh8 12 Qb2+ Kg8 13 Qa2+ The point of the manoeuvre becomes clear: White has managed to unpin his bishop now that his queen has reached a2.

13...Kh8 14 Bb2+

The only move, to defend his queen.

It is mate next move: 14...Bg7 15 hxg7# or 15 Bxg7#.

3 Bf7+

3.5: Passive Sacrifices The sacrifice of a pawn, sometimes even an important one, can be the very key needed to unlock the enemy position. Many masters have appreciated the effectiveness of this method, even some who are particularly anxious to preserve their material and customarily prefer to win by technical means.

A fresh deflection sacrifice, to which the reply is forced. 3...Kd6 4 Qd8+ 1-0 After 4...Kc6 5 Be8+ White wins the queen. The key was that Euwe compelled his opponent to defend with a series of forced moves, until the king could no longer maintain the defence of its most valuable piece.

By the term passive pawn sacrifice is meant the voluntary abandonment of a pawn – it is simply left to be taken. The reader might not encounter this terminology in the standard chess literature, and it is perhaps not totally accurate, since by the simple fact of offering the pawn a player has undertaken an active manoeuvre. Nevertheless I think it serves to describe a typical type of pawn sacrifice, a sequence in which the pawn only participates in a passive manner.

White to play

F. Olafsson – Bazan Mar del Plata 1960 The Icelandic GM Fridrik Olafsson playing in the southern hemisphere: a Viking of the chessboard in action.

White to play

Euwe – G. Thomas Zaandam 1946

White has an extra pawn, but the one on e4 (attacked three times and protected only by the rook) can only be defended passively with 1 f3, which Black could answer by 1...f6 (with the idea of ...Bf7). So, Olafsson conceives an aggressive manoeuvre, exploiting the fortunate set-up of his pieces and the unfortunate position of the black bishop.

White’s advantage in this ending is not so much his extra pawn as the fact that the black king lacks pawn-cover and is only defended by the proximity of his queen.

1 f4! Rxe4 2 f5! Bxf5

1 Bf5!

3 Rxe4 Bxe4

Sacrificing the pawn to force a precise winning sequence.

3...Rxe4 would be answered as in the game.


4...Qxf6? 5 Rxf6.

If 1...Qe7 the e-pawn advances with check and the outcome of the game is not in doubt: 2 e6+ Ke8 (2...Kf8 3 Qh6+ Qg7 4 e7+) 3 Qg8+ Qf8 4 Bg6+ Ke7 5 Qh7+ and 6 Qxb7.

5 Nxe8 Qxe8 6 Qc7

2 Bg6+ Ke6

If 2...Rxe1 then 3 Rxe1 Bxf5 4 Rxe8+ Qxe8 5 Nf6+ followed by 6 Nxe8.

4 Nf6+ Kh8

A double attack on c5 and f7. 6...bxc4 7 Rd1! 1-0

The threat is 8 Rd8, to which there is no good defence, so Black admitted defeat. The sacrifice of the e4-pawn for White’s greater glory proved very instructive.

3.6: The Kamikaze Pawn We shall employ the exotic label of kamikaze to designate a pawn which advances onto a square controlled by the opposing side – in other words a sacrifice which at first glance seems pointless. But in fact there is a point. A pawn coming under this category may be sacrificed to open lines, or to vacate the square that it was occupying for the use of a friendly piece, or, in the event of its capture, to deflect an enemy piece, among other possibilities. In all cases, naturally, with results favourable to the side making the advance.

Black to play

Goldgewicht – Spassky French Team Ch 1994 Black has a powerful passed pawn on d4. Of course the game is in the final phase of a combination, initiated several moves earlier by Spassky. Black to play and win material. 1...d3! A kamikaze pawn that forces the white queen to capture it, so as not to lose the rook on e4. This is much stronger than 1...Bxe4?. 2 Qxd3 Qc6 Now, this double attack on rook and knight wins material by force. 3 f3

Black to play

Pirc – Stoltz Prague Olympiad 1931 Most players would opt here for 1...Qxc5 and try to win later with one of the passed pawns. But the white king is still in the centre and, if there is some tactical detail in the air, it will not be overlooked by a master such as Stoltz, who excelled in sharp play.

Another possibility was 3 Nxc5 Bxc5 4 Rg4. 3...Qxa4 4 Re2 4 Rf4 seems better. 4...Bc6 and after some inaccuracies Black won 14 moves later.

1...d4! This ‘modest’ pawn advance proves decisive. The e3-pawn is pinned, as is the knight, so the only fighting option is 2 Qxd4 Qa1+, when White is faced with inevitable loss of material: 3 Nd1 Qxd4, 3 Qd1 Qxc3+ or 3 Ke2 Qxh1.

Black to play

Kaunas – Rozentalis USSR 1981 The first thing that attracts attention is the power of Black’s queen and bishop on the long light-squared diagonal. The e4-pawn stands in the way, preventing the release of that power. But what happens if we convert the e4-pawn into a kamikaze? 1...Rxd2! 2 Rxd2 Be3+! The key move: it is essential to force the white king onto the long diagonal. 3 Kh1 Bxd2 4 Qxd2 e3! Just at the right moment. This advance wins a piece, thanks to the simultaneous attack on White’s queen and bishop. If 5 Bxc6 then 5...Bxc6+ 6 Kg1 exd2.

However unjust or incredible it might seem, the fearless kamikaze pawn has broken into the enemy camp, surviving all the hardships until reaching its goal. A few words about GM Erich Eliskases would not be out of place here. Born in Innsbruck in 1913, he became the champion of Austria at the age of 16. He achieved his best results in the 1930s and 1940s. In the 1930s he won matches against the famous grandmasters Rudolf Spielmann and Efim Bogoljubow and represented his country in the Olympiads of 1930, 1933, 1935 and 1936. Following the German annexation of Austria in 1938, Eliskases was a member of the German team that competed in the Buenos Aires Olympiad in 1939, on the eve of the Second World War. Eliskases was one of the masters who, in view of the hostilities, decided to remain in South America. At the Saltsjöbaden Interzonal in 1952 he narrowly missed qualification for the Candidates. He died in Cordoba (Argentina) in 1997. Eliskases’s play was clear and logical, in the style of Capablanca. He excelled as a strategist and an endgame technician.

White to play

Eliskases – Schenkirzik Mariazell 1937 The material is balanced, but White commands more space, with his rook on the open d-file and his knight in an advanced post. The black knight will require at least a tempo to get back into play.

White to play

Dahl – Schulz

1 e5! A sacrifice that has two purposes: to breach Black’s kingside pawn-barrier (with exf6), and to open the way for the white queen to travel to the kingside. 1...Nb7 Black prefers to try to bring his knight back into the game. If 1...fxe5 then 2 Qg4 g6 (2...Rg8 3 Rd8!) 3 Qg5 Rxe6 4 fxe6 Qxe6 5 Qd8+, winning easily. 2 exf6 Nxc5? Here 2...gxf6 was a better defence, although after 3 Qd4 Rxe6 4 fxe6 Qxe6 5 cxb6 cxb6 6 Qd7!, Black would be lost. 3 f7

West Germany 1956 Here we have one of those cases in which a pawn advances ‘rashly’, sacrificing itself for no apparent purpose. Of course apparent and real are not synonyms. 1 e6! The pawn advances to a square defended by three enemy pieces. 1...Bxe6 If we look more closely, we soon realize that this capture is the only move. It is obvious that the pawn could not be taken by the queen or the pawn (1...fxe6? 2 Qxg4).

2 Bd4 Now we begin to see clearly: White threatens mate in one. 2...f6 2...g6 would be answered with 3 Qe5. 3 Qg4!! 1-0 The ‘cross-pin’: queen and bishop are both immune from capture. Black resigned since the only defence, 3...Kf7, would fail to 4 Rfe1, putting pressure on the bishop with decisive results.

White to play

Tal – Koblencs Jurmala 1976 Black seems to have seized the initiative in this position... If it were not for White’s far-advanced pawns! As we have mentioned before, unfettered pawns are a subversive factor which can transform the apparent values of the position. White’s response to the threat to the e2-knight could not be more surprising: 1 f6! Rxe2 Black to play

Huguet – Gerusel Monte Carlo 1969 Black has a space advantage and his pieces occupy more active positions. The d4-pawn is menacing and, once Black has developed the f8-bishop, he can undertake decisive action.

After 1...gxf6 2 g7 Rg2 3 Rg1!, the g7-pawn will cost Black a whole rook. Or if 1...Bxf6 then 2 Qxd6+ and 3 Qxh2. 2 fxg7 Rxd2 3 Bxd2 Qe2 4 Kc1 1-0 The pawn cannot be prevented from queening.

1...d3! However, at the first opportunity Black relinquishes his valuable pawn. 2 Bxd3 The game ended 2 Qb2? dxe2 3 Qxh8 e1Q 4 Rxe1 Qxe1 5 Ne3 Qe2 0-1. 2...Bg7! Stronger than 2...Nb4 3 Qb2. 3 Nb2 Qc3! Now the purpose of the sacrifice is clear: the pawn has been sacrificed to pave the way for a wellorchestrated attack by the black pieces. 4 Rab1 Qxc2 5 Bxc2 Rd2 6 Rhc1 Nb4! White is paralysed and cannot prevent the loss of a piece.

White to play

D. Johansen – Gedevanishvili Sydney 1989 White has a pawn-wedge on f6 and the position of the black king is rather insecure. But Black controls d5 and the defence of b2 (with a threat to win the exchange) sets problems for White.

1 d5!!

3...Bxc6 4 Nxf6+ Kf7

The uncontrollable kamikaze charge.

4...Kh8? 5 Nxe8.


5 Nxh7 Nxh7

If 1...cxd5 or 1...exd5, then 2 Qxc4 wins a piece.

If 5...Bxd5 then 6 Nxe5+ Kg8 (6...Rxe5? 7 Qxf8+ Ke6 8 Qe8+ Kd6 9 Qxe5+) 7 Nxf8 Rxf8 8 Nxg6.

2 R3d2! The rook is now protected by the knight. Not 2 dxe6?, since 2...Nxd3 attacks the white queen.

6 Nxe5+ Rxe5 7 Qxh7+ Kf8

2...Nxd1 3 dxe6 Qc8 4 Rxd8+

8 Qh8+ Kf7 9 Qxe5 Bb5

Instead, 4 exf7+ Kxf7 5 Ng5+ Kg8 6 Qc4+ Rd5 7 Rxd5 was also winning.

9...Bd7 10 Qe7+ Kg8 11 Qxd7.

4...Qxd8 5 e7

Black loses the rook on b4 and with it the game. Once the Chinese-born player discovered the main idea, the attack ‘played itself’.

Now the suicidal pawn has turned into an ultrapowerful far-advanced passed pawn.

7...Kf6 8 Qh8+.

10 Qe7+ 1-0

5...Qe8 6 Qd2 1-0 The objective is not to take the black knight but to deliver checkmate! The real threat is Qd8. If 6...Kh7 then 7 Ng5+ Kg8 (7...Kh6 8 Nxf7++ Kh7 9 Qh6+ Kg8 10 Qg7#) 8 Qd8.

Black to play

Matulović – Vasiukov Skopje 1970

White to play

Peng Zhaoqin – Slingerland Dutch Women’s Ch, Rotterdam 2000 White’s coordination is far superior. Black does not know what to do with her minor pieces. The knight might aspire to deployment on c5 or e5, but cannot be allowed to desert the already weakened castled position. Black’s major pieces can contribute to their king’s defence along their second rank, but nevertheless White’s advantage is clear and the dynamism of her position is bursting to show itself.

The position is ultra-tense and dynamic with all the pieces displaying great power (the only exception being the black rook on a8, but it stands ready to come into play). The black bishop wants to exhibit its might on the long diagonal, but it is under attack. Black’s central pawns seem a destabilizing factor, at least the one on e4, because it is not blocked. And it is Black’s move... 1...e3! The pawn is offered as a kamikaze sacrifice. 2 Qxb7 It is clear that 2 fxe3? loses to 2...Qf3!.

1 e5!!

2...exf2+ 3 Kf1 e4!!

Clearing the e4-square for the c3-knight.

The second e-pawn is no longer doubled and blocked and also wants fulfil its destiny as a kamikaze.

1...dxe5 2 Ne4 Bd7 3 Rc6! Interference: this move prevents the black queen from defending f6.

4 Qxe4 Rae8 5 Rd8

The white queen cannot abandon the defence of the g2- and e2-squares, and if 5 g4 then 5...Qh3+ 6 Qg2 Re1+!? (or 6...Qe3, mating) 7 Bxe1 fxe1Q++ 8 Kxe1 Qxg2 wins.

A simple answer to Black’s attempted deflection.

5...Rxd8 6 Rxd8 Now that the back rank has been weakened... 6...Qh3+ 7 Qg2 Qxg2+ 0-1 8 Kxg2 f1Q#. As it happens, the first kamikaze pawn not only survived, but achieved its life’s ambition: promotion to queen!

White to play

Bareev – Vaganian FIDE Knockout, New Delhi 2000

White to play

Wojtkiewicz – Kuczynski Biel 1990 Since Black is a pawn up, in what seems to be a quiet position, one might think that Black is better. But it is essential also to take into account the weakness of Black’s back rank, the white queen (which has infiltrated Black’s position) and the black rook that has strayed to a4, where it is unprotected. If we put together all these details the result is that White has some serious assets, and in addition possesses a pawn with a vocation to be a kamikaze! 1 d5!! Rd4 Neither of the possible pawn captures was satisfactory: 1...cxd5 2 Qe8+ Nf8 3 Qxa4 or 1...exd5 2 Bxd5! cxd5 3 Qe8+ Nf8 4 Qxa4, again picking up the loose rook. The advance 1...e5 is also insufficient due to 2 Rd1!, when Black will lose at least the d7-knight. 2 Ra1! Qc8 Black cannot allow the rook to reach a8 since if, for instance, 2...h6, then 3 Ra8+ Kh7 4 Rd8 wins the knight. 3 Qxd7! Rd1+ If 3...Qxd7 then 4 Ra8+ and mate. 4 Kg2! 1-0

The material balance here is one of absolute equality. Black even has in his favour the white doubled pawns on the f-file and in general, numerous weak points in the opposing pawnformation. However, set against that are two important factors: Black’s disadvantage in space and his rather poor bishop. 1 f5! e5 If 1...exf5 then 2 Nf4 Bc7 3 Ne6 Na6 4 Ne7; or 1...gxf5 2 Nf4 e5 3 Ne6 exd4 4 Kg3 d3 5 Kf3. 2 dxe5 fxe5 3 Nxe5 Bf6 3...Bc7 would be equivalent. 4 Ng4+ Kg7 5 fxg6 Kxg6 6 h5+! Kg7 6...Kf5 is answered with 7 Nd6+ Ke6 8 h6, while 6...Kf7 would be met in the same way. 7 h6+ Kg6 8 Nxf6 Kxf6 9 Ne7! Depriving the black king of the squares g6 and g7. 9...d4 10 Kg3 1-0 The mission of the white king is to hinder the advance of the enemy passed pawn. With its last move it entered the ‘square’ of the pawn (so that if 10...d3 then 11 Kf3, etc.). The black knight is immobilized and consequently White wins the ending without any major problems.

7 a4 f6 After 7...Kf8 8 Ba3+ Kg8 9 Be7 the rook is dominated: it has no safe squares. 8 Ba3+ Kf7 9 Nc5! Qc8 The only move. 10 Nb7! 1-0 An elegant finish by Korchnoi, based on a double attack: the black rook is en prise and the black queen is attacked twice. Now 10...Qxc6? is met by 11 Nxd8+ and 12 Nxc6, so Black is faced with unavoidable loss of material. White to play

Korchnoi – Kotsur Istanbul Olympiad 2000 In return for the enemy bishop-pair, White has more space and better piece coordination. Furthermore, the black king is still in the centre, although it will be difficult to exploit this factor, because Black is ready to castle. However, it is White’s move, and Korchnoi conceives a pawn sacrifice to liven up the game: 1 b5! Bxb5? Black should not have captured the pawn; Kotsur had overlooked a finesse in the sequence that follows. 1...Qb7 2 a4 0-0 is better.

White to play

Alekhine – H. Johner Zurich 1934

2 Nxb5 Rxc1 Forced, naturally. 3 Nd6+! Black had missed this surprising zwischenzug. 3...Bxd6 4 Qxc1 Now in reality White is setting up an attack on the d6-bishop (material) and on the c6-square (positional). 4...Bb8

Black has just played ...Nh7-f8. White is a pawn up, but has serious difficulties in activating his bishop. If, for instance, he tries to do so via a4-e8, its usefulness would be in doubt. Alekhine, a true master of dynamic chess, now conceives the correct plan to enable his bishop to participate in the struggle: he will use not just one, but as many as three kamikaze pawns! 1 e5!!

4...Be7 would be answered in the same way.

A truly diabolical advance, the preserve of superior minds, such as that of the then World Champion.

5 Qc6+ Ke7 6 Rc1!


First it is essential to control the open file. Instead, 6 a4? (to check on a3) would be too hasty, owing to 6...Rc8, and after 7 Ba3+ Kd8, White is forced to exchange queens, leaving him with a lost ending after 8 Qb5 Qxb5 9 axb5 Rc3 10 Rb1 Nf5.

1...fxe5 2 f6! Qxf6 3 Qxg4+ Kf7 4 Be4.


If 2...cxd6 then 3 c5! (a third kamikaze), and after any of the captures of the pawn, or 3...d5, White would play 4 Bb3, and the bishop seizes the longedfor a2-g8 diagonal.

The decisive error. 6...f6 was better, although after 7 exf6+ Kxf6 (7...gxf6 8 Re1) 8 Nc5, White has a clear advantage thanks to his attacking chances against the exposed black king.

2 d6! The second kamikaze. 2...c5

3 Be4 Now the bishop’s dream will come true: to become active along the a2-g8 diagonal. In addition, White has a far-advanced passed pawn on d6. 3...Qd7 Evacuating the g7-square for the king. 3...Nd7 would solve nothing, in view of 4 Bd5+ Kf8 5 Bc6. 4 Qh6! 1-0 This subtle switch by the queen makes the threat of 5 Bd5+ decisive. Johner resigned since his position collapses after 4...Kf7 5 Bd5+ Ke8 6 Qxf6.


Exercise 36: White to play ☆ In addition to the obvious 1 gxf8Q+, White has an even stronger continuation. What is it?

Exercise 37: White to play ☆ Perhaps a zwischenzug will allow White to achieve something with his passed pawn...

Exercise 38: White to play ☆

The black knight attacks the queen and the c8-rook simultaneously. What is the clearest path to victory?

Exercise 39: White to play ☆ It would be so nice to invade the back rank! Remember that the pawn, if passed, has dreams...

Exercise 40: White to play ☆ The two pawns on the sixth rank are the two legs of a giant. They will surely get somewhere.

Exercise 41: Black to play ☆

The black h-pawn has already come a long way, apparently only to have its triumphal march interrupted.

Exercise 42: White to play ☆ Despite his material advantage, White seems to be in trouble. But focus your attention on the line of fire of the bishop.

Exercise 43: Black to play ☆ White threatens mate on h7, but a pawn on the seventh rank is a destabilizing element of the first order.

Exercise 44: White to play ☆ White’s e-pawn is not passed, but if its pieces can help, it can prove ambitious.

Exercise 45: White to play ☆☆ The squares that seem prohibited are not always so, when there is a far-advanced pawn in the mix.

Exercise 46: White to play ☆☆ The d7-pawn is very near to its goal and that must be decisive.

Exercise 47: Black to play ☆☆ The white king is a target, if you set your sights on the c3-square.

Exercise 48: White to play ☆☆ The g7-pawn is the pride of White’s position, but the question is how to keep on the ball.

Exercise 50: White to play ☆☆ White’s passed pawn is not digestible, owing to the power of his pieces. Take advantage of this.

Exercise 51: White to play ☆☆ Far-advanced pawns and a dominant position. Examine the dynamic possibilities and be prepared for a surprise.

Exercise 49: Black to play ☆☆ The pawn on c3 is protected by the knight, which is attacked. But they are both deep in the enemy camp.

Exercise 52: White to play ☆☆ It is clear that White dominates the situation, but how can he break into the enemy position?

Exercise 53: White to play ☆☆ It is essential to open lines for the invasion. Somehow White needs to make his spatial and positional advantage count.

Exercise 54: Black to play ☆☆ Black’s central pawns versus White’s queenside pawns. Black’s pawns are unrestrained...

Exercise 55: White to play ☆☆ Can you solve this puzzle, where major pieces are attacking each other?

Exercise 56: White to play ☆☆☆ White’s attacking pieces threaten the black king. It is important to analyse all the side-variations thoroughly.

Exercise 57: Black to play ☆☆☆ Both kings are in danger, but Black’s position contains greater latent dynamism.

Exercise 58: Black to play ☆☆☆ If you had those beautiful pawns, just two steps from glory, you would want to queen one of them. Well, now you have them.

Exercise 59: White to play ☆☆☆ Black, with his plans on the h-file and his powerful bishops, has rather neglected his own king. But you haven’t...


2...Rxa5 3 c8Q Bb6 4 Qb7+ 1-0

White to play

White to play

38) Spassky – Petrosian

36) Sveshnikov – Stoček

World Ch (5), Moscow 1969

Pula 2000 1 Nxd8!

1 Rd8! It is worth noting that 1 gxf8Q+ Kxf8 2 Kf6 is in fact winning for White, due to the terrible locations of Black’s king and rook. But the text-move is vastly neater. 1...c2

White has other ways to win, but this is certainly the clearest. 1...Nxf5 2 Nc6 1-0 There is no adequate defence against the threat of 3 Rxf8+ and 4 d8Q+.

The main point is 1...Rxd8 2 Bxe6#. 2 Rxe8 1-0 It is mate next move.

White to play

39) Paglilla – Carbone Buenos Aires 1985 White to play

37) Rausis – Pira French Team Ch 1996 1 c7! 1 fxe3?? Ke4 leaves White much worse. 1...Rc5 2 Rxa5! Thanks to the pin, White promotes.

1 Qa8!! 1-0 After 1...Rxa8 2 fxe7, Black cannot prevent 3 Rd8.

White to play

White to play

40) Skuratov – Svedchikov

42) Čabrilo – Matović

USSR 1972

Yugoslav Team Ch, Vrnjačka Banja 1999

1 Rh5!

1 Rh7+!

1 fxe7? Rxe6 2 Rxc5 Rxe7 is an advantageous rook ending for White, but very far from a certain win.

To clear e7, allowing the passed pawn to advance. There was another way to win, based on a similar idea: 1 Qxg8+! Kxg8 and now 2 Rxa7! and 2 Rb7! both win (as the king evades the checks after 2...Qe1+ 3 Kg2 Qd2+ 4 Kf3 Qd1+ 5 Kf4). However, this is a little messier.

1-0 After 1...Rxh5 2 fxe7 the pawn queens.

1...Kxh7 2 Qxg8+! Not 2 Bd3+?? f5. 2...Kxg8 3 e7+ Kg7 4 e8Q Qe1+ 5 Kg2 Qd2+ 6 Kh3 and White won.

Black to play

41) Bick – del Rio Ubeda 2000 1...Ng4+! Or 1...Ne4+!, which has the same idea, and works just as well. Black to play


43) Rutseva – Eidelson

White resigned in view of 2 Ke2 hxg2 or 2 fxg4 Qf4+ 3 Kg1 Qxf1+ 4 Kxf1 h2.

USSR 1976 1...Rf1+! The only other playable move is 1...Rf7, when 2 Rxf7 e1Q+ leads to a winning endgame for Black. 2 Bxf1

2 Qxf1 exf1Q+ 3 Bxf1 Qe4+ 4 Kg1 Qxd4+ and 5...Qxa7. 2...Qe4+! 0-1 3 Qxe4 exf1Q#.

White to play

46) Riazantsev – Alexandrov St Petersburg 1999 1 Qxf8+!! 1-0 White to play

1...Kxf8 2 Rc8+ Ke7 3 Re8+ Kd6 4 d8Q+.

44) Kirpirchnikov – Veksler USSR 1965 1 e6! Bxe6 2 Ne5! 1-0 2...Nxe5 (or 2...Qb7 3 Nxc6 Qxc6 4 Qe5, winning the bishop anyway) 3 Qxe5 gives White a decisive advantage.

Black to play

47) I. Farago – Fauland Budapest 1990 1...a4! 2 Bxa4 Nd5

White to play

45) Khalifman – Gofshtein Ubeda 1997 1 Bc4! 1 d8Q! Rxd8 2 Bc4, with a double pin, also wins. 1...Rxf3+ 1...Bxc4 2 d8Q. 2 Ke2 Rxd3 3 d8Q 1-0 3...Bxc4 4 Qg8+.

This knight outpost and the control of the c3-square justify the pawn sacrifice. 3 Qd2 Rc3+ 4 f3 h4+ 5 Kf2 5 Kh2 Rxf3 6 Qg2 Qxf4+ 7 Kh1 Ne3. 5...Qxh3 0-1

White to play

White to play

48) Eliskases – H. Müller

50) Keres – Mecking

Linz 1934

San Antonio 1972

1 Qe6+ Ke8 2 Rh8!

1 Bxf7+! Kh8

The g7-pawn is so strong that White can afford to sacrifice his c1-rook with check.

1...Kxf7 allows 2 Qe6#.

2...Rxc1+ 3 Kh2 1-0

The pawn increases White’s control of the e8square, gaining a tempo by attacking the rook. If 2...Qxd7 (2...Rc5 and 2...Ra8 are both met by 3 Qe8+), then 3 Be6.

2 d7! 1-0

Black to play

49) Veltmander – Polugaevsky RSFSR Ch, Sochi 1958

White to play

1...Ng3+! 0-1 It turns out that it is all about the c3-pawn: 2 fxg3 Qf6+ 3 Qf2 (3 Kg1 Rxe1+) 3...Rxe1+ 4 Kxe1 Qxf2+ 5 Kxf2 c2, and the pawn reaches the goal.

51) Malakhov – Blehm Cappelle la Grande 2000 1 f5!! exf5 1...gxf5 is met by 2 Bxe6! fxe6 3 g6. 2 Bxf7 f4 3 Bxg6! 1-0 3...f3 4 Bxh7 f2 5 Bd3 or 3...hxg6 4 h7.

White to play

Black to play

52) Englund – Perfiliev

54) Magomedov – Urban

Stockholm-Leningrad 1926

Koszalin 1999

1 d5!


White could also play 1 Bb2 first, and then follow up with the 2 d5 cxd5 3 Rxf5 breakthrough.

Black can also keep a large advantage with 1...Rd6, planning to advance the centre pawns soon. But the immediate advance is decisive, so why not strike when the iron is hot?

1...cxd5 Or 1...exd5 2 e6 Qxd6 3 Bb2. 2 Rxf5!! exf5 3 e6 1-0 3...Qxd6 4 Bb2 Rd7 5 exd7! Qxf6 6 dxe8Q+ and mate next move.

2 fxe3 dxe3 3 Nxc6 3 Bxe3 Qb2. 3...exd2 4 Nxe7+ Kh7 5 Qg6+ Kh8 6 Nf5 Qc5+ 7 Kf1 Qc1+ 0-1

White to play

White to play

53) Faibisovich – Dubinka St Petersburg 1999 1 d5!! cxd5 1...exd5 2 Kd4 f5 3 Rh6 Rg7 4 e6 gives White a decisive advantage. 2 Bxb5 Bc6 3 Ba6 Re7 4 Kd4 Be8 5 b5 Bd7 6 b6+ Kc6 7 Bd3 1-0 The threat is 8 Bxg6.

55) Vaganian – Hjartarson European Clubs Cup, Bayern-Porz 1991 1 dxe6! Better than 1 Qxb3 Rxd2 2 Qc3 or 1 Rxc2 Rxe3 2 dxe6, although both these lines offer White an advantage. 1...Rxe3 2 exd7 Now White threatens the queen and the rook on c2.

2...Re2 3 d8Q+ Kh7 4 Rxh6+! 1-0 If 4...Kxh6 (4...gxh6 5 Qd3+ and 6 Rxe2) then 5 Qg5+ Kh7 6 Qh5+ Kg8 7 Rd8+, mating.

(7...Bc5?! 8 e5! is less clear) 8 Rxd7+ Bc5 is hopeless for White. 2...f2! The pawn continues its triumphal march. 3 Rxd7+ Kg6 4 Bxf2 Qxf2 5 Rxd6+ Black was threatening 5...Rxh3+ and 6...Qh2#, and if 5 Qg1 then 5...Qg3. 5...Bxd6 6 e5 Bxe5 7 Qb1+ Kf6 0-1

White to play

56) Khodos – Mikenas USSR 1964 1 Re7!! Rxe7 1...Nxe7 2 Qxf7#. Black to play

2 Nxf7 Qe6 Or: 2...Rxf7 3 Qh8#; 2...Ke8 3 dxe7 Qd5 4 Nd6+; 2...Re6 3 Qh8+ Kxf7 4 Qxh7+, winning the queen in view of 4...Ke8 5 Qg8#. 3 dxe7+ Qxe7 4 Qxc6 Qe8 5 Qd5 Indirectly defending the knight, since 5...Qxf7 is met by 6 Qxa8+.

58) Kranzl – Blatny Vienna 1991 1...Rxe4! 2 fxe4 Qd2!! 3 Re2 Or: 3 Qxd2 exd2 4 Rd1 Bd3, and White is lost; 3 Rxd2 exd2! 4 Rd1 Bd3+ 5 Ka1 c2, with the triple threats of 6...c1Q+, 6...cxd1Q+ and 6...Be5#. 3...Qd1+ 4 Rc1 Bd3+ 5 Rc2 e2 0-1 There is no defence against the promotion of the pawn.

Black to play

57) Shulman – Babula European Under-18 Ch, Vejen 1993 1...f3! 2 Rb7 2 Qxf3 Qxf3 3 gxf3 Rxh3+ 4 Kg2 Rg3+ 5 Kf2 Rxg1! 6 Rb7 (6 Kxg1 Bd4+) 6...Bd4+ 7 Ke2 Kf6!

White to play

59) Shirov – King Gausdal 1990

1 e5!! dxe5 Or: 1...Raf8 2 Nf5+!; 1...fxe5 2 Rf7+ Kh6 3 Qc1+ g5 4 Rf6+, with mate in two; 1...f5 2 Nxf5+! gxf5 3 Rg3+, winning. 2 Nf5+!! gxf5 2...Kf8 3 Nd6! Bxd6 4 Qxg6, with unstoppable threats against f7 and f6. 3 Rg3+ Kf8 4 Qxf5 Qf4 4...Qh4 5 Rh3. 5 Qg6 Ra7 6 Rh3! Rxh3 7 Qg8+ Ke7 8 d6+! 1-0 If 8...Bxd6 then 9 Qf7+ Kd8 10 Rxd6+, with mate next move.

4: Attacking the Castled Position

two squares than one, and even more weakening when more than one pawn has been advanced. Other types of structural weakness occur when one of the pawns is either lost or doubled.

The rules of warfare are five: measurements, assessments, calculations, comparisons and victories. The terrain gives rise to the measurements; these give rise to the assessments, the assessments to the calculations; these give rise to the comparisons and the comparisons to the wins.

A lack of support for the castled king by its own pieces (for instance, the absence of the usual knight from f6 or f3, or, especially, of a fianchettoed bishop from g7 or g2) can constitute a weakness that is tactical (rather than structural) in nature, and this can also be exploited under favourable circumstances.

SUN TZU, The Art of War

In the following example, Black gets a structural weakness on the kingside (the h6-pawn) and already has a tactical weakness on the other wing (the knight on c6 is a loose piece). We join the game at the point where Black has to decide which kingside weakness to accept.

In FCM I devoted the whole fourth part of the book to the study of the attack on the castled king, that is to say 106 large pages – almost a whole book in its own right. However, my focus there was on mating combinations, with certain checkmate patterns considered in detail, as well as the Greek Gift bishop sacrifice and other thematic sacrifices against the castled position. In this second assault on the study of the kingside attack, we are going to extend the range of possibilities, with different kinds of combinations: winning material, transition to a better endgame, transformation of one position into another even more advantageous one, etc. In this chapter we shall focus on the various techniques for attacking the castled king with pieces, excluding attacks with pawns (pawn-storms, bayonet attack). Although occasionally positions will be included in which the defending side has castled queenside, these will be ones where the combinations are applicable to similar cases involving kingside castling. The material is divided into the themes that are most characteristic of attacking the kingside castled position:

Black to play

Botvinnik – Szabo Groningen 1946

4.2: Rooks and Files

Here Szabo had to make a difficult decision: which of his two kingside pawns (g- or h-) to advance. Finally he opted for 1...g6. But we are more interested in the consequences of...

4.3: The Greek Gift


4.4: Other Bishop Sacrifices

In that case, White could have sought to highlight the weakening of Black’s castled position with a simple manoeuvre:

4.1: Weakness in the Castled Position

4.5: Panic on the Long Diagonal 4.6: The Knight Sacrifice 4.7: The Exchange Sacrifice 4.8: The Queen Sacrifice

4.1: Weakness in the Castled Position The castled position is weakened when any of the pawns that form the protective barrier in front of the king – namely the f-, g- and h-pawns – have advanced. It is more weakening to advance a pawn

2 Qe2!? Threatening 3 Qe4, with a double attack (to mate on h7 and capture the knight on c6). The most natural reply, 2...Bb7?, would still be answered with 3 Qe4!, when the direct threat of mate leads to the win of an important pawn, because now Black only has a choice between two equally dismal options: 3...g6 4 Bxh6 and 3...f5 4 Qxe6+. A more reasonable move is 2...Qc7!, when 3 Qe4 can be met by 3...f5; this should give Black a playable game.

In the game, Botvinnik answered 1...g6 with 2 Bh6 and won in 20 more moves. Incidentally, in the final position the bishop was still installed in the hole on h6.

What else?

In the following position we shall see how Black successfully carried out a decisive tactical manoeuvre, without the need to make any sacrifices whatsoever (although there were threats of them at various moments).

5 Kg1 Bxh4

4...Rg6! The young Kasparov continues to play precisely. This is not even a sacrifice, since the g3-pawn is pinned. 6 Qa5 Desperation born of helplessness. Here 6 Rxd6 would lose to 6...Bxg3! 7 Rd8+ Kf7 8 Kf1 Bxf2!. 6...h6! 0-1 The h7-square will be a bunker for the black king and White can do nothing to prevent the collapse of the fragile structure supporting his king. Next comes another example of structural weakness, produced by the advance of the g-pawn to g6, without the dark-squared bishop being able to protect the weakened squares.

Black to play

Smyslov – Kasparov Moscow (team event) 1981 Black has sacrificed the exchange, in return for fearsome control of the long light-squared diagonal. The advance of the g-pawn to g3, added to the disappearance of the bishop that normally protects the light squares, means that the weakening of White’s castled position has been dramatic. The black bishop is embedded in the nerve centre on f3 and is safe from attack by the opposing pieces. The bishop reduces the mobility of White’s king to the f1-square, meaning that it is in serious danger. Now we shall see the skill with which Garry Kasparov handles his pieces; four years later he would be crowned World Champion.

White to play

Euwe – Flohr Match (8), Amsterdam 1932

The threat is mate in three: 2...Qxh2+! 3 Kxh2 Rh6+ 4 Kg1 Rh1#.

By advancing his g-pawn, Black has weakened the dark squares in and around his castled position. The white queen has taken advantage of this to assume a dominant position. Now the white pieces are very well coordinated to launch a decisive attack.

2 h4

1 Nxh7! Rfd8

This forced weakening makes the situation of the white king even more critical. The threat is now 3...Qh3 and mate on g2 or h1.

If 1...Kxh7 then 2 Bxg6+! Kg8 (after 2...fxg6 the major pieces conclude the struggle: 3 Rd7+ Kh6 4 Qh4#) 3 Bh7+! (the second sacrifice of the persistent bishop) 3...Kxh7 4 e4! and now the entry of the rook (Rh3+) will prove decisive.

3 Kh2 bxc5!

2 h4!

There is no need to hurry.

White uses this pawn as a battering-ram, contributing to the effective demolition of Black’s castled position.



4 Rh1

2...Rd7 2...Kxh7 3 Qxf7+ Kh8 4 Rc7. 3 h5 Qd8 3...Kxh7 4 Bxg6+. 4 h6 1-0 In the next position Black still has his dark-squared bishop but the advance ...g6 nevertheless represents an important weakness, because the bishop is operating outside the castled position. The doubled f-pawn does not strengthen the structure of Black’s castled position and the movement of the e7-pawn from the e- to the f-file has allowed White’s d5pawn to be transformed into a powerful passed pawn.

White to play

Zelevinsky – Berezin USSR 1957 Black, who has still not developed his queenside pieces, has handled his kingside pawns very casually, opening too many gaps in his king’s position. It is enough to observe that the three squares that theoretically the black king could move to are all attacked by the enemy bishops, which are truly like two artillery pieces here. The demolition begins: 1 Bh7+! Nxh7 2 Rxf7! A second piece sacrifice, which Black must accept. 2...Kxf7

White to play

White’s best course is to highlight the weaknesses of the enemy kingside right away with 1 g4!, since if the bishop now retreats, for instance, by 1...Bc8, then with 2 Ne4 White can immediately probe the weakness on f6, when 2...Kg7? would fail to 3 g5. After 1 g4, Black’s best option is 1...Be5, but after 2 Nxe5 fxe5 3 Qxe5 Bxg4, once again 4 Ne4 is strong, compelling Black to create new weaknesses for himself with 4...f6, although in that case it would still be a struggle.

Or 2...Nf8 3 Rg7+ Kh8 4 Rd7+, winning the queen. 3 Qxh7+ Ke6 4 Bc7! This attack on the queen allows White to gain a tempo, since it clears the e-file. 4...Qd7 5 Re1+ 1-0 The first move by this rook is the last one of the game.

White to play

Spassky – Čirić

2 g3 Nxg3!

Amsterdam 1970

The best way to exploit them. The following continuation is forced.

Both sides are vulnerable on a long diagonal. The light-squared diagonal appears especially problematic for White, since it is controlled, from start to finish, by Black’s queen and bishop. Furthermore, Black is attacking the b2-bishop and the e6-rook. Nevertheless, it is White’s move, which in this position makes a world of difference! And Spassky lost no time in demonstrating this: 1 Qxh6! In fact 1 Rxh6! also wins (1...gxh6 2 Qxh6 Rf6 3 Bxf6 Nxf6 4 Qg6+ Kf8 5 Qxf6+, etc.), as does 1 Bxg7!, but the game continuation seems a ‘cleaner’ solution. 1...Nf6 1...gxh6 allows 2 Rg6#. 2 Rxf6! 1-0 After 2...Rxf6 White wins with 3 Qh7+ Kf8 4 Qh8+ Bg8 (4...Ke7 5 Qxg7+) 5 Bxf6 gxf6 6 Qxf6+ Ke8 7 Re1+, etc.

3 hxg3 Qxg3+ The key to the combination resides in the pressure exerted by the dark-squared bishop on the long diagonal, since the queen is tied to the defence of the d4-knight. 4 Bg2 Bh3 0-1 Now the double threat against d4 and g3 is decisive (5...Bxg2, 5...Bxd4+), because the white queen is overworked and, as if he did not have enough problems, White is facing a third threat, which proves to be the main one: 5...Qh2+ 6 Kf1 Qh1+, followed by 7...Qxg2+. Lundin therefore resigned. The Staunton Memorial international tournament in Groningen was a very important event because, in a sense, it marked the start of modern chess after the barren years of the Second World War. The new stars of the chessboard, above all the Soviet players, were joining the international chess community, laying down the foundations for the new world order of high-level chess competition. This supertournament, in which 20 of the best players of the day took part, resulted in a triumph for the new Russian phenomenon, Mikhail Botvinnik, followed by the ex-world champion Max Euwe, and another young Russian, Vasily Smyslov.

Black to play

Lundin – Boleslavsky Groningen 1946 The bishop on e5 is a powerful weapon. It not only exerts tremendous pressure on the long dark-squared diagonal (in particular on the knights on d4 and c3) but also has its sights set on the enemy castled position. White’s kingside weaknesses do not seem very significant; he has merely advanced the f-pawn to f3, but even this slight weakening, plus the lack of defensive pieces and the active positions of Black’s bishop and knight, allows Black to unleash a winning sequence. 1...Qh4 Openly forcing fresh weaknesses.

White to play

Karpov – Kramnik Monte Carlo rapid 1998 Black’s Q+B tandem looks very strong and his rook is situated on an open file. In addition, Black has a queenside pawn-majority. On the other hand, Black’s kingside pawn-structure has been damaged and this proved to be a decisive factor. White, for his part, could not have his pieces better placed. His queen and rook dominate the open c-file, while his

knight will be ideally placed on d5, f5 or g4, but it is the fact that it can occupy any of these squares that is the source of its great power. 1 Qc8! Rf8 Here 1...Rxc8? is not playable due to 2 Rxc8+ Kg7 3 Nf5+ Kg6 4 Rg8+ Kh5 5 g4# – a perfect mate by the team of R+N+P. If 1...Qd4 then White wins by 2 Qg4+ Kf8 3 Nf5, with a double attack on the black queen and the g7-square, to which there is no good reply. 1...Qd2 is relatively best, but 2 Qg4+ followed by 3 Rc8 greatly favours White. 2 Qg4+ Highlighting the weakness of Black’s castled position; the queen has easily occupied the half-open g-file.

Pollock – Chigorin New York 1889 Here we have a classic example, illustrating the power of a rook on the seventh rank. Normally it is not just the rook: here the weakening of the castled position (h3), as well as the concerted activity of all the pieces on open lines, makes a quick finish possible. 1...Bxh3! The sacrifice of a bishop on h3 (or h6) is one of the usual methods of breaking up a weakened castled position. 2 gxh3 2 Rfe1 Re4! 3 Qxa7 Qg4!.

2...Kh8 3 Rc8 1-0


Black resigned, since if 3...Rxc8 (or 3...Qxa3 4 Nf5, with mate on g7) then 4 Qxc8+ Kg7 5 Nf5+ Kg6, and now White mates as in the note to move 1, but this time using the queen instead of the rook: 6 Qg8+ Kh5 7 g4#.

This exchange sacrifice opens lines with decisive effect.

In general, one should keep in mind that while a weakened castled position can sometimes be attacked without an investment of material (remember, for instance, the game SmyslovKasparov, at the start of the chapter), an attack against an unweakened castled position generally requires a sacrifice of material.

3...Qxh3 4 Rxe2 Rxe2 5 Rb1 Re4! 0-1

3 Rce1 If 3 fxe3 then 3...Qxh3 4 Rf2 Qg3+, winning. Winning the white queen (and the game), since if it moves away then 6...Rg4#.

When one side is forced to advance his h-pawn in front of his castled position, he has created a significant weakness. Although the king has been protected against an eventual back-rank mate, it is quite likely that well before that becomes a problem, the opposing side will be able to exploit the weakness created. Let’s see some examples.

White to play

Bielczyk – Piskov Star Dojran 1991

Black to play

It is clear that White has an enviable position, with all his pieces deployed harmoniously and aiming at the enemy castled position. Black seems to have no great weaknesses, but a closer examination starts to bring the truth to light: Black’s castled position has been weakened by the advance of the h-pawn to h6. Black’s queen’s bishop’s diagonal is blocked, but advancing the d5-pawn would block his other bishop. Black’s hope is to exchange pieces, starting

with the elimination of the e5-bishop. But it is White to play.

1...gxh6 2 Qf5+ Kg8 3 Qg4+ Kf8 4 Qg7+ Ke7 5 Qe5+ Kf8

1 Rxh6!

Up to here, the whole variation has been forced, so that no comment was required. If instead 5...Kd8 then 6 Qb8+ Ke7 7 Bc5+, winning the queen and practically forcing resignation.

A well-aimed blow. 1...Rf5 Black tries to paper over the crack in his position, since the rook was immune from capture. If 1...gxh6 then 2 Qg4+ Kf7 3 Qg6#. The zwischenzug 1...Nxe5 also fails, to 2 Rh8+! Kxh8 3 Qh5+ Kg8 4 Bh7+ with a thematic mating sequence: 4...Kh8 5 Bg6+ Kg8 6 Qh7#. Finally 1...Nf6 is answered with 2 Rg6, followed by the manoeuvre Rf3-g3. 2 Bxf5 exf5 3 Qh5! gxh6

6 Bc5+ There is no solution. If any of the black pieces blocks on e7 then White plays 7 Qh8#, and otherwise Black loses too much material to play on. However, in the game, Furman missed his chance, and after 1 Qg4? g6 Black was able to defend. The game was drawn a few moves later.

4.2: Rooks and Files

The only move. 4 Qg6+ Kf8 5 Qxh6+ Kf7 6 Qg7+ Ke6 7 Qg6+ Nf6 8 Bxf6 Qxf6 Or 8...Qf7 9 Re1+ Kd6 10 Be7++, followed by 11 Qxf7. 9 Re1+ Kd7 10 Qxe8+ Kc7 11 Qe5+ White wins easily after the exchange of queens.

The existence of open and half-open files is usually very important in any attack on a castled position and tends to have a big influence on the way the play develops, especially when either the g- or h-pawn is missing. Open Files Half-Open Files The Invading Rook

Open Files

White to play

Furman – Kholmov USSR Ch, Leningrad 1963 White has a powerful centralized bishop. To be able to exploit the power of his pieces, the famous theoretician Semion Furman will need to attend to the pawn on a7. Or so it seems... White has optimized the scope of his rook, which is controlling the a-file and the sixth rank, as well as blockading the a7-pawn. 1 Rxh6+! The start of a very precise combination. One must bear in mind that the horizontal action of a rook can be just as dangerous as its vertical action.

Black to play

Komov – Sidorov Correspondence 1952 White threatens to win the queen with Ba7+, but he has a problem: the open h-file. Despite the accumulation of pieces around his king, this factor represents a serious structural fault in White’s position. 1...Rh1+!! An unexpected and elegant sacrifice on the open hfile.

2 Kxh1 Qh7+ 3 Kg1 Qh2+!! Another gift, this time of the all-powerful queen. The idea is to decoy the white king into a lethal double check.

Make way! The second rook also gives up its life for the cause, eliminating the guardian of the light squares. 4...Kxh7 5 Qf7+ Kh8

4 Kxh2 Nf3++ 5 Kh1 Rh8#

5...Kh6 6 Nh5 Rg8 7 Nf6 Rg7 8 Qh5#.

All the moves were forced and the mate, therefore, unstoppable.

6 Nh5!

This example is a vivid illustration of the dangers (or advantages) of an open h-file against the castled position.

The cavalry comes into action only after the artillery has swept the battlefield. 6...Rg8 7 Nf6 Ng6 7...Rg7 8 Qh5+ Rh7 9 Qxh7#. 8 Qxd7 1-0

White to play

Khachian – Aslanov White to play

USSR 1986 Deflecting the defending king from an important invasion point often justifies the greatest of sacrifices. White’s biggest trump is his occupation of the h-file. In addition, the holes in Black’s kingside and White’s splendid pair of knights mean that all the indications are favourable to White. 1 Rh7+!! Deflecting the black king from the f6-square and at the same time confining it to the h-file. 1...Kxh7 The only question is what happens if Black takes with the bishop: 1...Bxh7 2 Nh5+ Kf8 (2...Kh6 3 Qxf6+ Ng6 4 Nf5+) 3 Qxf6+ Ke8 4 Ng7+ Kd8 5 Qf8+ Qe8 6 Qxe8#. 2 Qxf6 We now have the image of the checkmate dazzling us: the entry of the second rook along the open file is conclusive. 2...Kg8 2...Ng8 3 Rh1+ Nh6 4 Nef5. 3 Rh1 Bh7 4 Rxh7!

Züger – Fiedler Bad Ragaz 1990 All Black’s pieces, except the queen, are on the back rank, which reveals the passivity of his position. In addition, White controls the a-file with his major pieces. However, the position has a blocked character and White needs to find a way in. In fact, there are several options, and Züger chose an attractive one. 1 Bxf7! White has made a deep examination of the position and has detected the invasion points. This introductory sacrifice has the purpose of deflecting the enemy bishop from the a4-square. Another tactical breakthrough, 1 Nxb4! cxb4 2 c5, also wins, as does the simpler 1 Na4 Bxa4 2 Qxa4, keeping both Bxf7 and Nxb4 in reserve. 1...Bxf7 2 Na4 This move deflects the black queen from a6, or else... 2...Qa7

Black decides to sacrifice the queen, since if 2...Qd8 then White has 3 Naxc5+! dxc5 4 Qa6+ Kc7 5 Qc6#.


3 Rxa7+ Nxa7 4 Naxc5+!

4 Rxh7 fxg4?

The decisive opening of lines.

4...Nd6!, with the threat of 5...Rxc1!, forces White to find 5 Bg5!, overloading the f6-bishop.

4...dxc5 5 Qa5 Bd6 6 Nxc5+ Ka8

3...Nf8 4 Nh6+ Kg7 5 g5! is winning for White.

If Black exchanges the knight with 6...Bxc5 then after 7 Qxc5 the struggle between the white queen and the three black pieces clearly favours White, thanks to the passed pawns and the awkward situation of the enemy pieces.

5 Nh4 Bxh4 6 R1xh4 f5

7 Na6 1-0

If 7...Kf7, 8 R4h7+ Kf6 9 Rxe8 Qxe8 10 Rxc7.

Now, in the absence of the dark-squared bishop, the invasion is a foregone conclusion. 7 Rh8+ 1-0

The immediate threat is c5, beginning the triumphal march of the two passed pawns.

White to play

Karpov – Morović White to play

Las Palmas (1) 1994

Kožul – Van der Wiel

A position from the match between grandmasters Anatoly Karpov and Ivan Morović; White will quickly demonstrate what it means to possess the open h-file against the enemy castled position. Here it is important to grasp the detail that the black king is imprisoned by his own rook on e7, depriving it of a possible escape-square.

European Clubs Cup, Bugojno 1999 Matters are clear: White has the open h-file and a passed pawn on d5. Material is equal. So, all White has to do is double rooks on the h-file and, when appropriate, seriously consider planting a knight on f5, as if it this were an outpost. Is that not so? 1 Ngf5! Killing two birds with one stone: White invades the alluring base on f5 and makes way for the rook on b3 to swing across to the h-file. 1...Qd8 1...gxf5 2 Nxf5 Qb6 3 Rbh3 Nf8 4 g5, followed by 5 Qh5, leads to mate. 2 Rbh3 The second step in the plan. 2...Rc7 3 Nf3 While this is good for White, the game now becomes messy. 3 g5! Bxg5 4 Qg4 is the computer recommendation.

1 Rh8+!! The immediate sacrifice of the rook, to make way for the only piece superior to it in the game’s hierarchy. 1...Kxh8 2 Qh1+ Kg8 3 Bxf6 Eliminating the piece defending the h7-square. 3...Qxg3+ The only resource, since 3...Qxf6 allows 4 Qh7+ Kf8 5 Qh8#. 4 fxg3 Re2+ 5 Kh3 gxf6 6 Kg4 1-0 The king moves aside for the queen. The d5-pawn will fall, when Black’s situation will be unsustainable.

Black to play

White to play

Miezis – Smirin

Heemsoth – Heissenbüttel

New York 1998

West Germany 1958

White had opted for an unsound combination and, following the capture of a knight on d5, he decided to play the zwischenzug 1 fxPe5. But now he is in for big surprise, because the position is already ripe for a finish, and Black’s major pieces on the h-file will play the leading role. 1...f4! This advance wins in all variations. The basic idea is that it opens a path for the light-squared bishop. 2 Bxd4 If 2 Bxf4 then 2...Nf3+! 3 Bxf3 Qh2+ 4 Kf1 Bh3+ and mate next move. 2...f3! The kamikaze pawn continues its triumphal march. 3 exf6 fxg2 Also winning was 3...Qh2+ 4 Kf2 Qxg2+ 5 Ke3 Rae8. 4 Kxg2 Rae8! 5 Be5 Bg4 6 Qe3 Qh2+ 7 Kf1 Qh1+ 0-1 White resigned since 8 Qg1 is met by 8...Qf3+ 9 Qf2 (9 Ke1 Qe2#) 9...Rh1#. The next position is a classic illustration of the dangers presented to a castled king by the enemy control of the open g-file.

Black threatens mate in one, and if the white knight moves, then ...Qc1+ wins. As regards White’s positional trumps, we cannot help but notice the tremendous pressure exerted by the triple major pieces on the g-file. Of course, it remains to be seen whether this pressure is meaningful. As regards dynamic considerations, if there is one overriding factor, it is the question of who is to move. Here it is White. 1 Rc5!! A masterful move, but one which is not hard to understand if we get to the heart of the position: the white queen would dearly love to land on g7, so the way must be cleared. The text-move both attacks and defends at the same time: it protects the knight on c2, attacks the black queen and clears a path for his own queen. 1...Qxc5 2 Rxh7+! 1-0 Naturally! Now either capture of the rook is answered with 3 Qg7#. How easy it was to climb Everest! White only had to sacrifice both rooks.

White to play

Ehlvest – Andersson Belfort 1988 The open g-file, in conjunction with the f6-pawn, is the decisive factor here. Even though Black is threatening mate, White has an energetic continuation available.

GM Alexander Zaitsev (not to be confused with his namesake Igor) was born and died in Vladivostok (1935-71) and had an original playing style, “often capable of making surprising moves”, according to Mikhail Tal. His greatest success was his shared first place (with Polugaevsky) in the 1968/9 USSR Championship, held in Alma-Ata.

1 Rg8+! 1-0 In reality, this is a sacrifice based on the theme of ‘clearance’, in this case of the g7-square and the a1h8 diagonal: 1...Rxg8 (1...Kxg8 2 Rg1+ Kh8 3 fxe7+) 2 fxe7+ Rg7 and now 3 Rg1! is an elegant finishing touch. A possible finish is 3...Qxb2+ 4 Kd1 Qb1+ 5 Bc1 Rg8 6 Qxg7+ Rxg7 7 e8Q+ Rg8 8 Qxg8#.

White to play

Bagirov – Imanaliev Frunze 1983 Another case in which White is controlling the open file with his doubled major pieces. The pawn on f5, attacking vital points in Black’s camp (e6 and g6) is also important. But the shortage of material makes a decisive penetration difficult. What can White do? White to play

A. Zaitsev – Zhukhovitsky USSR 1963 The position of both kings has been weakened and the first thing that attracts attention is that White’s major pieces are tripled on the a-file. Also we see that both Black’s knights are magnificently centralized, but he is the exchange down.

1 Bh5! We are seeing that activating the minor pieces, via the open file, is often the common denominator to solve these situations. Of course here the player must make sure that the tactical factors in the position justify leaving the rook en prise momentarily. 1...Qxc4

White starts a combination by returning the exchange. Black is forced to accept.

Or 1...Kxh6 2 Bf7+ Kg7 3 Bxg8 Kxg8 4 Qh6 Kf7 5 Qh7+ Kf8 6 Qc7, penetrating the nerve centre of the black camp and attacking his weaknesses at d6 and b6.

1...Bxa8 2 Nxd6+!

2 Rh7+!!

An excellent knight fork which opens up the seventh rank for the invasion of White’s remaining major pieces.

Very spectacular.

1 Ra8+!


2...cxd6 3 Qxa8+ Kd7 4 Ra7+, mating.

The sacrifice must be declined. If 2...Kxh7 then 3 Be2+ or 3 Bf7+, winning the queen, while 2...Kg8 is met by 3 Bf7+! Bxf7 4 Rh8+ Kg7 5 Qh7#.

3 Nxe8 1-0

3 Be2! 1-0

It’s all collapsing. Black resigns.

By attacking the black queen, White gains the tempo needed to mate with 4 Qh6+ and 5 Qg7#.


White to play

White to play

Dizdarević – Feletar

Bareev – Khuzman

Pula Zonal 2000

European Clubs Cup, Bugojno 1999

Black has just committed the error of playing ...g7g5 to win the white bishop on f4. Admittedly the bishop has no escape, but is it worth it? With this advance, Black allows the opening of the h-file; for the moment there is no rook on this file, but all in good time. Let’s see what happened. Here 2...Kg7 seems a better defence, but after 3 Nf5+ exf5 4 Qxf5 Qxc3 5 Bxg5, the position is winning for White.

Let us observe that the black knight is out of play and that Black’s king is at least as exposed as White’s. And let us also observe a significant detail: the black rook is attacked by the king. Of course ‘attacked’ seems a ridiculous description, since it is defended by the queen, but what if the queen were forced to give up the defence of the rook? Or what if the white queen could attack the rook with check? We have now established the underlying ideas. It only remains to give shape to them, i.e. in the tactical sense.

3 Rh1 Nf8 4 Rh5!

1 Bxf7+!

Attacking g5, so gaining the tempo needed to double rooks on the h-file.

Eliminating the last pawn protecting the black king.

1 hxg5 hxg5 2 Kg2! Rfe8

4...gxf4 5 Rah1 f5 5...fxe3 allows mate: 6 Rh8+ Kg7 7 R1h7+ Nxh7 8 Qxh7#.

1...Kxf7 It is obvious that there is no alternative. 2 Qf5+ Kg8 3 Qe6+ Kf8

Or 6 Rh8+ Kg7 7 Nxf5+, etc.

One of the key points of the combination is that the black king cannot go to the h-file due to 4 Qh3+ and 5 Qxg2 (the double attack mentioned above).

6...exf5 7 Qxf5 1-0

4 Re1! 1-0

There is no effective way to neutralize the threats of invasion.

The threat is mate on e8. If, for instance, 4...Qg6 then 5 Qe7+ Kg8 6 Qd8+ Kg7 7 Re7+ Kh6 8 Qh8+ Kg5 and if White wants to take the profits from his investment, he only has to play 9 Rg7. But even better is 9 h4+ Kf5 10 Qe5+ Kg4 11 Kxg2, etc.

6 Nxf5!

But control of an open file is not everything. There is a huge variety of possible positions and if the opponent’s pieces occupy good posts, in many cases they will be able to counteract the control of the open file.

Half-Open Files In most cases the existence of half-open files on the kingside allows the attacking side to undertake operations which are very threatening to the castled king. The half-open g- and h-files constitute real invasion routes for the major pieces and, in such cases, the norm is that the defender cannot limit himself to remaining in defensive mode but

wherever possible should always seek active counterplay in the centre or on the opposite flank, to distract the attention of the enemy.

6...Qxf3 0-1 White’s situation is untenable.

In the following examples we shall focus on attacking combinations using firstly the h-file and then the g-file: The h-File is Half-Open The g-File is Half-Open The h-File is Half-Open

White to play

Zinn – Fuchs Leipzig 1964

Black to play

Bitman – Tal USSR 1963 It is time to make an assessment. It is clear that none of the three bishops are good, and the blocked position is to blame for this. On the other hand, the knight on d4 is magnificent and the one on b2 can move to c4, greatly increasing its activity. There is reasonable doubt about the knight on f6. But there can be no doubt that the black rooks are vastly superior to their white counterparts. It is also clear that, of the two kings, it is White’s that is the more exposed. 1...Nxg4! The attacking instincts of Tal the magician have detected the real weak point in White’s position. 2 fxg4 2 Bxg4? fails to 2...Rxh1, with the point 3 Bxd7 R8h2#. 2...Rxh3! Also winning was 2...f3+ 3 Kg3 Ne2+ 4 Kf2 (4 Kxf3? Rxh3+ 5 Rxh3 Rxh3+ 6 Kxe2 Rxd3) 4...Nf4, etc. 3 Rxh3 Qxg4+ 4 Kh2 Rxh3+ 5 Qxh3 Nf3+ 6 Qxf3 6 Kh1 Qg1#.

The destructive power of White’s major pieces will only make itself felt if they can succeed in penetrating along the h-file. How and when to do so – these are the issues that the player must resolve. The area surrounding the black king is too open and contains numerous holes. The e5-pawn significantly cramps the enemy position (the f6- and d6-squares) and the knight has an excellent launch-pad on e4. 1 Rxh5!! gxh5 2 Qxh5 Now the double threat against e8 and h8 seems decisive. 2...Qxd2+! A surprise! If the offer is accepted with 3 Kxd2??, then 3...Nxf4+ 4 Kc1 Nxh5 rescues Black. 3 Kb1 But the king declines... 3...Rf8 4 Qxh8+ Kf7 5 Qh5+ Kg8 Now remember this principle: once the invasion is achieved, the roads to victory multiply. 6 f5! Qg2 7 fxe6 1-0 Another double attack and this time there is no defence; the d7-rook is attacked and since the epawn is covering the escape-square f7, there is also a threat of mate on h8.

White to play

Bilek – Szilagyi Hungarian Ch, Budapest 1964 With a first glance at this position we might notice Black’s passed pawn on the a-file. A second glance draws our attention to the half-open h-file. So it is all about files here, and specifically rook’s files. 1 Rxh7! Immediate annihilation of the pawn which was keeping the h-file half-closed. 1...Qd7 White to play

Ftačnik – Ree Lucerne Olympiad 1982 This is an unusual position, in which it seems that White is not going to be able to avoid the exchange of queens, if he does not wish to lose the bishop. Following a queen exchange, White would have more than enough activity for his missing pawn, but not necessarily be better. White instead conceives an original manoeuvre to include his second rook in the struggle. 1 Qh4! Qxd3

It was not possible to play 1...Kxh7, because it runs into a typical mating pattern after 2 Qf7, with the threat of Rh1#. If 1...Rf8 then 2 Rxg7+! Kxg7 3 Bh6+ Kxh6 4 Qxf8+. 2 Rch1 Rf8 3 Qf6!! An excellent move, made possible by the black queen having been drawn to its second rank. 3...Bxf6 4 Rxd7 Bg7 5 Ra7 White has a decisive advantage. 5...Rb2 Now the simplest win would have been 6 Rxg7+ Kxg7 7 Bh6+ Kf7 8 Bxf8 Kxf8 9 Ra1.

1...f5 2 g4 Nf6 3 gxf5 exf5 4 Nf3 offered greater resistance, although the white attack is very strong and possibly winning. 2 Rb3! Qc2 If 2...Qg6 then 3 e4, with the threat of 4 Rg3. 3 e4! Anyway. The second rook reaching the g-file is a devastating threat. 3...Re8 4 Qg5+! 1-0 Black resigned in view of 4...Kf8 (or 4...Kh8 5 Rxh7+! Kxh7 6 Rh3#) 5 Rxh7, winning easily. White to play

Chigorin – L. Paulsen Berlin 1881 White’s space advantage and the pressure of his rooks along the h-file are important positional factors, as are also his well-placed minor pieces, especially the knight on d4. For his part, Black has two very bad minor pieces (the d7-bishop and d8knight). Although Black’s king is well protected by the pair of rooks, White is already in a position to undertake a combinative attack.

1 Rxh7! A rook sacrifice on an apparently well-protected square. 1...Rxh7 2 Rxh7 Rf7 Now we can see that it would not be a good deal for Black to accept the sacrifice, since 2...Kxh7 runs into mate after 3 Qh5+ (here we see the power of the d3-bishop) 3...Kg8 4 Qxg6+ Kh8 5 Qh7#. Another possibility was 2...Nc4 3 Qh3 Nxe3+ 4 Kh1.

Bg5! bxc4 8 Bxf6 Bxf6 9 Qh7+ Kf8 10 Nxc4, though 4...Qh4 makes the game messier. 4...Re8 5 Qxg6 Qf6 6 Bxf7+! Qxf7 If 6...Kf8 then 7 Bxe8 Rxe8 8 Rh8+! Bxh8 9 Bh6+ Ke7 (9...Bg7 10 Qxf6+) 10 Bg5. 7 Rh8+! A deflection sacrifice, exploiting the pin on the black bishop. 7...Kxh8 8 Qxf7 1-0

3 Rh6 White has eliminated the h7-pawn, with a decisive advantage, because now the attack plays itself.

Once Black deals with the threat against the b7bishop, White’s strongest continuation is to play 9 Qg6, followed by the powerful manoeuvre Nf3-g5.

3...Nc4 4 Rxg6+ Kf8 5 Bf2 Bc8 6 Qh4 Ke7 7 Rg8 Kd7 8 g6 Re7 9 Qxe7+ 1-0

The g-File is Half-Open

9...Kxe7 10 Rg7+ Ke8 11 Rxc7.

White to play White to play

M. Gurevich – P.H. Nielsen

Steinitz – Mongredien London (match) 1863 Black’s castled position seems perfectly secure, with three minor pieces protecting the king, but there is another significant detail: the g-pawn is missing and the h-file is half-open. This, added to the excellent deployment of White’s troops, does not bode well for Black.

Esbjerg 2000 The position is a tense one and both sides have threats, but on studying it we can see that the black king is badly protected by its forces, which allows the white artillery to show what it can do. 1 Rxg7+! It was also possible to play 1 Nxe8 Rxe8 2 Rxg7+!.

1 Nxh7! Nxh7 2 Rxh7! Kxh7


So once again White has sacrificed a rook, which Black has accepted. The alternatives were no better: 2...b5 3 Qh5! bxc4 4 Rxg7+ Kxg7 5 Qh6+ Kg8 (5...Kf6 6 Bg5+ Ke6 7 Bxd8 Raxd8) 6 Rh1 Re8 7 Bxc5 Re7 8 Nxc4 Qc7 (8...Bxe4 9 Nxe5!) 9 Nd6! Qxc5 10 Nf5, winning. But now the invasion proceeds.

Or: 1...Qxg7 2 Rg1; 1...Kxg7 2 Rg1+ Kh7 3 Qh5+ Qh6 4 Qxf7+ Kh8 5 Nxe8.

3 Qh5+ Kg8 4 Rh1!

In the following example, White was a piece up following an earlier blunder by Black.

Now the h-file is open and White’s major pieces are doubled. Steinitz indicated that White could also win with 4 Qxg6; e.g., 4...Qf6 5 Qh5 b5 6 Rh1 Rfe8 7

2 Rg3! 1-0 The g-file is now open and by attacking the bishop, the rook gains the tempo needed to make the simultaneous threat of 3 Qh5+ unstoppable.

White to play

Black to play

Kotov – Tolush

Rubinstein – Alekhine

Pärnu 1947

Dresden 1926

The position of the white king on d2 would be vulnerable if Black had a free move or two. But the status of one side’s position is always dependent on the other’s. So, in this case, the black king is directly threatened by the queen and bishop on the b1-h7 diagonal and the rook on the g-file, and the final fireworks start immediately.

For once in his career, the great Akiba Rubinstein’s pieces are badly coordinated, but we should not reproach him because he was facing the no less great Alexander Alekhine. In this middlegame with all the major pieces on the board, we shall see how Black manages to create a winning position by means of a forcing tactical sequence.

1 Rxg7+!

1...Rg6! 2 Qd2

The rook opens a route for the queen to penetrate to f7.

Here 2 Rff2 was inferior, in view of 2...f4! 3 exf4 e3!. In this variation we can see that Black’s centre pawns (d5 and f5), because they are not blockaded, are very awkward for White to deal with.

1...Bxg7 The only move, as 1...Kxg7? allows 2 Qh7+ Kf8 3 Qxf7#. 2 Qxf7+ Kh8 3 Rg1 Also winning was 3 Qxe8+! Rxe8 4 Nf7+ Kg8 5 Nxd6. 3...Re7 4 Ng6+ Black has to give up his queen, since if 4...Kh7 then 5 Nxe7+, etc. Our next position features a curious diamond formation of the black centre pawns, recalling the tactical deployment of the teams in ice hockey.

2...Rg3!? The threat is 3...Rh3+ 4 Kg1 (4 gxh3 Qg1#) 4...Qg3, but 2...d4! is a cleaner win, as 3 exd4 e3 4 Qc2 Rg3 renders White helpless. 3 Qe1? If 3 Kg1? then 3...d4! 4 exd4 e3! 5 Qc2 Rh3, followed by 6...Qg3, or 3 Kh2? Rh3+! 4 Kxh3 Qg3#. The best try is 3 cxd5, but after 3...Rh3+ 4 Kg1 Qg3 5 Ref2 Rc8! Black’s attack should prove decisive. 3...Rxg2 0-1 The systematic siege by Black’s major pieces has been conducted impeccably. Alekhine forced his opponent’s resignation without needing to sacrifice anything; instead he operated with a series of latent threats.

Black to play

Black to play

Mazi – I. Farago

Rogers – Kochiev

Slovenian Team Ch, Bled 1999

Tallinn 1985

White has momentarily committed two of his major pieces to the a-file, while Black has menacing pressure on the g-file. The excellently placed black knights contrast with the dangerous situation of the white king, defended only by a single rook.

White had occupied the e4-square with his knight and then, following its exchange, pinned the black knight with his queen. Now it is Black to move and, before rushing to capture on f2, we should remember that the queen on f5 will be hanging with check. But something is brewing on the g-file, because the pressure exerted by the black rooks is fearsome.

1...Bxg2! Immediate demolition. In this type of position it is essential to grasp the first attacking opportunity that presents itself, since castling on opposite sides always lends the game an ultra-dynamic character. 2 Rxg2 Rxg2+ 3 Kxg2 Qg7+ 4 Kh3 The white king has been exposed. 4 Kf1 was worse in view of 4...Rg8, but the king can scarcely survive for long in such a precarious position. 4...Rg8 5 Ne1 The difference is that, with the king on f1, the queen would also have been threatening mate on g1. However, the invasion squares (g2, h6, f4) are all hanging by a thread. 5...Qd7+

Here Kochiev played 1...Kh8, which was answered with 2 Qxe4, and the game was drawn a few moves later. However, what would have happened if Black had taken on f2? Yes, I know... 1...Nxf2!! 2 Qxf5+ R8g6 3 Rg1 There is no alternative. 3...Nxh3! 4 Qxh3? This looks like the only move, since otherwise 4...Nxg1, etc., would follow. But in fact 4 Rf1 (preventing ...Nf2) is more resilient. Following 4...Rxg2+ 5 Kxh3 (and, e.g., 5...Kg7 6 Qd7+ Kg8 7 Qe8+ Kh7 8 Qf7+ Bg7 9 Qf5 Kh8, forcing 10 Qxg6+), Black will have to win the ending. 4...Rxh3+ 5 Kxh3

Also winning was 5...Nf4+ 6 Bxf4 exf4, with the unstoppable threat of mate on h6.

5 gxh3 loses to 5...Rxg1 6 Kxg1 bxc4.

6 Kh4 Nf5+ 7 Kh3 Nfe3+ 8 Kh4 Qh3+!? 0-1

5...Rg3+ 6 Kh2

It’s mate after 9 Kxh3 Nf4+ 10 Kh4 Nf5#. A pretty combination, combining typical elements in the exploitation of a half-open file against the castled position.

6 Kxh4 is answered with 6...Kg6, followed by 7...Bg5#. 6...h3! 7 gxh3 Rxf3 8 cxb5 Rb3 9 Ba1 Or 9 Bc1 Rxb4. 9...f3 White would have to resign. Of course, such a continuation is difficult to decide upon over the board, because the risks of making an error in calculation are enormous.

Black to play

White to play

Boleslavsky – Ufimtsev

Krasenkow – Romanishin

Omsk 1944

Stein Memorial, Lvov 2000

From the strategic point of view, White’s castled position is immaculate, without any weaknesses. It also enjoys the protection of a knight on f3, which is usually the best defensive piece; this is defended, in turn, by the bishop on d1.

Both kings are exposed here and although for the moment Black only has two pieces that could worry White, if it were his move, they would be sufficient to give mate (1...Qa3+ 2 Kb1 Qa1#). However, Black’s queenside pieces have still not been mobilized, while all of White’s (with the exception of the d1-rook) are very active.

However, from a tactical point of view, there is a weakness, a very important one: the half-open g-file, along which Black can launch hostilities. Added to this is the enormous latent pressure exerted by the b7-bishop on the long diagonal. 1...Rhg8! Hitting the nail right on the head: the g2-square. 2 Ne1 If 2 Bxb6? then 2...Rxg2+ 3 Kh1, and now there are two mates in two: 3...Nxf2+ 4 Rxf2 Rg1# and 3...Rxh2+ 4 Nxh2 Nxf2#. 2...Rxg2+! In spite of everything, the black pieces have taken the firm decision to invade at g2. 3 Nxg2 Nd2! 4 Qd5 Desperation, in view of 4 Bxb6 Rxg2+ 5 Kh1 Rxh2++ 6 Kg1 Rh1#, the ‘staircase’ mate, based on rook and bishops manoeuvring with the aid of double check. The game concluded: 4...Bxd5 5 cxd5 Qxb2 6 Bxd2 Qxa1 7 Bf3 Bxh2+ 0-1 8 Kxh2 Qxf1 is hopeless for White.

1 Rxg7+!! The rook is sacrificed to leave the black king stripped of all pawn-cover. But the combination required very accurate calculation on White’s part. 1...Bxg7 2 Bh7+ Kh8 3 Bxg7+ Kxg7 4 Qg6+ Kh8 5 Qh5 The die is cast: White now has the opposing king where he wanted him. Now he threatens devastating discoveries by the bishop as well as, perhaps, the quiet 6 Rg1!. 5...Rxf2 There are no alternatives worth mentioning: if 5...Qa3+ then 6 Kc2. 6 Be4+! Blocking the black queen’s access to the kingside. 6...Kg7 7 Rg1+ Krasenkow decides that the attack will just go straight ahead. 7...Kf8 Or 7...Kf6 8 Rg6+ Ke7 9 Rg7+ and mate in two. 8 Qh6+ Ke7 9 Rg7+ Rf7 The black king is completely defenceless and the mate is only a matter of time. 10 Qg5+ Ke8 11 Rg8+ 1-0

Black resigned in view of 11...Rf8 (11...Kd7 12 Qd8#) 12 Qh5+ Ke7 13 Rg7+ Kd8 14 Qg5+, with mate in two. In many cases the rook operates in front of the pawn-structure, typically via its third rank. In such cases, the attack on the g- or h-file proceeds to all intents and purposes just as if the files were halfopen.

White to play

Fuderer – Milić Zagreb 1955

White to play

Gipslis – Kostro Dubna 1976 Material is equal. Black has the pair of bishops but in general his pieces are more passive than White’s. In addition to being able to boast a pawn on e6, embedded in the enemy camp, White has concentrated his forces against Black’s castled position, and now initiates a decisive sequence.

Although White’s king is insecure in the centre, his rooks clearly command the g-file. Black’s queen’s rook and bishop remain undeveloped, whereas White’s queen and bishop are both active and menacing. 1 Rxg7+!! Rxg7 2 Bxe6+ Kh8 3 Rxg7 Kxg7 Now the white queen swings into action. 4 Qe7+ Kh8 5 Ne5 And now the knight. 5...fxe3 The knight cannot be captured: 5...Nxe5 6 Qf8+ Kh7 7 Qg8#.

1 Qh5!

6 f4 1-0

The clear threat is 2 Rh3, with a devastating attack, thanks to the collaboration of the pawn on e6, which controls the escape-square f7.

Black resigned here, but in fact White had a more efficient way to win: 6 Nf7+! Kg7 7 Ng5+ Kg6 8 Qf7+ Kxg5 9 Qf5+ Kh4 10 Qf4+ Qg4 11 Qxg4#.

1...Qd5 If, for instance, 1...Be4, then 2 Rh3 Bxf5 3 Qxf5 h6 4 Bxh6, winning. 2 Qxh7+! This queen sacrifice results in the black king being driven to either g8 or g6, where it can be forked. 2...Kxh7 3 Rh3+ Kg6 If 3...Kg8, 4 Nxe7# would also be mate. 4 Nxe7# (1-0) If we observe this knight fork for a moment, we shall see that although formally it is a double attack, in reality the attack on the queen is irrelevant here, since the check is in itself conclusive.

White to play

Petrosian – Visier Nice Olympiad 1974

In this game from the match USSR-Spain, White has concentrated his artillery on the enemy castled position. Now, the reader should be aware that, when we say artillery, we are not just referring to the queen and g4-rook but also to the second rook, which stands ready to spring into action if lines are opened against the black king. 1 Rxg6+!! At first glance it is hard to believe that this sacrifice can possibly be sound, since Black has a rook (c7) and a knight (e6) available to defend the king; hence the award of two exclamation marks. Petrosian will soon dispel all doubts. 1...hxg6 2 Qxg6+ Ng7

castled position is badly weakened and all the white pieces are concentrated against the black king. With his next move, the World Champion forced immediate resignation. 1 Rxg6+! 1-0 Short resigned since there is a forced variation which offers no grounds for hope: 1...hxg6 2 h7+ Kh8 3 Qf6+ Kxh7 4 Qxf7+ Kh8 5 Qf6+ Kh7 6 Ng5+ Kh6 (6...Kg8 7 Qf7+ Kh8 8 Qh7#) 7 Ne4+ Kh7 8 Qf7+ Kh8 9 Nf6 Ng7 10 Bh6, and there is no defence. In this position several tactical themes and motifs combined together: weakened castled position, pawn-wedge on h6, a half-open file, etc.

2...Rg7 3 Qxe6+ Rff7 4 Rxc6 Qh4 was more stubborn. White’s best course is probably to force a favourable endgame with 5 Rc8+ Kh7 6 Qh3, emerging with three pawns for the exchange. 3 Rh1 This is what White had up his sleeve. 3...Rf4 If 3...Qe8, 4 Qh7+ Kf7 5 Nf5!, with a double attack on g7 and d6. 3...Qc8 is well met in various ways, including 4 Nb6!? Qe6 5 Qh7+ Kf7 6 Rh6. 4 Nh5 Rcf7 4...Rff7 5 Nf6+ Rxf6 6 exf6. White to play

5 e6! 1-0

Ki. Georgiev – Ligterink

The final blow comes from the hand of the passed pawn.

Wijk aan Zee 1985 White has sacrificed his queen’s rook, but we have already said that chess is a dynamic game in which the initiative is worth its weight in gold. This is in White’s hands and all his remaining pieces are directed against the opposing king. Meanwhile, Black’s three major pieces remain on the back rank. The final argument is that it is White to move. 1 Rxg7!! White sacrifices his second rook! This demolition of Black’s pawn-wall wins on the spot. 1...Qf6

White to play

Kasparov – Short Novgorod 1997 Here the material relations and strategic themes (passed a-pawn, pressure on the weak c3-pawn) fade into the background before the evidence that Black’s

Or: 1...Bxg7 2 Qf5; 1...Kxg7 2 Qg4+ Kf6 (2...Kh8 3 Qf5 Kg7 4 Qh7+ Kf6 5 Qxh6+ Ke7 6 Bc5+ Kd7 7 Bf5+ Kc7 8 Qb6#) 3 Qf5+ Ke7 4 Bc5+ Qd6 5 Qxd5! Qxc5+ 6 Qxc5+ Kf6 7 Be4, winning. 2 Rh7+ 1-0 2...Kg8 3 Qg4+ Qg7 4 Rxg7+ Bxg7 5 Qf5.

Black to play

Chernin – J. Polgar New Delhi 1990 In this case it is not that the white king lacks protection. The main factors are that, in addition to the weakening produced by the advance h3, Black enjoys the bishop-pair and half-open files along which to operate. Her forces are concentrated against the enemy king and now the great Hungarian talent, a pawn down, launches her attack. 1...Rxg2+!! 2 Rxg2 Bxh3 3 Ne4?

White to play

J. Polgar – Sinkovics Budapest 1990 White is two pawns down but, once again, has dynamic compensation in return for the material in the activity of her pieces (in contrast to Black’s still undeveloped queenside pieces), half-open files on the kingside and... the right to make the next move! 1 Rxg7!! This removal of the guard of the h6-knight turns out to be an exchange sacrifice. 1...Kxg7 If 1...Qxg7 then 2 Rxh6 Rf5 (2...Rf7 3 Ng5! Qxg5 4 Rxh7+ Kg8 5 Rh8+) 3 Bxf5 exf5 4 Ng5! Qxg5 5 Rxh7+ Kg8 6 Rh8+ Kf7 7 Qh7+ Qg7 8 Qh5+ Ke6 9 Qe8+ Qe7 10 Rh6+ Kxe5 11 Qxe7+.

White must pin his hopes on the escape-square g1. 3 Bf5? Bxf5+ 4 Kg1 Bh3 gives Black a decisive advantage, but 3 Kg1 Bxg2 4 Kxg2 Bxc3 5 Bf5! (not 5 Rxc3? Qg7+, winning the rook) is a better try. 3...Ne5! The knight joins the attack, if only momentarily, to reduce White’s defensive potential. 4 Nxe5 4 Nxf6 is met by 4...Bg4+ 5 Kg1 Nxf3+ 6 Kf1 Qh1+ 7 Ke2 Nd4++. 4...Bxe5 5 Ng5 Or 5 f3 Bxg2+ 6 Kxg2 Rg8+ 7 Kf1 Qh1+ 8 Ke2 Rg2+ 9 Nf2 Rxf2+! 10 Kxf2 Bd4+ 11 Ke2 Qg2+ 12 Ke1 Qf2#. 5...Bxg2+ 6 Kxg2 Qxg5+ 7 Kf3 7 Kf1 f3. 7...Rg8 8 Ke2

2 Rxh6 Rh8 3 Rf6

8 Ke4 Qg6+ 9 Kf3 Qg4+ 10 Ke4 f3+.

Also winning was 3 Rxh7+ Rxh7 4 Qxh7+ Kf8 5 Qh8+ Kf7 6 Bh7! or 3 Qh5, intending Ng5.

8...f3+ 0-1

3...Kg8 4 Rf4! With the threat of 5 Qg3+ Qg7 6 Rg4. 4...h5 5 Rf6! 1-0

If 9 Ke1, 9...Bf4.

The Invading Rook When a rook succeeds in penetrating the opponent’s back rank, this creates an imbalance in the position which demands attention. Either the invasion is ineffective and the rook is vulnerable in some way (perhaps trapped or loose), or it is soundly based, since the rook is able to coordinate with other friendly pieces, thus creating serious problems for the opponent. Let’s see some instructive examples.

White to play

Black to play

Spassky – Foguelman

Pajković – Čabrilo

Mar del Plata 1960

Yugoslav Team Ch, Cetinje 1991

White’s rooks have seized the d-file, compelling the black pieces to make a great effort to control the possible invasion points. Thus the knight on b8 is tied to the defence of d7. White plans to bring his queen to e6, with the devastating threat of Rg8+. However, first he has to attend to the attack of the c2-pawn on his rook. If he plays 1 Rc1, his invasion threats would be considerably diminished (though he does retain a large advantage in this case too).

Is the isolated d-pawn strong or weak? An eternal strategic question. In reality, we are not dealing here with an isolated pawn, so much as a passed pawn. In any case, Black would have no major problems defending it, in view of the reduced number of pieces. But it is also essential to consider it in its context: the d-pawn, the white king and the a7bishop are all located on the same diagonal; in addition, Black’s rook commands the open file. All these factors add up to danger for White.

Black’s king is exposed – there are few traces left of what was once his castled position.

1...Rc2! 2 Bxd4

Very elegant. With this ‘simple’ rook sacrifice, White is able to open a breach and win with a mating attack.

If 2 Ba3 then 2...Qc6, forcing the exchange of queens, which would be decisive in this position, precisely because of the passed pawn and the activity of the rook.

1...Kxg8 2 Qxg6+ Rg7


2...Kf8? allows 3 Qf6+ Kg8 4 Rd8+ Kh7 5 Rh8#.

Exploiting the pin on the white bishop: a cross-pin.

3 Rd8+ Qf8 4 Rxf8+ Kxf8 5 Qxc2

3 Rd2?

The last element of enemy resistance is mopped up and White now has no great problems in concluding the game.

If 3 Qa8+? then 3...Kg7 4 e6+ Bxd4+.

1 Rg8+!!

5...Kg8 6 Qc5 1-0 Black resigned since he can’t defend his pawns. For instance, 6...e4 7 Qd6 (or 7 Qb6) 7...Nd7 8 Qxc6, etc.

After 3 e6!?, Black must avoid 3...Qxe6??, which loses to 4 Rxc3! Qxe4 5 Rc8+, mating. 3...fxe6 4 Rd2 Kf7, followed by an exchange on d4, leaves Black with a much better major-piece ending. 3...Qxh3! 4 Bxa7 Qg3+! 0-1 Black has forced a situation in which the white pieces have been decoyed away, enabling him to launch a direct attack on the white king. White resigned in view of 5 Qg2 Rc1+, 5 Rg2 Rc1+, mating, and 5 Kf1 Rc1+ 6 Ke2 Re1#.

standard way to launch a mating attack. Here we shall examine a few more examples, because they illustrate the fact that each position contains its own peculiarities, just as this type of sacrifice, however thematic and well-known it might be, always has to be examined carefully, perhaps with more care than any other combination, precisely because a player familiar with its simple technique can easily overlook some possibly essential details. Thus the very routine nature of this sacrifice can have a negative influence, and a combination that one expected to be winning can turn out to be unsound.

White to play

Wang Zili – Ye Jiangchuan Shenzhen 1992 Observe the powerful positions of White’s four pieces. The queen could scarcely be more strongly centralized. The same can be said of the bishop, while his rooks are doubled on the open a-file, with one on the seventh rank. Nevertheless, the combinative sequence that White now unleashes comes as a surprise.

If the reader believes that by now the Greek Gift sacrifice has been exhaustively studied, or that it is a question that has been completely settled, I beg you to consider the following position, in which two candidates for the world championship argue on different sides of the debate. Why did one player allow the sacrifice, and why did the attack not end in mate?

1 Rxf7!! A surprising sacrifice, carving open the black king’s position. The key lies in the fact that the white queen is attacking the rook on b8. 1...Kxf7 1...Rxf7 2 Qxb8+ Rf8 3 Bh7+ is winning for White, since 3...Kf7 is met by 4 Ra7+, etc. 2 Ra7+

White to play

A marvellous rook, exerting maximum activity in two directions (rank and file).

Spassky – Geller Candidates (6), Riga 1965

2...Bd7 The only move. If 2...Kg8 then 3 Qxg7#, while 2...Ke8 is answered with 3 Qxb8+ and mate next move. 3 Rxd7+ Ke8 4 Bd3! 1-0 Having his cake and eating it: it was essential not to forget about the mate on f1. Now, for instance, 4...Qa2 is met by 5 Qxg7, while if 4...Qg4, even though the black queen is protecting the vital squares (e6, g6 and h5), White wins easily with 5 Qxb8+ Kxd7 6 Qxf8.

4.3: The Greek Gift The classic bishop sacrifice on h7 (or h2), known as the Greek Gift, was covered at some length in FCM (pages 272-7). This was quite natural, as it is a

The white bishop stands ready on the launch-pad, but there are some factors which might argue against the possible sacrifice on h7, such as the pawn on g5, which occupies the natural square for the knight check, plus there is tension in the centre... But, in the end, Spassky decided that nevertheless it was appropriate to carry out the sacrifice that we are studying. 1 Bxh7+! Kxh7 2 g6+! This pawn advance is far from harmless and facilitates the attack flowing from the sacrifice, as can be seen from the variations that follow. 2...Kg8 If 2...Kxg6 then 3 Qd3+ f5 (3...Kh5 4 Qh7+ Kg4 5 Qh3#) 4 exf6+ Kf7 5 Ng5+ Kxf6 6 Qf3+ Kg6 7

Qf7+ (7 Qd3+ also wins) 7...Kh6 8 Re6+ Rxe6 9 Qxe6+ g6 10 Qh3+ Kg7 11 Qh7+ Kf6 12 Qf7+ Ke5 13 f4#. Instead, 2...fxg6 3 Ng5+ Kg8 4 Qf3! transposes to the same position reached in the game. 3 Ng5 fxg6 4 Qf3! Qxg5 Or: 4...Qe7 5 Qh3; 4...Be7 5 Qf7+ Kh8 6 Ne6. 5 Bxg5 dxe5 6 Rac1

This move is reminiscent of the leap into space of a trapeze artist; however, it is characteristic of such positions, when the attacker’s queen has the other enemy rook in its sights. If 5...Rxd3 then 6 Qxe8+ Kh7 7 Nxd3, and White emerges the exchange and at least two pawns up, which is more than enough material to win. For example: 7...Qxc4 8 Re3 Bg5 9 Qxe6, etc.

Black is left with two minor pieces and two pawns for the queen, but he has difficulty in consolidating his position and now, in order to prevent the invasion on c7, he will have to exchange a rook, after which he will lose the e5-pawn. Geller resigned 19 moves later. What we can say for certain is that, despite the fact that its technique is well known, this sacrifice continues to be seen even in play at a high level without the players arousing any suspicion of incompetence. Let’s see some other cases.

White to play

Shamkovich – Zaltsman New York 1983 Here Black has two very active bishops, but his king is completely unprotected. On the other hand, apart from the factors that normally favour the sacrifice on h7, the white queen’s rook is poised to join in the decisive action. 1 Bxh7+! Kf8 White to play

A. Summerscale – B. Kelly Lichfield 2000 There is little to be said by way of introduction to this position, other than that White has a perfect attacking set-up. There are no apparent structural defects in the black position, although the king’s rook would possibly be better situated on f8. Also White is in a position to eliminate the best defender of the enemy castled position straight away.

Here we have a useful case of the Greek Gift declined. If 1...Kxh7 then 2 Nxg5+ Kg6 (2...Kg8 3 Qh5, winning) 3 Qd3+ Kxg5 4 Qg3+ Kf5 (4...Kh6 5 Rh4#) 5 Rf4+ Kxe5 6 Rf7#. 2 Nxg5 Ke7 The black king tries to escape. 2...Bxf2+ is met by 3 Kh1. 3 Rf4 Rf8 The only move. 4 Rxf8 Nxf8

1 Bxf6! Bxf6

4...Kxf8 5 Qh5 Nxe5 6 Rd8+! Qxd8 7 Nxe6+.

No better was 1...gxf6 2 Qg4+ Kf8 (2...Kh8 3 Nxf7#) 3 Bxh7.

5 Qh5 Nbd7

2 Bxh7+! Kxh7 If 2...Kf8 then 3 Rxd8 Rxd8 4 Nxf7! and the black position collapses; e.g., 4...Qc6 (4...Re8 5 Bg6) 5 Be4 Qxe4 6 Qxe4 Bxe4 7 Nxd8. 3 Qh5+ Kg8 4 Qxf7+ Kh8 5 Rd3 1-0

Or 5...g6 6 Bxg6 Bxf2+ 7 Kf1 Nbd7 8 Nge4, with a decisive advantage. 6 Qf7+ Kd8 7 Rxd7+! Nxd7 8 Nxe6+ 1-0 Black must give up his queen, since 8...Kc8 is met by 9 Qe8+ and mate next move.

Pikula – Rajković Lazarevac 1999 Here we have a position which contains the classic ingredients of the Greek Gift: the bishop aiming at h7, a pawn on e5, knight on f3, and queen on the d1h5 diagonal. Nevertheless, it is essential to calculate accurately, because, among other details, there is a white knight on b5 which will be hanging if the white queen moves to the kingside. 1 Bxh7+! Kxh7 2 Ng5+ Kg6 The king breaks cover. If 2...Kg8 then 3 Qh5; or 2...Kh6 3 Qg4 Rh8 4 Qh4+ Kg6 5 Qxh8 Kxg5 6 Qh7! Kf4 7 Rae1. White to play

Anand – Ninov World Junior Ch, Baguio City 1987 This position presents characteristics similar to the previous ones. In addition to the pawn on g5, there is another on e5 which attacks the important f6-point. The only different detail compared with the thematic positions, is that the white knight cannot reach g5 in one move, which can be considered a negative. Nevertheless, everything is ready for the fireworks display. 1 Bxh7+! Kxh7 2 g6+! Kg8 The pawn could not be captured, since 2...Kxg6 3 Qd3+ gives White a mating attack: 3...Kh6 4 Qh3+ Kg5 5 Rg1+ Kf4 6 Rde1 and mate next move; or 3...Kh5 4 Rg1, followed by mate with 5 Qh7# or 5 Qh3#.

3 Qg4 One of the usual continuations when the king comes out to g6. 3...f5 4 Qxb4 A new aspect of this thematic combination. An alternative here was 4 Nxe6+?!, based on the knight fork 4...fxg4 5 Nxf8+, though this is not wholly clear, since the knight is trapped after 5...Kf7 6 Nxd7 Ke7. The cleanest win may well be offered by the typical ‘quiet’ move 4 Qh4, threatening 5 Qh7+ Kxg5 6 f4+ Kg4 7 Qh3#, to which there is no good defence; e.g., 4...Nf6 5 exf6 gxf6 6 Nxe6! Qxe6 7 Rae1 followed by Re3. After the text-move, the black rook on f8 is attacked by the white queen.

3 Qh3 Nf6

4...Rh8 5 f4

A sad necessity.

The die is cast. White has won a pawn and his pieces occupy dominant positions. In return, Black gains control of the half-open h-file against White’s castled position, but this is meagre compensation, because his king remains exposed.

4 exf6 fxg6 5 fxg7 1-0 Black resigned in view of 5...Kxg7 6 Nxe6+ Kg8 7 Nxf8 and 5...Rxf1 6 Qh8+ Kf7 7 Rxf1+ Ke7 8 Qf8+.

5...a5 6 Qb3 a4 7 Qb4 Not 7 Qg3? Qxb5 8 Nxe6+ Kf7 9 Nd4 Qc5 10 c3 Nc7, when Black should be able to consolidate his material advantage. 7...Ba6 8 Nd4! An excellent, although simple, exchange sacrifice, since the pair of white knights is magnificent. 8...Bxf1 9 Rxf1 Nc7 Now White regains control, with an attack that is slower-paced, but no less effective. 10 Rf3 Rh4 11 Qe1 White to play

Regrouping his forces and banking on his kingside pressure.

11...Rg4 12 Rg3! Rxg5 A sad necessity. If 12...Rxf4 then 13 Ngxe6+ Rg4 14 Nf4+ Kh7 15 Rxg4 fxg4 16 Qh4+ Kg8 17 Ng6 Re8 18 Qh8+ Kf7 19 Qh5 Kg8 20 Nf5. Equally futile was 12...Rxg3?, because after 13 Qxg3 White attacks as he pleases. 13 Rxg5+ Kf7 14 Qh4 Rg8 15 Qh7

10 Rg8+ Kxg8 11 Qxh6 Nc6 12 Nc5 Ne7 13 Ne4 Nd5 14 g5 1-0 There is no way to parry the threat of 15 Nf6+ Nxf6 16 gxf6, with mate on g7. Naturally, Spassky needed to calculate the whole sequence (through to 9 fxg7! at least) precisely, including all the variations.

White has smoothly developed his initiative and won eight moves later. In the 1970s Boris Spassky was a frequent visitor to Germany, where he competed in the Bundesliga (the national league). The next game dates from that period.

White to play

Kr. Georgiev – Ionescu Dubai Olympiad 1986

White to play

Spassky – Capelan Solingen 1974 Both kings are under pressure but without hesitation the ex-world champion executes the Greek Gift sacrifice, which requires cold blood and meticulous calculation. 1 Bxh7+! Kxh7

Compared with White’s impressive piece set-up, Black’s position appears rather depressing. Apart from Black’s knights (on his second rank), all his pieces are lined up on the back rank, as if reluctant to take part in the struggle. Admittedly Black’s position shows no weaknesses (which is not necessarily synonymous with solidity) and he is putting pressure on White’s e5-pawn, but this is not enough, as Georgiev will now demonstrate. 1 Bxh7+!! A Greek Gift sacrifice with some unusual features.

The offer cannot be refused. If, for instance, 1...Kh8 then 2 Qh4 Rxd1+ 3 Rxd1 gxf6 4 Rd8+! Qxd8 5 Bg6+ and mate in two.

1...Kxh7 2 Ne4

2 Qh4+ Kg8 3 Qg5!


As if disregarding what is happening on the queenside...

Or 2...Ng8 3 Ng5+ Kh8 4 Rxf7 Bxf7 5 Nxf7+ Kh7 6 Ng5+ Kh8 7 Qc2, when White wins.

3...Rxd1+ 4 Rxd1 cxb2+ 5 Kxb2 Qxc2+ 6 Ka3 Qg6

3 Ng5 g6

6...Qxa2+ 7 Kxb4 a5+ 8 Kc3 and White wins. 7 Rd8+ Kh7 8 Qh4+ Qh6 9 fxg7! With a decisive advantage. The game ended: 9...Kxg7 9...Qxh4 10 g8Q+ Kh6 11 Qh8+ Kg6 12 Rg8#.

The threat is to construct the typical scheme with 3 Ng5+ and 4 Qh5.

The only move. 4 Ng4 The black king is hemmed in and, although there are numerous possible continuations, the attack rather plays itself, because White has so many options. Now, for instance, he threatens 5 Qf3 and Qh3. 4...Nf5

This knight seems to cover many of the holes in his position... But this is White’s response.

himself to this, White needs to calculate everything precisely. And to be able to conclude that the sacrifice on h7 is sound, White has to be very familiar with the nuances of this type of combination.


1 Bxh7+! Kxh7 2 Ng5+

The only move, since 5...gxf5? loses to 6 Nf6+ Nxf6 7 exf6, because an invasion by the white queen via h5 is unstoppable.

So far everything is completely familiar.

5 Rxf5!!

6 Qf2! The decisive invasion route is always the h-file. This is one of those cases where the disappearance of a kingside pawn is enough to seal the king’s fate. 6...Be7 6...fxg4? 7 e6 f6 8 Qh4. 7 Nf6+ Nxf6 7...Bxf6 8 exf6 Qd6 9 Qh4 Nxf6 10 Ne4! fxe4 11 Bxf6. 8 exf6 Bxf6 9 Qh4! With a decisive advantage. If 9...Bxb2 then 10 Qh7+ Kf8 11 Rxe8+! and 12 Qxf7#. Even though Black is losing, the game continued for many more moves! Black found the only way to keep the game alive with 9...Rd1 but White calculated a forcing sequence which gave him a decisive material advantage: 10 Qh7+ Kf8 11 Ba3+ Rd6 12 Bxd6+ Qxd6 13 Rxe8+ Kxe8 14 Qxf7+ Kd8 15 Ne6+ Qxe6 16 Qxe6; Black eventually resigned 16 moves later.

2...Kg6 After 2...Kg8 3 Qh5 Rfe8 4 Qxf7+ Kh8 White has various ways to win, including 5 Rae1, intending a rook-lift to the h-file. 3 Qd3+ f5 3...Kxg5 is met by 4 f4+ Kh6 5 Qh3+ Kg6 6 g4! Rh8 7 f5+ Kg5 8 Qe3+ Kh4 (8...Kxg4 9 Rf4+ Kh5 10 Qh3+ Kg5 11 Qg3+ Kh6 12 Rh4#) 9 Qg3+ Kg5 10 Qf4+ Kh4 11 Rf3, with the threat of 12 g5+ Kh5 13 Rh3#. 4 Nxe6 Ra8 Alternatives such as 4...Qb4 or 4...Rfe8 are no better, as can easily be verified. 5 Rfb1 Bc8 If 5...Rfb8 then 6 Nf4+ Kf7 7 Qxf5+ Ke8 8 Qe6+ Kd8 9 Qg8+ with the point that White wins after 9...Kc7 10 Ne6# or 9...Nf8 10 Ne6+. 6 Rb3 1-0 White wins after, for instance, 6...Ba6 7 Qh3 or 6...Kf7 7 Rbxa3 Qxa3 8 Rxa3 Rxa3 9 Ng5+ Kg6 10 Qxa3 Kxg5 11 Qe7+ Kg6 12 e6. The nuances are essential in this thematic sacrifice. Let’s now see, for instance, a case from modern master play where the attack failed.

White to play

Kasimdzhanov – Lesiège Istanbul Olympiad 2000 In this game (played in the penultimate round of the Olympiad), Black is a piece up at the moment when White is presented with the possibility of offering a Greek Gift. The problem is that, before committing

White to play

Berkvens – E. Hummel Hoogeveen 2000

A black pawn on f6 watches over the g5-square, which is the usual launch-pad for the white knight. But White has already placed his h-pawn on h4, so the g5-square is useful in many of the variations of the sacrifice. Another detail is that the black bishop on a6, once its white counterpart has disappeared, will be able to guard h7 from d3. But there are even more factors to consider; for example, the knight on g3 can join in the attack, while the f4-pawn might be able to block the b1-h7 diagonal... 1 Bxh7+!? 1 Ng5 Bxd3 2 Nxe6 is an interesting alternative. 1...Kxh7 2 Ng5+! Kg8! The knight is immune from capture: 2...fxg5? 3 hxg5+ Kg8 4 Rh8+! Kxh8 (4...Kf7 5 Qh5+) 5 Qh5+ Kg8 6 g6, with Damiano’s Mate (see FCM, pages 251-3). 3 Nxe6! The apparently more consistent 3 Qh5 is not so effective because of 3...Bd3. For example: a) 4 f5?! fxg5 (4...Bxf5? 5 Nxf5 fxg5 6 Nh6+! gxh6 7 Qg6+ Kh8 8 Qxh6+, and White mates) 5 hxg5 Rxf5! (after 5...Bxf5? 6 Nxf5 Rxf5 7 g4, 7...Rxg5? loses to 8 Qh7+ Kf7 9 Rf1+, but 7...Rxe5+! 8 dxe5 Ncxe5 is less clear) and it is hard for White to justify his sacrifices.

But even 14 Qe2 leaves White much worse. The material balance – a rook and three pawns for two minor pieces – is not unfavourable to White, but his position is very loose and he is very weak on the light squares. 14...Nd5 0-1 White had forgotten about the pin and now had to resign.

4.4: Other Bishop Sacrifices The particular weaknesses in the castled position and the precise deployment of the pieces will, in every case, dictate the most effective course of attack. The sacrifice of a minor piece for one or two pawns, with the added value of the structural damage to the defender’s castled position, is a procedure which is usually effective when the attacker’s remaining pieces are in a position to launch a rapid offensive. I shall divide this section into four parts: Sacrifices on f7 Sacrifices on g6 Sacrifices on h6 Sacrifices on Other Squares

Sacrifices on f7

b) 4 Nxe6 Qe8 5 Qf3 Bc4 6 Qg4 Qf7 7 Nxf8 Nxf8 is unclear. 3...Qe8 4 Qg4 This way, White retains the initiative. 4...Qf7 5 Nf5 Not 5 Nc7? f5 (or even 5...fxe5!?). 5...Kh8 6 Nxf8? Wrongly cashing in. 6 Ng5! Qe8 (6...Qg6?! 7 h5 Qe8 8 Ne4!?; after 6...fxg5? 7 Nd6! Bxd6 8 hxg5+ Kg8 9 g6 Black is forced to give up his queen) 7 e6 is complex, but favours White. 6...Bxf8 7 h5 fxe5 8 Qg6 Qe8 9 dxe5 Bd3?! This piece, which usually plays no part in this type of position, makes its presence felt here. But 9...Ncxe5! is stronger. 10 Qxc6? The surprising tactic 10 Ne7!! keeps White alive. 10...Bxf5 11 Qxd5 Nf6 12 Qf3 Rd8 13 Be3 Rd3 Now White commits a gross blunder. 14 Rh4??

White to play

Spassky – Pfleger Munich 1979 This position is all about open lines and action along them. Let’s observe the white bishop on b3, the queen (with the diagonal open to h5, its attacking post par excellence) and the knight on g3, ready to jump to f5 or h5. The black landscape is gloomier, because his pieces are cramped, as if fearful of leaving their limited zone of influence. The white pieces are in the skilled hands of Boris Spassky and it is his move.

1 Bxf7+! The sacrifice on f7 is more usual against a king in the centre, but is not infrequent in positions where the king has castled. Here Spassky has seen, in the coordination of his pieces, a complete guarantee of success. 1...Kxf7 2 Qh5+ g6 2...Kf8 3 Qxh7, with the threat of 4 Nf5. 3 Qxh7+ Kf8 4 h4! 1-0 The key to the combination. White has a very strong plan: 5 h5 gxh5 6 Nf5, and Black’s position will be untenable, because he has such great difficulties in coordinating his forces. His knight is pinned, the bishop is out of play and he cannot exchange his e8rook because conceding control of the e-file would add decisive power to the attack. For instance, 4...Rac8 (or 4...Rxe1+ 5 Rxe1 Qd6 6 h5) 5 h5 Ne5 6 Qh8+ Kf7 7 hxg6+ Kxg6 8 Qh5+ Kg7 9 Nf5+ and the knight finally comes into play with decisive effect.

1...Kh8 2 a4 gives White an extra pawn and a clear advantage. 2 Qc4+ Ke8 White needed to calculate all the possible consequences of the queen check. Other lines are 2...Kf8? 3 Nxe5, with the threat of mate on f7 and an attack on the g4-bishop, and 2...Ke7 3 Nxe5 Qb6+ 4 Kh1 Be6 5 Nxc6+! (better than 5 Ba3+ Rd6) 5...Kf7 (5...Kd7 6 Rd1+ Kc7 7 Be5+!) 6 Nxd8+ Qxd8 7 Qxa6, with a decisive advantage. 3 Nxe5 Qb6+ 4 Kh1 Qc7 5 Nxg4 Nxg4 6 Qg8+ The decisive invasion. 6...Kd7 7 Qxg7+ Simpler than 7 Rf7+ Kd6, when 8 Qxg7? Ke6!! is unclear, but 8 Ba3+! is still a forced win. 7...Kc8 8 Qxc7+ Kxc7 9 Bc3 White emerges two pawns up with a clearly winning ending. Most of the above analysis is by the player of the combination, the Cuban GM Amador Rodriguez, who lives in Spain and was editor of the magazine Peon de Rey.

White to play

Am. Rodriguez – Paramos Cambados 1990 With the pin on the f3-knight, Black has momentarily neutralized the pressure on his e5pawn. Also the a6-pawn is indirectly defended, because the e4-pawn would be en prise to the black knight. So, does Black have nothing to fear? Somehow there is a element of anxiety in the atmosphere: White has all his pieces very well placed and it is his move.

White to play

Arnason – Nunn Novi Sad Olympiad 1990

The two exclamation marks are justified here because of the degree of difficulty involved in the sacrifice.

I imagine that Black was expecting 1 Nh6+ Kg7, followed by fishing in troubled waters, thanks to his passed pawn on d3 and his queen’s attack on the c3pawn. However, White’s two bishops, operating on adjacent diagonals, are impressive, with their enormous capacity for sweeping fire. In addition, White’s queen and knight are too close to the black king not to be dangerous, and the e1-rook can pass quickly to the kingside, via e3.


1 Bxf7+! Kxf7 2 Qxh7+ Kf6

1 Bxf7+!!

If 2...Ke6 then 3 Ng7+ Kf6 4 Re3, winning. The king on its third rank, when White can bring up reinforcements, is a bad sign.

4 cxd5 Rh4! 5 dxe6+ 5 Re4 Qg3 changes nothing. 5...Ke7 6 Qc1

3 Re3 Better than 3 Qg7+ Ke6 4 Qxg6+ Nf6 5 Ng7+ Kd7 6 Qf5+ Kc6 7 Nxe8 Rxe8, and now 8 Rab1 or 8 Qh3, with advantage to White, but the game is less clear. 3...Nf8 4 Qh8+ Kf7 4...Ke6 5 Qh3!. 5 Rf3! gxf5 6 Qh5+ Ng6 7 Qxf5+ 1-0 If 7...Kg7 then 8 Qf7+ Kh6 9 Rh3+ Nh4 10 Rxh4+ Bxh4 11 Qxc7, winning.

Sacrifices on g6

If 6 Re4 then 6...Qg3, when the desperate attempt 7 Rxd4 cxd4 8 Qxb3 Rxg4 solves nothing. 6...Rf5! It was dangerous to allow the checks following the capture on c5; for example: 6...Rxg4?? 7 Qxc5+ Qd6 (7...Ke8? loses to 8 Qc8+ Ke7 9 Qd7+) 8 Qxa7+ Kf6 (8...Ke8 9 Qa8+ Ke7 10 Qb7+ also gives White a strong attack) 9 Rf1+ Rf4 (9...Kg6? loses to 10 Rxf8 Qxf8 11 e7) 10 Rfe1 leaves White in charge. But after the text-move there is no defence. 7 Re4 Qxg4 0-1 If 8 Rxg4 then 8...Ne2#.

Black to play

S. Petersen – Gude

White to play

European Correspondence Team Ch 1988-9

Morović – Panno

This game was played in the match Denmark-Spain.

Santiago 1989

Which of the two kings is the more exposed? The reply is not difficult. If the situation of the black king looks insecure, White’s king is in really serious danger from the enemy rooks on the f- and h-files. Furthermore, the d4-knight and the b3-pawn completely paralyse White’s game on the queenside. Meanwhile the threats on the kingside are obvious and very worrying for White. Now Black has the opportunity to make the fate of the white king hang by a thread.

White definitely has a big positional advantage here. Black’s pieces are inactive, there is a horrible hole on e6 and his knight is doing little more than defend the squares h7 and g6. It is hardly surprising that White is already in a position to force matters, since he has found optimal posts for all his forces.

1...Bxg3! 2 hxg3 Qxg3 3 Re3

1 Bxg6! hxg6 The only move. 2 f5! g5 3 Rdd3!?

3 Ne5+ would not help much after 3...Kc8 or 3...Kd6.

3 Qh8+! Kf7 4 Re1, intending to double on the e-file and if necessary open lines by playing h4, gives White a winning position.


3...b5 ½-½?

Black threatens 4...Rh4, putting pressure on the piece that is holding the whole white position together: the knight on g4.

However, White ran out of inspiration at this point and the players agreed a draw. He could have won as follows: 4 Qh8+! Kf7 5 Rh6!! (with the idea of 6 Rdh3 and 7 Rh7+!) 5...Qd7 (5...Qd8 6 Rdh3 Ke8 7

Qxf8+! Kd7 {7...Kxf8? 8 Rh8+ Kf7 9 R3h7#} 8 Qf7) 6 Rh7+ Ke8 (6...Nxh7 7 Qxh7+ Kf8 8 Rh3) 7 Re3! Qd8 (7...bxc4 8 Qg8) 8 Qg8 Kd7 9 Rg7 bxc4 10 Qf7 Kc7 11 Qxf6, when 11...Kb8? loses to 12 Rexe7. The analysis is by GM Roberto Cifuentes.

White to play

Keres – Reshevsky Stockholm Olympiad 1937 White to play

Tal – Ghitescu Miskolc 1963 White is attacking and is only a pawn down, something quite rare in games of the Magician from Riga, who was in the habit of pursuing his initiative without a backward glance... In this case, Black seems to have a solid position, although his king is rather lacking in direct protection. The passed d6pawn is always a worrying factor and all White’s pieces occupy ideal positions. 1 Bxg6+! A sacrifice that looks obvious, but it needed to be calculated precisely. 1...Kh8 Declining the gift. If 1...fxg6 then 2 Qxg6+ Kh8 3 Rxe5! Rxe5 4 Qf6+, winning one of the rooks, with a decisive advantage.

In this encounter at the highest level, contested in the Lost Olympiad (so-called in a book of that name by the British writer William Cozens, because there was so little information available about it), White is about to ignite the fuse of an explosive combination – a difficult one, requiring precision. At that time GM Paul Keres was on the verge of gaining his best competitive achievement. 1 Bxg6!! It is easy to sacrifice a piece, but harvesting the fruits of the combination is sometimes less so. Here it is essential to take into account that the doubled black rooks, together with the knight, will form a defensive knot. On the other hand, Black’s queen and a5-knight are both out of play at the moment. 1...fxg6 2 Qxg6+ Kh8 If 2...Kf8 then 3 Nd5 Qc5 4 Rxe5 Rxe5 5 Rxe5 dxe5 6 Qf5+. 3 Nf5! The inescapable complement of the sacrifice.

2 Bxf7 Bd4+


2...Qxf7 3 Ng6+ and 4 Nxe5.

3...Qc7 is met by 4 Qxh5+ Kg8 5 Qxe8+ Rxe8 6 Rxe8+ Kf7 7 R1e7+.

3 Rxd4 Rxe1+ White wins after 3...cxd4 4 Rxe8+ Rxe8 5 Qg6! or 3...Qxf7 4 Rxe8+ Rxe8 5 Rd1. 4 Qxe1 Qxf7 4...cxd4 5 Qe5+ Kh7 6 Qe4+ Kh8 7 Qg6 Qxd6 8 Ne6 gives White a decisive advantage. 5 Qe5+ Qg7 6 Qxc5 Bc6 7 Rd2 1-0 The two extra pawns and the exposed position of the black king grant White a winning game.

4 Qxh5+ Kg8 5 Qg5+ Kf8 6 Qg7+ Ke8 7 Nxd6+! Now that its pawn-support has been destroyed, the rook is attacked three times. 7...Qxd6 8 Rxe5 Rxe5 9 Rxe5+ White wins the house.

Sacrifices on h6

White to play

White to play

Tartakower – Fine

Leko – Adams

Kemeri 1937

Dortmund 1999

Black’s castled position has a gaping light-squared hole on g6 as a result of the pawn advances ...f6 and ...h6. The white pieces are all directed against Black’s kingside, but that is a long way from signifying that an immediate sacrifice will be effective... a distance that Tartakower is prepared to cover!

Black has considerably weakened his castled position by advancing his f- and h-pawns. Despite the black pieces being well placed, with the queen defending along its third rank, the concentration of forces that White has accumulated on the kingside means that everything is ready for a decisive combination.

1 Bxh6! gxh6 2 Nh5!

1 Bxh6!!

2 Qxh6 would allow Black to defend with 2...Qg7. It is nearly always better to increase the pressure, rather than hurry to regain material.

A winning sacrifice.

2...Rf8 3 Qxh6 f5 3...Qf7? allows 4 Nxf6+ Qxf6 5 Qh7#, while in the event of 3...Ne8 White wins with 4 Bf5! Bxf5 5 Rxe8!. 4 Qg6+ Kh8 5 Nf6 1-0 If 5...Rxf6 then 6 Qxf6+ Kg8 7 gxf5, and after any of the captures on f5, White invades on e7 with the rook.

1...Qxh6 If 1...gxh6 then 2 Re6! Qxe6 (2...Bxf2+ 3 Kf1 Ne3+ 4 Ke2 Bxf3+ 5 Kxf3 and Black cannot parry all White’s threats) 3 Ng5+ and 4 Nxe6. 2 Qg5 a4 3 Re6! 1-0 After 3...Qxh4 4 Qxh4+ Kg8 5 Ng5, Black has no reason to continue the struggle. This was considered to be the best game played in that period by the judging panel of Informator 76.

Kemeri (Latvia) was one of the most important international tournaments of the time and featured the participation of several outstanding players, including the players in this game, in which an established grandmaster (Tartakower) faced a new star (Fine), who between 1937 and 1938 went on to win several great tournaments. The veteran won in this case. The trio of Flohr, Petrovs and Reshevsky shared first prize at Kemeri, ahead of World Champion Alekhine, as well as Keres and Fine.

White to play

Suetin – J. Nielsen

Copenhagen 1965 Here we have one of those cases in which the h6pawn seems to be just ‘asking’ to be captured. The position seems to demand it, taking into account the ideal deployment of the white pieces.

The immediate capture of the bishop would allow a winning attack: 2 gxh3 Qxh3+ 3 Ke2 Rxe3+!! 4 Kxe3 Re8+ 5 Kd2 Qxf3, etc. But this exchange enables Black to include a new piece in the attack ‘for free’.

1 Bxh6! gxh6 2 Rd7!!

2...Rxc6 3 Ne5

This rook invasion, which seems ‘mission impossible’, is the real key to the combination. It is based on two tactical themes: fork and deflection, as we shall see.

A effort to block some possible invasion routes. 3...Bxe5 4 dxe5 Bxg2+! The bishop demands to be taken seriously... 5 Kxg2 Rg6+ 6 Kf1 Qb5+

2...Nxd7 If 2...Qxd7 then 3 Nf6+ (fork) 3...Kg7 4 Nxd7.

A surprise! The black queen seeks a new path to its desired destination.

3 Qxg6+

7 Ke1

The second motif: when the f8-knight took the rook it left the g6-knight unprotected, since the f-pawn is pinned by the bishop on b3. 3...Kf8 If 3...Kh8 then 4 Qxh6+ Kg8 5 Ng5 Qf6 (5...Nf8 6 Nxf7 Ne6 7 Ng5 Qg7 8 Bxe6+ Rxe6 9 Qxe6+, winning) 6 Bxf7+ Qxf7 7 Nxf7 Kxf7 8 Qh5+ Kf8 (8...Kg7 9 Qg4+ and 10 Qxb4) 9 Qg4, simultaneously attacking Black’s knight and bishop.

7 Qe2 Rg1+ 8 Kxg1 Qxe2. 7...Qd3 Cutting off any possibility of retreat. Now the threat of ...Rg1# proves decisive.

4 Qh7! 1-0 With the threat of mate on h8, but if the black queen moves away to give the king an escape-square on e7, then f7 would be left undefended.

White to play

Bologan – Westerinen Gausdal 1991

Black to play

A. Geller – Mi. Tseitlin USSR 1987 White has been active on the queenside, but meanwhile weaknesses are visible in his king position, which could be very dangerous for him, taking into account the attacking power of Black’s three diagonal pieces. 1...Bxh3! 2 Nxc6

At first sight, Black’s position does not look bad. He has a queenside pawn-majority and free play for his queen and bishops. But there are also several factors that will work against him: his castled position has been weakened by the advance ...h6 and he has undeveloped pieces on the opposite wing. In addition, White has a space advantage and it is his move... 1 Bxh6! A sacrifice that we have already seen, but some of the details are different here. 1...gxh6 2 Qg3+ Kh8 3 Qf4 Kg7 3...f5 4 exf6 Rf7 5 Qxh6+ Kg8 6 Rd8+ Qf8 7 Rxf8+ Rxf8 8 Qh7#.

4 Rd3 One of the keys to the success of this type of attack is always the availability of the rook, i.e. the fact that it can quickly join the theatre of operations. 4...Re8 5 Rg3+ Kf8 6 Qxh6+ Ke7 7 Qh4+! Kf8 8 a3! Forcing the black queen to make up its mind. 8...Qd4 If 8...Qc5 then 9 Bh7, with the threat of 10 Rg8#; or 8...Qxb2 9 Qh6+ Ke7 10 Qd6#. 9 Qh6+ Ke7 10 Qf6+ Kd7 10...Kf8 11 Bh7.

White to play

11 Rd3 Qxd3 12 Bxd3 1-0

Korchnoi – Filip

Sacrifices on Other Squares

Stockholm Interzonal 1962 If White retreats his bishop from e5, then Black will regain his pawn. But the white pieces are magnificently placed (especially the major pieces and the knight on f5) and although Black’s castled position seems well-protected, there ought to be some tactical means of gaining an advantage. That, at least, is what Korchnoi must have thought, since he now begins an accurate combination. 1 Bxg7! A good solution to the problem: a piece sacrifice for two pawns is usually a good deal when the two pawns form part of the kingside defensive pawnbarrier, as in this case.

White to play

Bhend – Polanyi Pontresina (seniors) 2000 Black has created too many holes in his castled position, with the g- and h-pawns advanced. Cramped positions such as this (notice the bind to which the black pieces are subject) almost always allow a combination to open the padlock. White is exerting intolerable pressure and now finds the appropriate path.

1...Bxg7 1...Bxe4 is unsatisfactory owing to 2 Bxf8 Bxf5 3 Bxh6 Bxd3 4 Qxd3, since the black king remains very exposed and White has two pawns for the exchange. 2 Nxh6+ Bxh6 2...Kf8 3 Ng5!. 3 Qxh6 Bxe4 4 Re3 d5 4...Bh7 5 Ng5 Nxg5 6 Qxg5+ Kh8 7 h6.

1 Bxg5! Qd8

5 Ng5 Qe5

If 1...Bxg5 then 2 Nxh6! Bxh6 3 Rg3+ Kh7 4 f6, with the threat of 5 Rg7#.

Bringing the queen to the defence of his king is best, since 5...Nxg5 is met by 6 Qxg5+ Kh8 7 Bxe4 dxe4 8 Qf6+ Kg8 9 h6.

Now White concludes the game easily, with extra material. 2 Nxf6 Nxf6 3 Bxh6+ 1-0

6 Rxe4! Qxg5 6...dxe4 7 Qh7+ Kf8 8 Qxf7#. 7 Rxe6 Qxh6 8 Rxh6 Ra4 9 Rb6 Nd4 10 Rc5 1-0 White has a winning endgame.

White to play

White to play

E. Vladimirov – Sazontiev

Averbakh – Furman

Leningrad Ch 1970

USSR Ch, Moscow 1961

This position with opposite-side castling and pawnstorms features a bishop sacrifice of a kind that is typical when attacking a kingside castled position. Black’s pieces are cramped, whereas White’s control a lot of space and are pointed menacingly towards against the enemy king.

Black has an imposing mass of pawns on the queenside, but the solitude of his king is worrying in view of the active and menacing enemy pieces. White, for his part, has a passed pawn on e5 (strong, because it is solidly supported) and very easy availability of major pieces (queen, e1-rook) to join the attack if required.

1 Bxh7+! Despite the fact that the h7-square is defended by the knight on f8, the bishop is sacrificed to open lines. 1...Nxh7 2 g6 fxg6 2...Nf8 3 gxf7+ Kxf7 4 h5! (4 Qf5+? Bf6 offers White nothing because 5 Nh5? loses to the little stab 5...g6) leaves Black surprisingly powerless against the threat of h6, opening more lines. 3 Ne6 The knight has quickly reached the sixth rank and proves dangerous there. 3...Qd7 4 Nxg7! Bf6 4...Rf8 5 Rxg6 Bf6 6 Ne6+. 5 Nxe8 Rxe8 6 Qxg6+ Kh8 7 Rg3 White has a rook and two pawns for two bishops, so he even enjoys a slight material superiority. But more significant is his positional advantage. He now threatens 8 Rhg1, tying the enemy’s major pieces to the defence of the back rank. The problem for Black is that his pieces are badly coordinated and he has difficulties protecting his king.

1 Bxh7!? Although the bishop is sacrificed on h7, this has little in common with the Greek Gift sacrifice. 1 Qg4! is also powerful. 1...Kxh7? 1...Nf8 is the only way to keep the fight alive. 2 Qh5+ Kg8 3 Nf5 Bf8 Notice that six of Black’s seven pieces are confined to the queenside. 4 Qg6 The threat is 5 Nh6+ Kh8 6 Nf7+ Kg8 7 Ng5!. 4...Kh8 5 Ne4 Gradually, White is incorporating new forces into the attack. 5...Ne6 6 Nf6! Better than 6 Qxe6?, to which Black would reply 6...Nxe5! 7 Qxe5 Rd5 8 Qe8 Bxf5 9 Qxa8 Rd8, when 10 Bc7? Qxc7 11 Qxa6 Bc8 repeats, while 10 Qxd8 Qxd8 11 Rad1 favours White, but is no instant win. 6...Nxf6 6...gxf6 7 Re4 Bg7 8 Rh4+ Kg8 9 Nh6+ and mate. 7 exf6 Ra7 8 Re4

With the threat of 9 Rh4+ Kg8 10 f7+ Rxf7 11 Qh7#. 8...Nf4 There is no longer any defence. White won after... 9 Rxf4 Bxf5 10 Rxf5 Rd5 11 Rxd5 1-0 If 11...cxd5 then 12 fxg7+ Bxg7 13 Qxb6.

Black to play

Ig. Jelen – Pavasović Bled 2000 An interesting position! Black is a pawn up, there are opposite-coloured bishops and the major pieces are very active. Black to play

Liang Jinrong – Wang Zili Beijing 1992 At first sight this seems to be an equal position, which of course is absolutely the case in terms of material, and even the pawns are symmetrical, but Black is ready to exploit a small detail to open access routes to the white king. 1...Bxg3!! A truly unexpected piece sacrifice, since what is Black proposing to do if the bishop is captured? 2 Kxg3 Naturally not 2 fxg3 because of 2...Rxe3 and, suddenly, the black pieces are closing in on the white king.

1...Bxf3! A demolition sacrifice which contains various finesses. 2 gxf3 Qxf3 3 Rg4 Naturally, White parries the threat of 3...Rg6+, which would force his surrender. But... 3...Re4! A surprising deflection, but perfectly logical, because it is consistent with the previous threat to invade via the g-file. 4 h3 4 Rxe4 Rg6+ 5 Qg3 Rxg3+ 6 hxg3 Qxg3+ 7 Kh1 Qf3+. 4...Rxg4+ 5 hxg4 Rg6 It is curious to observe how it all collapses now.


6 Qf2 Rxg4+ 7 Kf1 Qh1+ 0-1

An unspectacular move but a decisive one: White’s pawn-barrier no longer exists and Black’s majorpiece attack proves conclusive.

8 Ke2 Qxa1.

3 Kg2 The attempt to counterattack with 3 Qa8 does not arrive in time: 3...Rg4+ 4 Kh2 Rxh4+ 5 Kg1 Qg4+ 6 Kf1 Qd1+ 7 Kg2 Qh1+ 8 Kg3 Rg4#. 3...Qg4+ 4 Kf1 4 Kh2 Qf3!, threatening 5...Rxh4+ and 6...Rh1#. 4...Qd1+ 5 Kg2 Rg4+ 6 Kh3 Qf1+ 0-1 It is mate: 7 Kh2 Rxh4+ 8 Kg3 Qh3#.

One of the typical sacrifices of a piece for two pawns often arises when the kingside pawns are advanced, normally to h6 and g5 (h3+g4 in White’s case), weakening the castled position. In such cases the sacrifice of bishop or knight on g5 usually produces a positive result, without in the majority of cases requiring very detailed calculation, since the booty gained is substantial enough to justify the sacrifice of the piece.

A worthy finishing touch to the combination, deflecting the white queen from the theatre of operations. The capture is forced. 9 Qxb4 Nd1+ 10 Rxd1 If 10 Kg2 (or 10 Kg1) then 10...Qg5+ 11 Kh2 Rxf3, etc. 10...Qxb4 White could resign because, in addition to his inferiority in material, his pieces are badly coordinated. 11 Rd3 Qxe4 12 Re3 Qg4 0-1 With the threats of 13...e4 and 13...h3, winning. Black to play

Heinbuch – V. Georgiev Bundesliga 1999/00 That is what happens here. White’s castled position has been weakened by the advance of his g- and hpawns, and although the king can count on the support of three of its pieces, the open lines will allow the black queen to join in the attack, assisted by the efforts of an annoying little intruder, the h4pawn, which stands ready to torment White. In these situations, careful thought is needed to determine which piece to sacrifice. In this case the bishop is the right choice, in order to hit White with the knight check and because the knight will prove more useful in the later play. 1...Bxg4! 2 hxg4 Nxg4+ 3 Kg1 Qg5 4 e4 Rf8

4.5: Panic on the Long Diagonal Invasion via the long diagonal is one of the most serious dangers to the castled king. Innumerable tactical possibilities are presented to the player who controls the long diagonal leading to the enemy’s castled position, even in cases where the diagonal is momentarily blocked. As is obvious, each castled position is reached by only one of the two long diagonals: the one running from a1 to h8 (dark squares) is the one that should worry the player who has castled kingside with Black, while the long light-squared diagonal (h1-a8) is the one that should worry the player who has castled kingside with White. Let us consider the case of Black’s kingside castled position. The two most common structures are:

The black pieces are massing on the kingside towards their desired objective. 5 Bb6 5 Rf1 Nxf2 is hopeless for White. 5...Qd2? Increasing the scope of the h6-bishop, but this move jeopardizes the victory. 5...Nc5! is best, cutting off the b6-bishop. 6 Bf3? After 6 Bf1 Black needs to find 6...Nc5!, but it’s less clearly winning than 5...Nc5! would have been. There’s also 6 Rf1 Qxe2 7 Rxf8+ intending 8 Qf3(+) to consider. 6...Be3+ 7 Bxe3 Nxe3 8 Kf2 The connection between queen and bishop has been cut, so this is the only move. 8...Nxb4!

If such a formation could be preserved indefinitely, Black would not have much to fear, even if the long diagonal were controlled by an enemy bishop and there were no pawns in the way. But the problem arises with the disappearance of any of these pieces (the knight in the first case; the bishop, especially, in the second), or with the advance or disappearance of any of the kingside pawns, especially the g-pawn, since it is on the long diagonal itself. Bearing in mind that the game is a dynamic process, the defender should be alert to the dangers that can arrive along this infernal motorway, which the long diagonal can easily become. For his part, the player who has attacking chances along this powerful line

should be conscious of the weapon that he has in his hands. Let us note an obvious fact: both long diagonals pass through the very centre of the board, emphasizing the importance of controlling this vital region of the board throughout the middlegame. The reader need only imagine a white queen and bishop (for instance, Qc3+Bb2) threatening mate simultaneously on the squares g7 and h8. If there is no possibility of obstructing the diagonal with pieces or pawns, or if Black cannot protect those squares, panic can easily set in... and with good reason! There is another idea, on which a typical mate with bishop and knight is based. With the black pawns on f7, g6 and h7, and White’s bishop commanding the long diagonal, a knight can mate on h6 (or e7). And if the knight cannot reach h6 but can check on f6 instead, after which the black king moves to g7 or h8, the discovered (or double) check that follows can be horrific. We shall now examine numerous characteristic examples, which should give the reader sufficient insight into the threats that he can prepare (or must try to parry) on the long diagonal.

White to play

Panov – Makogonov USSR Ch, Tbilisi 1937 White’s queen and bishop would wreak havoc on the long diagonal, were it not for the knight on e5, which blocks their action. As if Black did not have enough to worry out already, there is another bothersome element to which he must be attentive: the strong passed pawn on f6, supported from behind by a rook. 1 Rxe5! What could be more natural, in an attack, than to eliminate the opponent’s best defensive piece? The combination starts with an exchange sacrifice. 1...dxe5 2 f7+! Essential and elegant, to open the long diagonal with threats of mate. 2...Rxf7 3 Qxe5 Kf8 4 Qg7+ Ke7 5 Bb4+ 1-0 White wins the rook after 5...Rd6 6 Rxf7+ Bxf7 7 Qe5+.

White to play

Ratner – Podgorny Moscow 1946 One would think that Black has a good position here, if it were not for the cramped position of his king. Furthermore his queen and bishop have complete control of the long diagonal... don’t they? 1 Bb2! A dirty trick, based on the theme of deflection. If 1...Qxb2 (or 1...Qg6 2 Bh5, winning the exchange) then 2 Rxh6+! Bxh6 3 Qxb2+. If the queen moves to any other square, then 2 Rxh6# is terminal, since the g7-bishop is now pinned.

White to play

Flohr – Milner-Barry

London 1932 White is a pawn up and has the bishop-pair. In addition to his material advantage, the positional domination he exerts is considerable, in particular on the long dark-squared diagonal. But the bishop on f1 also has very good prospects, while its black counterpart is shut in on g6. As if this were not enough, White commands the open d-file. Thus Grandmaster Salomon Flohr (Salo to his friends) decides that the time has come to take action. 1 Rd7! A sacrifice to deflect the black queen from the defence of the f6-square, which Black is forced to accept.

A powerful move, based on the double attack on the rook and the bishop, while obviously leaving the queen en prise... 1...Rf8 The queen is immune from capture: 1...Rxe4? 2 Bxf6+ Qg7 3 Bxg7+ Kxg7 4 Rxe4. 2 Qe8! Continuing the pursuit of the black rook, based on the deflection theme. However, in the game White played 2 Bxc6? bxc6 3 Bxf6+ Rxf6 4 Qe8+ Qxe8 5 Rxe8+ Kg7 6 Rc8, with a merely better ending. 2...Qg7 2...Rxe8 allows 3 Bxf6+ Qg7 4 Rxe8#.


3 Qxf8+!

1...Qe5 2 Qxe5 fxe5 3 Rxc7.

The well-deserved finishing touch.

2 Qxf6+ Kh6

3...Qxf8 4 Re8!

If 2...Kf8 then 3 Qg7+ Ke7 4 Bf6+ Ke6 5 Bc4+, and the bishops fulfil their role of dominating open diagonals.

With the recurrent theme of exploiting the loose piece (the f6-bishop), combined with the threat of back-rank mate. Obviously if 4...Qxe8 (deflection of the black queen) then 5 Bxf6#; Black’s best defence is 4...Bxd4 but after 5 Rxf8+ Kg7 6 Rf7+ Kh6 7 Rxc7, the situation is untenable.

3 Qg7+ Kh5 4 g4+ Kh4 5 Bd4 1-0 Now not even sacrificing the queen will enable Black to prevent the mate threatened on f2.

White to play

White to play

McNab – Parkin

Rellstab – Ahues

Scottish Ch, Glasgow 2000

Berlin 1930 The latent power of White’s pieces is so great that, since it is his move, he can set off a combination which is as decisive as it is spectacular. Observe queen and rook doubled on the e-file. Observe also the strength of the d5-bishop. The conclusion you will undoubtedly reach is that the only white piece that can improve its position is the e3-bishop. So why not place the bishop on the square that it would like best? 1 Bd4!!

White is about to exploit in devastating fashion the power of his rooks and the possibility of gaining control of the long dark diagonal. While the white rook on g3 confines the black king to the edge of the board, too many of Black’s pieces are side-tracked on the opposite edge of the board. It is White to play and win with no half-measures. 1 Qxd4+! A drastic move, to say the least. White has a number of other good options, including 1 Bxc5 and 1 Re7.

1...cxd4 2 Bb2 And now the calm after the storm: a ‘positional’ threat of mate! 2...Rf6 Here 2...Nxc4 3 Nxc4 Qd1 would fail to 4 Re1!!. 2...Nc6 prevents the mate, but after 3 dxc6 Qxc6+ 4 Nf3 Qxf3+ 5 Rxf3 Bb7 6 Bg2 Bxf3 7 Bxf3, White’s bishop-pair will dominate the board completely: 7...Rf7 8 Bxd4+ Kg8 9 Bd5 or 7...Rfe8 8 Bxd4+ Kg8 9 Rf6, with the threat of 10 Bd5+. 3 Bxd4 Rf8 4 Rxf6 1-0 Black to play

Spiro – Najdorf Lodz 1932 How should Black exploit the marvellous deployment of the four black pieces and the faradvanced pawn on e3? The problem is that the c5bishop is attacked (taking en passant is not possible) and if it retreats White will play Bxe3, winning the pawn and completely freeing his game. So, great minds: think, analyse, seek and solve! 1...Qc6! White to play

Schlechter – Przepiorka Nuremberg 1906 This position is looking bad for Black. Why? To start with, both White’s bishops are aimed menacingly at Black’s castled position. To neutralize the light-squared bishop, Black has had to advance with ...g6, making White’s dark-squared bishop tremendously strong. In addition, White’s queen occupies a very active square, he has a rook on the seventh rank and his king is secure. In contrast, all the black pieces, apart from the bishop on e7, are situated on the back rank. All of this adds up to a big positional advantage for White. 1 Bxg6! 1-0 After 1...fxg6 (1...hxg6 allows 2 Qh8#) 2 Qh6 Kf7 (2...Bf6 3 Qxh7+ Kf8 4 Qf7#) 3 Qxh7+ the black king has to head for open country, which is tantamount to a death sentence: 3...Ke6 4 Qxg6+ Bf6 (4...Kxe5 5 f4#) 5 Bxf6 Qxf6 (if 5...Qxc7 then 6 Be5+! Kd7 {6...Kxe5 7 f4#} 7 Bxc7, etc.) 6 Rc6+.

Is this not a perfect illustration of the terrors that can lurk on the long diagonal? 2 Ba3 The key to this marvellous combination is that after 2 Bxc6 Bxc6+ 3 Kg1 Rd1+! 4 Qxd1 the discovered check 4...e2+! is decisive. 2...Rd2 3 Bxc6 3 Qxd2 exd2 leaves White with no defence: 4 Bxc6 Bxc6# or 4 bxc5 Qxg2#. 3...Bxc6+ 4 Kg1 Rxe2 5 bxc5 White’s material compensation is insufficient but in addition Black’s passed pawn remains on the loose. 5...Rg2+ 6 Kf1 e2+ 0-1 7 Ke1 Rg1+ and 8...Rxa1.

Black to play

White to play

Z. Almasi – Khalifman

Tarrasch – Walbrodt

Ubeda 1997

Hastings 1895

The presence of the passed pawn on the long diagonal, supported by the bishop, bodes a major catastrophe for White, since the g3 advance has seriously weakened his castled position. At present the pawn is blocked by the e3-bishop, but Black has tactical means at his disposal to lift the blockade. The clues are Black’s queen and f8-rook, with obvious open lines ready for immediate action.

Here we have a classic example, with both kings in some danger. The ‘World Tournament Champion’, as Dr Siegbert Tarrasch was known unofficially, needed to play very accurately here to enable his pieces to break in on the long dark-squared diagonal, since, given the situation of his king, there were some complex options.

1...Qh3! 2 Qxd6

Now it is clear that 1...cxd4 is met by 2 Bxd4, opening the long diagonal and pinning the black queen, but Black responded with...

Accepting the bishop sacrifice is the only challenging reply since 2 Kg1 is met by 2...Rf2! 3 Kxf2 (3 Bxf2 e3!) 3...Qxh2+ 4 Kf1 Rf8+ 5 Bf4 Bxf4 6 Qf2 Bd6, etc. The meek 2 Qd2 Bxg3 (threatening ...Rf2) 3 Qg2 Qxg2+ 4 Kxg2 Bxe1 leads to a hopeless ending for White. 2...Rf2! A typical procedure to exploit the play on the long diagonal: it is essential to deflect the blockading piece at any price. 3 Bxf2 e3+ 4 Qd5 Bxd5+ 5 cxd5 exf2 6 Rf1 The position is now totally winning for Black, although in strictly material terms White could still resist. The game ended: 6...Rf8 7 axb5 Qg4! 8 Kg2 Qf3+ 9 Kh3 Rf5 10 Ra4 Rh5+ 11 Rh4 Rxh4+ 12 Kxh4 Qe2 0-1

1 Rxd4!

1...Nxg3 1...Bf6 is no better in view of 2 Rxd5 Qxb2 3 Nf1. Although Black dominates the long diagonal with his queen and bishop, White has an excellent position, controlling the open d-file, with a magnificent knight on f5 and the g3-square strengthened, not to mention the extra pawn! 2 Nxg3 Rxg3+ 3 hxg3 Rxg3+ It seems that Black has refuted Tarrasch’s manoeuvre... 4 Kf1! Rxd3 5 Rg4!! 1-0 Finally, the theme of double attack decides. Black resigned in view of 5...Bf6 6 Rxf6, 5...h5 6 Bxe5+ Kh7 7 Rg7+ Kh6 8 cxd3 or 5...Qxb2 6 Rf8+ Bg8 7 Rfxg8#.

White to play

White to play

Dolmatov – Lautier

A. Petrosian – Andruet

Reykjavik 1988

Bagneux 1982

Here everything revolves around the long diagonal and, more concretely, the white bishop on c3, blocked at the moment by White’s own knight. GM Sergei Dolmatov has identified a tactical weak point in Black’s set-up and is ready to exploit this, before it is too late. 1 Nc6!! As easy as that. The weak point is f6, not because it is weak strategically speaking, but because a random tactical detail makes the f6-bishop vulnerable. Consequently White gives up his knight, attacking the enemy queen.

Here Black’s affairs would be in order, were it not for his glaring weakness on the long dark diagonal. However, it is not obvious how White can set an attack in motion. 1 a5!? A pawn sacrifice to gain a tempo. 1...Bxa5 1...Bc5?! 2 Rxb7! Rxb7 3 Nc6 is good for White. 2 Qa4 Activating the queen with no loss of tempo.



1...Bxc6 is also met by 2 Rxf6!, and if 2...Bb5 then 3 Qg3.

The uncompromising 2...Bc3! keeps Black very much in the game; e.g., 3 Nxc3 Nxc3 4 Bxc3 Rxc3 5 Qxa7 Rc7 intending ...d4.

2 Rxf6! cxd5 The key detail for the whole combination is 2...gxf6 3 Qg3+ Kh8 4 Qg5!. Then 5 Bxf6+, etc. cannot be prevented. 3 Rxd6 1-0 Black resigned because he loses a piece after 3...Qc7 4 Qd4 f6 5 Qxd5+.

3 Bxe4 Eliminating the most active enemy piece. 3...dxe4 4 Ng4! It is necessary to exploit the power that the a1bishop exerts on the long diagonal. White now threatens both 5 Nf6+ and 5 Bf6, keeping Nh6+ in reserve. 4...f5 Or 4...Bc6 5 Qa2 Bd5 6 Qb2, winning. 5 Bf6 To win the exchange? 5...Qe8 6 Nh6+ Not for the moment! White has the enemy king in his sights. 6...Kf8 7 Qa3+! Bc5 8 Qa1!!

The manoeuvring of the white queen might appear extravagant, but it is tremendously effective: command of the long diagonal will bring victory. White now threatens 9 Bxd8 as well as 9 Bh4, in both cases allowing the queen to invade on h8. 8...Rdd7 9 Bh4 Notice that the complex of squares around the black king are all attacked by white pieces: f7 and g8 by the knight, g7 by the queen and e7 by the bishop.

obviously lost for Black, there suddenly came 4...Nxg2. This dazzling move came as the shocker.” 5 Kxg2 d4! The long light-squared diagonal is opened, with important consequences for the course of the game. 6 Nxd4 Bb7+ 7 Kf1

There is no alternative. If 10...Rgf7 then 11 Qh8#.

If 7 Kg1 then 7...Bxd4+ 8 Qxd4 Re1+! 9 Kf2 Qxd4+ 10 Rxd4 Rxa1, with a decisive advantage. Or 7 Kf2 Qd7! 8 Rac1 Qh3 9 Nf3 Bh6 10 Qd3 Be3+ 11 Qxe3 Rxe3 12 Kxe3 Re8+ 13 Kf2 Qf5, winning the pinned knight and with it, the game.

11 Nxf7 Qxf7 12 Qe5

7...Qd7! 0-1

The threat is 13 Qb8+ and so the reply is practically forced.

At this moment Byrne resigned and, in his own words, “many grandmasters who were commenting on the play for the spectators in a separate room believed that I had a won game!”. If 8 Qf2 (or 8 Ndb5 Qh3+ 9 Kg1 Bh6, followed by ...Be3+, winning) then 8...Qh3+ 9 Kg1 Re1+!! (the most difficult move of the combination, which unfortunately never appeared on the board) 10 Rxe1 Bxd4. A double deflection, which terminates the struggle. The game was awarded the tournament’s brilliancy prize.

9...Rg7 10 Qf6+ Rcf7

12...Qe8 13 Nf4! 1-0 White wins a piece: if 13...Nxf4 then 14 Qxc5+, etc. An impressive demonstration of how to utilize the long diagonal as a decisive means of invasion.

It could be said, without any exaggeration, that the young Fischer inflicted an Immortal on each of the Byrne brothers, Donald and Robert. In Donald’s case, it was in the Rosenwald tournament of 1956 that he had lost a great game against the same opponent (even though Fischer was then only 13 years old). That game came to be nicknamed ‘the Game of the Century’ (i.e. the 20th).

R. Byrne – Fischer

Neither is it superfluous to recall that Bobby Fischer won the sixth of his eight US Championship titles in the 1963/4 event, on that occasion scoring no fewer than 11 points from 11 games!

USA Ch, New York 1963/4

4.6: The Knight Sacrifice

The long diagonal again plays the leading role here. The champion of the USA is about to cook up a masterly combination, in this case based on the light-squared diagonal. Fischer sets about the systematic demolition of the enemy castled position. Even a long way into the combination, his strong opponent did not realize that his cause was totally lost.

In FCM a whole chapter was devoted to the various types of knight sacrifice against the opponent’s castled position, with a focus on sacrifices leading to mate. Here the combinations and their associated finesses expand the field of study to other sacrifices or attacks, with a variety of objectives. Here it is not a question of all-out mating attacks, but rather of any type of advantage that justifies the combination. We shall structure the material as follows:

Black to play

1...Nxf2!! 2 Kxf2 Ng4+ 3 Kg1 Nxe3 4 Qd2 Nxg2! It is essential to eliminate this bishop, which was protecting the white king; Fischer was not seeking the prosaic recovery of his material. 4...Nxd1? 5 Rxd1 would achieve nothing. Robert Byrne’s account was very revealing: “As I sat pondering why Fischer would choose such a line, because it was so

Sacrifices on f6 Sacrifices on f5 Sacrifices on Other Squares

Sacrifices on f6

Let us imagine a black castled position with the pawns on f7, g7 and h7 all intact. What might be the motif that justifies a knight being sacrificed on f6? The reasons for a thematic sacrifice on f6 can be:   

To open the g-file for invasion using the major pieces. To recapture on f6 with a pawn, to create mating threats on g7 supported by this pawn-wedge. To disrupt the kingside pawn-formation for a decisive attack on the point h7, in which case the pawns on f7 and f6 constitute a blockade on the ffile, enclosing the king in a death trap.

Rxd7 8 Qc6, with a double attack on the black rooks and a third threat: a check on c4, winning the knight. 2 Rh3! 1-0 Black resigned due to 2...gxf6 3 Qxf6+ Kg8 4 Rg3+ Kf8 5 d6 or 2...h6 3 Rxh6+, mating. One of the most thematic sacrifices of the knight on f6 is perfectly illustrated in the following case, in which the absence of the g-pawn is a vital factor.

Naturally, we are talking here only of typical combinations, which are precisely the ones that the student can assimilate, since the atypical ones arise in positions that are more or less out of the ordinary and therefore have an unpredictable character, which leaves us without any models to which we can refer.

White to play

Goldstein – Tomilin USSR 1965

White to play

Maksimenko – Roskar Ptuj 1998 This position contains all the necessary ingredients for the knight sacrifice on f6 to appear in its purest form. The key, in effect, is the availability of the d3rook on the third rank, from where it can make a contribution to the attack, using the g- or h-file. As if that were not enough, here White also has a powerful passed pawn supported by both rooks. 1 Nf6+! It would not pay to be greedy here: after 1 Nd6 Qc7 White achieves relatively little. 1...Kh8 The immediate capture of the knight clearly loses: 1...gxf6 2 Qxf6 Qc7 (if 2...Kf8 or 2...Re2 then 3 d6) 3 d6 Qc2 (to interpose the queen on g6) 4 Rg3+ Qg6 5 d7 Red8 6 Rxg6+ fxg6 (6...hxg6 7 Rd4) 7 Re1

The absence of Black’s g-pawn is so important that it permits an immediate finish. Place the d4-pawn on g7 and there would be nothing ‘on’ in this position; for a start, naturally, the queen could not be situated on h6. Even if the pawn were on g6, Black would have a compact and solid position. Now, however, Black’s position collapses. 1 Nf6+! Bxf6 The basic idea of the knight sacrifice is to block the f7-pawn, so that it is unable to advance to neutralize the white bishop on the b1-h7 diagonal. 2 Bd3 1-0 If 2...Re8, then White employs a standard mating mechanism with Q+B: 3 Bxh7+ Kh8 4 Bg6+ Kg8 5 Qh7+ Kf8 6 Qxf7#. The same idea can be carried out when the f6-square is only protected by a pawn on g7. In that case it is important that other preconditions are present, namely: the h7-pawn cannot be protected, the white bishop is situated on the b1-h7 diagonal, and the attacker’s queen is on the h-file. An illustrative example of such a combination can be found in the game Illescas-Z.Franco, Spanish Ch, Palencia 1999, included in FCM (page 91).

White to play

White to play

Nisipeanu – Lautier

Wibe – L.Å. Schneider

European Team Ch, Batumi 1999

Stockholm 1975

Black’s h-pawn has become a doomed pawn on g3, and there is a white pawn attacking the f6-point. That, plus the possibility of the rooks rapidly joining in the attack, creates favourable conditions for the knight sacrifice on f6 to become reality. 1 Nf6+!? Bxf6 1...gxf6? is worse in view of 2 Qxg3+ Kh7 3 Qh4+ Kg7 4 Rb3, with mate. 2 exf6 g6 Now we have the theme of the pawn-wedge. A more tenacious defence was 2...Qxc5, to which White could respond 3 fxg7 Rfd8 4 Qxg3 Qf5 (4...Qd4? 5 Qh4 Kxg7 6 Qg5+!, with a big advantage for White), when White is better, but Black can still fight. 3 f5 Qd5?? An horrendous blunder. According to Nisipeanu it was necessary to play 3...exf5 4 Rxf5 Rfe8 5 Rbf1 Qe4 6 Qxg3, still with advantage to White. 4 Qe3 1-0 This move compels immediate resignation, since after 4...Kh7 5 Rb4 there is nothing to be done.

Here the strength of White’s bishops and the passivity of the black pieces confined to the back rank, along with the shortage of black defensive pieces on the kingside, all combine to create a characteristic landscape for a decisive knight sacrifice on f6. 1 Nf6+! White could also win by employing quieter methods: 1 Ng5 f5 2 Qf3 Bd7 3 Bc4, etc. 1...gxf6 1...Kh8 2 Nxh7. 2 Bxe7! Qxe7 3 Qg4+ An important finesse in this type of combination: it is essential to force the defender’s king to occupy the corner square. 3...Kh8 4 Qh4! An unstoppable attack on h7, since the f6-pawn has been immobilized by this queen move. Notice the difference with 4 Qh5, to which Black could respond with 4...f5. 4...Bxh2+ 5 Kh1 1-0 To prevent the mate on h7, Black would have to give up his queen with 5...f5.

the availability of the second knight to join in the attack via g5. The final factor is the passivity of the still undeveloped black pieces on the queenside, as well as the a5-knight, which is out of play. 1 Nf6+! gxf6 The two alternatives were no better: 1...Bxf6 2 exf6 gxf6 3 Qg3+ Kh8 4 Qh4 e5 5 Bxe5! fxe5 6 Ng5 or 1...Kh8 2 Qe4 Bxf6 3 exf6 g6 (3...gxf6 4 Ng5) 4 Qh4 Rg8 5 Qh6 Qf8 6 Ng5!, in both cases with a decisive advantage to White. 2 Qg3+ Kh8 3 exf6 Bxf6 4 Ne5! Bxe5 Forced, since White was threatening 5 Rxf6! Qxf6 6 Nc4, winning. Black to play

Sepp – Shirov USSR Junior Team Ch, Kramatorsk 1989 Black considered the possibilities arising from a knight sacrifice on f3, taking into account the more dynamic prospects of his position and the permanent weakening of White’s castled position. 1...Nf3+!! 2 gxf3 Clearly it is not possible to take with the knight, as it is pinned. If 2 Kh1 then 2...Qg7! 3 gxf3 (3 Nxf3 Bxg2+ 4 Bxg2 Qxb2) 3...Bxf1 4 Rxf1 Rf5. 2...Qg7+ 3 Kh2 Bxf1 4 Rxf1 Rf5! The rook joins in the attack, with decisive results. 5 Ng4 Rh5+ 0-1 White resigned in view of 6 Kg2 Qxb2.

5 Bxe5+ f6 6 Rxf6! 1-0 If 6...Rxf6 then 7 Rf1. A pretty combination by the Irish-born International Master C.H.O’D. (a.k.a. Hugh) Alexander, who had a reasonably successful chess career over the board (including, for instance, first place at Hastings 1946/7 and shared first with Bronstein at Hastings 1953/4). He represented England in the 1933, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1954 and 1958 Olympiads. He also gained a solid reputation as a chess author and columnist for The Sunday Times and The Spectator. As a good mathematician, as a well as a strong chess-player, he was recruited during the Second World War to work for the British government at the Bletchley Park code-breaking station. This work remained a state secret for many decades, but it is now acknowledged that Alexander played a key role in Britain’s efforts to decipher German messages encoded by the Enigma machine. He continued to work in the field of cryptanalysis for the British Government until his retirement in 1971. The Danish GM Bent Larsen can rarely have been faced with such an unpleasant position as the following one, and on his home turf as well. Of course, his best years still lay some way in the future, although it would not be long before he gained significant triumphs in the 1960s. He participated in several Candidates cycles to qualify as a challenger for the world title and in 1970 he played on first board for the Rest of the World team against the USSR.

White to play

Alexander – Szabo Hilversum Zonal 1947 Here too the circumstances conspire to favour the knight sacrifice on f6. First of all, there is the enormous pressure that White exerts on this key point. In addition White has the half-open f-file, plus

The player with Black in our next example, Dibyendu Barua, is an original player who has alternated erratic performances with important wins against elite players. Since the mid-1980s he has been one of India’s leading players.

White to play

Petrosian – Larsen Copenhagen 1960 Black’s knight and bishop occupy very passive squares and lack prospects. White commands a lot of space and has his sights set on the enemy king, which, for the moment, lacks the due support of its troops. 1 Nf6+! A typical sacrifice to open a breach in the castled position, which is especially justified when, as in this case, there are two pawns that can recapture on f6. 1...gxf6 If 1...Bxf6 then 2 gxf6 Rxd3 3 Qg5 (with designs of mate) 3...Kf8 (3...g6 4 Qh6) 4 Qxg7+ Ke8 5 Qg8+ Kd7 6 Qxf7+ Kd8 7 Qg8+ Kd7 8 e6+ Kd6 9 Ne4#. 2 Rh3 Threatening mate in two. 2...Kf8 3 Qxh7 Ke8 4 g6! A decisive advance that opens more paths towards the victory. 4...Bf8 Or 4...fxg6 5 Qxg6+ Kd7 6 Qf5+ Ke8 7 Qe6! Kf8 8 Rh7, winning. 5 g7 Here 5 exf6 was also winning. 5...Bxg7 6 Qxg7 Qe7 7 Ne4 Rd1+ 8 Kf2 f5 9 Nf6+ The fatal square is once again occupied, by the second knight. 9...Kd8 10 Rh8+ Kc7 11 Re8 1-0 The queen is lost.

Black to play

Prakash – Barua Guntur 2000 Black has a strong pair of knights, but White threatens to win an important pawn (a5), which would substantially modify the assessment of the resulting position. 1...Nf3+?! Objectively, Black should play more quietly, with 1...Ne4 for example, and await a better opportunity to make something of his active pieces. 2 gxf3! The bold capture of the knight is the only good move. After 2 Kf1? Rh8 (2...Re7!?) 3 Rec2 (suicidal is 3 gxf3? gxf3, with the double threat of mate on h1 and capture of the rook on e2) 3...Rh1+ (3...Rae8 has the point that 4 R2c4? Rh1+ 5 Ke2 Nf4+! 6 Nxf4 Rxe1+ 7 Kd3 g3! is winning for Black, but 4 Rxd5 Rh1+ 5 Ke2 Ng1+ 6 Kd2 cxd5 7 Nf4 is less clear) 4 Ke2 Nxe1 5 Nxe1 g3 Black has the advantage and the initiative. 2...gxf3 3 Rec2? The critical line is 3 Rxd5! cxd5 4 Rc2 Rh8, with a razor-sharp position where Black just about seems to hold on: 5 Nf4 (5 Rc7+ Kg6 6 Nf4+ Kf5 7 Nxd5 Ke4) 5...Rh4 6 Rc7+ Kg8 7 Bc3 Kh7 8 Nxd5 Ra6 9 Ne7 Rb6 10 Nf5 Rg4+ 11 Kh2 Rxb3 12 Kh3 Rg5 13 Ng3 Rb1 14 Rc5 Rxc5 15 dxc5 Rc1 16 Bxa5 f5 and Black probably draws. 3...Re4! An effective exploitation of the file opened by the knight sacrifice.

4 Bxa5? This loses, as does 4 Rxd5? Rg4+ 5 Kf1 Rh8! 6 Rd7+ Kg6. The only try is 4 Nf4 Nxf4 5 exf4 Rxe1+ 6 Kh2, but Black clearly has an excellent ending. 4...Rh8 5 Nf4 Nxf4 6 exf4 Rxf4 7 Bc7 Rfh4 0-1 The mate on h1 cannot be prevented.

Sacrifices on f5

White to play

Lobron – Klinger Biel 1986

White to play

Mensch – Simon Paris Open Ch 2000 Black has lodged his knight in a crucial point in White’s position (d3) and the threat against b2 looks important, since the pressure on the b-file can be increased with ...Qb8. But it is White to play and the situation of the opposing king is hopeless. His three kingside pawns are still standing, but not undamaged, since their advance has left holes in the castled position and the king lacks sufficient protection. 1 Nf5+! 1-0 Let’s see why Black resigned on the spot: if 1...gxf5 then 2 Rhg1+ Kh7 3 Bxf5+ Kh8 4 Qh6#, while 1...Kh7 allows 2 Qh6+ and 3 Qg7#. So, that just leaves the third option, 1...Kg8, in which case White again plays 2 Qh6 and after 2...Rxb2+ 3 Ka1 there is no defence against the mate. It is important to note that the sacrifice on h5 is less effective, since Black can reply to 1 Nxh5+? with 1...Kh7.

White has a great advantage, on account of the dominant position of his pieces and Black’s weakened castled position, where the king’s survival depends on that of the knight that blocks the long diagonal. The white queen has seized the f6-square and the f-file is a launch-pad. However, it is not easy to find a winning continuation. 1 Nf5! gxf5 2 Rxf5 White threatens mate in two with 3 Rg5+ Ng6 4 Qg7# (or 4 Qh8#). 2...Rfe8 2...h6 3 Rxe5! dxe5 4 Bxe5 Qd1+ 5 Bf1. 3 Rg5+ Kf8 4 Qh8+ Ke7 5 Rxe5+! dxe5 6 Ba3+ Now it is the a3-f8 diagonal. Where does that leave us? 6...Qd6 There is no alternative: if 6...Ke6 then 7 Bh3+ and the bishops are crushing. 7 Qxe5+ 1-0

White to play

Velikov – D. Cramling

but (and this should ring a bell) in chess one should take nothing for granted.

Reggio Emilia 1979/80

1...Nxf4! 2 gxf4 Qxf4

White has deployed his pieces in ideal fashion, but must continue to create threats, since in positions with opposite-side castling the struggle is extremely intense. The first candidate move seems to be 1 g4, to open more lines. But the Bulgarian master found a more energetic and better possibility. 1 Nf5! gxf5 Accepting the challenge. Moving the queen was not very promising. For example: 1...Qf6 2 Rd6 or 1...Qc5 2 Nxf7 Rxf7 3 Nd6.

Black threatens to threaten, for instance, 3...Bh3, among other possibilities. 3 Qa3 This reinforces the third rank. Another possibility was 3 Ra2, which could be answered with 3...Bh3 4 Rg2 Bxg2 5 Kxg2 Qf3+ 6 Kg1 Qxd3. 3...Qg4+ 4 Kh1 Qf3+ 5 Kg1 Bh3 With the threat of 6...Qf1+. 6 Qxf8+

2 Rxd7!

A final desperate throw.

Heedless of the material, White eliminates the enemy’s best defensive piece.



Not 6...Qxf8?? 7 cxb7, when Black must force a draw.

2...Bxd7 is met by 3 Qxh5 Rfd8 4 Bxf7+ Kf8 5 Nh7#.


3 Rd1! Not 3 Qxh5? Rd8 4 Bxf7+ Kf8 5 Ne6+ Ke7. 3...Bh6 3...Qc7 4 Qxh5. 4 Qxh5 Kg7 5 Rxd7 Bxd7 6 Kb1 fxe4 7 Bxf7 Kh8 8 Qxh6# (1-0)

White to play

Volkov – Romanishin European Team Ch, Batumi 1999

Ionov – A. Loginov

White has a great positional advantage: he enjoys the bishop-pair and a powerful passed pawn that is well-advanced and protected by friendly pawns. It is clear that Black wants to deploy his knight to e6 as a blockader, but the numerous holes in his castled position are another factor that will work decisively against him.

St Petersburg 2000

1 Nxf5!

Black to play

Here too the black pieces are all aimed towards the enemy’s kingside, which looks abandoned following the advance of the f- and g-pawns. The white major pieces are far away and the d1-knight interrupts the rook’s communication with the kingside. White has just captured on c6, assuming the mechanical reply,

The start of the demolition of Black’s kingside. 1...gxf5 2 Bxf5 White has sacrificed a piece for two pawns and now threatens an invasion with his major pieces. 2...Nc4

To prevent 3 Re3.

a) 2...Bxf5 3 Qxe7+ Kxe7 4 Nxf5+.

3 Bc2 Bd7 4 f5!

b) 2...Rd8 3 Qh5+ Kg7 4 Re1, with the threat of 5 Qg4+.

The machinery of the connected passed pawns is set in motion, rather like a tank. 4...Ra6 4...Qh4 5 Rf1, followed by Rf4. 5 Qf3 Bc8 6 Qg3+ Kh8 7 Bg5 Qd7 8 e6! 1-0 This advance looks obvious, but the exclamation mark is awarded because Black cannot return the piece for two pawns, since 8...Nxe6 allows 9 Bf6+ Ng7 10 Qxg7+! Qxg7 11 Rxe8#. If 8...Raxe6 then 9 fxe6 Rxe6 10 Rxe6 Qxe6 11 Re1 Qf7 12 Re7, winning.

c) 2...Bg7 3 Qh5+ Kg8 4 Re1 (two pieces are now pinned against the black queen!) 4...Rd8 5 Bxe6+ Nxe6 6 Qg4, with a decisive advantage. 3 Qh5+ Ke7 4 Bxe6 Kxe6 Or 4...Qxe6 5 Re1. 5 Re1+ Kd7 6 Bxd6 Kxd6 7 Qxh6! Ng6 7...Qxh6 8 Nf5+ gives White a clearly winning endgame. 8 Qh2! 1-0 Black resigned in view of 8...Qf4 9 Nf5+ Kd7 10 Qh7+ and 8...Kd7 9 Qh7+ Kd6 10 c4.

Sacrifices on Other Squares

White to play

Rozentalis – Terreaux Biel 1990 Black’s kingside pawn-formation has already been degraded and the king has been obliged to move to its second rank to bolster the weak points. The king defending in the middlegame – this should sound alarm bells! More concretely, the black queen is attacking the h4-knight. What should the knight do? Return to f3, followed by Ne5+? Of course, if the black queen takes the knight on h4, Black’s own knight on d6 is left hanging. White must evaluate all these elements and choose his move. 1 Nhxf5!! A thematic sacrifice on f5, although a difficult one in this case, because White has to calculate many possibilities, above all the capture by the bishop, which forces an exchange of queens. 1...gxf5 1...Bxf5 is met by 2 Qxe7+ Kxe7 3 Bxf5.

White to play

Randviir – Hindre Tallinn 1949 The sacrifice on g6 springs immediately to mind as a combination with a high probability of success. For a start, White obtains at least the three kingside pawns for the knight. Then White could feel reassured about his idea by the excellence of his remaining pieces: the d4-knight can go to f5 immediately, while the rook commands the only open file. 1 Nxg6! Rc8?! It is clear that after 1...fxg6 2 Qxg6+ Kh8 3 Qxh6+ Kg8 4 Nf5 Qd7 5 Qf4 (intending Rc7) Black is in serious difficulties. 2 Qxc8+!

2 Bxf5 Qf6

White rises to the occasion, responding in crushing fashion to the defensive option chosen by Black.


2...Nxc8 3 Rxc8+ Kh7

3...Kg7?! allows 4 Nf5+. 4 Rh8+! Kxg6 5 Rxh6+! 1-0 The black king is decoyed by force into a deadly fork. After 5...Kxh6 (5...Kg5 6 h4+ Kg4 7 f3+ Kg3 8 Nf5#) 6 Nf5+, the knight ending with two extra pawns is winning for White.

A quiet move, freeing the rook and preparing serious threats, such as ...Bf3 and ...Rf8. 6 Nd1 Bf3 7 Qd2 Rf8 0-1 The threat is 8...Qh1+ 9 Kf2 Bxd1+, etc., while after 8 Qh2 Qg4+ the king has to go to the f-file, with fatal consequences.

Black to play

White to play

Shishkov – Berelovich

Kasparov – Short

St Petersburg 1999

PCA World Ch (7), London 1993

White has built up his game in preparation for the b4 break. However, his kingside has been weakened by his pawn advances and although the king seems well protected by the queen and the f1-bishop, Black has concentrated a great deal of force on this wing.

White is a pawn down, but the coordination between his aggressively placed pieces is far superior; only Black’s bishop can boast any scope at all. In addition, the g-pawn is missing from Black’s castled position and his king can easily find itself in a vulnerable situation, as the then World Champion will demonstrate.

1...Nxh3 This sacrifice results from Black’s numerical superiority in this sector. However, it would not have proved decisive if White had weighed up his options correctly. The alternative sacrifice 1...Bxh3!? may be a better option, as at least Black keeps a good deal of play after 2 Qf2 Qh5 3 gxh3 Nxh3 4 Bxh3 Rxf3 5 Qg2 Rxe3, even if it is objectively unclear at best. 2 gxh3? 2 Qe1! not only nullifies the danger on the kingside, but even amounts to a good positional sacrifice of a pawn. After 2...Qxe1 3 Rxe1 Nf4 4 a5 White has excellent queenside play. 2...Rxf3 3 Qe1 White prevents an invasion on g3 and offers an exchange of queens. 3...Rxh3+! A fresh sacrifice, this time of the exchange, which must be accepted. 4 Bxh3 Qxh3+ 5 Kg1 Bg4!

1 Nxh6! Destroying part of the black king’s protective shield. 1...Bf6 1...Nxh6 2 Qg5+ Kh7 3 f6 (or 3 Bc2!), and if now 3...Rg8, against the threat on g7, then 4 Bc2+ Rg6 5 Re7. Here we can see the power of the pawn-wedge on f6. Another possibility is 3...Bxf2+ 4 Kxf2 Qf5+ 5 Qxf5+ Nxf5 6 Bc2 Kg6 7 g4. 2 Bxf7! 1-0 This capture forces great loss of material, since Black is mated after both 2...Nxh6 3 Qg6+ Kh8 4 Qxh6# and 2...Rxf7 3 Qg6+ Kh8 4 Qxg8#.

on the queenside, which signifies a winning game in both sectors. 6 Qh3 White has a large advantage. One plan is Rf3-g3.

White to play

Gligorić – N. Littlewood Hastings 1964/5 Black’s castled position has been considerably weakened by the advances of the f- and h-pawns, leaving the light squares as leaky as a sieve. But White lacks his light-squared bishop, so if he considers that his position is good enough to justify a direct attack, he will have to resort to other means.

White to play

Topalov – Beliavsky European Team Ch, Batumi 1999

2 Bxh6! is even stronger, meeting 2...Qc4 with 3 Qf3 Qh4 (3...Bc5 4 Re4) 4 Qd5+.

All White’s pieces are aimed towards Black’s kingside, and more precisely against the black king. The black queen is far from the danger zone, although with his last move it is attacking the rook on f1. Black’s other forces are standing by to try to stem, as best they can, the predictable invasion by White’s forces. An immediate attack against the f6square is looming...


1 Nh5+!

1 Nxh6+! A predictable sacrifice, because in addition the f5pawn grants White an invasion point on g6. 1...gxh6 2 Qg4+

2...Kf7? 3 Qg6#.

A decisive sacrifice.

3 Qh5! Bd6

1...gxh5 2 Rfxf6!

Black entrusts the defence of his second rank to his queen, with the idea of responding to 4 Qxh6+? with 4...Qh7.

Topalov chooses the best path. After 2 Rdxf6 Qxf1+ 3 Rxf1 Rxf1+ Black can put up a little more resistance.

4 Bb6!


A double attack, either regaining the piece or deflecting the black queen away from the defence of the second rank.

2...Kg8 3 Bxe5 Rxe5 4 Qg3+.

4...Qg7 Or 4...Qxb6 5 Qxh6+ Kg8 6 Qg6+ Kh8 7 Rf3, with unstoppable mate. 5 Bxa5 White has won an important pawn, while Black’s kingside remains very weak. 5...Rg8 If Black attacks c2 with 5...Rfc8 then after 6 c3 bxc3 7 Bxc3, White ends up with two pawns against one

3 Qg5+ Kf8 4 Qh6+ Kg8 5 Bxe5 1-0 5...Rxe5 6 Rd8+ leads to mate.

Bogdanović – Padevsky Sarajevo 1970 Black’s pieces are rather awkwardly placed. At the moment, his bishop on d5 is loose, while the knight on d8 interrupts the communication between the rooks. In addition, who could doubt that White’s position displays greater harmony and that the f5pawn is an unpleasant wedge in enemy territory? 1 Nxe5! A combination based on the fact that the d5-bishop is undefended. 1...Qb7 White to play

Barcenilla – Reizniece San Francisco 2000 Black has been operating on the queenside, somewhat neglectful of the safety of her king. At this moment there are four white units (including two major pieces) aimed towards the black kingside, and this spells danger. It is White to play and he will soon demonstrate just how dangerous the situation is for Black.

The only move, since if 1...dxe5 then the pin 2 Be4 regains the piece, with total command of the position. 2 Ng6!! hxg6 After 2...Rf7, among other things White can play 3 Qh5, with the threat of 4 Nxe7+ Rxe7 5 f6!. 3 fxg6 Now White has the fearsome pawn-wedge on g6, creating various mating possibilities.

1 Nxh7!


At first sight 1 Rxg6? looks strong, since if 1...hxg6? then 2 Qxg6 Bf5 3 Qh5+ wins, but the simple 1...Bf5 refutes the combination: 2 Rxg7 fails to 2...Bxd3!, when h7 is defended (but not 2...Kxg7?? 3 Qc3+ with a winning attack according to the engines).

3...Rf6 4 Qh5. 4 Qh5 Bf6 5 Bg5 Be5 6 Be4 1-0 A deflection sacrifice to prevent the bishop from moving to g8, now that the flight-square e7 has been taken away. If 6...Bxe4 then 7 Qh7+ Kf8 8 Qh8#.

1...Bxe6 Or 1...Kxh7 2 Qxg6+ Kh8 3 Qh5+, forcing mate. 2 Nxf8 Bf5 3 Nxg6+ Bxg6 4 Qxg6 Qa6 5 Qe8+ Kh7 6 Qh5+ Qh6 7 Be4+ Kh8 8 Rd8+ 1-0 8...Bf8 9 Qxh6+.

White to play

Tringov – Falcon Lucerne Olympiad 1982

White to play

The pawn embedded on h6 and the knight which has landed on f6 contrast with the non-existent activity of Black’s minor pieces on a8 and b8. Since, in addition, White’s other pieces are nearly all

occupying active positions, the black rook’s incursion at b2 is irrelevant.

Or: 5...Kxh6? 6 Qh4#; 5...Re8 6 Bg7 Kg8 7 Qh4 Qd7 8 Qh8+ Kf7 9 Bf8!.

1 Nxh7!

6 Bg7 Kg8 7 Qh4 Qd7 8 Qh8+ Kf7 9 Qh7 Rb1 10 Rxe6! Qxe6 11 Bh8+! Ke8 12 Qg8+ 1-0

A blatant declaration of hostilities. 1...Kxh7 2 Ng5+ Kh8

Next comes 12...Kd7 13 Qxe6+, etc.

2...Kxh6? allows 3 Qh4+ Kg7 4 Qh7#, while 2...Kg8 is met by 3 h7+! Kg7 (3...Kh8 4 Nxf7+) 4 h8Q+! Rxh8 5 Qxf7+ Kh6 6 Nxe6 Qg8 7 Qf4+ g5 8 Qf3!, with the threat of 9 Bf5, followed by bringing the queen to h1. 3 Qxf7! The decisive shot. 3...Rxf7 4 Nxf7+ Kh7 5 Nxd8 White emerges the exchange and two pawns up.

White to play

Botvinnik – Vidmar Nottingham 1936

White to play

Zso. Polgar – Bouwmeester Ladies vs Veterans, Munich 2000 Black’s castled position has been severely weakened on the dark squares and is missing the bishop that would protect them. Now the Hungarian IM Zsofia Polgar will highlight this by means of a knight sacrifice.

This position is one of those classic games in which Mikhail Botvinnik (World Champion 1948-63, apart from the short intervals 1957-8 and 1960-1) devoted himself to upholding the strategy of the Isolated Queen’s Pawn. Black seems to have everything in order, but the greater freedom and pressure of the white pieces soon erases this impression. In this position many geometrical motifs are present: the h3-c8 and a2-g8 diagonals, pins, etc. 1 Nxf7! Rxf7 If 1...Kxf7 then 2 Bxd5+. 2 Bxf6 Bxf6 2...Nxf6 is met by 3 Rxf6! (opening the h3-c8 diagonal so that the c8-rook is attacked by the white queen) 3...Bxf6 4 Qxc8+.

1 Nxh7! Kxh7 2 Bg5 f6

3 Rxd5 Qc6 4 Rd6!!

The queen cannot retreat, in view of the threat of 3 Qh4+ Kg8 4 Bf6, followed by mate.

But not 4 Rc5? Bxd4+! 5 Rxd4 Qxc5, with equality.

3 exf6 Qf7 3...Rxf6 4 Rde2. 4 Rde2 Nc4 Indirectly protecting the bishop, since if 5 Rxe6? then 5...Qxe6!, when 6 Rxe6 is unplayable owing to the back-rank mate. 5 Bh6! Rfb8

4...Qe8 4...Qxd6 5 Qxc8+ Qf8 6 Bxf7+ Kxf7 7 Qxf8+ Kxf8. 5 Rd7 1-0 The rook has displayed magnificent activity, culminating in its invasion of the seventh rank with no loss of time. Now Black is unable to protect the f7-point. The next game was played in the famous ‘Tournament of Stars’, a double-round competition featuring ten of the best players of the day. Karpov

was at his peak and, although direct attack was not his forte, in this game he demonstrated the effectiveness of his style of play.

Black to play

Plachetka – Mikhalchishin Trnava 1988

Black to play

Timman – Karpov Montreal 1979 White has too many passive pieces and his command of the long dark diagonal is, in this case, merely incidental, since the action of the bishop can easily be neutralized. Black now exposes the weakness of the enemy castled position.

From the moment when the knight occupied an outpost on d3, Black has enjoyed a strategic advantage. But in addition his two bishops ‘sweep’ important central space. The coordination between Black’s pieces is much better, of course, but it remains to be seen what he can achieve with it. 1...Nxf2! The simple 1...Nxb2! is also strong.

1...Nxh2! 2 c5

2 Kxf2 Qxh2

In the hope of fishing in troubled waters, since capturing the knight loses: 2 Kxh2 Qh4+ 3 Kg1 Bxg3! 4 fxg3 Qxg3+ 5 Kh1 Re4! 6 Rf4 Rxf4 7 exf4 Qe1+ 8 Kg2 Qxe2+ 9 Kg3 Qg4+ 10 Kf2 Qh4+ 11 Ke3 Bg4, and the b8-rook’s entrance into play is decisive.

No sooner said than done: the white king has been forced out to the second rank and Black has created a network of tactical possibilities.

2...Nxf1! The knight demands the leading role. If 2...Bxc5? then 3 Kxh2 and Black’s attack is halted. 3 cxd6 Nxg3!! The knight runs amok. It can no longer be ignored. 4 fxg3 The delights of the double attack: if 4 dxe7 then 4...Nxe2+ 5 Kf1 Nxc1 6 Rxc1 Rxe7, with an overwhelming advantage.

3 Qg4 3 Qg1 is answered with 3...Bh4+ 4 Kf1 Bd3#, while 3 Qf3 Bh4+ 4 Ke2 Bd3+ 5 Kd1 Qg1+ also leads to mate. 3...Bh4+ 4 Kf3 After 4 Ke2 Rd5! Black threatens both 5...Bd3+ 6 Kf3 Rf5 and 5...Bh5. 4...Be1!? 5 Qg5 5 Bxe1 Bh5. 5...Bh5+ 6 Ke4 6 g4 Qf2+ 7 Ke4 Qg2+ 8 Kf4 Bg3+ 9 Kf5 Bg6+.

4...Qxd6 5 Kf2 Qh6 6 Bd4

6...f5+! 7 Kxf5

Karpov intended to reply to 6 Qc3 with 6...Re6.

7 Qxf5 Qxg2+ 8 Kf4 Qf3+ 9 Kg5 h6#.

6...Qh2+ 7 Ke1 Qxg3+ 8 Kd2 Qg2 9 Nb2 Ba6


Black had a big material advantage as well as an attack and White resigned eight moves later.

and White resigned a few moves later.

The tournament was won by Tal and Karpov, tied on 12 points, 1½ points ahead of Portisch.

sacrifice against the kingside-castled position, including cases in which a sacrifice at some other point of the board has a direct influence on the enemy castled position. As a means to disrupt the pawn-structure protecting the castled position (at the same time eliminating a valuable defensive piece), an exchange sacrifice is often justified without the need to calculate whether there is definitely a mating attack; the positional compensation may be sufficient on its own. If, in addition, the sacrifice facilitates a direct attack, so much the better. We shall structure the material as follows: Sacrifice on f6 Sacrifice on h5

White to play

Sacrifice in the Centre

Art. Minasian – Villamayor

Sacrifice on Other Squares

FIDE Knockout, New Delhi 2000 Black has just played ...Nd6-e4 and it is to be supposed that White had a reply prepared, some type of sacrifice. An exchange sacrifice on e4? A piece ‘sac’ on g6? Some other marvellous option? We shall soon see. Black’s position seems in order, but his king is not very well protected, which encourages White’s combinative intentions.  1 Nxg6+! hxg6 Moving the king with 1...Kg8 would be dancing on the edge of a precipice: 2 Ne7++ Kf7 3 Rg7+! Kxe6 4 Qf4!. 2 Rh3+ Kg8 2...Rh7 3 Rxh7+ Kxh7 4 Re7+ Kg8 5 Qh6, etc. 3 Qh6 Kf7 4 Re7+! 1-0 A decisive rook invasion. If 4...Kxf6 (4...Rxe7 allows 5 Qg7+ Ke8 6 Qxe7#) then 5 Qg7+ Kg5 6 f4+! Kxf4 (6...Kg4 7 Qxg6+ Kxf4 8 Rf3#) 7 Qh6+ g5 8 Rf3+ Kg4 9 Qh3#.

Sacrifice on f6 The exchange sacrifice on f6, when the enemy king is castled on the kingside, can be a tremendously effective weapon. The motifs that tend to favour this type of sacrifice include: Eliminating an important defensive piece (normally a knight). Significantly damaging the defender’s kingside pawn-structure (if the rook has to be captured with the g-pawn, this normally leaves doubled pawns on f7 and f6, and an isolated pawn on h7 or h6). There are exchange sacrifices in which the investment is minimal and in reality these can work as a detonator for an explosive combinative attack, as in this first example.

4.7: The Exchange Sacrifice The ‘exchange’ is the name we give to the difference in value between a rook and a minor piece. Hence we frequently find in chess books and magazines the expressions “win the exchange”, “sacrificing the exchange”, “the exchange up”, etc. An exchange sacrifice – giving up a rook for a bishop or a knight – can be an extraordinarily effective way to change the course of a game. This is partly because players subconsciously regard a wellprotected minor piece as immune to the threat of capture by a rook. This is a vast subject, especially when long-term positional exchange sacrifices are included. Here we shall limit ourselves here to a study of the exchange

White to play

F. Olafsson – Unzicker Lugano 1970

Notice how White has all his pieces protecting each other: the bishop and the rook are protecting the pawn, the bishop is protected by the rook, which is defended by the queen, which in turn is supported by the pawn on f4. In other words, a picture of harmony! Meanwhile, Black’s major pieces are confined to the back rank, restraining the passed pawn on d7. The only piece situated further forward is the knight, which is about to perish...

Instead, 1...Bxf6? fails to 2 exf6 g6 3 Qh4 e5 (3...Kh8 4 Bxg6!; 3...h5 4 Qg5 Kh7 5 Qxh5+) 4 Bxe5 Rc6 5 Rf1 Kh8 6 Bxg6!, and 1...Qb6 2 Kh1 Bxf6? (2...Qc6! is far less clear) to 3 exf6 g6 4 Qh4 e5 5 Bxe5. However, there was a better defence with 1...c4! 2 bxc4 Bxc4 3 Bxc4 Rxc4 4 Qxc4 gxf6, while 1...g6 is also OK. But now White wins easily: 2 Rh6!

1 Rxf6!

Attacking a key defensive pawn, without any investment of material.

The curtain rises with an exchange sacrifice which clarifies the situation.

2...g6 3 Qh3 1-0 There is no defence.

1...gxf6 After 1...Qxe5 2 fxe5 gxf6 3 exf6 the black king is shut in and will be unable to pass beyond the f-file to attack the white pawns from the squares e8 and e7. Thus all the white king will need to do is reach c7 and chalk up the point for its team.

The exchange sacrifice on f6, when there is a possibility of invading with the queen on g6, followed by mopping up the kingside pawns, is a method of attack whose effectiveness is practically guaranteed.

2 Qxf6+ Kg8 3 Qxh6 Now the h-pawn can act as a pawn-wedge to create mating threats, while the d7-pawn continues to tie up the black pieces. 3...Qc7 4 Qf6! 1-0 There is no defence against the threat of 5 h6 and mate.

White to play

Gild. Garcia – Bick New York 2000 Here we have one of those cases. The c4-bishop pins the f7-pawn, thus granting the queen access to g6. If the attacker can introduce an additional piece into the offensive, success is assured in the vast majority of cases. White to play

Shaposhnikov – Biriukov St Petersburg 2000

1 Rxf6! Of course, White could also play 1 Bxf6 (1...Qxc6? 2 Bxf7+), but the text-move is more elegant.

White has an unquestionable positional advantage in view of his greater space and more active pieces, the half-open f-file, etc. Perhaps prematurely, he decided it was time to take some action:

1...Bxf6 2 Bxf6 gxf6 3 Qg6+ Kh8

1 Rf6!?

4 Qxh6+ Kg8 5 Qg6+ Kh8 6 Qxf6+ Kg8 7 Qg5+ Kh8 8 Qh6+ Kg8

Objectively, White is probably better off playing 1 Rae1! before deciding how to attack further. 1...Qc7?

Picking off the black pawns has less significance materially than positionally: Black’s king is left totally exposed.

And now?

9 f5! 1-0

4 Qd1! 1-0

This is the reinforcement that White’s attack needed. The f7-pawn is immobilized by the pin from the b3bishop, so that the threat of locking the black king in a cage (with 10 f6) is real. If 9...Rb2 then 10 Qg5+! (but not 10 f6? Qg4) 10...Kh7 11 f6, followed by mate.

A double attack, threatening the d7-bishop as well as 5 Qg4+. There are other exchange sacrifices which are justified by the opening of additional lines of attack, especially important diagonals, as in the next two examples.

White to play

White to play

Rozentalis – Ulybin

Spassky – Gufeld

Gdynia 1991

Wellington 1988

The black queen has set off on a road to nowhere, but in its favour it has a good diagonal to assure its rapid retreat. On the other hand, the temptation to disrupt the structure of Black’s castled position is very strong, because White has some pieces which are very well placed to exploit the resulting position.

White’s advantage is unquestionable, based on the greater scope of his pieces and, above all, by the passed pawn on d4. But now he is going to implement a winning plan, exploiting one of the themes that we have studied: command of the long diagonal.

1 Rxf6! gxf6

1 Rxf6! Rxf6 2 d5

1...Bxh3? 2 Ke1! (2 Rf4?! Qxg2+ 3 Ke1 Qg3+ 4 Kd2 Bg4 is less clear) is unpleasant for Black after both 2...gxf6 3 gxh3 and 2...Bg4 3 Rf3.

The pawn advances, opening the long diagonal for his dark-squared bishop on c3, which now attacks the rook on f6.

2 Nf5


This dominant knight deployment, following an exchange sacrifice, is typical. The difference here is that it can be captured by the enemy bishop.

Black returns the exchange at the first opportunity. If, for instance, 2...Rd6, then White can play 3 Qd4 Kf7 4 Ne6!, when the knight, in an advanced post, and the long diagonal are much more valuable assets than the exchange.

2...Re6? The immediate capture of the knight does not help Black: after 2...Bxf5? 3 Qxf5 Re6 4 Bxf6 Rxf6 5 Qxf6 White holds all the trumps. However, the best defence is 2...Rc8 3 Qd3 Bxf5 (not 3...Bc6? 4 e4! Qf4+ 5 Qf3 Qxf3+ 6 gxf3, followed by the plan of Kg3, Rg2 and Bxf6 or Ba3+, as appropriate) 4 Qxf5 Qd6 5 Bxf6 (the key difference is that here the rook has already left d8) 5...Re6, when the outcome remains unclear. 3 Rd2 Qb8 The threat was 4 Rxd7 Rxd7 5 Qc8+, mating.

3 Ne6 Rxe6 Or 3...Rd7 4 Nd4 Rxd5 5 cxd5 Qxd5 6 a5, and the invasion proceeds on the queenside. 4 dxe6+ Kxe6 5 Re1+ Kf7 6 Qd4 White has been able to maintain his queen and bishop on the long diagonal and his advantage is now decisive. The rest scarcely requires further commentary. 6...Qxa4 7 Qg7+ Ke8 8 Bf6 Kd8 9 Qf8+ Qe8 10 Rd1+ Rd7 11 Bxe7+

The knight, theoretically defended three times, was in fact completely undefended owing to the double pin.

Sacrifice on h5 The exchange sacrifice on h5 is usually linked to two factors that often go hand-in-hand:

11...Kc7 12 Qxe8 1-0  

Black’s castled position is based on a fianchetto (i.e. the bishop is developed on g7). White has castled queenside. Let’s now view some typical cases, although naturally they each have some original features. As humans, we are able to learn from typical examples and organize in our mind the lessons from them. How we handle original situations depends on our innate skills and our calculation abilities, though the more knowledge we have to draw upon, the better informed our decisions will be in a wide variety of situations.

White to play

Bologan – Ye Jiangchuan Beijing 2000 The pin on the e3-bishop seems to have effectively put a stop to White’s attacking ambitions on the kingside. In addition, the black queen controls the h5-square. Nevertheless, despite Black’s well-placed pieces, the key factor is that his king is dangerously exposed. What can White do about this?

Our next example features Chigorin. It is hard to speak about him without explaining what he represented in his time. The difficult thing is to explain his sadness, the disenchantment of observing that chess was of no interest to the majority of the people of his time. This first example, for all that, is not very representative, since the invasion by White’s major pieces is rather predictable, and easy for such a giant of the chessboard.

1 Rxf6! gxf6 If 1...Nxe3 then 2 Nf7+ Qxf7 (2...Kxh7 3 Qh5+ Kg8 4 Qh8#) 3 Rxf7 Nxd1 4 Qh5. 2 Bd4! The key point of the sacrifice. 2...Rc6 Naturally, 2...Qxe2? is not possible due to 3 Bxf6#. 3 Qf2 Qf8 3...Rdd6 is met by 4 Re1 Qh5 5 Kc1!, with the threat of 6 Re7. 4 Bd3 Rd7 5 Qf5 Re7 If 5...Qe7 then 6 Qg6. Notice the role played by the bishop on the long diagonal, pinning the f6-pawn and thus allowing the knight to remain in its privileged position on g5. Then after 6...Ne5 7 Qh5+ Kg8 8 Rg1 Black has no defence against the massive invasion by all the white pieces. 6 Nh7 Bc8 6...Qh6 7 Nxf6. 7 Qh5 Qf7 8 Bg6 1-0 If 8...Qg7 then 9 Nxf6+ wins.

White to play

Chigorin – Kotrc Prague 1896 1 Rxh5+! gxh5 2 Qf4+ Kh7 3 Qxf5+ Kh6 4 Bg5+! 1-0 If 4...Kg7 (4...Rxg5 5 Qxf7) then 5 Be7+.

Here we have an interesting example, in which the defensive contribution of a key piece is suppressed.

White to play

Ishchuk – Novokovsky White to play

Correspondence 1975 This position can be classified as typical, since it contains the basic elements of a structure which is characteristic of the Dragon Variation of the Sicilian Defence, with opposite-side castling. The essential prerequisite for the success of White’s attack is that the opponent’s dark-squared bishop is no longer on the board. Thus the main guardian of Black’s castled position has disappeared.

Khalifman – Seirawan Wijk aan Zee 1991

An exchange sacrifice is often the master key to this type of position.

This position was reached from a Caro-Kann Defence, in which the doubled f-pawns have bolstered the black king’s defences. In return, White has a queenside pawn-majority, including a protected passed pawn on d5. Of greater significance, however, is the fact that White is now in a position to bring the struggle to a conclusion, owing to the favourable and aggressive deployment of his pieces.


1 Rxe8!

But, of course, it is vital to calculate well.

It is important to eliminate this knight, the vital defender of the squares f6 and g7.

1 Rxh5!

2 g6! hxg6 3 Nxe6 1-0 Black resigned in view of 3...fxe6 4 Qxg6+ Kf8 5 Rg1, when the black king, blocked in by its own pawns on the e-file, succumbs to White’s major pieces on the g-file.

Sacrifice in the Centre In the introduction to the topic of the exchange sacrifice, we already hinted that some exchange sacrifices executed in the centre have repercussions on the kingside, either because the rook eliminates an important defensive piece, or as a result of some other type of geometrical or defensive consideration. Often there are important defensive pieces situated on central squares, protecting or in some way preventing or impeding an effective attack on the king. Thus in many cases a timely exchange sacrifice can serve to eliminate such key pieces in the defensive network, allowing the development of a direct attack against the castled position.

1...Rxe8 2 Nh6+! The essential complement of the exchange sacrifice. 2...gxh6 If 2...Kh8 then 3 Qxf7 gxh6 (3...Be7 4 Qg8+! Rxg8 5 Nf7# is smothered mate) 4 Bxf6+. 3 Qg4+ 1-0 Black resigned because after 3...Bg7 4 Bxf6 there is no defence against mate.

progress he needs to open a path for his c2-bishop. This explains the exchange sacrifice which follows. 1 Rxe5! fxe5 2 Bxg6 For the moment White has a pawn for the exchange and threatens 3 Bxe5, since the enemy queen tied to the defence of f7. 2...Be8 3 Re1 Ra6 The e5-pawn cannot be held; 3...f6 is futile owing to the pin by the white queen. 4 Bxe5 Qa5 5 Bc3 Was it necessary to sacrifice the d5-pawn? White to play

Fischer – Shocron Mar del Plata 1959 This event in Argentina was one of the young Fischer’s first trips abroad, even though he had played in the Interzonal in Portorož (1958). The exchange sacrifice that he is about to execute is completely logical, since the knight is the key piece in the black position.

5...Qxd5 6 Bb4+ No, but this check closes the deal, which was a bad one on Black’s part. 6...Kg8 7 Qxd5 1-0 If 7...Rxd5 then 8 Rxe8#.

1 Rxe6! Qc8 If 1...fxe6 then 2 Qxe6+ Kf8 3 Qxe5, and the invasion on the long dark diagonal is conclusive, since 3...Kg8 fails to 4 Bd4 or 4 Bc6. 2 Bd7! 1-0 A curious type of ‘X-ray’ effect: defended indirectly by the queen, the bishop operates through the rook on e6: 2...Qxd7 3 Rxg6+ followed by 4 Qxd7. White to play

Čabrilo – Vujičić Yugoslavia 1985 The white queen has infiltrated the black kingside, sowing some confusion in the enemy ranks. The worst thing is that the other white pieces have great latent energy and Black’s queen will have difficulties holding together the king’s defences. 1 Rd1! A highly effective deflection. 1...Bd4 White to play

Lipnitsky – Sokolsky Kiev 1950 The e5-bishop is holding the whole black position together and although here White could exchange it in an economical manner, for his attack to make

The only try. 1...Qxd1 fails to 2 Qxf6+ Kg8 3 Bd5+, and 1...Qe7 to 2 Rxd7. 2 Rxd4! cxd4 3 Bd5 With the threat of 4 Bxd4+ as well as 4 c5!, since neither 4...Qxc5 5 Qf6# nor 4...Rxc5 5 Qg8# is viable.

3...Qe5 4 Qxd7 Rxc4

The threat was 6 Qg5+ Kf8 7 Qh6#.

4...Rc7 5 Bxd4!.

6 Qg3+ Bg6 7 Bxg6 fxg6 8 Nxd7 Qxd7 9 h3

5 Qf7

White is two pawns up with a powerful central passed pawn.

But not 5 Bxc4?? Qe4#. 5...Rc8 6 Qe6 Qxe6 7 Bxd4+ 1-0 If 7...Kg8, 8 Bxe6+ Kf8 9 Bxc8.

White to play

Movsesian – C. Bauer Istanbul Olympiad 2000

White to play

Prodanov – Zlatilov Bulgaria 1981 Black’s castled position presents serious weaknesses on the dark squares and at the moment there is already a white knight installed on f6. It is no surprise, therefore, that Black is trying to exchange it, but White is not going to allow this and unleashes a winning combination. 1 Rxd7! A totally appropriate exchange sacrifice, since the f6-knight is an essential component of the attacking combination which follows.

White has two factors in his favour: the black king is somewhat exposed owing to the holes in its pawnshield, and in addition White has better piece coordination. On the other hand, Black’s queen and dark-squared bishop command the long dark diagonal – but this is almost his only trump. The difficulty, naturally, resides in finding the concrete sequence that will highlight White’s superiority. 1 Rxc3! A very opportune exchange sacrifice which eliminates Black’s most active piece and allows White to activate his remaining forces. 1...Qxc3 2 Bb2 Qd3


If 2...Qc5 White would continue as in the game.

If 1...Bxd7 then 2 Qh4 h5 3 Bxh5! Kg7 4 Bxg6! Rh8 5 Nh5+!.

3 Bxe6!

2 Qh4 h5 3 Bxh5!

This capture wins material; we shall soon see why. 3...Qd6

The decisive, if predictable, sacrifice. Now Black tries to remedy as best he can the unpleasant position of his king.

If 3...Bxe6? then 4 Ng5+! Kg6 (4...hxg5? 5 Qh5+ Kg8 6 Qg6#) 5 Nxe6.

3...Kg7 4 Bxg6! Rh8

4 Bb3

Or: 4...fxg6 5 Qh7+ Kf8 6 Nd5+; 4...Kxg6 5 Qh5+ Kg7 6 Qh7+ Kf8 7 Qg8#.

The panorama has clarified and although the material is more or less equal (rook and pawn for two minor pieces), White’s pieces work together much better than Black’s.

5 Bh7 The difference from the note to Black’s first move is that here the black queen is defended. 5...Bf5

4...Bb7 5 Qc2 Rae8 6 Rd1 Re7

Here 6...Re2 must have been tempting, but White has a winning sequence available: 7 Qc3 Qg6 8 Ne4!! Rxe4 9 Rd7+ Re7 10 Qxc6!.

An attractive illustration of how effective an exchange sacrifice can be in demolishing the enemy castled position.

7 Nf1 Qg6 8 Bd5 1-0

Sacrifice on Other Squares

Black resigned in view of his opponent’s absolute domination.

The sheer variety of possibilities that the game offers in regard to the exchange sacrifice does not permit a minute classification or, even less, a detailed study of such possibilities. We shall now examine some cases which are sufficiently instructive in themselves to provide the student with some ideas of practical application, but it is also essential to give free rein to imagination and judgement in each situation that arises. The elimination of the best defensive piece is sometimes the only challenge faced by the attacking side.

White to play

Oltra – Rivas Spanish Ch, La Roda 1986 The black pieces have open lines, but are confined to their last three ranks. The queen’s bishop has still not been developed and the defences of Black’s king are none too secure. White’s position, in contrast, presents an impressive picture, with all his pieces centralized or directed against the enemy’s castled position. The detonator is provided by an exchange sacrifice. 1 Rxe7! Undermining the defence of the g6-knight. 1...Bxe7 1...Nxe7? is answered with 2 Qh7+ Kf8 3 Qh8+ Ng8 4 Qxg7+! Ke8 (4...Kxg7 5 Ne6#) 5 Qxg8+ Ke7 6 Ng6+! fxg6 (6...Kf6 7 Nc6+ Ke6 8 Bf5+! Kxf5 9 Nh4+ Ke6 10 Qg4+ f5 11 Qxf5#) 7 Qg7+ Ke8 8 Bxg6+. 2 Nxg6 fxg6 3 Qxg6 Bf6 4 Ne6! White exploits all his resources in the interests of his attack. 4...Bxe6 5 Bxf6 Re8 6 Re1 Kf8 If 6...Qf7 then 7 Qh7+ Kf8 8 Qh8+ Qg8 9 Bxg7+ Kf7 10 Bg6+ Ke7 (10...Kxg6 11 Qxh6+ Kf7 12 Qf6#) 11 Qxh6, etc. 7 Be5! 1-0 Black resigned in view of 7...Qf7 8 Bd6+ Re7 9 Qxe6 and 7...Qd7 8 Bxb8 Rxb8 9 Rxe6.

Black to play

Vaganian – Yusupov Istanbul Olympiad 2000 Here Black takes advantage of the aggressive deployment of his pieces close to the white king, which seems well protected, but this proves to be an illusion. 1...Rxg2! 2 Kxg2 Qh2+ 3 Kf3 Ne5+ 0-1 After 4 Ke2 Qh5+ 5 Kf1 Qh1+ 6 Ke2 Qf3+ 7 Kf1 Ng4, White will soon be mated.

Black’s precarious position. The knight on g6 is the only piece protecting the black king, so... 1 Rxg6!! fxg6 2 Qg4 There is no need for White to hurry (who was it who said that the only people who need to hurry are pickpockets and bad bullfighters?). First White sets up a double attack on e6 and g6. 2...Ba6 If 2...Kf7 then 3 Nb6 Qb8 4 Bd3 g5 5 f4, with a winning attack. 3 Qxe6+ Kh7 4 Bxa6 Rxa6 5 Qf7 Rxd7 Against the threat of 6 Nf6+. White to play

Montabord – Mircescu Paris Open Ch 2000 Here the circumstances are ideal for attacking Black’s castled position. The deployment of White’s pieces could scarcely be better. Black’s position looks quite solid, but it is White’s move and he can exercise his ‘right to destroy’, i.e. to sacrifice the exchange in order to open the g-file with decisive results.

6 Qxd7 Qc6 7 Qf7 Qe6 8 Qxe6 Rxe6 9 f4 White is two pawns up, with a protected passed pawn on e5 and a queenside majority. His bishop dominates the board... Resistance is futile.

1 Rxf5! gxf5 2 Bxd5 Qxd5 3 Nf6+! 1-0 The key to the combination: an excellent interference sacrifice. If Black captures the knight, he blocks the line of defence of the g7-bishop: after 3...exf6 4 Bh6, mate is unstoppable. This explains why the immediate 3 Bh6? does not work, since Black can defend with 3...Qe5. White to play

Kasparov – Pigusov USSR Junior Ch, Riga 1977 Black is a pawn up, specifically forming part of a 21 majority on the queenside. The rook on c7 is well situated, commanding the open file, but the other rook has yet to take part in the struggle. As for White, all that needs to be said is that his four pieces are all aimed towards the enemy kingside. That can only signify that White plans to attack, reinforced by the strong e5-pawn. 1 Rf6! White to play

Smyslov – Cu. Hansen Biel Interzonal 1993 Black’s pieces on the a-file are far from the kingside, while two white pieces have already penetrated the enemy camp and the e5-pawn cramps

This move cannot be considered a rook sacrifice, since its capture would allow mate in one (1...gxf6? 2 Qxh6#), and this is not, of course, the reason for including this position in this section. 1...Ng5 1...Nf8 would allow mate by 2 Qxh6+ gxh6 3 Rxh6+ Nh7 4 Rxh7#.

2 Rxg5! Here we have a genuine exchange sacrifice. 2...hxg5

But this sacrifice, to draw out the king further, rather like a suction effect, is in a completely different category. 3 Kh2

2...gxf6 3 Rh5!.

4 Qh4! Qa3

White declines the sacrifice, since after 3 Kxh4 Black would play 3...f4! (depriving the white king of the g3-square, which continues to be the critical square) 4 Kg5 (the only move, to prevent 4...Bf6#) 4...h6+ 5 Kxg6 Rf5! 6 h4 (6 exf5 Be8#) 6...Rcf8 7 exf5 Be8#.

4...Qe8 5 e6!!.


5 Rf3 g6 6 Bxg6 Qxf3 7 Qh7+ Kf8 8 gxf3 1-0

Now it’s all over. There followed:

3 Qxg5 Kg8 Or: 3...gxf6 4 Qh6+ Kg8 5 Qh7+ Kf8 6 Qh8#; 3...Qe8 4 Qh5+ Kg8 5 e6!! gxf6 6 e7!.

4.8: The Queen Sacrifice The queen sacrifice, so impressive at first glance, need not be any more difficult or risky than any other sacrifice of material. It depends entirely on the ratio of cost and benefits: material gained in return, the degree of danger to the enemy king, positional compensation, etc. And, of course, a player should always consider the possibility of such a sacrifice, all the more so because it could come as a surprise to the opponent, who might well be blinded by faith in the ‘omnipotence’ of the queen.

4 Nf1 fxe4 5 Ng3 Or 5 Re3 Qh4 6 Rxe4 Bf5, winning. 5...exf3 6 Bxf3 Nxc4 0-1 If 7 Rxc4 then 7...Rxf3.

White to play

Zakharevich – Biriukov St Petersburg 2000

Black to play

Hsu – Nunn Thessaloniki Olympiad 1988 Here GM John Nunn has achieved a position that we could consider ideal for any King’s Indian player. With the g3-pawn as a clear target in his sights and pieces ready to press the trigger, as it were, the rest is just a question of working out the precise manner and timing of the sequence of moves. 1...Nxg3! At master level, a predictable sacrifice. 2 Kxg3 Qh4+!!

Black has just offered an exchange of queens, to maintain equality. However, his disadvantage in development is clear and White’s intentions must be precisely the opposite. In fact, White conceives a plan to take advantage of his advantage in dynamism. 1 Qxd8+! Nxd8 2 Re8+ Kh7 3 Rxd8 White has sacrificed his queen for rook and knight, but also for an additional factor: to exploit the underdevelopment of the enemy pieces on the queenside. 3...Qc7 4 Rf8 Rb8 If 4...Qd6 then 5 Bc2+ g6 (5...f5? 6 Rxc8! Rxc8 7 Bxf5+) 6 Rxf7+ Kg8 7 Bb3 Kh8 8 Ne5. 5 Rxf7 Qd6 6 Re3

With the clear intention of doubling rooks on the seventh rank.

The white rooks now threaten mate on the last two ranks.

6...Bg4 7 Ree7


White’s positional advantage is now decisive and must soon conclude matters.

Evacuating the escape-square f6.


An extraordinary zugzwang situation! Black has no moves and, consequently, resigned. If 5...Qd7 then 6 f6+ Rxf6 7 R6h7+ Kg6 8 Rxd7, while 5...Qd6 is answered with 6 Rxd6 Kxh8 (6...cxd6 7 Rh5 Kf6 8 Rh6+ Ke7 9 Rg6) 7 Re6, winning the e5-pawn and the endgame.

Here 7...Qg6 fails to 8 Ne1! Kh8 9 Bc2 Qg5 10 h4! Qxh4 11 Rxg7. 8 Ne5 All the white pieces form a harmonious invasion force.

3 R1h7+ Kf6 4 Rh6+ Kg7 5 a4!! 1-0

8...Qxd4 8...Bf5 is met by 9 Rxb7, and 8...Bh5 by 9 Rd7. 9 Bc2+ Kh8 10 Rf4! 1-0 With an attack on several targets: the threats are Rxd4, Rxg4, Nf7# and Ng6+. That’s some double attack!

White to play

Lahiri – Vadasz Budapest 2000

White to play

Benko – Weinberger USA 1965 In this blocked position, where only the major pieces and pawns remain, the pressure exerted by the rooks doubled on the h-file is the most important feature. Black has bolstered the h6-pawn with both his rooks, but now White will demonstrate that the enemy camp contains other weak points. 1 Qxg5+! An unusual queen sacrifice, facilitated by several factors: 1) Black’s pieces are confined to the final three ranks; 2) the black queen is on the same line as its king; 3) the rook on f6 blocks a possible escapesquare; 4) White’s pawns control important squares on the sixth rank. 1...hxg5 2 Rxh8

The two sides are equal in material and even the pawn-structures are balanced, with four pawns each on the kingside and one on the queenside. What’s more, both the queenside pawns are passed. But let’s establish the differences: the a5-pawn controls no important squares and is still a long way from its final destination, while the c6-pawn controls the d7square. We shall soon see why that is important. And we have not yet mentioned the key role played by the queen and bishop on the long diagonal... 1 Qxf6!! 1-0 Immediate resignation. If 1...gxf6 then 2 Rg3+ Kf8 (or 2...Kh8 3 Bxf6#, a classic mate with R+B) 3 Ba3+ Ke8 4 Rg8#. Now we can see the role played by the c6-pawn in this drama. If it were not for this pawn, or if it were situated on a less advanced square, the combination would not have been possible. It is the fact that the c-pawn controls d7 that permits the mating-net to be closed.

there is no defence against 7 Rxg7+ followed by 8 Rh8#.

White to play

Tronhjem – Andersen White to play

Copenhagen 1986 In this game with opposite-side castling, White has gained a lot of ground and established a pawnwedge on f6. It only remains to find the decisive continuation. If 1 Rh3? Black has the typical response 1...h5, which saves his bacon (after 2 gxh6 Kh7 the black king takes refuge in front of the enemy pawn). But the position is ready to explode and White is able to detonate it.

Alekhine – Sämisch Berlin 1923

1 e5 is also met by 1...h5, leading to unclear play after 2 gxh6 Kh7 3 Qg5 Bd7! 4 h4 Be8 5 h5 a4.

White has already launched an attack on the enemy’s castled position with the advance f4-f5, while Black has still not completed his development. White’s whole set-up presents a picture of harmony and effective deployment and now Alekhine is ready to exhibit both the qualities of his position and his own abilities, which would propel him to the world championship, on beating Capablanca four years later.

1...Kxh7 2 Rh3+ Kg8

1 fxe6!!

2...Bh6 3 Rxh6+ (3 e5? Rh8) 3...Kg8 4 e5 Nxb3+ 5 axb3 Qc5! is the best defence, the point being that the queen can give itself up for a white rook, thus preventing mate; the game is then highly unclear, but probably roughly balanced.

A brilliant queen sacrifice.

3 e5!


The key: this kamikaze pawn allows the second rook to cross to the h-file.

Sämisch resigned at this point. If, for instance, 3...Qb7, then White plays 4 Ne6 Be5 5 Nxd8, attacking the queen and threatening to promote the pawn. According to Alekhine’s own analysis, the other options were:

1 Qxh7+!?

3...Nxb3+? This was the last chance to transpose to the previous line with 3...Bh6!, as Black survives 4 Rdh4?! Kf8 5 gxh6 Ke8; e.g., 6 exd6 Qc6! 7 d7+?! Nxd7. 4 axb3 dxe5? Now Black is mated. 4...Bh6 5 Rdh4 Kf8 6 gxh6 Ke8 7 exd6 Qxd6 8 h7 Kd7 9 Rd4 favours White, but the game is far from over. 5 Rdh4 Bg7 6 Rh7! A masterly move. The immediate capture of the bishop would allow the black king to escape: 6 fxg7?? Kxg7 7 Rh7+? Kf8, etc. Now, in contrast,

1...Bxg3 2 exf7+ Kh8 3 Nd5! A fantastic zwischenzug, straight after sacrificing the queen! 3 Ne6? is inferior owing to 3...Qb8! 4 Nd5 Be5 and Black defends.

a) 3...Qc5 4 Ne6 Be5 5 Bxe5 dxe5 6 Nxc5 bxc5 7 Nc7 Rb8 8 Ne8!. b) 3...Qa7 4 Nc6 Be5 5 Bxe5 dxe5 6 Nxa7 Rxa7 7 Nxb6 Rf8 8 Nxc8 Rxc8 9 Rxd7!. c) 3...Qb8 4 Nc6 Be5 5 Nxb8 (the move-order matters; not 5 Bxe5? Rf8! 6 Nxb8 Nxe5) 5...Rxb8 (5...Bxb2 6 Nxd7 Bxd7 7 Nxb6) 6 Bxe5 dxe5 7 Nc7! Rf8 8 Ne6.

White to play

White to play

Kempinski – Gleizerov

V. Kovačević – Martinović

Stockholm 1999/00

Yugoslavia 1981

Black has just played ...c7-c5, in order to force 1 dxc6 Bxc6, in which case his e4-pawn is protected and the black queen establishes contact with the rook on f7. Otherwise it seems the white queen must abandon the long diagonal, whereupon Black’s counterattack takes over because there is no longer a threat of mate on g7. But there is a third possibility...

Does the pawn-wedge on g6 tell you anything? And the queen and bishop aligned on the h3-c8 diagonal? What about the two rooks targeting Black’s castled position? For sure, all these things speak volumes, and you will learn even more when you see how White continues in the game.

1 Qxg7+!! Of course! Masterly and difficult to see!

Here is the queen sacrifice, which cannot be declined, since 1...Kh8 is met by 2 Bxh6!.

1...Rxg7 2 Rxf8+ Kh7 3 R1f7!

1...Nxe6 2 Bxe6+ Rf7

The winning move and the key to the queen sacrifice. The rook is taboo because of the mate on h8.

If 2...Kh8 then 3 Bxh6 gxh6 4 g7+ Kh7 5 g8Q+!! Rxg8 6 Bf5+ Rg6 7 Rxg6 Bf8 (the only move) 8 Rxc6+ and 9 Rxc7.


3 gxf7+ Kf8

A desperate attempt at counterplay. There are no alternatives.

White wins after both 3...Kh8 4 Bxh6 and 3...Kh7 4 Bf5+ Kh8 5 Bxh6.

4 Rxg7+ Kh6 5 Kd2

4 Rxh6! Bf6

Good enough, but it was more accurate to play 5 Rh7+! Kg5 (5...Kxh7 6 Rh8#) 6 Bf6+ Kf5 7 Bg7+ Kg5 8 Bh6+ Kg4 9 Rf4+ Kh5 10 Bg7+ Kg5 11 h4# (analysis by Gleizerov).

4...Bb4 5 Rh8+ Ke7 6 Rxd8 Kxe6 (6...Kxd8 7 Bg5+ and 8 f8Q+) 7 f8Q Bxf8 8 Rxf8 gives White a decisive material advantage.

1 Qe6+!!


5 Bc5+ Nd6 6 Rh8+ Ke7 7 Rxd8 Qxd8 8 Rd1 Bg5+ 9 Kb1 1-0

5...Qxd5+ 6 Ke1 Qd3 7 Rh7+!, etc.

If 9...Kxe6 then 10 Rxd6+ Qxd6 11 Bxd6, winning.

6 Rh8+ Kg5 7 h4+ Kf5 8 Rh5+! Kg4 8...gxh5 allows 9 Rg5#. 9 Rg5+ Kxh4 10 Bf6 1-0

White to play

Syrtianov – Bazkov Poland 1996 Black’s castled position has been weakened and the h-file is open and controlled by a white rook. 1 Bxd4 would allow the exchange of queens after 1...Bf4+, diluting White’s attacking prospects. However, White’s intentions are completely different... 1 Qxg6+!! fxg6 2 Bc4+ Kg7 3 Ne6+ Kf7 4 Nxd8++ Ke7 5 Nxb7 dxc3 6 Nxd6 cxb2+ 7 Kxb2 cxd6 After this dazzling firework display, the outcome is that the material on each side is balanced. However, the black king is exposed in the centre and the white pieces are more active, in particular his bishop-pair, and the offensive proceeds. 8 Bg5 Ne5 9 Rh7+ Ke8 10 Bb5+ 1-0 If 10...Kd8 then 11 Rxd6+ Kc8 12 Ba6+ Kb8 13 Rb7+ Kc8 14 Rf7+ Kb8 15 Rc6!!, threatening 16 Rb7#, and mate also follows 15...Rxf7 16 Rc8# or 15...Nxc6 16 Bf4+.


Exercise 60: Black to play ☆ The black artillery commands the e-file and this, together with the pawn-wedge, should be sufficient argument.

Exercise 61: White to play ☆ A pawn-wedge and a half-open h-file against the castled king. What more is needed to attack?

Exercise 62: Black to play ☆

How would you exploit your control of the long light-squared diagonal?

Exercise 63: White to play ☆ Black’s castled position is vulnerable. What is the most precise way to attack it?

Exercise 64: Black to play ☆ Despite White’s extra piece, his structural weaknesses will prove fatal.

Exercise 65: White to play ☆

Black’s king is only protected by its pawns, while his queen is out of play. Take advantage of these factors.

The black bishop has just captured a knight. Is there anything better than recapturing on c3?

Exercise 69: White to play ☆ Exercise 66: White to play ☆ The pressure on the black king is stronger than it might appear. Find the finish.

Here White has everything in place to give mate. You just need to execute it.

Exercise 70: White to play ☆☆ Exercise 67: White to play ☆ White has a strong attack. What is the quickest win?

White is the exchange up, with a strong bishop and the half-open h-file. What would you do with these ingredients?

Exercise 68: White to play ☆ Exercise 71: White to play ☆☆

How can White exploit the open g-file?

Exercise 75: White to play ☆☆ Exercise 72: White to play ☆☆ White has optimal piece coordination. How would you transform this into a winning attack?

Exercise 73: White to play ☆☆ Black thinks that the knight check on h6 only leads to a draw. Is he right?

Exercise 74: White to play ☆☆ Black threatens to set his passed pawns in motion, but his castled position is very weak.

How would you solve this position, in which the structure of Black’s castled position has been disrupted?

Exercise 76: Black to play ☆☆ Black is obviously better. How can he crash through on the long diagonal?

Exercise 77: White to play ☆☆

If the e6-bishop retreats, Black plans to continue with ...Rad8, neutralizing the attack. How can White strike first?

Exercise 78: Black to play ☆☆ Despite being a piece down, Black, with his major pieces and the long diagonal, can weave a matingnet.

Exercise 79: White to play ☆☆ It will all become crystal clear if you can identify the main enemy: the black king’s best defensive piece.

Exercise 80: White to play ☆☆ The pawn-wedge on g6 is a subversive element which adds venom to White’s kingside attack.

Exercise 81: White to play ☆☆ The black king lacks protection by its pieces, which is a bad omen for him. Find the finish.

Exercise 82: White to play ☆☆ The diagonals of his bishops and the general deployment of his pieces suggest that White has a winning attack.

Exercise 83: White to play ☆☆ Rook on the seventh rank and bishop on the long diagonal are two forces of nature, but they need help. What would you do?

Exercise 86: White to play ☆☆ White has won the battle for space and piece activity, but now he has to win the game. Exercise 84: Black to play ☆☆ White’s castled position has already been weakened. The only thing missing is the finish. Take advantage of the activity of the black pieces.

Exercise 87: Black to play ☆☆ Black is a piece up, but the fact that his queen is attacked is a problem. How would you deal with this? Exercise 85: White to play ☆☆ The long diagonal is a very strong trump and the black queen is too far away to help the king.

Exercise 88: White to play ☆☆☆ Black queenside superiority should not blind you to the fact that his king lacks protection.

Exercise 89: White to play ☆☆☆ Both kings are in jeopardy, but White’s pressure on the g-file proves decisive.

Exercise 90: White to play ☆☆☆ All the conditions are in place for the destruction of Black’s castled position, but you need to tie up the loose ends and calculate the variations.

Exercise 91: White to play ☆☆☆ Is 1 Nh5 a good move? Back up your reasoning with detailed analysis.

Exercise 92: White to play ☆☆☆ By now you have seen all sorts of attacks against the castled position. Solve this one.


Black to play

62) Glass – Russell

Black to play

Dublin 1935

60) Averbakh – Spassky USSR Ch, Moscow 1961 1...Rf1+! Many other moves win, but there would be no excuse for missing a forced mate in two.

1...Qg2+!! It is important that the check is on g2 and not on h1. 1...Nf4 is also good enough to win, but a beautiful forced mate is of course far preferable. 2 Kxg2 Nf4++ 3 Kg1 Nh3#

0-1 2 Kxf1 Qe1#.

White to play

63) Barua – Camilleri White to play

61) Breder – Tancsa Paks 2000 1 Rgg3! 1 Rg4!, with the same idea, works just as well. 1...Bxd3 1...Kg8 2 Bxg6 fxg6 3 Rxg6+ Kf7 4 Rxh6, etc. 2 Qxh6+! 1-0 If 2...Qxh6 then 3 Rxh6+ Kg8 (3...Kxh6 4 Rh3#) 4 Rgh3.

Istanbul Olympiad 2000 1 Nf6+! gxf6 1...Kh8 allows 2 Qh7#. 2 Qd2 1-0 The invasion on the h-file is decisive.

Black to play

White to play

64) Govbinder – Kapengut

66) Ju. Bolbochan – Pachman

USSR Spartakiad, Moscow 1979

Moscow Olympiad 1956

1...Rxe2! 0-1

1 Qxf7+! Kxf7 2 Bxe6# (1-0)

After 2 Rxe2 (or 2 Nxe2) 2...Bxf3, mate cannot be prevented.

White to play

67) Marshall – Burn White to play

65) Macht – Takacs Vienna 1930 1 Bxg6+! Kxg6 1...Kh8 2 Bxe8. 2 Qd3+ Kf7 3 Qh7! Occupying the initial place of the black king, in order to control g8. Now the threat of a discovered check from the f1-rook is conclusive. If 3...Bg5 then 4 Be3+, etc.

Ostend 1905 1 Qf5! 1-0 Black resigned because there is no defence: 1...Qxe7 2 Rxh5# or 1...g6 2 Rxh5+! gxh5 3 Qf6#.

White to play

Siena 1999

68) Tan – Dambacher

1 Rxh7+! Kxh7 2 Qh3+ Qh6

Tilburg 2000

2...Kg7 3 Rg1+ Kf6 4 Qh4#.

1 f6!

3 Bg8+!

With the threat of 2 Qh6.

A vital deflection.

1...h5 2 Be2!


2 gxh6? Kh7 3 bxc3 Ne5 offers White little, if any, advantage.

3...Kg6 4 Rg1+ Qg5 5 Qh7+ Kf6 6 Qf7#.

After the text-move, Black cannot prevent the sacrifice of the bishop on h5 and the subsequent invasion along the h-file.

4 Rg1+ Qg6 5 Qh7+ 1-0

White to play

71) De Vreugt – Nijboer Dutch Ch, Rotterdam 2000

White to play

69) Elianov – Bets Kharkov 2000

1 Nxh7! 1 f6! also wins, but is a little more complex.

1 Qxh6!


The main point is that 1...gxh6 allows 2 Bh7#, and Black has no other defence. He made a few ‘spite checks’ before resigning:

If the f8-rook moves, then 2 Qh6.

1...Qe3+ 2 Kg2 Qe2+ 3 Kh3 Qg4+ 4 Kxg4 1-0

White to play

70) Sabia – Lotti

2 Rxg7+! Kxg7 3 Qg5+ 1-0 3...Kh7 (or 3...Kh8) 4 Qh5+ Kg7 (or 4...Kg8) 5 Rg3+ and mate next move.

White to play

72) Sermek – Sula

Istanbul Olympiad 2000 1 Bxf6 Bxf6 2 Bxh7! Bxe5 2...Kxh7 3 Qh5+ Kg8 4 Ng4!, with the double threat of 5 Nxf6# and 5 Nh6+. 3 Qh5 Bf4 The only move. 4 Rg5! 1-0 A decisive interference.

White to play

75) Kinnmark – Åström Uppsala 1965 There is an immediate finish on the h-file: 1 Qxh7+! 1 e5 also wins, but a calculable and forced win with checks should always be preferred.

White to play

1...Nxh7 2 Rxh7+! Kxh7 3 Rh1+ Nh4 4 Rxh4+ Kg6 5 Rh6#

73) G. Abrahams The Chess Mind, 1951 1 Nh6+ Kh8 2 Nf7++ Kg8 3 Qxg7+! Kxg7 4 Rh7+ Kg8 5 Nh6#

Black to play

76) Mickovics – Pend Correspondence 1963 1...Rd4! 2 Nxd4 White to play

74) Sultan Khan – Michell Hastings 1930/1

2 Rxd4 exd4 3 Qd5 is slightly more resilient, though Black still wins: 3...Qxd5 4 exd5 Bxd5+ 5 Nf3 dxc3 6 bxc3 Be4 7 Nd4 Rc7 8 Ne6 Rxc3! 9 Nxf8 (9 Nxg5 Bd5) 9...Rc2.

1 Nf5! gxf5

2...Qxe4+ 3 Nef3 Qe1!

1...Qc5 2 Be7 Rxe7 3 Nxe7+ Kg7 4 f5!.

With the threat of 4...Qxd2+ and 4...Qg3+.

2 Bxf5 Nf8 3 Bf6 1-0 The threat of 4 Qh6 is decisive.

White to play

White to play

77) Stanciu – Ciocaltea

79) Uhlmann – Rossetto

Bucharest 1957

Siegen Olympiad 1970

1 Rd6!

1 Rxf6!

A brilliant interference. 1 Bf7 is also strong, but more complicated.

1 e5 also wins, as Black can’t allow the f-file to open, but otherwise can’t save his pieces. 1...Ng7 is met by 2 Qf3 Bxh3 3 exf6. The text-move is more forcing and more convincing.

1...Qxd6 If 1...Bxd6, 2 Bg8+! Kxg8 (or 2...Rxg8 3 Qf7+) 3 Qg6#. 2 Bxd6 Bxd6 3 Bf7 Bf4+ 4 Kc2 g4 5 Qg6+ Kh8 6 Qf6+ Kh7 7 Bg6+ Kg8 8 Qe7! 1-0

1...Nxf6 1...Qxf6 2 Bxd7. 2 Qxg5+ Kf7 2...Kh8 3 Rxd6. 3 Rxd6 h6 3...Qe7 4 e5!. 4 Qh4 Bxh3 4...Kg7 5 e5!. 5 Rxd8 Rxd8 6 e5 1-0

Black to play

78) Muratov – Marosi Correspondence 1967 1...Rh2+! 1...Rxd3 2 Rxd3 f4 forces mate in another way, but takes longer and is messier. 2 Kxh2 Rxh4+! 3 gxh4 Qxh4+ 4 Rh3 Qf2+ and mate next move.

White to play

80) A. Kovačević – Martinović Belgrade 2000

1 Rxh6! 1 Bxh6! also wins. One threat is 2 Bxg7, and 1...gxh6 2 Rxh6 (intending simply Rdh1) 2...Rf8 3 g7 Kxg7 4 Rg1+ is hopeless for Black: 4...Kxh6 5 Qe3+! Kh7 6 Ng5+ or 4...Kf7 5 Nxf6 Bxf6 6 Rh7+ Ke8 7 Qxa8+. 1...gxh6 Or: 1...Nxe4? 2 Qf7#; 1...Rac8 2 Rh4 Qxd4 3 Qh3. 2 Bxf6 Qc7 2...Qh2 3 Bxe7 Rxe7 4 Nf6+ Kg7 5 Qxa8. 3 Be5! The point is 3...Qxe5 4 Qf7+ Kh8 5 Qh7#.

White to play

3...Rf8 4 Qh5 1-0

82) Junge – Kottnauer Prague 1942 1 Bxh7+! Kxh7 2 Qh5+ Kg8 3 Bxg7! All according to the technique of the double-bishop sacrifice, established in the games Lasker-Bauer and Nimzowitsch-Tarrasch (see FCM). 3...f5 3...Kxg7 4 Qg4+ Kh8 5 Rf3 f5 6 Rh3+ Bh4 7 Qxh4+ Kg8 8 Qh8+ Kf7 9 Rh7+ Ke8 10 Qxf8+! Kxf8 11 Rh8+ and 12 Rxb8 leaves White the exchange and two pawns up. 4 Be5 Bf6 White to play

81) Lobron – Korchnoi Frankfurt rapid 1998

If 4...Qe8, to prevent 5 Qg6+, then 5 Qh8+ Kf7 6 Qg7#. 5 Bxb8 and White soon won.

1 Nf5+!! A rather hidden idea, which proves surprising. 1...exf5 After 1...gxf5 2 Rd7, White threatens mate in two by 3 Rh7+ or 3 Qxh5+. 2 Rd7 Rg8 3 Qg5+ 1-0 3...fxg5 4 fxg5#.

White to play

83) Vasiukov – Djurašević Belgrade 1961 1 Rxe6! Qxe6 2 Qxf8!

The complement to the exchange sacrifice, eliminating the defence of g7.

4 Rxe5 Bxe5 5 Re1 Re8 6 Qh6+ Ke7 7 f4 1-0

2...Rxf8 If 2...Qe1+, 3 Qf1. 3 Rxg7+ Kh8 4 Rxg6+! 1-0 4...Rf6 5 Rxf6.

White to play

86) Plachetka – Psakhis Paris Open Ch 1989 1 Rxg7!! Rxg7 2 Rxg7 Kxg7 3 Qxh6+ Kf7 4 Bg5! Black to play

84) Gheorghiu – Miles London 1980 1...Nxe3+! 2 fxe3 Qxg3 Or 2...Qh3+, mating.

4 Ng5+? Ke7 5 Qg7+ is less effective. Then 5...Bf7? loses to the surprising 6 Nh7!, but Black can play 5...Rf7 6 Nxf7 Qf8, which is good for White, but messy. 4...Bh7 4...Ke7 5 Qg7+ Rf7 6 Bxf6#. 5 Bxf6 Rg8 6 Ng5+ Rxg5 7 Bxg5 1-0

3 Ke2 Rh2+ 0-1 4 Kd3 Qg6+.

Black to play

87) Evans – Larsen White to play

85) Scherbakov – M. Gurevich Helsinki 1992 1 Bxg7! Bxg7 2 Qg5 Kf8 3 Rxe6! Qe5 The only move; if 3...fxe6 then 4 Qxg7+ Ke8 5 Bxh7, with mate on g6 or, if the black knight moves, 6 Nf6#.

Dallas 1957 1...Rf1+! 2 Rxf1 2 Kxf1 Qf5+ 3 Kg1 (3 Ke2 Qf2#; 3 Rf3 Rxd1+) 3...Qc5+ 4 Kh1 (4 Kf1 Qf2#) 4...Nf2+ 5 Kg1 Nh3++ 6 Kh1 Qg1+ 7 Rxg1 Nf2#. 2...Qc5+ 0-1

If 3 Kh1 then 3...Nf2+ and the smothered mate indicated above, since 4 Rxf2 loses to 4...Qc1+, followed by mate.

Or: 2...Kf7 3 Bh5#; 2...Kh6 3 Rh3#. 3 Rg8+! Rxg8 4 Bf6+ Rg7 5 Bxg7+ Kg8 6 Bxd4+ Kf7 7 Bxb2 1-0 The ending is winning after, for instance, 7...Rxb2 8 Rg4 e3 9 Bxa6.

White to play

88) Malakhov – Degraeve Koszalin 1999

White to play

1 Rxf6! exf6 2 Qd4 Qe7

90) N. Ristić – Kojović

2...Kg7 3 Ng4 Qe7 4 Bg5.

Yugoslav Team Ch, Vrnjačka Banja 1999

3 Ng4 Rc4 4 Bxc4 Rxc4 5 Nxf6! Qd8

1 Bxh6! gxh6 2 Qxh6 Re8

5...Rxd4? allows 6 Bh6#.

2...Rd8 3 Qh7+ Kf8 4 Rf3! Ne5 5 Qh8+ Ke7 6 Qf6+ (6 Nd5+? Kd6) 6...Ke8 (6...Kd6 7 Rf5) 7 Nd5! with a decisive attack; e.g. 7...exd5 8 Rc3 or 7...Nxf3+ 8 gxf3 Qd6 9 Kh1! intending Rg1.

6 Bh6+ Ke7 7 Qe3 Qc7 8 e5! dxe5 9 Bg5 h6 10 d6+! Qxd6 White wins the queen in all cases: 10...Kxd6 11 Ne8+ and 12 Nxc7; or 10...Nxd6 11 Nd5++ (or 11 Qxe5+!) and 12 Nxc7.

3 Qh7+ Kf8 4 Rf3! Ne5

11 Ne4+

5 Qh8+ Ke7 6 Nd5+! exd5

and 12 Nxd6.

6...Kd6 7 Qxe5+ Kxe5 8 Nxc7.

4...d6 5 Qxg6.

7 Qf6+ Kf8 8 Rh3 1-0 If 8...Ng6 then 9 Rh7.

White to play

89) Westerinen – Sigurjonsson New York 1977 1 Qxg7+! Kxg7 2 Bd8+! Kh8

White to play

91) Holmsten – Norri

Finnish Ch, Helsinki 2000 1 Nh5! Yes: this is strong. 1...Qf8 Or: 1...Qxf6? 2 Nxf6+ and 3 Nxd7; 1...gxh5 2 Rxg3+ Kf8 3 Qh6+ Ke7 4 Rg7! (threatening 5 Qg5+ and 6 Rg8#) 4...Qf8 (4...Qh8 5 Rh7 Qf8 6 Qf6+ Ke8 7 Rh8) 5 Qf6+ Ke8 6 Rh7 and 7 Rh8. 2 Qg5 Rdc7 3 Nf6+ Kg7 3...Kh8 4 Qh4+ Kg7 5 Qh7#. 4 Rxg3 Nxd4 4...Rc3 5 Rxc2! Rxg3 6 Rxc8! Rxg5 7 Rxf8 Kxf8 8 Nh7+ and 9 Nxg5. 5 Rxc7 Rxc7 6 Rh3 1-0

White to play

92) Lilienthal – Landau Amsterdam (2) 1934 1 Bxf7+! Kxf7 2 Rd6!! Bxd6 2...Qb7 3 Nxh6+! gxh6 4 Qg6+ Ke7 5 Qf6#. 3 Qxg7+ Ke6 4 Nxd6 Qd8 Or: 4...Rf8 5 Nxc8 Rxc8 6 Qxh6+, winning the queen; 4...Qc6 5 f4 leaves Black with no good answer to the threats of 6 Qf7# and 6 f5+. 5 Nxe8 Qxe8 6 Qf6+ Kd5 6...Kd7 7 Qd6#. 7 Qd6+ Ke4 8 Re1+ Kf5 9 Qf6+ 9...Kg4 10 h3+ Kh5 11 g4#.

5: Drawing Combinations As with winning combinations, drawing combinations require a good dose of imagination and the ability to calculate. But they may demand even greater technical knowledge, because a player who finds himself in a difficult position might need to work out which of a number of difficult-looking endings can actually be drawn. The basis of that technique requires some knowledge of fundamental endgames (standard technical draws, fortresses, etc.), the theme of stalemate, situations in which the side with the advantage cannot make progress, etc.

1...Rxc7! Instead, 1...Qf2+? was tempting, but it doesn’t work because of 2 Kh1 (not 2 Kxf2? Nxe4++ 3 Ke3? Nxc3) 2...Rc8 3 d6. 1...Rc8? is also insufficient, owing to 2 d6, with advantage to White. 2 Qxc7 Ng4!! ½-½ Black threatens mate on h2, so White now has no real choice other than to acquiesce to a draw by perpetual check: 3 hxg4 Qf2+ 4 Kh1 (or 4 Kh2) 4...Qh4+, etc.

In order to organize the material for study, we shall classify drawing combinations into five categories: 5.1: Perpetual Check 5.2: Repetition of Position 5.3: Stalemate 5.4: Fortress and Blockade 5.5: Positional Draws

5.1: Perpetual Check The continuous harassment of one of the kings signifies that the game is drawn, if the attacked king is unable to elude the checks. Let’s examine a few examples.

White to play

Wedberg – Kuczynski Novi Sad Olympiad 1990 White has serious difficulties in defending his back rank and, above all, preventing the mate on b2. Nevertheless, calling on his imagination, he found a solution to the problem. 1 Rc8+! Kb6 It is clear that 1...Kxc8?? would allow 2 Bxb7+ Kxb7 3 Qxd4. Now the white rook seems to enjoy diplomatic immunity and continues its manoeuvre. 2 Rc6+ Ka7 2...Ka5? 3 Ra6+ Kb5 4 Bc6+ Kc5 5 Ra5+. 3 Ra6+! Insisting on the same theme. 3...Kb8 4 Ra8+! Kc7 5 Rc8+!

Black to play

Unzicker – Averbakh Saltsjöbaden Interzonal 1952 White has three pawns in return for the missing piece. It seems that the pawn on c7 is going to cost Black a rook, after which he would be left the exchange and two pawns down. However, the great endgame expert Yuri Averbakh found an unexpected saving resource.

Completing his tour of the magic square on his journey of relentless persecution. The game is drawn.

Smyslov – Tal Bled/Zagreb/Belgrade Candidates 1959 Black is a piece down, and what a piece! The bishop forms with the queen a terrific team on the long dark diagonal. What does Tal have? The d-file and a small detail: the e4-pawn’s control of f3, which he will use to support a perpetual. Let’s see how he manages it. 1...Rg1+! 2 Kh2 If 2 Kxg1 then 2...Qd1+ 3 Kh2 Qh5+ 4 Kg2 Qf3+. 2...Rh1+! 3 Kg2 3 Kxh1 Qd1+, etc. White to play

Shteinberg – Makarov Kharkov 1966

3...Rg1+! ½-½ Elegant and necessary. The perpetual cannot be prevented.

White is understandably disenchanted with his position (he is the exchange and a pawn down). Thus he tries to remedy the difficult situation in which he finds himself. Let’s see what young Shteinberg, at the time one of the great Soviet hopes, can come up with. 1 Nxe7! What is White trying to do? 1...Nxe7 2 Qxf6+!! Nothing less than this! 2...Kxf6 The black king is lured into a cul-de-sac. Black to play

3 Bd4+ Kg5 4 Be3+ The bishop glides back and forth on the dark squares, which is the only route available to the black king. It’s a draw by perpetual check. Note that Black mustn’t play 4...Kh4?? because 5 f4! forces mate.

de Firmian – Svidler Internet 2000 White is the exchange down, but threatens mate in one. If Black returns the exchange, then White will be left a pawn up with the position of the black king still exposed. Is there some active way that Black can relieve the pressure? 1...Bxg2+! 2 Kg1 If 2 Kxg2?? then 2...Qc6+ and 3...Qxe6. 2...Rxe6! Now is the right moment to return the exchange. 3 Qxe6 Rd2 Black takes the initiative and now it is his turn to threaten things as serious as 4...Qc5+. 4 Qe8+ The best that White has is perpetual check.

Black to play

4...Kh7 5 Qh5+ Kg8 6 Qe8+ Kh7 7 Qh5+ Kg8 8 Qe8+ Kh7 9 Qh5+ ½-½

White to play

Radevich – Donskykh White to play

Mazzoni – Kraidman Tel Aviv Olympiad 1964 White has good reason to be worried about Black’s passed pawn on a3 and meanwhile his own concentration of pieces against Black’s castled position seems to be meeting a brick wall. But problems stimulate the imagination and, sometimes, help to find solutions.

USSR 1972 Here we have a curious case in which Black’s positional superiority proves insufficient to win. White’s two bishops are going to play the leading roles in a peculiar drawing combination. In view of its practical importance, I recommend the reader to memorize the procedure used. 1 Bxe4!

The contingent of white pieces accumulated on the kingside must count for something.

The incarcerated bishop gains its freedom in a very active way: by capturing an enemy pawn. A passive continuation would merely confirm Black’s superiority: 1 Bc2? Ra2 2 Bd1 (2 Rc1 Ne2) 2...Rd2.


1...Rxf1 2 Bf5!!

1...Ne8? 2 Nxg7 Nxg7 3 Ng5 and White wins.

With a draw. If, for instance, 2...Ra1, then 3 Be6+ Kh7 4 Bf5+ Kg8 5 Be6+, etc., with a repetition of moves or perpetual check, since the black king cannot escape from the three diagonals commanded in turn by the white bishops. An interesting drawing mechanism.

1 Qh6

2 Nxh6+ Kg7 2...Kh8?? 3 Bxf6#. 3 Nf5+ Kg8 With a draw by perpetual check. Were you convinced by this example? That White skilfully salvaged a draw from a difficult situation? In fact, 1 Qh6? was an error, since in the diagram position he missed a clear win by 1 Bxf6! Bxf6 (1...Rxg1 2 Qh6!) 2 Qh6 intending Ng5 (e.g., 2...Rxg1 3 Ng5! Rxg2+ 4 Kxg2 followed by mate). In his haste to avoid defeat, White failed to look for something even better.

Black to play

Smyslov – Geller

Candidates (6), Moscow 1965 White was surely hoping that the queen would move to e7, when he would win the exchange with Bd6. But, despite being a pawn up, Geller’s position felt uncomfortable to him, so he opted for a surprising and incisive tactical sequence. It should also be taken into account that at that moment Geller was in the lead and a draw would practically ensure his victory in the match. Naturally 1...Rxc7? would lose to 2 Rxd5.

2...Qh1+ 3 Qh2 Qxf3+ 4 Kxh4 Be7+ 5 g5 White had calculated this far, but... 5...Bxg5+! 0-1 Mate is forced after 6 Kxg5 f6+ 7 Kh4 (7 Kg6 Qg4#) 7...g5#. Accuracy in defence is fundamental.

1...Ne5!! A queen sacrifice when least expected. 2 Bxd8 Nf3+ 3 Kf1 After 3 Kh1 Nd4+ 4 Bg2?! Bxg2+ 5 Kxg2 Nxc2 6 Rac1?! Rxd8 7 Rxd8+ Bxd8 8 Rxc2 Black emerges a sound pawn up (8...a6 9 Nd6 b5). 3...Nh2+ ½-½ It’s a draw by perpetual check. White to play

Capablanca – Nimzowitsch Bad Kissingen 1928 Yes, White has a strong passed pawn on d7, but on the other hand he is heavily committed, since he is the exchange down and there is an enemy pawn one step away from queening (on c2). With things as they are, what really counts for the great Capablanca is to extract the maximum benefit from the fact that it is his turn to move. 1 Qe5!! Rxf5

Black to play

Bouaziz – Miles Riga Interzonal 1979 This game has its own history and drama. Black was in a desperate situation, because it is clear that the c7-pawn is about to queen and White seems to have his back well covered. But is that really so? GM Tony Miles (1974 World Junior Champion), who was highly skilled in tactics, pulled one of his nasty tricks out of his sleeve... 1...Rxh3!! The threat is 2...Qh1#. 2 Kxh3?? White should not capture the rook. After 2 Qf1! Rg3+ 3 Kf2 Rxf3+ 4 Kxf3 Qxf1+ 5 Ke4 Qh1+, the best Black has is a perpetual. Now, in contrast, he wins as follows:

1...Rg2+?! 2 Kxg2 Qg5+ (2...Rxf5? loses to 3 Qxf5 c1Q 4 Rf6!) 3 Kf2 c1Q gives White a choice between 4 Qd5+ Kh8 5 Qe5+ Kg8 6 Qd5+, with perpetual check, and 4 Nh6+ Qxh6 5 d8Q, which will leave Black defending a tricky queen ending. 2 Qe8+ Rf8 3 Rxg6+ hxg6 4 Qxg6+ ½-½ Drawn by perpetual check: 4...Kh8 5 Qh6+ Kg8 6 Qg6+, etc.

Lone Pine 1978 White is threatened with a horrific discovered check and no move of his king solves his problems. So, since it is his move, he takes advantage of his extra rook, which has invaded the eighth rank, to set up a perpetual check that saves him. 1 Nf5+! gxf5 2 Rxh7+! Kxh7 From being a rook up, White is now a piece down. 3 Qxf5+ Kg7 Here 3...Kh6?? would be a serious error owing to 4 Rh8+ Kg7 5 Rh7+ Kg8 6 Qg6+ Kf8 7 Rh8#. 4 Qxg4+ Kf6 5 Qf4+ Kg7 White to play

N. Littlewood – Hindle British Ch, Bath 1963

5...Ke6 6 Qe5+ Kf7 7 Qf5+. 6 Qg4+ Kf6 7 Qf4+ ½-½

It is understandable that White is anxious: his attack, if it ever existed, has got nowhere, and now he finds himself the exchange and a pawn down. However, his pieces are active enough that he can try to force a perpetual. 1 Bb6!? A cheeky fork, the only point of which is to deflect the queen from the defence of f6. 1...Qxb6 2 Nxf6+ gxf6? Now White achieves a draw. After 2...Kh8!, White’s play proves inadequate: 3 Nxh7 Qf2 or 3 Qh5 h6 4 Ng4 f5 5 Nxh6 g6. White to play

3 Bxh7+!

Kasparov – Van Wely

Not 3 Qg4+? Kh8 4 Qh4 Bxg2+! 5 Kxg2 Rg8+.

Internet 2000

3...Kxh7 4 Qh5+ ½-½ Drawn in view of 4...Kg7 5 Qg4+ Kh6 6 Qh4+ Kg6 7 Qg4+, etc.

In a major international chess competition on the Internet, Kasparov suffered the proverbial fate of the ‘prophet in his own land’, since the event was organized by his own website and he lost in the final to the Dutch GM Jeroen Piket. Black has just responded to e7 with ...Bb7-c6. 1 Qe5! An impressive move but in reality the only good one, since 1 e8Q? (1 exd8Q? Qxd8) 1...Bxe8 2 Nxe8+ Rxe8 3 Qxe8 Bf2 gives Black the advantage. ½-½ After 1...Qxe5 2 exd8Q the threat of mate on g8 compels Black to force a draw by perpetual check with 2...Qe1+ 3 Kb2 Qc3+ 4 Kb1 Qe1+ 5 Kb2 Qc3+ 6 Kb1 Qe1+.

White to play

Speelman – Ree

A good grasp of the technical resources is often a sufficient guarantee to detect hidden ways to save the game. In this game, Black’s attack has evaporated and he is now the exchange down, while White has a strong passed pawn. Boris Gelfand searched and found... 1...Ne2+! 2 Bxe2 Rxg2+! There is no need to count the cost when the objective is clearly in sight. 3 Kxg2 Bh3+ 4 Kh1 White must avoid 4 Kg1?? Qg3+ 5 Kh1 Qg2# and 4 Kh2?? Qg3+ 5 Kh1 Qg2#. Black to play

4...Bg4+ 5 Kg2 Qg3+ 6 Kh1

Reshevsky – Levenfish

It was still possible to blunder: 6 Kf1?? Bh3#.

Leningrad/Moscow 1939

6...Qh3+ ½-½

Here Levenfish could have played 1...Kg8, followed by 2...Rfc8, with a winning position in view of the control exerted by the black pieces, in particular his major pieces doubled on White’s second rank. To cap it all, Reshevsky had no more than a few seconds left, while Black still had a good quarter of an hour. But his nerves betrayed him and he played... 1...f6?? Reshevsky, with his flag hanging, now found a saving manoeuvre: 2 Rxd5! exd5 2...fxe5 3 Qh3+ Kg8 4 Qxe6+ Kh8 5 Qxe5, and White has won a pawn.

Black to play

Portisch – Kasparov

3 Qh3+ Kg8 4 Qe6+ Kh7 5 Qh3+ ½-½

Moscow 1981

It’s perpetual check.

Portisch is two pawns up with his queen centralized in an ideal position for pushing the d6-pawn towards the queening square. He also seems to have the position of his king perfectly under control, so that Black must surely be in a desperate situation. But the young Kasparov thought differently... 1...Rxd2! 2 Qxd2 Qf3+ 3 Qg2 If 3 Rg2 then 3...Qf1+ 4 Rg1 Qf3+, and the checks are repeated. 3...Ng3+! The key to the drawing combination. 4 hxg3 Qh5+ 5 Qh2 Qf3+ 6 Rg2 Qd1+ 7 Qg1 Qh5+ 8 Rh2 Qf3+ ½-½ Black to play

Van der Sterren – Gelfand Munich 1994

Drawn by perpetual check.

the promotion of the black pawn. However, Riumin, a particularly imaginative player, found a pretty combination to draw. 1 Rf1! d1Q 2 Qe6+! This elegant check queen is the basis for the whole combination. 2...Kh7 Not 2...Qxe6?? 3 Rf8+ Kh7 4 Rh8#. 3 Nf8+ Kh8 3...Qxf8 4 Qg6+ Kg8 5 Qe6+. 4 Ng6+ White to play

Ljubojević – Gelfand Novi Sad Olympiad 1990

The game is drawn. Black must resist the temptation to take the knight with 4...Qxg6?? because of 5 Rf8+ Kh7 6 hxg6# (or 6 Qxg6#, or even 6 Qg8#).

A very high-level game where we are still in the opening, perfectly recognizable as a Sicilian Najdorf. The Yugoslav GM wanted to entertain us with some fireworks which ended in a dynamic equilibrium. Anything but retreat! 1 Qxf6!! gxf6 If 1...bxc3? then 2 exf7+ Nxf7 3 Ne6!, with a decisive advantage. 2 Nd5 Qa7 Or 2...Qb7, with the same result. 3 Nxf6+ Kd8 4 Nd5+ Ke8 Not 4...Be7? 5 Bxe7+ Ke8 6 Bxd6!.

White to play

5 Nf6+ Kd8 6 Nd5+ ½-½

Ragozin – Levenfish Moscow 1935 In this tense position, both sides’ major pieces are exerting pressure on the enemy king. White’s situation seems more disorganized, and in addition the black bishop is attacking the rook, so an immediate decision is required. If 1 Rg3? Black can play 1...Rg1, with the threat of 2...Qc1+, and after 2 Bc2 Qc5 Black must win. As for the possibility 1 Nxg8?, Black can reply 1...Kxg8 (not 1...Bxh3?? 2 Ne7, with a double threat against the queen and h6) 2 Rg3 Bf1!, with a decisive advantage to Black. 1 Qxh6+!!

White to play

Riumin – Verlinsky

Ragozin’s bombshell. What follows is forced.

USSR 1933

1...Nxh6 2 Rxh6+ Kg7 3 Rh7+ Kf8 4 Rh8+ Ke7 5 Ng8+!

Black has an undoubted material and positional advantage but is it enough to win? The white rook seems tied to its blockading square on d1, to prevent

The key to the combination. Now 5...Qxg8? is not possible, because after 6 Rxg8 Rc5 7 f4, White is a pawn up and can create a passed pawn on the h-file.

As for 5...Kd7, White has 6 Nf6+ Ke7 (6...Kc7? 7 Rxc8+) 7 Ng8+, drawing. 5...Kf8 6 Nf6+ ½-½ The perpetual check cannot be prevented.

Black to play

Suba – Mirković Belgrade 1984 Black to play

Grishchuk – Shirov FIDE Knockout, New Delhi 2000 In the fourth and final game of his match with Shirov, the young Grishchuk absolutely needed to win (since he was losing by 1-2). He had played very well up to this point, and had good prospects against his fearsome opponent. But Shirov pulled a card out of his sleeve... 1...Nb2! Seeing that he is under pressure, Shirov opts to walk a tightrope, relying on his tactical ability. The main threat is 2...Nd3+ and mate on e1.

The three black pieces have invaded the enemy camp, but White is a rook up and has serious threats, starting with 1 Bxe4. However, it is Black to play and he has a strong possibility. 1...Qxb4!! This is much better than 1...Re2+? 2 Qxe2 Qxb4+ (2...Bxe2? 3 Rc8+ Kh7 4 Bxe4+ f5 5 Rc7) 3 Rc3 Bxe2 4 Bxe4 Qxe4 5 Rc8+ Kh7 6 Kxe2. ½-½ Now 2 Bxe4? loses to 2...Rd1#, and 2 Qc8+? Rd8+ 3 Kf1 Qb5+ 4 Qc4 Qxc4+ 5 Rxc4 Rd1# is no good either. Two lines lead to perpetual check: 2 Qxb4 Re2+ 3 Kf1 Rxf2+ and 2 Rg8+ Kxg8 3 Qxb4 Re2+ 4 Kf1 Rxf2+ 5 Kg1 Rg2+. The rook checks on e2, f2 and g2.

2 Bxf7+? Here Grishchuk blunders. His great opportunity lay in the natural 2 Bxb2!, when 2...Rb8? 3 Rb6 Bc7 4 Rab4 Bxb6 5 axb6 gives White a huge advantage, but 2...Be7! keeps Black in the fight. 2...Kf8 3 Bxb2 3 Bxe8? loses to 3...Nd3+ 4 Kf1 (4 Ke2 Nxc1+) 4...Nxc1. Now Shirov has a draw by perpetual check. 3...c1Q 4 Bxc1 Rc2+ 5 Kf1 It would be a bad idea to seek refuge on h2: 5 Kg1?? Re1+ 6 Kh2 Rcxc1, with unstoppable mate. 5...Rxc1+ 6 Kf2 Rc2+ 7 Kf1 Rc1+ ½-½

Black to play

Spiridonov – Neukirch Zinnowitz 1967 In positions like this, in which there seems to be nothing to oppose the triumphal march of White’s

passed pawn, the counterattack often can be connected with the search for a perpetual. Let’s see how Black achieved that here. 1...e4 2 b7 Qf3+ 3 Kh3 Qxf2! 4 b8Q Qf1+ 5 Kh4 If 5 Kg4? then 5...f5+ 6 Kh4 Bf6+ 7 Bg5 Bxg5+ 8 Kxg5 h6+ 9 Kh4 g5+ 10 Kh5 Qh3#. 5...Bf6+ 6 Bg5 h6!! ½-½ With this shot that seems more like a thunderbolt, Black forces the draw: 7 Bxf6+ (if 7 Kg4? then 7...Qf3+ 8 Kh3 Qf1+ 9 Kg4 Qe2+ 10 Kh3 hxg5, and the cure has been worse than the illness) 7...Qxf6+ 8 Kh3 Qf1+ 9 Kh4 g5+ 10 Kg4 Qf3+ 11 Kh3 Qf1+.

4 Qxe5 The only move, as can easily be verified. 4...Nxf3+ 5 Kf1 Not, of course, 5 Kh1??, because of 5...Rxh2#. 5...Nxh2+ Now we have the well-known trick with R+N, creating a drawing mechanism at the edge of the board. 6 Ke1 Nf3+ It’s a draw by perpetual check.

5.2: Repetition of Position There can be many reasons why the same position might be produced on the board more than once, including an agreement between the players. What is certain is that the rules stipulate that when a position arises for the third time in the same game, either of the players can claim a draw. It is not necessary for the repetition of position to occur on consecutive moves.

Black to play

Joshi – Muralidharan Indian Ch, Pune 1993 We have a fascinating position in which White, two pawns up, seems to have his back rank well covered and to be preparing a pawn-avalanche on the queenside. However, intense tactics can be sensed in the air, to which Black will now give expression on the board. 1...Rg1+! 2 Kxg1 Not 2 Qxg1? Rxd2+ 3 Kh1 Nxf3. 2...Rxd2 3 Qe3 Not 3 Qxd2? Nxf3+ 4 Kf2 Nxd2. If 3 Qf1 then 3...Qe5 4 Rd6! (4 Qc4+?? Kh8) 4...Qe3+ 5 Kh1 Rf2 6 Qc4+ Kg7 7 Rd7+ Kh6 8 Ng2, and now there is a very complicated variation beginning with 8...Nxf3!. For example: 9 Qh4+ (9 Rxh7+ forces perpetual check) 9...Nxh4 10 Nxe3 Nf3 11 Nf1 Rxf1+ 12 Kg2 Ne5 and 13 Rxb7 Ra1 gives Black slightly the better prospects, but 13 Re7 looks safer. 3...Qe5!! Is this move one of attack, counterattack or defence?

As for players planning the repetition in advance, there is no rule that can prevent two players from arranging this, for competitive reasons, even though it is debatable whether this could be considered sporting. There have been many such cases, but there is no point in dwelling on this theme. It suffices to quote as an example the game between Reshevsky (White) and Bronstein in the Amsterdam Interzonal in 1964, when FIDE had announced that no draw could be agreed before move 40. Well, the game went like this: 1 d4 e6 2 Nf3 c5 3 g3 cxd4 4 Nxd4 d5 5 Bg2 Nf6 6 0-0 Bc5 7 c4 0-0 8 cxd5 Nxd5 9 Nb3 Be7 10 Bd2 Nc6 11 Nc3 Bf6 12 Rc1 a5 13 Nc5 Bd4 14 Nb3 Bf6 15 Nc5 Bd4 16 Nb3. This game ended here, because obviously, if they were required to reach move 40 in order to comply with the FIDE rule, the players would just keep repeating moves. Perpetual check is often a type of repetition of position, but not always, because there are sequences of moves in which the check is given on different squares and, therefore, the position is not repeated but the perpetual check is still unavoidable. First of all, a player should be aware that this danger (or resource) can arise even in the opening. For instance, a common case occurs in the Zaitsev Variation of the Ruy Lopez, which was very popular in the last two decades of the 20th century. This was an important weapon in the repertoire of the exworld champion Anatoly Karpov, among other reasons because one of his team of seconds, GM Igor Zaitsev, was the inventor of the variation: 1 e4

e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Be7 6 Re1 b5 7 Bb3 d6 8 c3 0-0 9 h3 Bb7 (these moves are what characterizes the variation) 10 d4 Re8 (D).

first loses the exchange, so White will have to opt for one of the other two. 1 f4! The most logical, forcing events. 1...exf3 2 Nxf3 Qg6! Both sides need to play very accurately. If, for instance, 2...Qg4? then 3 Rxc8 Rxc8 4 Kh1 and the bishop is lost. 3 Ne5 Tempting Black to choose a bad move. 3...Qg5!

White to play

Now, if White plays 11 Ng5 the reply 11...Rf8 is forced and after 12 Nf3 Re8 13 Ng5 Rf8, we would have a case of repetition of position. White normally – but not always, especially if outrated – feels a moral obligation to fight for the initiative and not be content with a sad repetition of position at such an early stage of the game. But what happens if the player with Black usually plays this variation but White, for instance, only needs a draw to win the tournament or match? In such a case, the threat of a repetition of moves would be a good way to force the opponent to diverge from his normal repertoire.

3...Qh5?! is a poor but not fatal choice. After 4 Rxc8 Bxc8 (4...Rxc8?! 5 Nxf7) 5 Nxf7 Be6 (5...Rxf7?? 6 Qd8+) 6 Nd6 Rxf1+ 7 Kxf1 Qxh2 8 Nxb7 White has an extra pawn, though few winning chances. 4 Nf3 Qg6 5 Ne5 Qg5 Both players have understood that the repetition is the best available solution. 6 Nf3 ½-½

Next we shall examine some examples in which a repetition of position can arise. Some of these reflect typical situations, others less so, but together they should help a player learn some key ideas.

White to play

E. Pogosiants Spartak, 1962 In this fine study, White cannot prevent the a-pawn from queening, but he can create a drawing mechanism based on a repetition of moves. Let’s see how it works. 1 Bd4!

White to play

Tartakower – Kotov Groningen 1946 Faced with the threat of mate on g2, White has only three possible responses: 1 g3, 1 f3 and 1 f4. The

Black must accept this gift and the composer’s idea is now clear: after its capture Black’s two centre pawns will be immobilized. 1...exd4 2 Ka4! A move whose significance will soon be revealed to us.

2...a1Q Black has safely promoted his pawn. What now? 3 Rb1!

This creates a threat of mate, but misses a win by 3 Rxf8+! Kg7 4 Re8!, weaving a mating-net (5 g5 is coming next), as 4...Kxf6 allows 5 Bd4#. 3...Kg7 4 Ne8+

Now we understand the white king’s move: it cleared the way for his rook, at the same time as placing the king in a stalemate position.

With a draw. If 4...Kh8 then 5 Nf6, etc. An ingenious manoeuvre.

3...Qa2 Of course, 3...Qxb1 is stalemate, while 3...Qc3 is met by 4 Rb6+! Kxb6 (or 4...axb6), again with stalemate. Hence the text-move is the only winning attempt. 4 Rb2! The same idea: the rook transforms into a determined kamikaze. 4...Qa1 5 Rb1 It’s a draw by repetition of position.

Black to play

Ench – Heisler Correspondence 1972 White is a pawn up and is attacking Black’s queen. Although Black’s pieces are well placed, the white position appears quite solid, so Black needs to look for an energetic continuation. 1...Rxe3! This exchange sacrifice is fully justified. 2 fxe3 Ng4 3 Qd3? White to play

Norwood – Gelfand European Junior Ch, Arnhem 1987/8 White has apparently lost the strategic battle, but he has one tactical trump left: 1 Qd8+! The best option. The alternatives were bad: a) The game continuation was 1 Qe7? Nd3! 2 Qd7 (2 Rxd3? Qxd3) 2...Bxf6 3 Qxc8+? (3 Rxd3 Rc1+ favours Black) 3...Kg7 4 g5 (4 Rxd3 Qxd3 5 g5 Bd4 gives Black a decisive advantage) 4...Qxc8 5 gxf6+ Kxf6 6 Bxh4+ Kg7 7 Rxd3 Qc1+ 0-1. b) 1 Bxh4? Qxh4 2 g5 Bf8 3 Qd4 Qg3+ 4 Bg2 (4 Kf1? Nc2) 4...Nc6, with a very favourable position for Black. 1...Rxd8 2 Rxd8+ Bf8 3 g5?

3 Qc1 is more resilient, as after 3...Rxf3 4 Kxf3 Qxh2 5 Bd3 the white king proves a more slippery prey. 3...Rxf3!! This second exchange sacrifice is consistent with the first one and allows Black to invade on h2. 4 Kxf3 Qxh2! 5 Rg1 g6?! 5...Ne6! wins cleanly. 6 e4? After 6 Rg2 Qh5 7 Rgg1 Black can take a draw by repetition with 7...Qh2?!, or play for a win by 7...Ne8! 8 Rh1 Qg5. 6...Ne6 0-1 White felt forced to resign in view of the threat of 7...Ng5+ 8 Kxg4 Qh5#, and if 7 e5 then 7...Bxe5! 8 dxe5 Nxe5+.

5.3: Stalemate Stalemate is produced when the side to move has no legal moves whatsoever, without his king being in check. This possibility gives rise to some unsuspected technical resources which can make a strong impression when encountered for the first time. Let’s see an example.

Black to play

Schlechter – H. Wolf Nuremberg 1906

White to play

White has no way of stopping the promotion of the black pawn. Perhaps he could exchange rooks with 1 Rxa1?, since 1...bxa1Q? or 1...bxa1R? would result in a draw by stalemate. But Black has no need to convert his pawn into a major piece; instead he can opt for an underpromotion (1...bxa1B or 1...bxa1N), when he should win the ending. However, White has a more spectacular resource which forces the draw: 1 Rh7+! Kg8 1...Kxh7 is an immediate draw by stalemate. 2 Rg7+ Kf8 3 Rf7+ Ke8

This is a famous position, in which two giants of the age are contesting an ending that looks completely lost for Black. But, as we have said already, difficulties usually sharpen the imagination and Black decided to set a trap. 1...Re3 Schlechter paid not the slightest attention to this move and continued ‘in his own sweet way’. 2 b6?? Now Black manages to draw by stalemate: 2...Re1+! 3 Rxe1 ½-½ White had a number of ways to prevent the stalemate. For example: 2 h4 gxh3 3 b6, or 2 Rf1+ Ke2 3 Rf2+ Kd3 4 Rb2, or even 2 Kf1. Such sudden transformations in the game only occur if a player lets his concentration lapse.

The white rook pursues the opposing king along the entire seventh rank. 4 Re7+ Kd8 5 Rd7+ Kc8 6 Rc7+ Kb8 7 Rb7+ Ka8 8 Rb8+ But not 8 Ra7+?? due to 8...Rxa7, and Black wins. 8...Ka7 9 Rb7+ Ka6 10 Rb6+ Now the harassment continues along the b-file. 10...Ka5 11 Rb5+ Ka4 12 Rb4+ Ka3 13 Rb3+ Ka2 14 Rxb2+ The game is drawn. The key to these positions is that if the king of the weaker side cannot move and the rest of his pawns are blockaded, then all that is needed is to get rid of the remaining piece(s) to force the stalemate.

White to play

A. Troitsky Novoe Vremia, 1895

White to play and draw The obvious question is how he is going to stop the enemy pawn on g2. If it cannot be stopped, what can he manage to do? With a wave of his magic wand, the great artist that was Alexei Troitsky is going to explain it to us. 1 Rd3+!! A truly unusual rook sacrifice. 1...Kxd3 2 Kf3!! The black king creates for himself a stalemate situation. 2...g1Q It’s a draw by stalemate. Notice that it would also happen if the pawn converted into a rook. If, in contrast, 2...g1N+, then 3 Kg2, with an attack on both pieces and winning one of them. Finally, if 2...g1B, then also 3 Kg2, and the ending cannot be won.

White to play

Pilnick – Reshevsky USA Ch, New York 1942 Here there are no bishops, but it is curious that, as in the previous position, the ratio of pawns is four to one in Black’s favour. The fact that the black queen and king are on the same diagonal, while the white king occupies the corner, produces a similar stalemate framework. 1 Qf2! ½-½ If 1...Qxf2, the white king is stalemated. For practical purposes, this serves to remind us that a queen on f2 (or g3) stalemates a king on the corner square.

White to play

D.L. Ponziani Il giuoco incomparabile degli scacchi, 1769 Black’s material advantage is overwhelming, but Ponziani created this position to illustrate the spectacular way in which White can force a draw. 1 Bf2 e3 2 Bxe3! Qxe3 3 Qf2!! Qxf2 4 a5+! The last shot, which absolutely had to be fired. Now, whether or not Black takes the pawn, the white king will be in stalemate. It’s a draw. The practical application of Ponziani’s ending will be seen in the following game.

White to play

Sliwa – Doda Warsaw 1967 White is in a seriously inferior material position. In addition, 1 Qxd6? is no use, because after 1...Kf6 Black would win the ending easily. Nevertheless, the cramped situation of his king sharpened his creativity which led to a forced stalemate. 1 Be4+! Qxe4 2 Qg7+! Kxg7

Stalemate. It is important to note that the black queen took away the white king’s only available square, g2.

Black to play

Am. Rodriguez – Arencibia White to play

Mindadze – Kalugin USSR 1978 In this game we also have a position which points to a stalemate. Black is the exchange and two pawns up, so White is looking for a saving draw. In the first place, the rigid pawn-structure (only the h-pawn can move) favours him. If only he could get rid of the queen, bishop and the h4-pawn, it would be a great relief. 1 Bd3!!

Cuban Ch, Holguin 1991 Black has a much inferior position, since in addition to the pawn disadvantage, the white pieces dominate the position, and pose serious threats. But Black has a trump in his favour: the rigidity of the pawnstructure, which makes way for stalemate ideas. 1...Bxg4+! 2 Kxg4 After 2 Kg3, Black forces stalemate by 2...Qe1+! 3 Kxg4 Qg3+! 4 Kh5 Qg4+!. 2...Qg2+ 3 Kf5 Qh3+ 4 Kg6 Qh5+! ½-½ Stalemate is forced.

The first unquestionable sacrifice. 1...Qxd3 After 1...Rh1+ 2 Kxh1 Qxd3 3 Qe8+, White has perpetual check. 2 h5+ The second sacrifice, also indisputable. 2...Kh6 2...Kxh5 3 Qxh7+. 3 Qg7+! Kxg7 4 h6+ Now, whether the pawn is taken or not, the position remains blocked. It’s a draw by stalemate. Black to play

Zwaig – Wostyn Skopje Olympiad 1972 White threatens mate in two (2 Qg6+ Kh8 3 Qh6#) and it is unthinkable that he cannot win this game. There is only one little loose end and it is sufficient for Black to conceive a drawing sequence, which he carries out to perfection. 1...Re2+ 2 Kh3

2 Kg3 Rb3+! (2...Re3+? 3 Kf4 Rf3+ 4 Kxf3 Rb3+ and White wins) 3 Bxb3 Rg2+ 4 Kf4 Rf2+ 5 Ke5 Rxf6 6 Kxf6 is a draw. 2...Rb3+! Getting rid of surplus material is the first requirement for the player aspiring to draw by stalemate. 3 Bxb3 Rh2+! Farewell to the second rook. ½-½ 4 Kxh2 is stalemate, while 4 Kg3 Rg2+ 5 Kf4 Rf2+ 6 Ke5 Rxf6 7 Kxf6 leads to the well-known draw with bishop and wrong rook’s pawn.

White to play

Beliavsky – Christiansen Reggio Emilia 1987/8 Black, a piece down, is looking for a draw by stalemate or perpetual check. White cannot take the enemy queen, because after 1 Qxf7? there is perpetual check on h3, g3, f3 and e3. But he could win with 1 Ng4+!, opening a square for the black king, in addition to which the pawn (after 1...hxg4) can advance. However, he was tempted by another more attractive continuation... 1 Rd7?! White to play

Rovner – Goldin Leningrad 1939 In this position with four queens Black threatens mate in two: 1...Rxg3+! 2 hxg3 Qh1#, and 1 Qxe1? is of no use, because then there is another mate in two: 1...Qf5+ 2 Kh4 Qg4#. The best that White can do is look for a forced sequence that will lead to stalemate. Bearing in mind that the knight, the pawns and the king are all immobilized, the ‘only’ thing he has to do is get rid of his two queens. 1 Qa7+! Kh6 1...Kg8 2 Qb8+ Kg7 3 Qa7+ repeats. 2 Qf4+ Qxf4 3 Qh7+! Kg5 3...Kxh7 is immediate stalemate. 4 Qxg6+ Kxg6 Stalemate. This type of manoeuvre reminds one of bicycle races in which the winner is the one who comes last.

The h3 point is covered and 1...Qxe6?? is not possible because of 2 Rh7#. 1...Qxf6! 2 Qxf6?? White could still win by 2 Rh7+! Kxh7 3 Qxf6. 2...Rh2+!! ½-½ After 3 Kxh2 Rg2+!, 4 Kxg2 is stalemate, while 4 Kh1 Rg1+! pursues the white king on the g-file. Competitive situations where a player gains a great material advantage can be psychologically dangerous for that player. In such cases, selfdiscipline and concentration tend to become relaxed and, more often than is desirable, the material advantage turns against its possessor like a boomerang.

White to play

Black to play

Evans – Reshevsky

McNab – Groszpeter

USA Ch, New York 1963/4

Nørresundby 1992

In this game Black took it for granted that his opponent was going to resign from one moment to the next and he did not pay much attention to what was happening on the board. The sin of relaxing too soon can affect even the greatest of players!

White is a piece up, threatens mate in one... The panorama is desolate, but Black, a Hungarian GM, is saved thanks to the old stalemate trick.

1 h4! Re2+ 2 Kh1 Qxg3?? GM Samuel Reshevsky did not bother to check if there was a hidden problem here, and now White forces a draw, because he has created a stalemate plot. Black could maintain a winning position with 2...Qg6 3 Rf8 Qe6. Next was: 3 Qg8+! Kxg8 4 Rxg7+ ½-½ If anything is taken, White is stalemated, and if the black king moves, the rook pursues it the length of the seventh rank. For example: 4...Kh8 5 Rh7+ or 4...Kf8 5 Rf7+, etc. I have always seen this position with the black rook already on e2 and the white king on h1 (that is, after 2 Kh1), and more than one author has suggested that White’s last move had been g3, when it is much more shocking that the black queen takes the g3pawn without thinking twice about it. As the game developed, however, it is more plausible, because it seems that White has missed the check on e2 and, consequently, to have concluded that the game ‘wins itself’.

1...Nf3+! 1...Nh3+? is a serious error, as it is met by 2 Kh2 Qxf1 3 Qh7+ Kg4 4 Qh4#. 2 Kg2 If 2 exf3, 2...Qxf1+!. Notice here the precision of the sacrifice of the knight, since the white pawn on f3 takes mobility away from the only black pawn which could move, thus completing the stalemate framework. After 3 Kh2 (3 Kxf1 stalemate) 3...Qh1+! 4 Kxh1 it is stalemate. Another line is 2 Kf2 Qe1+ 3 Kg2 (3 Kxf3?? Qxf1#) 3...Qxe2+!!. 2...Qxe2+!! 3 Bxe2 ½-½ Stalemate. Although Black still has a knight, it cannot move because it is pinned. We have a very different stalemate framework in the following position, in which White manages to be saved thanks to geometrical peculiarities worthy of an artistic study.

White to play

White to play

Ribnikov – Kovalenko

W.E. Rudolph

Moscow 1999

La Stratégie, 1912

It is really difficult to imagine how White can manage to draw here, a piece down and, above all, with a large number of squares available for his king. 1 d6! exd6 2 Kd3 This is all very well. Now White will have to get rid of his two remaining pawns and manage to contain his own king in a stalemate scheme. 2...Bxg3 3 a5 d5 4 a6 Bb8 5 a7! The crux of the matter. 5...Bxa7 The bishop captures White’s last pawn and, as he does so, very reluctantly, defends the pawn on d4, with stalemate.

5.4: Fortress and Blockade There are many positions in which the difference in material would normally be sufficient to win, but the defender manages to bring about a situation where there is no way for the opponent to win. This kind of invulnerable position is called a fortress. There are also other cases where the stronger side’s inability to make progress is due to the closed or blocked nature of the position. The first example is a well-known study in which, despite the spectacular result of the manoeuvre, the initial position is not so far-fetched, since the deployment of the pieces and the pawn-structure offer a rational vision of a possible struggle.

Certainly the situation of the pawns (with five points of tension) would not be at all easy to encounter in a game, but both chains can often be seen in competitive play. What would be most striking is the material balance, since Black has two rooks for a bishop. Of course, this could be the culmination of a combination... 1 Ba4+!! Kxa4 1...Kc4 2 Bb3+ Kb5 3 Ba4+. 2 b3+ Kb5 3 c4+ Now we are getting the idea: White is aiming to create a position of absolute blockade in which the opposing pieces cannot penetrate the pawn-barrier. 3...Kc6 4 d5+ Kd7 5 e6+! This sacrifice of the last piece is a nice finishing touch to the composition. 5...Kxd8 6 f5 Now a totally impregnable position has been created. The game is drawn.

Black to play

Ilivitsky – Averbakh USSR Ch, Moscow 1948 In this case White has set a trap, offering the g4pawn, with the idea of winning a piece, thanks to the check on c8. However, Black, an endings expert, decided to fall into the trap. 1...Nxg4+!? 2 Rxg4 Rxg4 3 Bc8+ Kd6 4 Bxg4 Kc6 Now it is clear that Black will construct a fortress, placing his king on b8 and White will be unable to win the a7-pawn, leading to an inevitable draw. White to play

F. Simkhovich (end of a study) Pravda, 1926 In this ending the most vulnerable point in White’s position, b2, turns out to be critical, since if that pawn were to be lost, the black pawn on b3 would prove unstoppable. This is why White’s next move prevents 1...Rb1. 1 Bf5! Ra2!

Black to play

Ree – Hort Wijk aan Zee 1986 It appears that Black cannot save his g6-pawn, after which White’s g5-pawn would be decisive. However, GM Vlastimil Hort is going to save the game with a subtle drawing combination. 1...Rxh4!! 2 Kxh4 Bd4! The logical consequence of the exchange sacrifice: a curious domination move, depriving the queen of its escape-squares on the long diagonal (g7 and h8). Now White can make no progress, because Black has constructed a kind of fortress. The queen cannot actually be captured, but neither can it move anywhere. 3 Kg3 Ke7 4 Kf3 Ba1 ½-½ Very instructive. An exception? Certainly, but exceptions contain ideas which, as well as being original, are useful and can be put into practice.

The black rook finds another way to attack b2, since, if White captures it, he will not be able to prevent the promotion of the a2-pawn. Nevertheless... 2 Nxa2! bxa2 3 Kc1 a1Q+ 4 Bb1 Now the queen has been neutralized, since it has no squares, so now neither side can do anything other than maintain the status quo. It’s a draw.

5.5: Positional Draws In this section we include those combinations where the aim is to reduce the material present on the board so that there is no way for the stronger side to force mate. A very well known case is the ending of bishop and wrong rook’s pawn vs king. If the pawn’s queening square is of the opposite colour to the squares controlled by the bishop, then as long as the defending king can reach the corner square, it is a draw. It is essential to know such technical details, because survival in a game, or victory, can depend on them. As we shall see, this particular draw occurs fairly frequently in practice.

White threatens mate in one and attacks the bishop on a8, so Black’s situation seems critical. The path to salvation must have something to do with his valuable passed pawn. 1...Rxh4+! 2 Kxh4 Bd5! ½-½ The bishop is immune from capture (3 Bxd5? e2) and its double attack allows Black to force the draw. For example: 3 Rg4 Bf6+ 4 Kg3 Be5+ 5 Kh3 e2 6 Bxe2 (6 Rh4+ Kg5 7 Bxe2 Bxg2+ 8 Kxg2 Kxh4 is a draw) 6...Be6, with a clearly drawn ending.

White to play

G. Greco Le lev des Eschets, 1621 The master Gioacchino Greco, nicknamed the Calabrian, already taught us, in the 17th century, that there are certain positions in which, even though the defender is unable to restore the material balance, he can nevertheless bring about a position on the board which enables him to draw, because the attacker simply lacks the means to force a win. For example, this position, with White to play and draw.

Black to play

1 Rh8+ Rc8 2 Rxc8+ Kxc8 3 Ba6!! A move which is not only spectacular, but also very strong, because if 3...bxa6 a theoretically drawn position occurs, since the bishop cannot control the promotion square of the rook’s pawn. On the other hand, if he declines to take the bishop, since the pawn is pinned, Black will be unable to prevent 4 Bxb7, reproducing, to all intents and purposes, the same situation on the board.

Van der Sterren – Douven Amsterdam 1989 White is a piece up and has a strong passed pawn on c6, which means that it seems impossible for Black to save the game. But his knowledge of technical resources allowed the young Rudy Douven to add a half-point to his score. Let’s see how. 1...Rxe7! 2 Rh8+ 2 Qxe7 Qf5+! leads to a draw by stalemate. 2...Kxh8 3 Qxe7 White is relying on promoting his pawn. 3...Qd3 Threatening 4...Qh7#. 4 g5 Kh7 5 Kg4 The only move. The threat was 5...Qf3#, and 5 gxf6?? is not possible owing to 5...Qf5# (or 5...Qg6#). 5...Qc4+ ½-½ Next comes 6...Qxc6.

Black to play

Bator – Bareev Saltsjöbaden 1987/8

White to play

Portisch – Kavalek Montreal 1979 If ever there was a won ending, it should be this one: a bishop and two connected passed pawns against a knight. Of course there exists a little twist in this position: one of the pawns is a rook’s pawn and the bishop is the ‘wrong’ one (it cannot control the queening square a8). Therefore if the b3-pawn and the knight were to disappear from the board, the ending would be drawn. Therefore White needs to take great care to prevent the knight from sacrificing itself for the b-pawn. Black to play

Dürsch – Tarrasch Nuremberg 1908 This example is a famous classic. White threatens mate on h7 and controls all the possible enemy invasion points (d1, c1, f3). However, Black manages to defend himself with a brilliant drawing sequence. 1...Rc7!! A double deflection, exploiting the strength of the black queen and knight. If 2 Qxc7?? then 2...Qf3+ and mate, while 2 Rxc7?? allows 2...Qd1#. At the same time, the move is a great defensive interference, since it neutralizes the threat of mate on h7 and attacks both major white pieces with coldblooded impunity! 2 b5!!

1 b4? The very blunder that allows Black to draw. 1...Nb8! 2 Kc4 The threat was 2...Nc6+ (if 2 b5, then 2...Nc6+! anyway, since 3 bxc6 Kxc6 is a draw). 2...Nc6 3 Kb5 Nxb4! Fulfilling the technical requirement to bring about a draw. But White has the right to carry on playing: 4 Kb6 4 Bxb4+ Kc7 and the black king reaches the a8square. 4...Nd3 ½-½ Now the only way to preserve the pawn is 5 Bc3, which will be answered with 5...Kd7, since 6 Kb7 fails to 6...Nc5+ and 7...Nxa4.

A high-class reply. White now threatens 3 Bf8#. 2...Qd1+ 2...Qe2!? 3 Rxh7+ Kxh7 4 Qxc7+ Kh8 is also a draw. 3 Rxd1 Rxb7 With an ending that should end in a draw.

White to play

Balashov – Maslov Vilnius 1966 Everything suggests that White has a winning position, if it were not for a small detail: the weakness of his back rank and the strong enemy

bishop on f3, which might enable threats of mate to be created. 1 b7? One path to victory is the precise 1 Qc2+ e4 2 Rxa8 Qxa8 3 Qb1.

Now he errs; with 6...Qc2+! he could have achieved a decisive advantage after 7 R5e2 Qc6+ 8 Kg1 Ke7 or 7 Kg3 Qc7 8 Kf3 Qc6+, etc. 7 Rxe6 Qd5+ 8 R6e4! Neither side can win. The game was later drawn.

1...Qxd6!? 1...Rxa7? is insufficient due to 2 Qxa7 Qc7 3 Qa3! followed by Qb2, but 1...Rb8! also holds. 2 Qc2+ 2 Qxd6? loses to 2...Rxa7 3 Qxe5 Rxb7 4 Qe1 Be4. 2...Be4 3 bxa8Q Bxc2 4 Qb7 Qf8 5 Qc7 Bf5 6 Qxe5 Kg6! Next move Black will succeed in creating a drawn position with 7...Qf6.

White to play

Timman – Kurajica Indonesia 1983 GM Jan Timman achieved a very unusual draw here. He has problems on his queenside, because the pressure on his b2-bishop is very troublesome, worsening the situation of the other bishop, which is also on the second rank. 1 Rxd4 Qe7 Black to play

Kholmov – Gretarsson Pardubice 1999 Here Black is playing to win, considering that the white king is exposed and his own pieces are well placed to attack. But White’s position is solid and it is essential to play with precision, i.e. as usual. 1...Rxe5!! A very accurate exchange sacrifice, which eliminates White’s most active piece, thus weakening the f3-point. 2 Rxe5 Bxf3! Now the attack seems bound to triumph. 3 Qxf3 Nxd3 4 Qxf8+ Kxf8 5 cxd3 Qxd3+ 6 Kg2 The best option. If 6 R1e2 then 6...Kf7, while 6 Kg1 is met by 6...Qd4+ 7 Kh1 Qf2 8 R5e2 Qf3+ 9 Kg1 Qg4+ 10 Kh1 Ke7, and Black wins in both cases. 6...Kf7?

Now if 2 Rd2?, Black wins with 2...Qb4. 2 Qxa2! A subtle technical resource on the part of Timman. The continuation was: 2...Bxa2 3 Rxa4 Bd5 4 Bd4 Qg5 5 f3 h5 ½-½ The players agreed a draw because the position is dynamically balanced. White can continue with 6 Ra7 or 6 h3, and it seems that Black cannot make progress.


Exercise 93: Black to play ☆ The material disadvantage and the threat of Qe6+ convince Black that he must force a draw. How?

Exercise 94: White to play ☆ The attacked rook places White in a compromising situation. What would you play here?

Carpe diem! Seize the moment!, as the Latin proverb says.

Exercise 96: White to play ☆ Black’s threats on the long diagonal are tremendous. Is there some way of neutralizing them?

Exercise 97: White to play ☆☆ As well as being two pawns up, Black has direct threats against the white king. How can you parry them?

Exercise 95: Black to play ☆ Exercise 98: Black to play ☆☆

It seems impossible that this ending is not winning, but the peculiarities of the position, plus it being Black’s move, work the miracle.

Exercise 101: White to play ☆☆ Black has just played ...d4, opening up the long diagonal with the threat of ...Rxg2+. What is White’s best defence?

Exercise 99: White to play ☆☆ To prevent the check on f4 it is essential to have something more than a magic wand: use the top part of your anatomy.

Exercise 102: White to play ☆☆ White could scarcely have more problems: queen pinned and h1-rook threatened... Watch out: 1 Kc6? is no use.

Exercise 100: White to play ☆☆ Black’s material advantage is about to tip the game in his favour, but White has a dynamic resource.

Exercise 103: White to play ☆☆ The truth is that it is better not to reach a position like this, if you want to achieve something positive. White to play and draw.

Exercise 104: Black to play ☆☆ Black is looking for a draw, because of his two threatened pieces, but in the end it will be White who forces matters.

Exercise 107: Black to play ☆☆ The black king has three possible moves, but only one is good (the other two lead to a draw).

Exercise 108: White to play ☆☆☆ Exercise 105: White to play ☆☆ Black has just played ...Qe8xNa4, securing a material advantage. How to compensate for this?

It looks difficult for White to save the game, with the h2-pawn about to queen. But you can manage it.

Exercise 109: Black to play ☆☆☆ Exercise 106: Black to play ☆☆ The threat of Rh1+ determines the outcome of the game. What can you come up with to neutralize it?

White threatens mate by doubling rooks on Black’s back rank. The question is how to neutralize that threat.


Black to play

95) Keres – Kholmov

Black to play

USSR Ch, Moscow 1948

93) Stojanovski – Guzel Tuzla 1958 1...Qxh2+!

Black made use of a stalemate idea to regain the pawn: 1...Qg4+!

You had two chances to solve this exercise, as 1...Ng4 also draws, since White must give perpetual check; e.g., 2 Qe6+ Kf8, etc. But from a practical viewpoint, forcing a draw yourself is more foolproof.

Now 2 fxg4 would be stalemate. So White instead moved his king and the game was drawn some moves later.

2 Kxh2 Ng4+ 3 Kh3 Nxf2+ 4 Kh2 Ng4+ ½-½ Perpetual check.

White to play

96) Vagalinsky – Padevsky Plovdiv 1979 White to play

94) Smyslov – Vasiukov Moscow 1961 1 Rh5+!! gxh5 1...Kxh5? 2 Qxg7. 2 Qd6+ ½-½ It’s perpetual check: 2...Qg6 3 Qf8+ Qg7 4 Qd6+.

Yes, with 1 Bd3! Qxd3 2 Qg7+! Kxg7 there is a draw by stalemate.

4 Kxf4 is stalemate, while 4 Kh5 Qf7! repeats.

White to play

97) Taimanov – Geller

White to play

USSR Ch, Moscow 1951

99) F. Plonnings Deutsche Schachzeiting, 1908

1 Rxg8 In the game, White lost after 1 Qe3? Ra8.

1 Nc7! Bxc7

1...Kxg8 2 Rg3+!! Qxg3 3 Qb8+ Kg7 4 Qg8+! Kxg8

1...Ba7 2 Nd5.


2...Bxe5 stalemate.

2 Be5 Ba5 3 Bc3 Bb6 4 Bd4 Stalemate or repetition of moves.

Black to play

98) Atanasov – Spiridonov Ruse 1978

White to play


100) Kensmin – Davidson

In fact, the tablebases tell us that 1...Qe2 also holds a draw, but of course this would require further accurate play, and be a poor practical choice!

1 Nxg6! fxg6 2 Rh8+! Kf7

2 Qg6+

Not 2...Kxh8?? 3 f7+ and 4 fxe8Q.

2 Kg5 Qd5+ 3 Kg6 (3 Kf4?? Qd2+ and 4...Qxh6) 3...Qf7+.

3 Rh7+ Kf8

2...Kh8!! 3 Kg5 3 Qxf7 is instant stalemate. 3...Qf4+!! ½-½

USSR 1958

It’s a draw by perpetual check. Again, Black must avoid 3...Kg8?? 4 f7+.

2 Kc6!! Rxd5 3 Rb8+! Kxb8 Stalemate.

White to play

101) Averbakh – Bondarevsky USSR Ch, Moscow 1948 1 Bxe4! Bxe4 2 Bg5!

White to play

103) J. Haring

Now Black’s best course was 2...Bxg2 3 Bxe7 Bf3+ 4 Kf1 Bg2+, with a draw by perpetual check. Instead, 2...Qxg5? 3 Qxe4 Rf4 4 Qd5+ and 2...Qf7? (as played in the game) 3 Qxe4 Qxf2+ 4 Kh1 Rxg5 5 Rf1 are good for White.

Suomen Shakki, 1952 1 Bc2+ Kg7 2 Bf6+ Kf8 3 Nd7+ Ke8 4 Ba4! Qa7 5 Ne5+ Kf8 6 Be7+ Kg7 6...Kxe7 7 Nc6+ or 6...Qxe7 7 Ng6+ – always the knight fork in action! 7 Bf6+ Kf8 8 Be7+ It’s a draw by repetition.

White to play

102) I. Kuznetsov – Kotkov Russia 1993 1 Rh8+! 1 Rb8+! Kxb8 2 Rb1+ is another version of the same idea, and also works: 2...Kc7 3 Rb7+ Kc8 4 Kc6 Rxd5 (4...Nd8+?? 5 Qxd8+ Kxd8 6 Rb8#) 5 Rb8+ Kxb8 stalemate. But not 1 Kc6? Rxd5 2 Rb8+ Kxb8 3 Rh8+ (3 Rb1+ Rb5) 3...Rd8, when Black wins. 1...Nxh8 Black must avoid 1...Kc7?? 2 Rb7# and 1...Nd8?? 2 Rxd8+ Kc7 3 Rb7#.

Black to play

104) Svidler – Piket Internet 2000 1...Ne3+! 2 fxe3 Qe2+ 3 Qf2 Qxa6 4 Qf8+ Kh7 5 Qf7+ Kh6 6 Qf8+ Kh7 7 Qf7+ ½-½ It’s a draw by perpetual check.

White to play

Black to play

105) Tal – Geller

107) Wahls – Hort

USSR Ch, Tbilisi 1978

Switzerland 1992

1 Rxf7!


White can equally well play 1 Bxf7+!, which transposes after 1...Rxf7 2 Rxf7 Kxf7, while the extra option it gives Black, of 1...Kh8 2 Qxe4, seems roughly balanced.

Black avoids an immediate draw, whereupon his extra pawns prove decisive. The other two options only result in a draw: 1...Ke1? (as in the game) 2 Qg3+! Qxg3, or 1...Kf1? 2 Qf4+!.

1...Rxf7 2 Bxf7+ Kxf7 3 Qf5+! Ke7 3...Kg8?? 4 Qd5+. 4 Qxe4+ Kd7 5 Qb7+ Ke6 6 Qe4+ Kd7 ½-½

White to play

108) L. Kubbel Rigaer Tageblatt, 1914 Black to play

106) Nismeev – Boltobekov Moscow 1991

1 c7! Kb7 1...Bf5 2 Bg6! h1Q 3 Bxf5 Qh4+ 4 Kd7, and the white pawn queens.

1...Rxg6+! 2 Qxg6 Bf2+! 3 Kxf2

2 Kd8 Bf5 3 Bg6! h1Q

3 Kg4 Bxe1 4 d6 Bc3 5 d7 Bf6 should also end in a draw.

If the black bishop moves away along the h3-c8 diagonal, then 4 Bxe4+, covering the h1-square.

3...Qxf4+ 4 Ke2

4 c8Q+!! Bxc8 5 Bxe4+! Qxe4

4 Kg2 Qf2+! 5 Kh3 Qh4+! 6 Kg2 Qf2+.

Stalemate. The bishop covers the d7-square and the queen the entire e-file.

4...Qe3+ 5 Kd1 Qd2+ 6 Kxd2 Stalemate.

Black to play

109) Shantharam – Prasad Madras 1994 1...Ba5!! The only move; 1...Rd7? loses to 2 h5! (but not 2 Raa8? g5); if 1...Rxd3? then 2 Raa8 wins. 2 Rxa5 Rdxd3 3 g4 Not 3 Bf4? exf4 4 Raa8 Rb2+ and mate next move, while 3 Raa8 is met by 3...Rxg3+ 4 Kf2 Rbf3+ 5 Ke2 Rxf5. 3...Rg3+ 4 Kf2 Rbf3+ 5 Ke2 e4! 6 Raa8 6 Bd2? Rg2+ 7 Kd1 (or 7 Ke1 e3) 7...e3 is winning for Black. 6...Rg2+ 7 Ke1 Rg1+ 8 Ke2 Rg2+ It’s a draw by perpetual check.

6: Combined Tactical Themes According to the classical understanding, a combination consist of a motif and a theme. But the course of a chess game, like life itself, is a struggle in which the events of the game are neither so clean nor so perfectly discernible. There are alternatives, attacks and counterattacks, threats from one side and the other, a degree of confusion. In most cases, various different elements are involved in a combination. There can be several motifs and several themes which overlap and complement each other. Even in a case where the attacking side is the only one with any say in the matter (for it can happen that he has to deal with eventual counterattacks or changes of rhythm) the themes which play their part complement each other and blend together (sometimes even in a confusing way) in order to bring about an effective sequence of play. Such a fusion of tactical themes occurs in the following position:

Clearing the d-file for the d8-rook (2...Be4+ also works). 3 axb3 Qc1+! Deflection of the white rook and, at the same time, forcing White to self-block the c1-square, which is covered at the moment by the h6-bishop, but which will not be when the time comes to carry out the mate. 4 Rxc1 Rd2# As we have seen, no fewer than four themes were involved in this pretty mating combination. An exposed king is always a tactical factor of the first order. The outcome of the game is linked to the fate of the kings, so it is clear that the safety of one’s own king is a matter of supreme importance, as is exploiting the possible lack of security of the opposing king. Both in FCM (Parts 3 and 4), and in Chapter 4 of this book, this fact has been emphasized more than a little. A player who is very aware of the tactical significance of an exposed king cannot help but make the correct judgement in situations where one of the kings is balancing on the tightrope in order to survive. Let’s examine a curious case.

Black to play

Bulakh – Petrov

White to play

Moscow 1951

De Villiers – L. Ball

Black has already won the positional battle and has sufficient trumps in hand for there to exist a winning combination: the pair of bishops, the dominant position of the queen, open files for his rooks and a seriously exposed enemy king.

South African Ch, Port Elizabeth 2000

1...Rxf3! An exchange sacrifice, inspired by the theme of removing the guard. 2 gxf3 Bxb3+!

This position was reached after ...Qh3-h5. The history of the game can be summarised like this: Black sacrificed the exchange to break up the enemy attack and also to try to exploit his passed central pawn, relying on the power of his bishop. But the development of the game has allowed White’s own passed pawn to reach the penultimate square of its run. At this moment, against all logic, White played 1 Qe2?, and ended up losing the game. A reporter

made this comment about the situation: “The ending is lost for White, since nothing clearly better can be seen. The intrepid black king has obtained, on e5 and with queen and rooks on the board, a phenomenal hideout.”

advantage becomes more tangible and more pressing. In the case of zugzwang combinations, as a rule the situations are more subtle and have, in contrast, the great advantage of being irreversible. In other words, if Player A manages to create a zugzwang situation, it is obvious that Player B will lose (or perhaps Player A will manage to draw, when everything was pointing to an inevitable defeat).

So phenomenal is the hideout that, precisely because of the exposed situation of the black king, White is in a position to force unconditional surrender in just one move: 1 Rg8!, and Black can resign with a clear conscience, since 1...Rxf7 is not possible because of 2 Re8+ and mate next move.

Material Gain

A tactical player should realize that, with major pieces present, a king in the centre of the board that lacks a single flight-square is probably not going to escape unscathed. There must be something.

Sometimes winning material can be as easy as in the following case. Bear in mind that here we are talking about two experienced players: International Master Rudolf Teschner and Grandmaster Paul Keres.

We shall divide the rest of the chapter into the following themes: 6.1: Material, Endings, Zugzwang 6.2: One Sacrifice after Another 6.3: Extraordinary Combinations 6.4: A Diabolical Position

6.1: Material, Endings, Zugzwang The chessboard gives rise to all kinds of situations, in which the player must evaluate many factors. Sometimes it is enough to take the trouble to detect the most sensitive spot in the opponent’s position. In this section we shall study cases which best represent combinations with the following objectives:

Black to play

Teschner – Keres W.Germany-USSR, Hamburg 1960

Advantageous Endgames

Black brings about a technical liquidation which leaves not the slightest hint of doubt as to the outcome:

Forcing a Zugzwang Position

1...Qxd4! 2 Rxd4 Rc1+

Of course, all these positions could, in turn, be classified under different types of concrete objectives. For example, in the case of combinations to win material, each one could aim at a completely different target, from trapping a queen to winning a pawn, passing through taking a stray piece or winning the exchange.

White loses his rook after 3 Qg1 Rxg1+ 4 Kxg1 Bc5 and will be a piece down.

Material Gain

Transition into an endgame by means of a combination is one of the most effective weapons of the seasoned player. The position may be more or less equally balanced. There may be minimal, barely detectable advantages. But the skilled player can detect the mechanisms which allow him not only to fight for victory in a foreseeable endgame, but also to bring about that endgame by force, so that his

Attention to certain geometrical peculiarities (the relationship between lines, contacts, etc.) can be enough to grasp the essential detail, as in the following example.

Lokvenc – Benko Bad Gastein 1948 Black is a piece up, but with the attack on the queen and the pin on the rook it seems that White can make life complicated for him. However, once again, the advantage of having the move is magnificently exploited. 1...Nd3! An unexpected and decisive shot. 2 Bxe6 Nf2+! 3 Kg1 If 3 Qxf2, 3...Qxd1+ 4 Qg1 Qxg1+ 5 Kxg1 fxe6. White to play

Mattison – Apšeniecks Riga 1929

3...Qxd1+ 4 Qxd1 Nxd1 5 Bg4 Ne3 0-1 Black has simplified, retaining his extra piece. The ending does not offer the slightest possibility of putting up a fight.

What do we mean by geometrical peculiarities? Let’s look, for example, at how the white queen, parked on h6, attacks the f8-rook, how the white rook on d1 pins the enemy bishop and how the black queen is situated on the same file as the enemy rook on e1. Can we not make use of these contacts, pins and possible discovered attacks? White wins a piece with consummate ease: 1 Rxd6! Removing the guard of the f8-bishop. 1...Rxd6 2 Qxf8+! Decoying the black king into a discovered attack. 2...Kxf8 3 Bh6+ 1-0

Black to play

Next comes 4 Rxe4. These were by no means weak players, but a detail can pass unnoticed and the circumstances of the game sometimes lead to situations that get out of control, at least for one of the contenders.

Bouwmeester – Galliamova Ladies vs Veterans, Munich 2000 Sometimes activating a piece at the expense of a pawn can be enough to tip the balance towards one side. That is what happens in this position, in which the white pieces are very poorly coordinated, with the queen’s knight still on its original square and the b3-rook with no safe square to move to. 1...f5! The threat is 2...Bf7, winning the rook on b3. 2 Bxf5 Bf7 Unexpectedly, Black has optimized his forces, and the fire from his bishops, along adjacent diagonals, sweeps the board. 3 Rd3?

Black to play

The only option was 3 Rc3 Bxc3 (not 3...Rd1+? 4 Ke2 Rxb1?, because of 5 Rc8+ and 6 Bxb1) 4 Nxc3, although with little hope of resistance.

3...Bc4 4 Ke2 Rhd6 0-1

Gershon – Senff World Junior Ch, Erevan 2000 Both kings are still in the centre and the position is ‘red in tooth and claw’, i.e. open to violence. However, White is in a position to tip the scales rapidly in his favour. 1 Qxb6! Our subconscious mind tends to ascribe to the queen an almost sacred value and we tend to think that any protected piece is safe from the queen. Why do we not calculate, like when a minor piece, for instance, is attacked by a rook? 1...Rg4

Black to play

Nilsson – Pietzsch Varna Olympiad 1962 Since White will be unable to keep his pair of bishops, he will be left with the disadvantage of one pawn against two on the queenside. In addition, Black will immediately exploit another peculiarity of the position.

1...axb6 is met by 2 Rxa8+ Bc8 3 Bb5+ (also the simple 3 Rxc8+ Kd7 4 Rxg8 brings White a huge amount of material in exchange for the queen: to be precise, two rooks and two minor pieces!) 3...Kf8 4 Bf6!, and then mate. Or 1...Rxg2 2 Qb7. 2 Rxa7! 1-0 2...Rxa7 3 Qd8#.

1...Rxc4! 2 Rxc4 Ne4! This quiet move is the key to the combination. The threat is 3...Bxc4 and 4...Nd2, with a fork. 3 Qc2? 3 Rd1? is no use because of 3...Nd6. White’s only hope is 3 d5!. It is best met by 3...Bxc4 4 Qxc4 Qxd5, with a fairly useful extra pawn, rather than 3...exd5? 4 Qg4 g6 5 Rxe4 dxe4 6 Ra1, when White has good compensation. 3...Bxc4 0-1 After 4 Qxc4 Nd2 5 Qd3 Nxf1, Black’s pseudosacrifice of the exchange has ended up winning the exchange.

White to play

Filippov – Short European Team Ch, Batumi 1999 Everything is very orderly here, but the black pieces have not moved beyond their third rank, so that White exerts a strong spatial control and is in a position to implement that advantage. 1 Nxc7! Rxc7 2 Nd5 The simple 2 Bxd6 Bxd6 3 Rxd6 is also good. 2...Bf5 3 Nxc7 Qc8 4 e4 1-0 After 4...Qxc7 5 exf5, White has, in addition to the extra pawn, the bishop-pair and a dominant position.

White to play

A double attack, exploiting the fact that the black queen is overloaded. 1...Qa4 2 Qc2 White could have continued with 2 Rxe8+ Qxe8 3 Qxf5, reaching the same position as after move 4. 2...Qc6 3 Rxe8+ Qxe8 4 Qxf5 Nb6 5 Ne3 Qa4? In an inferior position, and a pawn down, Black commits this new blunder. Perhaps 5...c6 and 5...d5 were the only possibilities to keep fighting. 6 Ng5! 1-0 Decisive: mate cannot be prevented. White to play

Kramnik – Kozlov USSR 1989 It seems that Black has a fairly solid position here, with the annoying knight on e2, which practically forces White to sacrifice the exchange... and it turns out that the sacrifice is no concession at all, but a winning move! 1 Rxe2! Qxe2 2 Rxg7+! Kxg7 2...Kh8? allows 3 Qh7#. 3 Bxh6+ Nxh6 4 Qxe2 White has a winning ending, with a queen and two pawns for the two black rooks.

White to play

Tkachev – Van der Wiel Théoule-sur-Mer (8) 1999 In the eighth game of a friendly match between these two grandmasters, they reached this position, where Tkachev noticed the strange position of the black queen, which at first sight seems very at ease, but is in fact in some difficulties... 1 Nh4! An excellent move, which curiously helps to trap the black queen. 1...gxh4 2 Be4 The queen has no good flight-square as 2...Qh3 3 Bxh7+! leads to mate. The game continued...

White to play

Pomes – Teran Spanish Team Ch, Cala Galdana 1999 The weakness of Black’s back rank and the fact that the black queen is tied to the defence of its rook produce a situation here in which White can win material. 1 Qd3!

2...Bxc5 3 Bxf5 exf5 4 dxc5 Nd5 5 Qh5 ...and White soon won.

White to play

Black to play

Anić – Marciano

Kasparov – Shirov

French Ch, Besançon 1999

Linares 2000

White has an undoubted space advantage, but his bad bishop and apparent difficulty in penetrating the enemy position make this endgame interesting. To begin with, it is White to move and he is able to gain material with a simple combination.

In this position there occurred a curious case of chess blindness. It was Black’s turn to play, and he had the possibility of aiming for a draw with the natural capture on d4, but he was fixated on the powerful presence of the white rooks doubled on the seventh rank and he rushed to play...

1 Rxf6! Kxf6 2 Rd6+ Re6 2...Kg7 3 f6+. 3 fxe6 Rxe6

1...Nc8?? ...which was a serious error.

An ending has come about in which, despite being a piece down, Black intends to resist, because the white bishop is so restricted by its own pawns. The technical process that follows is instructive.

The best course of action seems to be 1...Rxd4, and if 2 Rxf7 then 2...Rxe4 3 Rg7+ Kf8 4 Rxh7 Kg8 5 Rag7+ Kf8 6 Rxg6 Nc4 7 Rgg7, with a probable draw. Now White has a strong move:

4 Rd7 Re7 5 Rd8 c5 6 Kg3 Ke6 7 Kf2 Rd7 8 Rxd7 Kxd7 9 Ke3 Kc6 10 Kd2 b6 11 Kc3 Kb7 12 Kb2 Kc7 13 Ka3 Kd6 14 Ka4 Kc6 15 Be2 f6 16 Bf3 Kb7 17 Kb5

2 Rab7! Rxb7

Now it is clear that the invasion by the white king will solve the problem. The game ended like this:

2...Ra8 3 Rb4. 3 Rxc8+ Kg7 4 Bxb7 Rxd4 5 g4 h5 6 g5 and White won 16 moves later.

17...Kc7 18 Ka6 Kc6 19 Be2 Kc7 20 Ka7 Kc6 21 Kb8 1-0 Black is in zugzwang.

White to play

Ehlvest – Rey San Francisco 2000

Black seems better here, with all his pieces active. But he has a weakness in his position or, more precisely, two of them: the pawn on e4 and the situation of his queen on h4. This last factor (together with the rook on f4) must have suggested to GM Jaan Ehlvest the idea of a pawn fork. Now, between the idea and the execution... 1 Nxe4! Be5 After 1...Rxe4 2 g3 Rxe1 (since otherwise the rook is lost) 3 gxh4 Rxf1+ 4 Kxf1 gxh4, Black has few prospects of putting up serious resistance. 2 Qd3 2 g3 Qxh3 3 Nxg5 Qg4. Black to play

2...Re8 3 g3 Qxh3 4 Nxg5 Qg4?

E. Torre – Z. Almasi

4...Qf5 seems better, but after 5 Qxf5 Rxf5 6 f4 Bd4+ 7 Kg2, White has a winning ending. 5 Qxh7+ Kf8 6 Qh6+ Ke7 7 Qg7+ Kd8 8 Ne6+ Black resigned after seven more moves.

Elista Olympiad 1998 Whether doomed or not, the passed c3-pawn influences the whole play. By virtue of that factor, and with the help, naturally, of a splendid piece deployment, Black has an enormous advantage. But it is not over yet and being the side to move is a great help to Black in that sense. 1...Nxf2! Black dictates the pace of the game, thanks to the presence of the pawn on c3. 2 Rbxc3 2 Rxf2 is answered with 2...Rxf2 3 Kxf2 Qc5+ 4 Kf3 (4 Ke2 Rd2+ 5 Ke1 Qf2#) 4...Rf8+, winning easily. 2...Rd1+ 3 Nf1 3 Kh2? allows 3...Rh1#.

White to play

Ji. Nun – Sapis Hradec Kralove 1987

3...Rxf1+! 4 Kxf1 Nd1+ 0-1 If 5 Rf3 (5 Kg1 Nxc3) then 5...Rxf3+ 6 gxf3 Ne3+ and 7...Nxc2.

Black seems to have a solid position, with his pieces well deployed. Nevertheless, White has a much more aggressive set-up and there are some tactical details that favour a winning combination. Once again, the remoteness of the black queen turns into a defensive deficit on the kingside. 1 Nxf7!! Bxf7 2 Nc3! Rxc3 If 2...Nxc3 then 3 Qxf7+ Kh8 4 Rxe7 Ne2+ 5 Kh1 Rg8 6 Rxd7, winning. 3 bxc3 Qc6 4 Rxe7! Nxe7 5 Qxf7+ Kh8 6 Qxe7 White is two pawns up with a dominant position. Black to play

Rozentalis – Bologan Belfort 1995 Black has sharpened the game to make castling difficult for the opponent, and he is about to make the action more intense, to take advantage of the superior deployment of his pieces. White has in his favour the h-file, which leaves his king only with two options: staying in the centre and castling queenside, where in this case there are dangerous open files. 1...N4xe5! Revealing another weak point in the white structure. 2 dxe5 Nxe5 3 Bd2 3 0-0-0? is suicidal, because of 3...Nxf3 4 gxf3 Bxf3 5 Qc2 Bxh1 6 Rxh1 Rac8 7 Kb1 d4, with a decisive advantage. 3...Rxf3!

Blocking the black queen’s defence of the c8bishop. 1...Rd2? The alternatives are: a) 1...Rc7?? 2 Bd3+. b) 1...Bxc3? 2 Qxc8, with a double attack on the rook and the bishop on c3, which remains pinned. c) 1...b4! and then: c1) 2 Qxc8?! Rd1 3 Qxe6 bxc3 4 Kg2 Qg6 (it is of no use to sacrifice the exchange because after 4...Rxf1? 5 Kxf1 Qb1+ 6 Kg2 Black will be mated by Qf5+ and Re8+ if he continues advancing the pawn to c2) 5 Bd3! Rxd3 6 Qxg6+ Kxg6 7 Rxd3 and now not 7...c2?, which loses to 8 Rd6+ and 9 Rc6, but 7...Kf5!!, drawing. c2) White should play 2 Qxd7 Bxd7 3 Bd3+, though it is far from clear if he is winning.

A fresh sacrifice, which greatly steps up the pace of events.

2 Qxc8 b4 3 Qxe6 Qg6

4 gxf3 Bxf3 5 Qf1 Bxh1 6 0-0-0 Bf3 7 Re1 Nxd3+ 8 Qxd3 Bg4 0-1

4 Qxg6+ Kxg6 5 Na4 Rxa2 6 Re4 1-0

3...bxc3? 4 Bd3+! Rxd3 5 Qf5+ Kg8 6 Re8+ mating.

With two extra pawns, the bishop-pair and open lines against White’s queenside castled position, Black’s advantage is clear.

Black to play

Razuvaev – Zuckerman Polanica Zdroj 1972 White to play

Kotsur – Goloshchapov Russia Cup, Ekaterinburg 1999 Both queens have infiltrated the enemy position and neither of the kings can rest easy. There is a significant weakness in the black camp: his bishop on c8. If the c-file were blocked, then Black would find it difficult not to shed material. White embarks on a plan along those lines. 1 Nc3!

White, a pawn down, has just offered to exchange queens, but Black is not only going to decline, but is preparing to exploit the compromised situation of the white queen to win material. 1...Rf6! He scorns the exchange of queens, threatening to place the white queen in serious difficulties. 2 Qh4 If 2 h4? then 2...Nf7!, winning the queen, while 2 Nxf4? loses to 2...h6! 3 Qh4 Rxf4. 2...g5!

A very fine move which proves decisive.


3 Qxg5

If 4...Kf7 then 5 Nd6+ Kf6 6 Qd4!, with the threats of 7 f4, 7 Nc4 and 7 Re1, and neither 6...Qc3? nor 6...Qc5? is of any use, owing to 7 Ne4+, winning the queen in both cases. A possible continuation here would be 6...Qe2 7 Qb6 (7 Nxb7 Rc2 8 Nc5) 7...Rg8 8 Nxb7+ Kg7 9 Nc5 Rf5 10 Ne6+ Kh8 11 Qd4+ Qe5 12 Rd1, with a decisive advantage.

3 Qh5 Rh6 4 Qxg5, as in the game; or 3 Nxg5 Rh6. 3...Rxe6! Black exploits the theme of the loose piece and this capture – an elastic band tactic – wins a piece. 4 Qxf4 Ng6 0-1 If, for instance, 5 Qg3, then 5...Rxe2. A good illustration of the dangers to which a straying queen is exposed.

5 Ng7+! Kg6 Black accepts the loss of the rook, in view of the fact that after 5...Kf6 6 Nh5+ Kf5 7 g4+ the f6- and f4squares are covered by the knight. 6 Qxe5 Qc3 6...Qc7 7 Qxc7 Rxc7 8 Ne6 Rc2 9 d6 Bc8 10 d7. 7 Re1 1-0 The most logical, mobilizing the only inactive piece. A possible continuation is 7...Qxe5 8 Rxe5 Bxd5 9 Ne6 Kf6 10 Rxd5 Kxe6 11 Rh5, with an easily winning ending.

White to play

Gude – F. Rodriguez Pontevedra 1979 Faced with a threat against g7, Black has opted for an active defence, ...Qc7-c2, considering that after 1 Rxg7+ Kf8 2 Qxc2 Rxc2 he will have good counterplay, since both the knight and the d5-pawn are under attack. For example: 3 Rg5 Bxd5, and Black threatens to double rooks on White’s second rank. So, simplification seems forced, since, in addition to the queen, the knight is attacked.

White to play

Van der Wiel – P. Nikolić Novi Sad 1982

1 Rxg7+ Kf8 1...Kh8 could be met by 2 Qxc2 Rxc2 3 Rxf7 Bxd5 4 Rf8+ Bg8 5 Nxd6 Ree2 6 a3. 2 Rxf7+!! A necessary sacrifice, which is going to make the role of the knight very important. 2...Kxf7 3 Nxd6+ The combination is based on the fact that, to preserve the rook on e5, the black king has some forced moves, which the knight checks will eventually exhaust. 3...Kf6 4 Ne8+! The wheel of checks by the knight proves decisive.

It appears that White has allowed his pieces to be jammed together in the centre and that now he has no option but to play 1 Rxf5?. However, in that case after 1...gxf5 2 Ng3? (2 Nc5 is better, but White is still fighting for a draw), Black would obtain a winning position with 2...Re7. So, what should he play? Does the reader have any suggestions? 1 Re8!! Rxe8 If 1...Qxe8 then 2 Nxf6+ Rxf6 3 Rxe8+ Rf8 (3...Kg7 4 Rg8+ Kxg8 5 Qxf6) 4 Rxf8+ Kxf8 5 Qf6+. 2 Nxf6+ Kf7 2...Qxf6 3 Rxe8+ Kg7 4 Rg8+ Kf7 5 Rf8+ Kxf8 6 Qxf6+.

3 Rxe8 Re7 4 Qxh7+ Not 4 Rxe7+?? Qxe7 5 g4, when 5...Bd3! even leaves White in trouble. 4...Kxf6 5 Qh8+! Kg5 5...Kf7 6 Qf8+ Ke6 7 Rxd8. 6 h4+ 1-0 Once White has opened a flight-square for his king he can take the enemy queen with impunity.

White to play

Dreev – Zhang Zhong Beijing 2000 Black’s c- and d-pawns are a vulnerable formation, because his pieces are not well coordinated and White’s position is very solid. White has the bishoppair and is prepared to exploit his strategic advantage immediately. 1 Rxc6! White to play

Euwe – Naegeli Zurich 1934 Material is equal in this otherwise unbalanced position, in which Black’s queenside majority is more than compensated for by White’s pawn-wedge on f6. White must be attentive to his king, which is not well protected, but it is his move and he finds a winning sequence. 1 Bxg6+! Kxg6 2 Qe4+ Kf7 3 Qxe6+ Kg6 4 f7+ Kg7 5 Bh6+! Rxh6 6 f8Q+ Kxf8 7 Qxh6+

A sacrifice requiring accurate calculation. 1...Qxc6 If 1...Rxc6 then 2 Qxd5+ Kh8 3 Bxg7+ Kxg7 4 Qxd7+, followed by the capture on c6. 2 Bxd5 Qd6 3 Bxg7 Nb6 Or 3...Kxg7 4 Qc3+, followed by the capture of the rook on a8, with or without an exchange of queens on e5. 4 Bxe6+ Qxe6 5 Ba1 Qxa2 6 Rd1 Qc4

All the moves so far have been forced.

Controlling the basic invasion points on the long diagonal (c3 and d4), but his king is too exposed.


7 Qd6 1-0

7...Kg8? 8 Re8+.

The white queen gains other potential invasion points (e5, f6 and e7), while winning a decisive tempo with the threat against the knight.

8 Qh7+ Kf8 9 Qh8+ Kf7 10 Re8 White has a decisive advantage thanks to the versatility of his rook, which can now harass the king on any of the f-, g- and h-files. The immediate threat is 11 Qg8+, mating, and there’s no really good defence. 10...Nf6 11 Rf8+ 1-0

White to play

White to play

Kramnik – Hübner

Korchnoi – Seirawan

Dortmund 2000

US Open, Pasadena 1983

Four months before beating Kasparov in their world championship match, Vladimir Kramnik gave this masterclass on how to exploit the dynamic possibilities granted by the superior activity of his pieces. During the game and even after it, experts criticized his advance of the h-pawn, but it turned out that the benefits of this advance were far greater than its disadvantages.

Black has problems. Not only because he is a pawn down, but because his rook is still shut in. Of course, after ...Kg7, it would be ‘problem solved’. On the other hand, White has the bishop-pair (although the light-squared bishop is, for the moment, hemmed in) and his pieces are strong. The misplaced knight on a2 does not help much either, since it might be subject to a combination.

1 Nxf5!?

1 Bxe4!

1 Bc4! is even stronger, as Black has no response at all to the threats of Nxf5 and Nxe6.

Korchnoi seems to have said to himself: “Better a bishop off the board, than shut in.” What is certain is that this sacrifice was well calculated – Korchnoi was never one to sacrifice speculatively.

1...exf5?! If 1...Nxd3 then 2 Nh6+ Kf8 3 Nxf7 Qxf2+ 4 Qxf2 Nxf2 5 Kxf2 Kxf7, and Black has a pawn for the exchange, but this will not be enough to save the game. 2 Bc4 Nf6

1...fxe4 2 Nxe4 Bg7 Black is not given the opportunity to mobilize his rook. It is obvious that 2...Kg7? is no use, because of 3 Nxf6 Kxf6 4 Bd4+ and 5 Bxh8. On the other hand, 2...Be5 3 f4 Bb8? fails to 4 Rd8+ Kg7 5 Bd4+.

2...Re8 is answered with 3 Bxd5 Ne6 4 Qb3 Bc5 5 Bd4 Bxd4 6 Rxe6.

3 Bc5!

3 Bc7! 1-0

A conclusive pin, given the balance of forces on each side.

A decisive double attack: the bishop attacks the black queen and, by clearing the file, permits the attack by the rook on the e7-bishop. Black loses a decisive amount of material.

3...Kf7 3...Ke8 4 Nd6+! Kf8 5 Nc8 Bf6 6 Rd8+ Kf7 7 Rxh8 Bxh8 8 Nxe7 leaves White three pawns up. 4 Rd7 Bf8 If 4...Re8 then 5 Ra7, gaining the decisive tempo to follow up with 6 Nd6+. 5 Ng5+ Ke8 5...Kf6 6 f4 Rg8 7 Bd4+ Kf5 8 e4#. 6 Rc7 h6 7 Ne6 Rh7 8 Nxf8 Kxf8 9 Rc8+ Kf7 10 Bxe7 1-0 If 10...Kxe7 then 11 Rc7+, winning the rook.

White to play

Black to play

Sliwa – M. Johansson

Adams – I. Sokolov

Varna Olympiad 1962

Wijk aan Zee 1991

The material equality here is absolute and as regards the positional balance, White has more space but his queen and bishop line-up on the long diagonal seems purely symbolic. On the other hand, Black has a backward pawn on d6 and two isolated pawns on the kingside.

This position was reached after skirmishes typical of the Marshall Attack in the Ruy Lopez. White still retains the gambit pawn, but Black’s pieces are very active. It is Black to play and the Bosnian GM Ivan Sokolov is going to demonstrate that White’s play has not been as correct as it should have been.

1 Nxf5!?


So, the long diagonal is relevant after all... In fact, 1 Rxa8! Rxa8 2 Nxf5 is a clearer win, based on the same idea.

The rook is sacrificed on a square that is defended three times. White surely did not think that such a sacrifice was possible.


2 Kxf2

1...Bxc3? loses to 2 Qxc3+ Ng7 3 Re7. The best try is 1...Rxa1 2 Qxa1 Bxc3 3 Qxc3+ Qf6 4 Qxf6+ Rxf6 5 Ne3 but White is a pawn up with a clearly better position because of his space advantage and more active pieces.

2 Nxf2 is answered with 2...Bxg3 3 Nh3 (or 3 Qg2 Bxf2+, winning the rook on d1) 3...Rf8, winning since the white queen is overworked with the defence of the h3-knight and d1-rook.

2 Rxe6

3 Kg1 Rxf1+ 4 Rxf1 Qg4! 5 Nxd6 Qxg3+ 6 Kh1 Qxd6 gives Black a decisive advantage thanks to his two kingside pawns, which are a threat the poorly protected white king.

2 Bxg7+! Nxg7 3 Re7 is annihilating. 2...Qxe6 3 Bxg7+ Kg8 4 Bxf8 1-0 The same can be said now, with the difference that the queens are still on the board. White has three pawns against one on the kingside and all his pieces are more active than his opponent’s. 4...Rxf8 5 Qd4 leaves Black lost.

2...Rf8+ 3 Kg2

3...Rxf1 4 Rxf1 Qe2+ 5 Nf2 Bxg3! Black is winning. If 6 Kxg3 then 6...Qxf1.

Karpov’s close examination of this position has allowed him to detect the only weak point in the black position and consequently to exploit it. 1 Nf6!! Landing on the weakest square in the black camp, relying on a double attack. 1...Kxf6 1...Qxf3? 2 Nxe8+ and 3 gxf3. 2 Be5++! Decoy, interference, double check... how should we describe this move? White to play

J. Polgar – Volkov European Team Ch, Batumi 1999 Black has just played ...a6, ignoring the possible threats against his queen, which is in a difficult situation. Bear in mind that, because White has not castled queenside, it is easy for her to advance pawns on that wing, even at the cost of material. 1 Nd2!

2...Kxe5 No matter what we call it, this is Black’s only reply. 3 Qxe4+ So was it as simple as that? 3...Kxe4 4 Re1+ Kf5 5 Rxe8 With his combination, Karpov has won the exchange in a very elegant way, since the attack by the rook on the two bishops will win one of them. 5...Be6 6 Rxf8 Bxa2 7 Rc8 1-0

The young Hungarian GM threatens to capture the black queen with 2 Nc4 or 2 Nb3. 1...axb5

The threat is now 8 Rc7, which is conclusive. The knight cannot move, because then the c5-pawn would fall.

1...Bd5 2 b4! cxb4 3 c4 axb5 (3...b3 4 cxd5 axb5 5 dxe6 fxe6 6 Qxe6!) 4 axb5. 2 axb5 Qxa1 3 Rxa1 cxd4 4 cxd4 Bd6 5 Nc4 Bc7 6 Qc2 Nf6? 6...Kb8 7 Qa4, followed by the manoeuvre Bf1-g2. 7 Nxb6+ Kb8 8 Qc5 Bd6 9 Qc3 h5 10 Qa5 Bf4 11 Ra4 1-0

White to play

Perenyi – Pinter Hungarian League 1988/9

White to play

Karpov – Topalov Dos Hermanas 1994

The struggle is very tense here and it looks as though exchanges are inevitable. White controls more space and the black knight is out of play. If White could open the b1-h7 diagonal, then his queen and bishop team would be deadly. What immediate plan should White adopt? 1 Nxd6!!

A surprise gift, which cannot really be refused. 1...Bxd6 2 e5 White now has the open diagonal for the bishop that he wanted so much. 2...Qxe5

pieces protect one another and he is about to consolidate with ...Ne5. 1 Rd7! This move highlights a motif which challenges Black’s position: the weakness of the back rank.

If 2...Bxc7 then 3 Qh7+ Kf8 4 Qxh6+ Ke7 (4...Kg8 5 Bh7+ Kh8 6 Be4+ Kg8 7 Qxg5+ Kf8 8 d6 Bxd6 9 Qh6+ Ke7 10 Qf6+ Kf8 11 exd6) 5 Qf6+ Kf8 6 Rxc7! Rbxc7 7 d6 Rc1+ 8 Kh2 Kg8 (the only move, but there is a forced mate) 9 Qxg5+ Kf8 (9...Kh8 10 Qh6+ transposes) 10 Qh6+ Kg8 11 Qh7+ Kf8 12 Qh8#.


3 Rxd7 Rxd7 4 Qxd7 f3

3 Rxb7 Rxb7 4 Rxe8

Now it is Black’s turn to open a line for his own queen and bishop.

White has a decisive advantage in the endgame, since he can count on an extra pawn and the superiority of his bishop over the knight. If, for instance, 4...Rd7 then 5 Ke2 Kf7 6 Rc8, and that superiority becomes clear.

5 g3 Qb2 Or 5...Qxd5 6 Rd1, threatening 7 Bc2.

1...Rxd7? allows 2 Rxe8#, and 1...Ne5 is met by 2 Rxe5!. 2 Qxg7+! Kxg7 If 2...Rxg7 then 3 Rxe8+ Ng8 4 Rxb7 Rxb7 5 Bxf6+ Rg7, and White wins.

6 Rc6! Qa1+ 7 Bf1 Bxg3 The only move to complicate the game, since otherwise White would have it all his own way. 8 Qg4 Not 8 fxg3? Qd4+ 9 Kh1 Qa1, with a draw by repetition of moves. 8...Bf4 9 Qh5 1-0 Black can prevent the invasion on h6 only at the cost of a lot of material.

Advantageous Endgames Black to play

Vizantiadis – Pachman Vrnjačka Banja Zonal 1967 Is this an ending or the end of a middlegame? With queen, three minor pieces and six pawns per side, the game seems to be heading for a draw. But it is Black to play, and he has the possibility of forcing a favourable liquidation. 1...Bxf2+! Exploiting a tactical point. 2 Kxf2 White to play

Schüssler – Rantanen Stockholm 1977 Black seems to have a solid position and the white bishop on the long diagonal appears to have been neutralized by the pawn-barrier f6-g7. All Black’s

2 Qxf2 Qxc4. 2...Ng4+ 3 Kf1 Here we see the point: 3 Kg1? is impossible because of 3...Qc5+ 4 Kh1 (4 Kf1 Nxh2#) 4...Nf2+ 5 Kg1 Nh3++ 6 Kh1 Qg1#; neither is 3 Kf3? viable,

because of 3...Bc6+. As a result, the white king is decoyed into a fork. 3...Qxc4! 4 Qxc4 Ne3+ Black has a clear advantage in the ending: he is a pawn up and his pieces are superior to White’s.

White to play

Alekhine – Euwe World Ch (16), Rotterdam 1937

White to play

Azmaiparashvili – Novikov USSR 1978

White is a pawn up, but the c3-knight and the b4pawn are both under attack. Alekhine missed a magnificent opportunity to consolidate his material advantage. 1 Qh8+!

The balanced distribution of pawns on each wing might lead us to suppose that neither side has a conclusive advantage. But the white major pieces control open files and in addition the black queen is tied to the defence of the e8-rook, which means that he has a back-rank weakness.

Exploiting an elementary fork, which the legendary Alekhine must have overlooked.

1 Rd6!

Instead, the game continued with 1 Bb2? Bc6? 2 a3? Bd6 and the combination was no longer possible. The game ended in a draw 38 moves later.

A deflection. 1...Qe7

1...Kxh8 2 Nxf7+ Kg8 3 Nxe5 Bxb4 4 Nxd7 Nxd7 5 Ne4 White has simplified the position, leaving Black with two isolated pawns on e6 and g7.

1...Qxd6? is unplayable because of 2 Qxe8+ Qf8 3 Rc8, winning. 2 Rc7! Qf8 As a consequence of the attacks by both rooks, the black queen has had to ‘castle’, as it were. 3 Rxh6 gxh6 4 Rxa7 1-0 White has a decisive advantage, since he has not only won a pawn but also disrupted the structure of Black’s castled position. Furthermore, his rook is on the seventh rank and he has a passed pawn on the afile which is a clear candidate for promotion. The following position was reached in the 16th game of the return-match between Alexander Alekhine and Max Euwe (the former had lost the world title in 1935).

Black to play

Cserna – Ozsvath Hungary 1979 Black is the exchange down, but his concentration of pieces on the kingside is not to be sniffed at. So

much so that he now has a combination that forces a highly favourable endgame. 1...Qxf2!! This queen sacrifice is not only spectacular but also effective. The threat is 2...Ng3# and the queen is taboo because of checkmate with the knight on the same square, which would be an attractive mate by the pair of knights.

6 Qxe7+ Kxe7 7 Bxg7 Be6 8 Rf8! White is a pawn up, paralyses Black’s queenside and threatens to win more material, for instance with 9 Rh8 and 10 Be5. If 8...Bd7 then 9 Bh6 Be8 10 Rh8, with a decisive advantage in the ending.

2 Qxf3 2 Bxf3? allows 2...Ng3#. 2...Qxe2! Forcing a favourable ending. 3 Qxe2 Ng3+ 4 Kh2 Nxe2 0-1 White’s resignation might appear premature, but the ending is lost. For example, 5 Rd2 Nd4 6 e5 Rd8, threatening 7...Nf3+ as well as 7...h5 followed by ...Bxe5+. White to play

Lukin – Balashov USSR 1967 Being able to grasp the possibilities of a favourable liquidation is not the exclusive preserve of elite players, but it certainly requires practice, training and mastery of the themes that lie hidden in the position. The sequence which follows has much to recommend it, above all when one is facing a player of the stature of Yuri Balashov. 1 Qxa6! bxa6 2 Nxc6 Qd7 3 Nxd8

White to play

Pietzsch – Alvarez del Monte Havana 1962 There is an absolute material balance in this position, but equally an absolute dynamic imbalance, in that Black’s three queenside pieces remain undeveloped. This is a sufficiently weighty factor to tip the scales. Let’s see how White exploits this.

Let’s consider what has happened with this series of exchanges. If Black now takes the knight, it turns out that White has exchanged his queen for both enemy rooks. Is that sufficient to win? Considered in general, no. But in this concrete position, yes. 3...Nxc3 If 3...Qxd8 then 4 Bxa5 Qd7 (4...Qxa5? 5 Rxc8+) 5 Bxd5 exd5 6 Re1!, and the queen must take on the burden of defence against all the threats by the enemy rooks against its back rank. 4 Rxc3 Qxd8 5 Rdc1 Bd7 6 Bb7!

1 Rxf7!! Rxf7

It is all over.

If 1...Bxh6 then White can either play simply 2 Rf5+ and 3 Rxc5, or aim higher with 2 Rxf8++ Kxf8 3 Qd8+ Kg7 4 Qg8+ (4 Qxc8 would also win, threatening 5 Qxb7+) 4...Kf6 5 e5+!, etc., with a decisive attack.

6...g6 7 Rc8 1-0

2 Qd8+ Qf8 3 Bxf7+ Kxf7 4 Rf1+ Bf5 5 Qc7+ Qe7 5...Kg8 6 exf5 Bxh6 7 Qxb7 leaves Black with little hope.

Black resigned, faced with the loss of his queen (7...Bxc8 8 Rxc8).

White to play

Reshevsky – Gligorić New York (5) 1952 Here geometrical questions abound. There is a lot of tension on the h2-b8 diagonal, where there are five pieces (including Black’s queen and king). The same can be said about the c-file, where there are four pieces and a pawn (including both queens). 1 Nb5! An unexpected leap, of course. But this is definitely the right way to relieve so much tension. What follows is practically forced. White to play

1...cxb5 2 Qxc7+ Bxc7 3 Rxc7!

Korchnoi – Robatsch

The key.

Havana 1963


A sequence of forced exchanges has just taken place, but Black is going to get a surprise, because Korchnoi will exploit the opportunities available in the position to achieve a winning ending. 1 Rxc5!! A combinative idea based, once again, on the double attack. 1...Rxd1 2 cxb7! Rxf1+ 3 Kxf1 Qxb7 Another possibility was 3...Bxb7 4 Rxc7 Bxe4 5 Nxe5 Re8 6 f4, in which case White dodges all the threats and is left with a vital extra pawn in the ending, a rook on the seventh rank and a pawnmajority on the queenside.

3...Bxg4 4 Rxf7 Bf5 5 Nxd5+ Ka8 6 Nc7+ Kb8 7 e4 gives White a decisive advantage. 4 Nxe6++ This double check is the final act of the combination: the diagonal continues to play the leading role. 4...Kd7 5 Nxd8 Rxd8 6 Bxb5+ White has gained a healthy extra pawn, which might seem a paltry return on so much spectacular action, but this advantage, together with the bishop-pair, gives him a practically winning ending. Thus the combination has been an exercise in technical skill.

4 Bxb7 Bxb7 5 Nxe5 Rd8 6 b4 The endgame is practically decided, especially in the hands of a virtuoso such as Korchnoi. The conclusion was: 6...Rd1+ 7 Ke2 Ra1 8 Ra5 a6 9 g3 Bg2 10 Nd3 Bf1+ 11 Kd2 Kh7 12 Rxa6 Rb1 13 Kc2 Ra1 14 b5 Be2 15 b6 1-0

White to play

Capablanca – Lilienthal Moscow 1936 Two legendary players, whose names are very evocative. Capablanca had a score to settle with Andor Lilienthal, who had beaten him brilliantly the previous year (Hastings 1934/5), even sacrificing his

queen. Here Capablanca is going to demonstrate his mastery. Black has just played ...Kf8-e8, which was possibly his best option, although it proves inadequate. 1 Nxb7! A positional combination – in other words, one which is not based on an immediate attack, but on forcing a winning ending, although it will still require a lot of work. The sacrifice will win a rook and two pawns in exchange for two minor pieces, so that the material is approximately equal. 1...Rxb7 2 Bxc6+ Rd7 3 c5 Now the connected passed pawns on the queenside start to roll.

White to play

A. Nazanian (end of a study)

3...Ke7 4 Bxd7 Nxd7 The material balance (7-6 to White, measured according to the conventional value of the pieces) would mean a slight advantage, but in this particular case it is a big advantage, because White’s two passed pawns will be very difficult to stop, as they are both potential queens. 5 c6 Nb6 6 c7 Bf5 7 Rd8 e5 8 Rb8 The rook has reached its ideal position for supporting the advance of the pawns. 8...Nc8 9 b5 Kd6 10 b6 Ne7 It is clear that the sacrifice of the knight for the two pawns is insufficient (10...Nxb6 11 Rxb6+ Kxc7), with an ending of rook and four pawns against bishop and four pawns. If 10...Kc6 then 11 b7 Kxc7 12 bxc8Q+ Bxc8 13 Ra8 turns into a variation of the previous liquidation, with White remaining a clear exchange up.

Shakhmaty (Baku), 1986 The position of the black king, which seems very active, is the key to the following little combination. 1 f5! White’s idea is to give checkmate. 1...g5 If 1...gxf5 then 2 Nf4+ Kg5 3 h4#. 2 h3! Black is in zugzwang. The only legal moves (with the knight or the g-pawn) allow mate in one.

11 Rf8 It was even better to play 11 c8Q!, leaving White the exchange up after 11...Nxc8 12 b7 or 11...Bxc8 12 b7 Bxb7. 11...Bc8 11...Be6 12 b7. 12 Rxf7 Nd5 13 Rxg7 Nxb6 14 Rh7 Nd5 15 Rxh6+ Kxc7 16 e4 Ne7 17 f3 Kd7 18 h4 Ke8 19 Rf6 Ng8 20 Rc6 1-0

Fischer – Rossetto

Capablanca had gained his revenge.

Mar del Plata 1959

Forcing a Zugzwang Position Zugzwang usually occurs, above all, in endings, when there are few pieces left and useful moves are growing scarce. Therefore combinations based on this theme are uncommon, but they exist and they are usually decisive.

White to play

In this game no combination occurs, but rather we see a tactical treatment of the endgame by Fischer, which will provide us with an instructive example of the exploitation of the zugzwang theme. Now the American GM successfully creates the zugzwang he was after. 1 g4! fxg4

1...f4 2 Kf2 and Black has no good move. 2 hxg4 1-0 Rossetto resigned since the zugzwang is complete and he has no useful move. If the rook moves away, then 3 Rb8. If the knight moves, then 3 Be6, winning the rook, and if the king moves, it abandons the defence of the knight, which would allow 3 Rb8. A very instructive ending.

White to play

Bronstein – Kotov (variation) USSR Ch, Moscow 1949

White to play

R. Réti Hastings and St Leonards Post, 1922 In this composition by the great Réti, a decisive element of zugzwang arises. The ending looks absolutely normal and devoid of surprises, but that is not the case. Remember that in chess nothing is (or might not be) as it seems. 1 Nd4+! Kc5

This is a ‘might have been’ from a game between two great Soviet players. The position is more complicated than it looks at first glance. White now begins a complex combination that consists entirely of weaving together a winning set-up based on zugzwang. But how is that achieved? 1 Rxg7! Rxe6? But 1...Kxg7 2 Rxe5 favours White. 2 Rxe5!? A difficult move to see, leading to a brilliant idea. However, it should be pointed out that 2 Re7! wins in simpler fashion. 2...Rxe5 3 Rg8+!

If 1...Kd5 then 2 a6 and the pawn queens.

The corollary. In contrast, 3 Bf6?? does not work, because of the mate on e1.

2 Kh1!!

3...Rxg8 4 Bf6+ Rg7 5 Bxe5

The winning move, creating zugzwang. Any move by the bishop is answered with a knight fork, winning it, while 2...Kd6 is met by 3 Nf5+, also winning the bishop. Black is lost, since the king can neither capture the knight nor abandon its position.

White has already achieved what he wanted. But let us go on a little further. 5...d3 6 Kf1 Bb5 7 Ke1 a5 8 Kd2 a4 Black is in zugzwang, because he only has bishop moves, which allows White to do as he likes, and he wins with the plan of f4, h3, g4, etc. A very instructive demonstration!

6.2: One Sacrifice after Another

8 Bd6! 1-0 Black resigned in view of 8...Qxg4 9 d8Q+ Bxd8 10 Rf8#.

White to play

Klovans – Dementiev USSR 1972 Black would have a reasonable position, if it were not for one detail: his king is still exposed in the centre. And a king in the centre is, as we know, a very tasty mouthful for a voracious player. Here White does not want to miss his opportunity to make the enemy king ‘dance’. 1 Nxf7! This initial sacrifice is definitely a good idea, since White is simply worse if he retreats. 1...Kxf7

White to play

Sulskis – Bologan New York 2000 Here we see a pawn with big ideas. White has an overwhelming positional advantage, with the bishop embedded on g7, which means that the black king is only one check away from being a sacrificial victim. Notice, in addition, the harmonious deployment of the rest of the white pieces. The Lithuanian GM Sulskis decides not to put off the execution for even a moment longer.

Not 1...0-0? 2 Bxe6, but 1...Rf8 2 Bxe6 Qc6 is playable.

1 Nxh7! Kxh7 2 Qxe7!! Qxe7 3 Rxe7 f6

2 Bxe6+?!

If 3...Rxe7 then 4 Ng5+ Kg8 5 Bf6!, with the unstoppable threat of 6 h7+ and 7 h8Q#.

The Russians are in the habit of saying, with a mysterious bow to logic, “if you say A, you must say B”. However, this second sacrifice is unsound, albeit for a deeply concealed reason. 2 Bg5+ is correct, and roughly equal; e.g., 2...Ke8 3 Bxe6 Rf8 4 Rxf8+ Nxf8 5 Bxc4.

4 Rf7 Kg8 5 Rxf6 White has gained a decisive advantage. He threatens Ng5, Rf7 and h7#, and still has in reserve his second rook, which can be brought into the attack via d4-h4.

2...Kxe6 3 Qg4+ Kf7! At the cost of two pieces, White has placed the black king in the firing line. For the moment, the king chooses the best path, as 3...Kd5? is bad because of 4 Rad1+ Kc5 (4...Kc6? 5 Qe6+) 5 Rxd7. 4 e6+ Kg8? Surprisingly, 4...Ke8! is good for Black, provided he finds a sequence of accurate moves: 5 Qxg7 Rxf4 6 exd7+ Kxd7 7 Rad1+ Bd5! 8 Rxd5+ (8 Qxh8?! Rxf1+ 9 Rxf1 Qxc2) 8...Kc6! 9 Qc3+ Rc4 10 Qxh8 Kxd5 – the king as a fighting piece! 5 exd7 Qc6 6 Rae1 Re4 7 Rxe4 Qxe4 You might think that Black has weathered the storm, but now comes a pretty move.

White to play

Karasev – Lein

World Seniors Ch, Rowy 2000 Neither of the two players is unknown, since both were frequent finalists in the Soviet Championship. Anatoly Lein is a grandmaster who has been settled in the USA for decades, while Vladimir Karasev is a master from St Petersburg who, although less well known than Lein, nevertheless achieved some success in international competition, such as second place in Albena 1976. The obvious passivity of the black bishop and the excellent deployment of the white pieces enable Karasev to devise an attractive combination and launch a direct attack. 1 Bxe6+! Qxe6 2 Ng5

White to play

The combination is based on the removal of the black queen from the a2-g8 diagonal. The other attacking ideas arise automatically. 2...Qe7 2...Qe8 is answered with 3 Qb3+ Kf8 4 e5 Nb6 5 Nxh7+ Ke7 6 Qg3 Nd5 7 Qg5+ Kd7 8 Qxg7+ Qe7 9 Nf6+ Kd8 10 Qg5!, winning. 3 Qb3+ Kf8 3...Kh8? 4 Nf7+ Kg8 5 Rxd7! Qxd7 6 Ne5+, winning the queen. 4 Nxh7+ Ke8 5 e5 What began as an attack on the castled position has turned into an attack on the king in the centre. 5...Nf8

B. Thipsay – Bosboom-Lanchava Groningen open 1997 White set a very lively pace in the opening, sacrificing a pawn on f5 to disrupt the enemy’s kingside structure. The disappearance of Black’s gpawn is much more important than might be thought: it amounts to irreparable damage, which White hopes to be able to exploit with effective attacking play. However, White’s own problems seem serious, because her bishop is under attack, and if it retreats, Black can continue possibly with ...b4 and ...fxe4. 1 Nxh7! White plays in perfect accord with the spirit of the position and keeps up the pressure.

If 5...Rd8 then 6 Nf6+! gxf6 7 exf6 Nxf6 8 Rxe7+ Kxe7 9 Re1+ Kf8 10 Qe6 Ng8 (to prevent the check on e7, which would win the bishop) 11 Qf5+ Kg7 12 Qg4+ (preventing ...Rd1+, as soon as the white rook leaves the back rank) 12...Kf7 13 Re3 and White wins.


6 Nf6+! gxf6 7 exf6 1-0

3 Rg3

After 7...Qxe1+ 8 Rxe1+ Kd8 9 Qf7, there is nothing to be done.

3 Rh3! Re8 4 Bh6 would have ended the game more cleanly.

1...Nxh7 2 Rh3 Nf6 3 Bh6. 2 Nxf6+ exf6 If 2...Bxf6 then 3 Rg3+ (gaining a tempo) 3...Bg7 4 Rxg7+ Kxg7 5 Bh6+, winning.

3...f4 If 3...Ne8 then 4 Rh3. We are already seeing that Black is reduced to making forced moves. 4 Bxf4 f5 4...Ne8 is met by 5 Bh6 Qb6+ 6 Kf1! Qd4 7 Bxg7 Nxg7 8 Rd1! (8 Qh6 f5 9 e5! Qxe5 10 Re1 Qxg3 11 hxg3 b4 is messier) 8...f5 9 Rdxd3 Qe5 10 Rh3 f6 11 Rdg3 with decisive threats. 5 Rxg7+!! Kxg7 6 Qh6+ Kg8 7 Rf1! Preparing the manoeuvre Rf3-g3+. Does White perhaps have all the time in the world?

7...f6 Black is struggling hard to survive but her position is lost. If 7...dxc2 then 8 Rf3 c1Q+ 9 Bxc1 f4 10 Bxf4 Bg4 11 Rg3, winning.

exposed position of the white king which, despite having all three of his major pieces available, is unable to prevent the entry of the black queen on g3. 5 Rf2 Qxg3+ 6 Kf1 Qh3+ 7 Ke1

8 Qg6+ Kh8 9 Rf3 fxe4 10 Qh5+! 1-0

7 Kg1? Rc1+ mates.

10...Kg7 11 Rg3+ mates.

7...Qh1+ 8 Rf1 Rc1+ 9 Kd2 Qxf1 0-1

White’s attack in this example is of a standard type that is simple but very dangerous, and is common in a variety of opening variations.

Black’s major pieces have invaded the back rank and White resigned with a clear conscience. Black’s brilliant manoeuvre reminds us that in chess a straight line is not necessarily the shortest way between two points or, at least, it is not always the most effective. GM Artashes Minasian first made his mark when he won the last Championship of the USSR, which took place in Moscow in 1991.

Black to play

Lobzhanidze – Art. Minasian USSR 1988 White has his queen very well centralized and a strong pawn-centre, but the position of his king is compromised by the existence of numerous holes. In addition, those black rooks are impressive; as well as controlling the c-file, they sweep White’s second and third ranks. Black is about to execute a decisive sequence.

White to play

Yudasin – Chernin Beersheva 1993

A move to make you sit up and take notice. It is clear that 2 Nxe5? is met by 2...Rxg3+, but what happens after 2 fxe5 instead? We are about to find out.

Under normal circumstances, the white queen could be in danger, but what is going to attack it? The black pieces around the castled position are distributed a little awkwardly, while the white armada is surprising in its harmony. White’s next move will come as a real surprise.

2 fxe5

1 Nd7?!

If 2 Rxb7 then 2...Qh5! (invading on the light squares) 3 fxe5 (3 Rb8+ Kg7 4 Rb2 Qg4!) 3...Rxf3 4 Rb8+ Kg7 5 exd6+ Kh6, and after 6 Rxf3 Qxf3 the multiple threats of mate cannot be parried.

White seeks a devious way in. However, 1 Nhg4! is much better.


2...Rxf3! Even trickier! The manoeuvre which follows was not easy to see. 3 Rxf3 Qc1+ 4 Rf1 Qa3! A brilliant route to reach this strong position, attacking the g3-pawn. This move highlights the

1...Qc6? 1...Nxd7? fails to 2 Rxe6, followed by 3 Bxf5+ Kh8 4 Rxh6+ gxh6 5 Qh7#. The exchange sacrifice 1...Rxd7! is best, meeting 2 Qxe8 with 2...Kg8! (not 2...Nf6? 3 Qb8, followed by 4 Nf3) 3 Qh5 (3 Be5? g6) 3...Bf6!, which looks fully OK for Black; e.g., 4 Nf3 g6 5 Qxh6 f4 6 Bxg6 fxg3.

2 Rxe6!! Qxd7

4 Rg7 Qg8

Or: 2...Nxe6 3 Qxf5+ Kg8 4 Qh7+ Kf7 5 Bg6#; 2...Qxe6 3 Bxf5+.

The only move.

3 Bxf5+ Kh8 4 Rg6!

Or 5...Bxc4 6 Qxc4 Nb6 7 Qe4 Ra1 8 Rh3! Rxc1+ 9 Kf2 Qxg7 10 fxg7+ Kxg7 11 Qxh7+ Kf8 12 Re3, when White wins.

4 Rxh6+!? gxh6 5 Be5+ should also win, although it is less clear; e.g., 5...Bf6 6 Bxd7 Nxd7 7 Ng4 Re7, etc. 4...Bg5

5 Rf3 Qxg7+

6 fxg7+ Kxg7 7 Qb3!

Or 4...Nxg6 5 Bxd7 Rf8 6 Qxg6 Rxd7 7 Nf3.

This wins a piece: the theme of the straying or undefended piece once again.

5 Bxd7

7...Re8 8 Qxa4 1-0

and White won.

White to play White to play

Conquest – Yakovich

Vaiser – Marinković

European Ch, Saint Vincent 2000

Biel 1989

The struggle so far has been very fierce and several pieces have fallen by the wayside. Black’s two extra pawns are less important than his weakened castled position. White has all he needs for success: open lines, active pieces and... it’s his turn to play!

Black’s position presents a flawless kingside, but White has a big space advantage and his pieces are very well placed, concentrated precisely on targets on the kingside. The g2-rook, e4-knight and g5pawn portend the opening of the g-file. 1 Nbxd6! Preparing the sacrifice that follows in the game. There were several other good moves, including 1 f5.

1 Nfxe6! fxe6 2 Rxg7+! The second sacrifice, decoying the black king into a knight fork. 2...Kxg7 2...Kh8? allows 3 Qh6#.

1...Bxd6 2 Nf6+!

3 Nxe6+ Kh7 4 Nxc7 Rxc7

Now we begin to see White’s intentions more clearly. We have the theme of the knight sacrifice on f6, which we studied in Chapter 4.

Here Black has two pieces and a rook for the queen, but his king remains highly exposed.


5 Qg5 Ne5

If the sacrifice is declined with 2...Kf8 (2...Kh8? allows 3 Qxh7#), then 3 Qxh7! forces Black to take anyway: 3...gxf6 4 Re1 Be5 5 gxf6.

A surprising piece sacrifice, but in reality it is the only move. If, for instance, 5...Nf6 then 6 Rd8!! Rxd8 7 Qg6+ Kh8 8 Qxf6+ and the rook on d8 falls, and with it the black position.

3 gxf6+ Kh8

6 Qxe5 Rcf7 7 Qe6 Rf6

3...Kf8 is answered with 4 Qxh7! Qxf6 5 Re1!, followed by mate on g8.

A sad necessity. Black is practically in zugzwang.

8 Rd7+ Kh6 9 Qe5 R8f7 10 Rxf7 Rxf7 11 Qe6+ Kg7 12 h6+ Kf8 13 Qd6+ 1-0

8...Bd5 9 Qc7 Rac8 10 Qf4 Rc6 11 Bxf8 Rxf8 12 Qe5+ Nf6 13 Nd6! 1-0

Black resigned in view of 13...Ke8 14 Qb8+ Ke7 15 Qxb7+ and 13...Kg8 14 Qg6+ Kf8 15 h7.

Black must give up the exchange, since 13...Kg7 is met by 14 Qg5+ and 15 Qxf6.

White to play

White to play

Alekhine – Tartakower

Pinter – Ungureanu

Kecskemet 1927

Bucharest 1976

Here we have two great rivals, facing off once again. Black has not yet completed his development and White is preparing to attack, because the circumstances are right for him. Notice, for instance, the powerful knight on f5, and the tactical detail that the black queen is on an open file, opposite the white rook on d1. White’s most aggressively placed piece is sacrificed.

We have a pawn-wedge (f6) in Black’s castled position, which has been weakened on the dark squares. The white queen, settled in its offensive base on h6, plus the good deployment of the rest of his attacking force, leads us to suppose that White is able to undertake something decisive here. Of course, we already know that dynamic factors are related to time, in other words, that they must be exploited quickly, since otherwise the defending side could consolidate its position.

1...gxh6 2 Bxh7+!

1 Nf5!!

A new and destructive sacrifice. The idea of winning the queen on d8 may have been the trigger for the combination: clearing the d-file. But we shall soon see that Alekhine had something else in mind.

Threatening 2 Ne7+ Kh8 3 Qxf8#.

1 Nh6+!

2...Nxh7 2...Kxh7 3 Qxf7+ and 2...Kg7 3 Nf5+ are both simple enough, but 2...Kh8 demands more detailed analysis: 3 Qxf7 Nbd7 4 Nf5! Bf8 5 Nh4 Bg7 6 Bf5 and now 6...Bb7 is met by 7 Ng6+ Kh7 8 Ne7+ Kh8 9 Qg8+! Rxg8 (9...Nxg8 changes nothing) 10 Ng6+ Kh7 11 Ne5+ Kh8 12 Nf7#. An attractive semismothered mate by bishop and knight. 3 Qg4+ Kh8 4 Rxd8 Rxd8 5 Qe4! A double attack on a8 and e7. 5...Nc6 6 Qxc6 Bf8 7 Nf5 Bc4 8 Bxh6 The black king is severely weakened and the material advantage has passed to White.

1...Nd7 Defending the rook. The knight is taboo; if 1...exf5? then 2 Rxe8 and mate on g7, while after 1...gxf5? 2 gxf5, the invasion along the g-file will be decisive. 2 Rxe6! Another turn of the screw in the attack. 2...fxe6 3 Ne7+ Kf7 Or 3...Kh8 4 Nxg6+ Kg8 5 Ne7+ Kf7 6 Qxh7+ Kxf6 7 Ng6!, with the conclusive threats of 8 Qe7# and 8 Rf1+. 4 Bxg6+! Opening the decisive breach. 4...Kxf6 5 Qh4+ Kg7 6 Qxh7+ Kf6 7 g5+! Ke5 8 Bxe8 Be4 9 Ng6+ Bxg6 10 Bxg6 Rad8 11 Qg7+ Now the pursuit of the king leads to a quick mate.

11...Kf4 12 Qd4+ Kxg5 13 Rg1+ Kh6 14 Qh4+ 1-0 After 14...Kg7 15 Be8+ it is mate next move.

Black to play

Tartakower – Euwe White to play

Venice 1948

Dolmatov – Zimmer

This position was reached after a savage attack by Black on White’s kingside castled position. As we can see, the white king has fled all the way to the far side of the board. This gives you some idea of how hectic its existence has been so far. Euwe has already carried out several sacrifices in this game, which could well be considered his immortal. Now let us watch the conclusion of the attack.

Berne 1994 Those who crave excitement will have no cause for discontent here. Notice the situation of both kings (especially that of the white king, on h4, which seems incredible). Black has laid waste the queenside but on the other hand White has installed his pieces and pawns on the kingside. The strange thing is that if White’s bishop and knight were not on the f-file, the doubled rooks would be a decisive invasion weapon. So, what is the best way to proceed here? 1 Nxe6! First the knight gets out of the way. 1...Rxe6 2 Be7! And now the bishop does the same, in a surprising clearance operation. You might think that 2 Bg7 was better, but then it could not be exchanged for the black knight, if the latter moves to d8. 2...Re8 If 2...Nd8 then 3 Bxd8, regaining the piece with a decisive advantage. 2...Nh8? is met by 3 Rf6, while White also wins after 2...Nxh6 3 gxh6 Re8 4 Rf6! Rxe7 5 Rxe6 Rxe6 6 Rf7+ and 7 Qxe6. 3 Bb4 The bishop changes direction, gaining time and regaining material (a double attack on the queen and the knight). 3...Qa4 4 Rxf7+ Kc6 5 R1f6 Rxf6 6 Qd7# (1-0) How skilfully Sergei Dolmatov wove his threads!

1...Nc4+! The fork leaves no choice. 2 bxc4 Rxa4+! A fresh, spectacular and decisive sacrifice. 3 Kxa4 3 Kb3 Qa2#. 3...Qa2+ 4 Kb4 Qb2+ 0-1 It’s mate after 5 Ka5 Qa3#, while 5 Kc5 is answered with 5...Qxf2+ 6 Kb4 Qxb6+ 7 Ka3 Bc2!, threatening mate on b3 and a5. If 8 Rxc2 then 8...Qxg1.

White to play

Afek – Gershaev Tel Aviv 1999 Black’s three minor pieces are all centralized, and seem to act as perfect cover for his king. But there are two discordant notes in the position: the queen is rather far away and the pawn-wedge on g5 is a bridgehead for a possible invasion by White. Right now, the question White is pondering is how to penetrate the enemy’s defensive network. 1 Rxe4! A clearance sacrifice, opening the diagonal for the bishop on b3. 1...dxe4 2 Be5+! An excellent sacrifice, complementing the previous one, also based on the clearance theme. 2...Bxe5 3 Rxf5! 1-0 The bishop made way for the rook to conclude with this elimination of Black’s key defensive piece (removing the guard). Black resigned since the possibilities available to him offer no grounds for hope: 3...Qh8 (or: 3...gxf5 4 Qh6#; 3...e6 4 Qh6+ Kg8 5 Rf8+! Qxf8 6 Bxe6+ Qf7 7 Qxg6+) 4 Rf7+ Kg8 and now 5 Rxe7+ Kf8 6 Rf7+ Kg8 7 Rf6+ Kg7 8 Qd7# (Afek’s analysis) or 5 Rh7+ Kf8 6 Rxh8+ Bxh8 7 Qxh8#.

1 Rxf7! Kxf7 2 Qe6+!! The breakthrough by the white pieces is helped by some geometrical details, such as the fact that the black queen is on the long h1-a8 diagonal. This queen sacrifice is stronger than 2 Rxh7+ Kg8! 3 Rxe7 Rxe7 4 Qxe7 Rc7, when Black can fight on. 2...Nxe6 2...Kg7? allows 3 Nf5#. 3 dxe6+ Kg8 3...Kf8 loses to 4 exd7 Qb8 5 dxc8Q Qxc8 6 Rf3+ Kg8 7 Bh3! Qb7 8 Be6+ Kg7 9 Nc6+. Now the firepower of the white bishops is more than evident. 4 exd7 Ng7 The queen cannot be saved. If, for instance, 4...Qb8, then 5 Bd5+ Kf8 6 Ne6+, etc. 5 Bxa8 Rxa8 Black has preserved equality in material, but White’s greater piece activity is sufficient to win. 6 Nc6! Bxg5 7 Rg3 Ne6 7...Bd8 is met by 8 Bxg7 Kxg7 9 Re3 with the decisive threat of 10 Re8. 8 Rxg5! 1-0 After 8...Nxg5 9 d8Q+ Rxd8 10 Nxd8, White will emerge a piece up.

White to play

Black to play

Odeev – Rakhmanov

Romanishin – Balashov

USSR 1987

USSR Ch, Minsk 1979

White’s space advantage is overwhelming. Black has just made the mistake of attacking the rook with ...g6, hoping to be able to win the pawn on g5. To make things worse, Black’s queen is completely isolated from the play and his pieces are getting in each other’s way. With the following manoeuvre, White highlights all these factors which work in his favour.

It is not immediately obvious that Black can unbalance the struggle in his favour. However, even if the general disposition of both sides’ pieces can be considered reasonable, White’s queen and knight strike a discordant note, at least for what Black is planning: nothing less than exploiting the weaknesses of the enemy castled position.

1...d4! A kamikaze pawn, which is sacrificed to open the long diagonal for his bishop. 2 cxd4

and also played for the USSR team in several Olympiads. He was Karpov’s analyst in the matches for the world championship in 1978, 1981 and 1984. Later his style became very conservative and his star began to fade.

2 Bxd4 is met by 2...Nf3+! 3 gxf3 Qg3+ 4 Kh1 Bxf3+. 2...Nf3+! The hidden reason for the pawn sacrifice. In this way, Black seeks to invade with his queen on g3, with destructive effect. 3 Rxf3 3 gxf3 Qg3+. 3...Bxf3 4 Rf1 White rejects the capture of the bishop, which means he has lost the exchange. Of course if 4 gxf3 then 4...Qg3+ 5 Kf1 Qxf3+ 6 Bf2 Bxd4, with catastrophic effect.

Black to play

Gulko – Kremenetsky


Moscow Ch 1982

But the bishop refuses to survive in a hostile world.

A move which emphasizes the uselessness of the white pieces on the queenside: Black threatens 6...Qg3+.

Black has aimed his activity against White’s castled position and has concentrated a good deal of offensive power there. Meanwhile, there are two white pieces which occupy curious positions: the rook on a3 and the knight on a2. We can understand that the latter is trying to get to d5 via b4, but meanwhile it is Black to play...

6 Qc1


Better late than never? The queen is protecting the bishop on e3.

Seeking to open the e-file, or else deflect the c4bishop from the e2-square.

6...Qg3+ 7 Kh1 Qxh3+ 8 Kg1 Qg3+ 9 Kh1 Rf3

2 exd5

If this rook is not eliminated, Black will have sufficient material to finish White off.

2 Bxd5 h4 3 Ne2 Nxe2+ 4 Qxe2 Qxd5.

10 Bf4 10...Qh3+ 11 Kg1 Qg4+ 12 Kh1 Rh3+ 13 Bh2

If 3 Nh1? then 3...Nh3#; 3 Ne2 is met by 3...Nxe2+ 4 Bxe2 Qe7, with a double attack on the rook on a3 and the bishop on e2. In this line we see, once again, the danger which an undefended piece represents.

The last defensive hope.

3...Rxe4! 4 fxe4 Bh3

13...Rxh2+! 0-1

Now the white pieces on the queenside are useless for defending the pressing threats to his king.

5 Kxg2 5 Rxf6 Rxf6 6 Kxg2 Qc6+. 5...Bh4!

But 10 Rxf3 loses to 10...Qxf3+ 11 Kg1 Re8, etc.

14 Kxh2 is met by 14...Bg3+ 15 Kg2 (15 Kh1 Qh3+, mating) 15...Bf4+, winning the queen. Yuri Balashov (born in 1949) stood out as a very young player, and at the age of 16 he was already very well known and considered one of the great young hopes of Soviet chess. He achieved the title of grandmaster at the age of 23, which at that time was rather extraordinary. In the 1970s and 1980s he had considerable success in international tournaments

2...h4 3 Ne4

5 Be3 Bd4!! 6 Bxd4 Bxg2 7 Kf2 Or 7 Qxf4 Qxf4 8 Nc3 (8 Kxg2 Qxe4+ and 9...Qxd4) 8...Ng5, with a decisive advantage. 7...Nh3+ 8 Ke1 Bxf1 9 Bxf1 Re8 10 Nc3 Qg4 11 Bxh3 Rxe4+! The position is winning for Black. 12 Nxe4 Qxe4+ 13 Kd2

If the king stays on the back rank, then 13...Qxb1+, etc. 13...Qxd4+ 0-1 In our next example, the immediate area around each of the kings looks like the aftermath of a shipwreck, since at one time they were both happily castled.

White to play

Geller – Keres USSR Ch, Moscow 1973

White to play

M. Gurevich – Filippov European Clubs Cup, Bugojno 1999 The undefended state of the b5-bishop has not escaped the sharp eye of the master. Several tactical elements are involved in the combination that follows, but the main theme here could well be the precision of the calculation.

It is clear that Black is on the defensive, but he is a pawn up and the bishop on g5 is attacked. The problem is that it is White to move. The second problem (or is it the first?) is that White is GM Efim Geller. We have not yet spoken about Geller, but we shall do so at the end. White’s four minor pieces all have very good play, as White will demonstrate. 1 Nd6! An elegant combination, even though it looks easy. 1...hxg5

1 Bxg6+!

If 1...Rf8 then 2 Bxe7 Qxe7 3 Nxc8, winning a piece.

This is a combination to win material.

2 Nxf7!

1...Kxg6 2 Rxe6+ Rxe6 3 Qxe6+

The second sacrifice.

The sequence so far has been forced. From now on, the black king will have to choose the reply to each check with the greatest care.


If 4...Kf7? then 5 g6+, winning the queen.

Keres declines it, and with good reason: 2...Kxf7 loses to 3 Nxg5+ Kf6 4 Nh7+ Kf7 5 Bb3+. Another possibility was 2...Qc7 3 N7xg5, creating the threat of 4 Bb3+.

5 Qg6+ Kh8

3 N7xg5 Rf8

5...Kf8 6 Qf5+ and 7 Qxb5.

After 3...Rd8 one of these variations would occur: 4 Qb3+ Kh8 5 Nf7+ Kg8 6 Nxd8+ Kh8 7 Nf7+ Kg8 8 N7xe5+ Kh8 (8...Kh7 9 Ng5+ Kh8 10 Nef7+ Kg8 11 Nh6++ Kh8 12 Qg8+ Nxg8 13 Nhf7#) 9 Nf7+ Kg8 10 Nh6++ Kh7 11 Ng5+ Kxh6 12 Qh3+ Kxg5 13 f4+ Kxf4 14 Qh4+ Kf5 15 Bc2# (Geller’s analysis).

3...Kg7 4 Qxh6+ Kg8

6 Qf6+ Kg8 7 Qe6+ Kg7 All the possible moves for the king are bad: whether Black plays 7...Kf8, 7...Kh8, 7...Kh7 or the move in the game, the bishop is lost. 8 Qe5+ Kg6 9 Qxb5 Gurevich has achieved his objective. The rest is easy. The game ended like this: 9...Qg1+ 10 Kxf3 Qh1+ 11 Ke3 Qc1+ 12 Ke4 Qh1+ 13 Ke5 Qe1+ 14 Kd6 1-0

4 Bxd7 White has a decisive attack. Efim Geller (1925-98) belongs to the super-elite of chess history. He was everything, except world champion. For example: he qualified for no fewer

than six Candidates cycles (finishing joint 2nd in 1962, although he lost the tiebreak match against Keres), and he won two USSR Championships (in 1955 and 1979, this last one at the age of 54). Finally, and without mentioning his innumerable first places in international tournaments, he was a member of the USSR team that won the gold medals in seven Olympiads. According to Mikhail Tal, “Geller had discovered the secret essence of chess.”

6.3: Extraordinary Combinations White to play

Rossolimo – NN Paris simul 1944 The white king occupies a bizarre position, but it has to be said that it is very well protected by its pieces and that Black cannot get at it. On the other hand, White is the exchange up for two pawns and, above all, he has open lines against the enemy king. Now he is going to light the fuse of a high-flying combination. 1 Rxf5! White to play

Simagin – Bronstein Moscow 1947 We are at the start of a ‘simple’ but outstanding combination. The black pawn is threatening to queen and there seems to be no way of preventing it. In the shoes of the player with White, we would most probably hurry to give perpetual check with 1 Qe8+, etc. But Vladimir Simagin did not want to play second fiddle to his illustrious opponent, and he was bursting with imagination.

We start with an exchange sacrifice, which involves two combinative themes: clearance and removing the guard. 1...exf5 2 Qxh6+!! And now a queen sacrifice to draw out the black king (there is no longer a knight protecting h6). 2...Kxh6 It’s instant mate after 2...Kg8? 3 Nf6# or 2...gxh6? 3 Nf6+ Kh8 4 Rg8#. 3 Rh1+ Kg6

1 Bg5!! h1Q

How should White now carry on with the attack?

1...fxg5? is met by 2 f6, with unavoidable mate, while 1...Qxg5 (one of the keys to the combination: the queen moves away from its passed pawn) 2 Qc8+ Kg7 3 Qc7+ Kg8 4 Qxh2 gives White a winning ending.

4 Kf4!!

2 Qe8+ Kg7 3 Qg6+ Kf8 4 Qxf6+ Kg8 5 Qd8+ Kg7 6 Qe7+ Kg8 7 Qe8+ 1-0

With idea of inserting the queen on h6.

Black resigned in view of 7...Kh7 8 Qg6+ Kh8 9 Bf6# and 7...Kg7 8 f6+ Kh7 9 Qf7+ Kh8 10 Qg7#. The next game comes from a simultaneous exhibition by GM Nicolas Rossolimo, a character so Romantic that his biography is even better than his chess.

By freeing up new lines, this time for the bishop, White threatens 5 Bh5+ Kh6 (or 5...Kh7) 6 Bxf7#. 4...Qe6 5 Rh8!! Now the unstoppable threat is 6 Bh5#. The rook, in a widening action, moves over to the ‘other side’ of the bishop, in other words, the upper part of the hfile.

White to play

R. Meier – S. Müller Switzerland 1994 It is clear that the white pieces are in complete control of the situation. The black king is under pressure and unable to move, while the rest of his forces can hardly improve their current positions. On the other hand, there will be no need for them to do so, since White will soon relieve them of such a duty! 1 Qc7!!

White to play

Bronstein – Boleslavsky USSR 1950 This is one of those positions in which, at first glance, nothing seems to be happening. But you have to go deeper, to explore the specific details. A little detail, for instance, is not without significance: two white minor pieces are installed in the enemy camp and, whether or not their current bases are strong squares, the fact is that they touch sensitive points in the enemy set-up. Of course the knight on e5 seems destined to be exchanged immediately, but... 1 Nd7! Re8 Not 1...Qxd7? 2 Bxf7+, winning the queen. 2 Bxf7+! Kxf7 3 Qd5+ Kg6 And now what?

One of the most spectacular moves ever made on a chessboard. The white queen moves to a square controlled by all three of Black’s major pieces, while threatening to capture any one of the opposing pieces, with the exception of the knight. White can also play it in a different order: 1 Bd5! Rxd5 2 Qc7!!; while slightly less striking, this is a little more forcing. 1...Rdxc7 It is obvious that 1...Rcxc7 and 1...Qxc7 are of no use, because of 2 Re8+ and mate. However, this is not the best defence; 1...Ne5 seems preferable, although after 2 Qxb7! Rxb7 3 Bxb7 Qd7 (3...Rc7? 4 Bd5) 4 Bxc8 Qxc8 5 R1xe5 Bxe5 6 Rxe5, the position is clearly winning for White. 2 Re8+!! 1-0 Black resigned in view of 2...Qxe8 3 Rxe8+ Rxe8 4 Bd5+, and mate in two. A combination to delight the spectators.

4 g4! Very calm. This advance supports a mate by the queen on f5 and h5. 4...Bg5 5 Qf5+ Kh6 6 h4! 1-0 Now 6...Bxh4 is illegal, and 6...Bxf4 allows 7 Qh5#.

White to play

Tal – Mohrlok Varna Olympiad 1962 Black has just about succeeded in repelling the enemy attack on his castled position and hopes, after the retreat of the knight from d4, to be able to

regroup his forces. Of course we are talking about Mikhail Tal here, the king of the attack, who would rarely allow an opportunity to escape when he had a piece configuration as aggressive as this one. And the fact that it is White to play is not the least important thing here. 1 Nc3!! Tal was the supreme master in the art of activating pieces, and nobody knew as well as he how to exploit the power of a move, in other words, the value of a tempo. Incorporating this piece, heading for d5, prevents the capture of the other knight. 1...Qd8 Alternatives: a) 1...exd4 2 Rxf6+! gxf6 3 Qg6+ Ke7 4 Nd5+, winning the queen. b) 1...Qb6 2 Rxf6+! Kg8 3 Rfxh6 Qxb2+ 4 Kd2 exd4 5 Bxd4, with a decisive advantage. c) 1...Ng8 2 Bxh6! Nxh6 3 Rgxh6 Qc5 (3...gxh6 4 Nd5, threatening to take queen and mate on g6, since the knight covers the escape-square e7) 4 Nd5!, winning. 2 Nc6! 1-0 If it is necessary to emphasize the incalculable value of a tempo, this is the opportunity to do so. The knight would be lost on c6, but White only needs it to stay there for one move. Black resigned since 2...Qd7 is met by 3 Rxf6+! Kg8 (the rook cannot be captured: 3...Kxf6 – or 3...gxf6 – 4 Qg6#) 4 Rfxh6 Qxc6 5 Nd5 and mate will be inevitable.

worth our while to take a look at this combination, which highlights the fine judgement of the white player (GM Mark Taimanov) of the dynamic features presented by the position. 1 Nxb7! Getting rid of one of those marvellous knights: one needs willpower to overcome one’s reluctance to do that. 1...Rxb7 2 Qxb7! Qxb7 3 Rxc8 What has White achieved? He has sacrificed queen and knight for both rooks and a pawn. Is that a good deal? The clue lies in the pitiful situation of the black knights and in a couple of details which favour the success of the combination. 3...Kf8 What else to play? 4 Rb8! White gains the time he needs to double rooks on the eighth rank, thanks to the tactical detail of the fork on d7. 4...Qe7 Or: 4...Qxb8? 5 Nd7+; 4...Qa7 5 Rcc8 Nc7 6 Nc6, netting the queen. 5 Rxa8 g6 6 Rcc8 Kg7 7 Rxe8 and White soon won.

White to play

Bronstein – Korchnoi Leningrad-Moscow 1962 White to play

Taimanov – Lisitsyn Leningrad 1949 We have here the best pair of knights in the history of chess, against one of the worst pairs. Is it surprising that White is able to win? In any case, it is

In this tense struggle, in which White is trying to capitalize on his pawn advantage, what is happening in reality is an underground game of direct threats with major pieces. Black threatens to take the pawn on f3 with his queen which, in turn, will become a threat of mate in one. White’s response: total disregard of that threat...

...creating, naturally, a greater one.

Naturally 1...Rxe7 is answered with 2 dxc6, while if 1...Kxe7 then 2 Qe5+ wins the queen.


2 Rxg7!

1...Qd7 is better. For instance, after 2 Rh8+ Kg6, White should avoid 3 Qxb3?! Qe7 4 Kh3 Qe1!, when after 5 Qb6+ Kf7 6 Qc7+ Kg6 7 b4 Qh1+ 8 Qh2 Qe1 a way forward for White is not apparent. 3 Kh3 and 3 Qg8 both leave White better but not necessarily winning.

Another stroke of genius. Now 2...Kxg7 3 Qg4+ and 2...Rxg7 3 dxc6 are both simple wins for White, while 2...Rxd5 is met by 3 Rxf6+ Kxg7 4 Rg6++ Kf7 5 Qg7+ and 6 Rxc6. Finally, if 2...Qxd5? then 3 Qxf6+ Rf7 (3...Ke8 4 Qf8#) 4 Rxf7+.

1 Re8!?

At this moment, Bronstein’s team-mates threw up their hands: another Bronstein extravagance! How could he allow the invasion on f3? But David, king of the combinatory arts, had an answer ready:

The rook’s display was possible because of the black queen being en prise. Remember that loose pieces constitute a tactical motif.

2 Rh8+ Kg6 3 Rxh6+!! 1-0 A masterly sacrifice which forced Korchnoi’s immediate resignation. If 3...Kxh6 (or 3...gxh6 4 Qg8+ Kf6 5 Qf8+ and 6 Qxf3) then 4 Qh8+ Kg6 5 Qh5+ Kf6 6 g5+, a double attack which is worth its weight in gold: the discovery wins the queen. The master himself expressed it thus in his game annotations: “Isolated pawns, just like lonely people, also have their pride and their dignity.” The humble pawn on g4 was useful for something more than being doubled and isolated. White to play

Bischoff – Nogueiras Havana 1998 In this situation of extreme violence, Black threatens mate with 1...Ra1+! 2 Bxa1 Qa2+ 3 Kc1 Qxa1+ 4 Kd2 (4 Qb1 Qc3+ and mate next move) 4...Qc3+ 5 Ke2 Qxe3+ 6 Kf1 Qe2#. But it is White to play and he finds a winning sequence, truly worth remembering as a marvel (on Bischoff’s part), or as a nightmare (for Nogueiras). 1 Qxh7+!! Qxh7+ If 1...Kxh7 then 2 g6+ Kg8 3 h7+ Kf8 4 h8Q+. White to play

Tartakower – Alekhine (variation) New York 1924 The pin prevents the capture of the black queen, since the ending would be unpromising for White. However, he can exploit the fact that the enemy queen is attacked with a pretty combinative manoeuvre. 1 Re7! There’s also a simple win by 1 Qf2! Qf6 (otherwise 2 c6 wins) 2 Rf5 Qe7 3 c6. 1...f6

2 g6 Ba2+ 3 Kc1 1-0 Black’s best course would be to give back the queen, but after 3...Qxg6 (3...Ra7 4 gxh7++ Kxh7 5 Rg7+ Rxg7 6 hxg7+ and now 6...Kg8 7 Rh4 or 6...Kg6 7 Rh4 Rb8 8 Rf4) 4 Rxg6+ Kf7 (4...Kf8 5 h7) 5 Rg7+ Ke6 6 Bxa3, White wins. The next game was played in the gigantic Open which the GMA organized in the capital of the Balearic islands, in which two hundred players took part, of whom 144 were grandmasters.

Black to play

White to play

Chiburdanidze – Goldin

Karpov – Korchnoi

Palma de Mallorca 1989

Candidates (2), Moscow 1974

All the trumps here are in Black’s hands, or more specifically, in his far-advanced passed pawn. Let us watch how skilfully Goldin exploits the power of this pawn.

We are at the start of a typical middlegame, in a Sicilian Dragon with opposite-side castling, in which White has sacrificed his h-pawn and has succeeded in exchanging the fianchettoed bishop which was protecting the black king. Now Karpov begins an attacking manoeuvre which has passed into the annals of the chess, owing to its perfection.

1...Ra4!! The immediate advance of the pawn is of no use: 1...b2? 2 Rb1 Ra4 3 Rxb2 (or 3 Nxe5!?) 3...Rxb2 4 Qxb2 Nc4 5 Qb3 Ra1+ 6 Re1 is roughly equal.

1 g5!

But now it works:

Korchnoi had placed his rook on c5 precisely to prevent this advance. A kamikaze pawn, which dictates the direction of events.

2...b2 3 Re1 b1Q 4 Rxb1

1...Rxg5 2 Rd5!

Yes, White has won a pawn, but...

A second sacrifice, even more unexpected: a double attack which cannot be ignored.

2 Rxa4

4...Rxb1+ 5 Ne1 Nd3!! 6 Qxd3 Rxe1+ 7 Kg2 Rxh1!! The key to the whole combination. Now 8 Kxh1 is met by 8...Qxf2 with the threat of 9...Nxg3+, which would oblige White to sacrifice his queen to prevent the mate. 8 e5 Rh2+! 0-1 The versatile rook. Now the mating-net we mentioned earlier cannot be prevented: 9 Kxh2 Qxf2+ 10 Kh1 Nxg3+. It is very instructive to observe how cleverly Goldin transformed the enormous threat presented by his passed pawn into a direct attack on the white king.

2...Rxd5 3 Nxd5 Re8 If 3...Nh5?, to block the file, it is enough to play 4 Nxe7+ Kh8 5 Nxc8 to win. 4 Nef4 Bc6 White was threatening 5 Nxf6+ exf6 6 Nd5, followed by mate. 5 e5! The second kamikaze pawn, which seems to be the only way to decide the game. Instead, 5 Nxf6+? exf6 6 Nh5 looked decisive, but Karpov showed how to refute it: 6...Qg5+ 7 Qxg5 fxg5 8 Nf6+ Kg7 9 Nxe8+ Bxe8, and White cannot win. 5...Bxd5 If 5...dxe5 then 6 Nxf6+ exf6 7 Nh5!; now this works. The objective of the pawn sacrifice was to block the fifth rank, precisely to prevent the check by the black queen on g5. 6 exf6 exf6 7 Qxh7+ Kf8 8 Qh8+ 1-0

If 8...Ke7 then 9 Nxd5+ Qxd5 10 Re1+, winning the black rook and the game.

2...Nxf2!?) 3 fxe4 Qxe4 (3...cxb3 4 Bc3) 4 Rg1 Ne5 5 Bc3 Nf3+ 6 Kf1 Nh2+ 7 Ke1 Nf3+.

The 1974 Karpov-Korchnoi match has its own story, since it was the final of the cycle of Candidates matches for the world championship. The winner would earn the right to play against the legendary Robert James Fischer, who had more or less disappeared from view since winning the championship in 1972. The truth is that Fischer would not keep the appointment in 1975, so that winning the Candidates final earned Anatoly Karpov the highest title and so this was a de facto world championship match.

2...Ne5!! A dynamic way to escape from the pin, setting up twin threats: mate on d3 and an attack against the white queen. 3 Qa6 Controlling d3. Naturally, 3 Qxe7? allows 3...Nd3#. 3...Qa7!! The black queen challenges the laws of logic, relying on the lethal threat posed by his e5-knight. Now Black has three pieces under attack, two of them major pieces. 4 Bc4 Balancing on a tightrope: it is essential to control the d3-square at all costs. In the event of 4 Bxf7+ Kh8 5 Bc4 Qb8 6 Bb3 Qa8 7 fxe4 (or 7 Bc4 Nxc4 8 Qxc4 Qa3, when Black wins) 7...Qxa6 8 Kxb2 Nd3+ 9 Kb1 c4, Black has a decisive advantage. 4...Qb8 5 Bb3 Qa8 6 Kxb2 6 Bc4 Nxc4 7 Qxc4 Qa3!. 6...Qxa6 0-1 If 7 fxe4 then 7...Nd3+ 8 Kb1 c4, winning.

Black to play

Pomar – Palacios Spanish Team Ch, Barcelona 1964 Despite its seeming normality, this position contains some extraordinary elements. The impression of normality starts to fade away as we notice certain features. For example: 1) The black rook is unusually situated on b2, where it is imprisoned.

Arturo Pomar was a former child prodigy who became Spain’s first grandmaster, winning the national title seven times. Ernesto Palacios was an outstanding player in the 1960s, but never became a professional player. This explains his relative disappearance or only sporadic appearances since then, usually in the Spanish team championship, representing his club, the Peña Oromana, from Alcala de Guadaira.

2) The white king is still in the centre and, since White’s kingside pawn-structure is dreadful, kingside castling can be practically ruled out. 3) The white queen pins the opposing knight on d7, but it is also strangely remote; it is hard to know if it is active or out of play. 1...Ne4! 2 0-0-0? Now Black’s b2-rook and e4-knight are both attacked. Of course, Black can at least bail out by exchanging on d2. Instead, 2 fxe4? would run into 2...Qxe4 3 Rg1 (3 00-0? allows 3...Rb1# or 3...Qb1#) 3...Ne5, with tremendous threats. 2 Rd1! is necessary, and about equal; e.g., 2...c4 (Black has several other viable options, including

White to play

Lutikov – Sakharov USSR Team Ch, Moscow 1960

White has one point in his favour and many against. In his favour is his absolute control of the g-file with his major pieces, which is no small thing. The negatives include his bishop imprisoned by its own pawns, and the fact that he is a pawn down. If he moves his bishop to d2, to prevent the enemy knight from reaching e4, then Black can play ...Nb2 and ...Nc4, etc. But as a consolation, it is White’s turn to move...

After 13 Ba7 White can hold back the pawns.

1 e4!!

16 Kh4 Ra6 ½-½

An ambitious plan. Lutikov wants to activate his bishop, so he makes a masterly pawn-break.

A draw was agreed because 17 Kg5 gives White enough counterplay; e.g., 17...Kf8 (not 17...Rxf6?? 18 Kxf6 c4 19 Re8+ Kh7 20 Kf7 c3 21 Ra8! and White will play Ra1-h1#) 18 Kxf5 (18 Kg6 c4 19 Rh7 Ke8) 18...c4 19 Kg6 (19 Rh7 d3) 19...d3 20 Rxe3 d2 21 Rh3 Rxf6+ 22 Kxf6 Ke8 23 Ke6 Kd8 24 Rh1 Kc7 25 f5 c3 26 f6 c2 27 f7 will lead to a Q vs Q draw.

1...dxe4 If 1...fxe4? then 2 f5 and the rook on h6 is loose, which here is synonymous with lost, since 2...Rh7 fails to 3 Rxh7+ Kxh7 4 Qg6+ and mate in two. 2 d5!

13...c5 In return for the bishop, Black has an incredible mass of mobile pawns in the centre, so that White is reduced to fighting for the draw. 14 Bxf6 d4 15 Kg3 e3? 15...Ra6!.

The second kamikaze pawn. 2...cxd5 3 Be3 Naturally heading for d4. 3...Nc3! 4 c6! A third kamikaze, practically in a row, equalling Alekhine’s achievement. 4...bxc6 5 Bc5 Qb8!! A truly astonishing move. Not passive defence in the slightest, but out-and-out counterattack! 6 Kh1 Not 6 Bxe7? Qxf4+ 7 Kh1 Qf3!.

Black to play

6...Ne2! The knight demands its share of the spotlight in this struggle. 7 Rxe7 If 7 Qxe2? then 7...Rxh3+ 8 Kg2 Qxf4 9 Kxh3 Qh6+ 10 Kg2 Kxg7! is winning for Black: six(!) pawns for a bishop. 7...Qg8! Both sides teeter on the edge of the abyss. 8 Qxe2 Rxh3+ There is not a trace left of the control that White once exerted over the g-file, but his major pieces now aspire to attack along the seventh rank. 9 Qh2 Rxh2+ 10 Kxh2 a5 If 10...Qd8 then 11 Rgg7 forces 11...Qxe7 (since White was threatening mate in two with 12 Rh7+ Kg8 13 Reg7#). 11 Rxg8+ Kxg8 12 bxa5 Rxa5 13 Bd4?

Timman – Vallejo Pamplona 1999 Here we have a position of great dynamic content, where it seems that the black king is going to suffer the usual problems of a king which is stuck in the centre. His white counterpart, on the other hand, seems well protected by his bishop-pair, operating in front of the pawn-barrier. But who was it said that things are never what they seem? White has just played e5, to clear the e4-square for the knight and, at the same time, to try to stop the unstoppable... 1...Nf6! Namely, the black knight moving to f6. This is a double attack (on the g4-bishop and the d4-pawn), which precedes another double attack. 2 Bxe6 If 2 exf6 then 2...Rxd4 (a fresh double attack, on the queen and the bishop on g4), followed by 3...Rdxg4,

and White’s apparently invulnerable castled position is blown apart.

1...Nxe3 2 fxg6 hxg6 3 Qxg6+ Kh8 4 Qh6+ Kg8 5 Qxe3.

2...Rxd4 3 Qe2

2 Ra7!

If 3 Qf3 then 3...c5! (Timman) 4 Qxf6 fxe6 and now 5 Nxb5? loses to 5...Qc6! 6 Nc7+ Kd7.

Invading the seventh rank. Can this not be neutralized with 2...Rb7? No, since with 3 Rxb7 Bxb7 4 Qxe6+ White would win a piece.

3...Nd5! Better than 3...fxe6?! 4 exf6 Kf7 (4...c5!?) 5 Qc2, with a complicated position and chances for both sides. 4 Bxd5 cxd5 5 Kh2 b4 6 Nd1 Re4 7 Qd2 Rg5 With this transfer of the rook to the kingside, Black establishes a decisive advantage. Now White will be unable to stop all the threats. 8 Ne3 d4 9 Rad1 Bc5 10 Qe2 dxe3 11 f4 Rg8 12 b3 Qe6 13 f5 Qxe5!! 0-1 There is a forced sequence that leaves White with no pieces: 14 Bxe5 Rh4+ 15 Kg1 Bxg2! 16 Qxg2 e2+ 17 Bd4 Bxd4+ 18 Rxd4 Rxg2+ 19 Kxg2 exf1Q+ 20 Kxf1 Rxd4.

2...Nc7 If 2...Bd7 then 3 Nxd5 Nxd5 4 Bxd5 exd5 5 e6, while 2...Rf7 is met by 3 Rxf7 Kxf7 4 Qxh7+, with a decisive advantage. 3 exd6 Qxd6 4 Qg5+! The purpose of this check is to control the e7-square, the importance of which becomes evident if White plays 4 Rd1?, which is answered with 4...Qe7, when Black can defend. 4...Kh8 5 Rd1 Qe5 6 Ng4!! Exploiting the pin of the f-pawn but sacrificing the knight on e2. 6...Qxe2 7 Rd8! 1-0 It turns out that there is no defence against the various mate threats. A very convincing attack, with some original features.

White to play

Ivanchuk – Nenashev USSR Army Ch, Frunze 1988 White has gained considerable ground, but it would be hard to say whether he has a won game or merely a large advantage. One can appreciate the dominant position of the white queen and the potential invasion of the seventh rank by the rook on a1. Also the rest of White’s pieces are all well placed, in contrast to Black’s passive deployment. It is White to play and 1 Ng4 looks the most logical candidate move. But a genius is a genius...

White to play

Tal – Averbakh USSR Team Cup, Riga 1961

A kamikaze pawn bursts onto the scene.

There are weak points in Black’s castled position and, although his king seems well protected by queen and bishop, Tal has plans regarding this. Of course the idea of the deflection 1 Bxc5 leaps out, but, if we believe the old wives’ tales, after 1...Qxc5 2 Qxf6, the g5-knight would still be under attack, so how should we proceed in that case? Tal makes it immediately clear to us.


1 Bxc5! Rxd1

1 f5!!

If 1...Qxc5 2 Qxf6 Rf8 then 3 Nxf7! Rxf7 4 Bb3.

2 Rxd1 Qxc5 3 Qxf6 hxg5 4 Bb3! So, as coolly as that... Do you remember about double attacks? With this move the f7- and g6pawns are both attacked and cannot both be defended at the same time. 4...Rb7

a) 1...axb6 2 Rxc8+ Ka7 3 dxe7 Bxe7 4 Bxb6+ Kxa6 5 Ra8+ Kb7 6 Be3+ Kxa8 7 Bxg5. b) 1...Bc7 2 b7+ Kb8 3 dxc7+ Rexc7 (3...Rcxc7 4 Bxa7+! Kxa7 5 b8Q+) 4 Rxc7 Qe5+ (4...Rxc7 5 Bxa7+; 4...Kxc7 5 Rc3+ Kd6 6 bxc8Q) 5 Kh1 Qxc7 6 Bh2.

After 4...Be6 5 Bxe6 fxe6 6 Rd7, the mate on the seventh rank can only stopped at the cost of great material loss.

c) 1...Rxc2 2 b7+ Kb8 3 Bxa7+! Kxa7 4 b8Q+ Kxa6 5 Qb5+ Ka7 6 Ra3+ and mate next move.

5 Qxg6+ Now you can see the power of the ‘modest’ bishop move.

Much better than the capture on c8 (though this is also clearly winning), given the enormous difference in material.


3...Qg3+ 4 Kh1

If 5...Kh8 then 6 Bxf7, with a decisive advantage, since Black would have to sacrifice the exchange to prevent the mate on h6.

There is no defence against so many threats, all of them linked to pawn promotions.

2 b7+ Kb8 3 d7!!

6 Qh6+ There is no defence; e.g., 6...Ke7 7 Rd5! Qb6 8 Qxg5+ Kf8 9 Qh6+ Ke7 10 Qh4+ f6 11 Qh7+ Kf8 12 Qh8+ Ke7 13 Qxc8 or 6...Kg8 7 Rd5 Qb6 8 Rd6 Be6 9 Rxe6! fxe6 10 Bxe6+ Rf7 11 Qg6+, with White winning in both cases.

Black to play

Topalov – Shirov Linares 1998

Black to play

Alekhine – Hofmeister Petrograd 1917

Even in endgames there can be marvellous combinations, as we have already seen. White’s position still offers possibilities of resistance, owing to the opposite-coloured bishops, and you have to be a Shirov to see the winning method. It is Black to play and, believe me, the move that follows is the only one that wins, at least in the opinion of all the experts.

Black is a full queen up! In reality, and to be exact, for three pawns. The position is so extraordinary that we have to rub our eyes to make sure that what we are seeing is true, and some more time has to go by before we are convinced that this is a real game and that White can win... even though it is Black’s move!



2...Kf5 3 Kf2 Ke4!

This seems the best defensive try. Let’s review the alternatives:

Another sacrifice, this time of the f6-pawn.

The bishop is sacrificed to gain a tempo for the king and deflect the white pawn. 2 gxh3 If 2 Kf2 then 2...Kf5 3 Kf3 (3 g3 Ke4) 3...Bxg2+ 4 Kxg2 Ke4.

4 Bxf6

4 Ke2 a3 5 Kd2 d4 6 Ba1 f5. 4...d4 5 Be7 The bishop has no choice but to prevent the advance of the a-pawn. 5...Kd3! 6 Bc5 Kc4! 7 Be7 Kb3 0-1 If 8 Ke2 then 8...Kc2, and since the white king cannot take part in the defence, the bishop cannot stop both pawns. Masterly! In 1998 the prestigious British Chess Magazine organized a survey of its readers under the title The Most Amazing Move of All Time, which is selfexplanatory. A jury of ten grandmasters made the final decision. The clear winner turned out to be 1...Bh3!!, which obtained the maximum score from five of the ten judges. Some statements were a revelation. GM Matthew Sadler, for instance, said: “I know that I could spend days analysing this position, without managing ever to discover this move. Yet it was found over the board, while a whole room full of computers and supergrandmasters did not manage to see it.” And the then women’s world champion, Xie Jun: “It is the only move of 13 legal black moves which most players would never consider.”

the h-pawn (...h5-h4); e.g., 3 Re1? (3 e4) 3...Nxh2! 4 Nxh2 Rxh2 5 Kxh2 Qh4+ 6 Kg1 Bxg3 7 fxg3 Qxg3+ 8 Kh1 Re6 9 Bh5 Rh6, followed by 10...Bg4. It is a better policy to eliminate the attacking pieces. 2...Bxg4 3 f3? If 3 Qe1 then 3...Rh6 4 f4 f5!, and Black gives up the direct attack in exchange for concentrating his major pieces on the weak point e3, which is vital to the enemy position, by means of ...Rhe6 and ...Qe7. 3...Rxh2! Decidedly, this rook has a kamikaze vocation. 4 fxg4 Rxe3! 5 Bf6 The only move, preventing the black queen’s access to the kingside. 5...Rh3!! 6 Rf3 6 Bxd8 Rexg3+ 7 Kf2 Rh2+ 8 Ke1 Re3+ 9 Qe2 Rexe2+ 10 Kd1 Rxd2+ is an easy win for Black. 6...Rxg3+ 7 Kh1 gxf6 8 Rxg3 Bxg3 9 Nf3 Qd7 0-1 The black queen nevertheless reaches sensitive points in the enemy camp. If 10 Ng1 (10 Nh2 Bxh2 11 Kxh2 Qd6+, with a conclusive invasion of the white kingside) then 10...Re1 11 Qxe1 Bxe1 12 Rxe1 Qxg4, etc.

Black to play

Taimanov – Kaidanov

White to play

Belgrade 1988

Makarychev – A. Sokolov

The g3 advance has considerably weakened White’s castled position, which GM Taimanov knows as well as anyone, but he was relying on repairing his position with Nf3, as soon as the black rook retreated. The problem is that the rook does not retreat, because Kaidanov is planning to exploit the weakness.

Moscow 1982 Despite the scarcity of pieces, the perilous state of Black’s castled position is clear. GM Sergei Makarychev conducts the attack based on dynamic factors: open lines, mobile pawns... But it is essential to know how to create these and how to exploit them.

1...Ng4! 2 Bxg4

1 Nxf7!?

2 gxh4? is met by 2...Qxh4 3 Nf3 Qh3, and 2 Nf3 is answered with 2...Rh3!, with the plan of advancing

An inspired idea, but White does better with 1 Nc6! Nxc6 2 Bxc6 Bd7 3 Bxd7 Qxd7 4 g5, which simply looks unpleasant for Black. 1...Kxf7 2 Qh7+ Kf8 3 g5! The key to the attack. After 3 Qxh6+ Kg8, there is no progress possible. 3...Qd7?! After 3...Qe7 4 Qh8+ Kf7 5 Qxh6 Black can try: a) 5...Bb7? 6 Qh7+! Kf8 7 Qh8+ Kf7 8 g6+ Kxg6 9 Be4+! Kf7 10 Bg6+! forces mate. b) 5...Rg8?! looks solid, but 6 Bf3 Ke8 7 gxf6 Qf8 8 Qh7 Kd8 9 0-0-0 leaves White much better. White to play

c) 5...f5 seeks to keep lines closed, but 6 g6+ Kg8 7 h5 offers White fair compensation.

Spassky – Bronstein USSR Ch, Moscow 1961

4 Qh8+ Kf7 4...Ke7? 5 Qxf6#. 5 Qxf6+ Kg8 6 Bc6!! A truly exceptional move, which aims to deflect the black queen from its second rank, while opening up the g-file without any loss of time. 6...Rf8? If 6...Qxc6 then 7 d5 Qxc4 8 gxh6 Qg4 (the only move, in view of the double threat of mate on g7 and 9 Rg1+) 9 0-0-0 Rf8 10 h7+ Kxh7 11 Qxf8 e5! 12 Rhg1 Qf4+ leads to a good ending for White, but is Black’s best try. If 6...Nxc6? then 7 gxh6 Kh7 8 Rg1 Rg8 9 Rxg8 Kxg8 10 0-0-0 Kh7 11 Rg1 (analysis by Makarychev) forces mate.

Black is attacking the enemy knight but in doing so he has further weakened his castled position, which was already feeling the absence of the dark-squared bishop. Black’s great problem is that, added to the above factors there is the alarming underdevelopment of his queenside, where three pieces have still not been brought into play. Furthermore, Black’s queen is a long way from what White is going to convert into the scene of the action. 1 Nxf7!! A combination of great quality, since White had to see how he was going to include fresh forces in the struggle.

7 Bxd7 Rxf6 8 gxf6 Bxd7 9 Rg1+ Kf8 10 Rg7 Ba4

1...Kxf7 2 Re3! Kg8

After 10...Be8 11 0-0-0 the strong position of the rook on the seventh rank, supported by the f6-pawn, and the possibility of doubling rooks on the g-file, all adds up to a winning endgame for White. For example: 11...Rb7 12 Rdg1 c5 13 Rg8+ Kf7 14 R1g7+ Kxf6 15 Rxb7, etc.

If 2...Qxb2 then 3 Rf3+ Kg8 4 Qf6! Qxa1+ 5 Bf1, when White is a rook and a minor piece down, but in reality, since Black’s three queenside pieces have still not moved, he is attacking with an extra queen. Of course, we are speaking here about a dynamic factor, not an enduring one, and this will only be significant if the attack prospers. Any slip in White’s handling of the initiative might lead to its disappearance and then the defending side will be able to strengthen his position. After 5...Rd7 6 Qxg6+ Rg7 7 Qe8+ Kh7 8 Rf8, his major pieces would have proved Spassky right.

11 f3 Rd8 12 Kf2 Rd7 13 Rag1 and White went on to win.

3 Bf1! Rd7 After 3...Nd7 4 Bc4+ Kh7 5 Qe7+ Kh8 6 Rf3 the rook cannot be prevented from penetrating at f7. 4 Qe8+ Kg7 5 Rf3 Qc5 Black tries to include his queen in the defence. 5...Qd8 is met by 6 Rf7+ Rxf7 7 Qxd8, and 5...Na6 by 6 Rf8.

6 Rd1! Exploiting the fact that the d7-rook needs to guard f7 to prevent mate, White brings his last piece into play. 6...h5 Creating a short-lived escape-square for the black king. If 6...Qe7 then 7 Rxd7 Qxd7 8 Qf8+ Kh7 9 Rf7+ Qxf7 10 Qxf7+ Kh8 11 Bc4, with inevitable mate, while the three black pieces still sleep in their beds.

4...Kh7 5 Ng5+ Kh8 6 Nxf7+ Kh7 7 Nxd8 Rxd8 8 Rxf6. 5 Nxe5+ At this moment White has a bishop for a queen and a rook, but the dynamic content of the position fully justifies his operations. 5...Ng4 If 5...Kh4 then 6 Rh6+ Kg5 7 Nxf7+ Kf5 8 Nxd8 Rxd8 9 Bc2+ Ke5 10 f4+, winning the knight and emerging a piece up.

7 Rxd7+ Nxd7 8 Rf7+ Kh6 9 Qh8+ Kg5 10 h4+ 10

6 Bxg4+ Kh4 7 Rh6+ Kg5 8 Nxf7+ Kxg4 9 Nxd8 Rxd8 10 Kd2!

10...Kg4 11 Rf4#. A brilliantly executed attack!

The ending is a theoretical win, since White is a pawn up and the black rook is tied to the defence of the d6-pawn.

White to play

Averbakh – Bondarevsky (variation) White to play

USSR Ch, Moscow 1951 At first sight, it would seem that Black has the better-organized position: the c8-rook and the e4bishop are very active, he is threatening the d5-pawn and his rook on f7 is protecting his second rank. In contrast, White’s king is still in the centre and his only weapons are his powerfully aligned queen and bishop and his rooks doubled on the g-file. But these are not weapons to be lightly dismissed! 1 Bxh6! Bxh6 2 Qxh6+!! The spectacular reason behind the first sacrifice, which now becomes a sacrifice of a queen for a pawn.

Shirov – Yudasin Moscow Olympiad 1994 White is two pawns for a piece down (if we assume that the one on a3 is doomed), but what pawns! Passed, far-advanced and connected. In reality, everything had begun six moves earlier, when Shirov sacrificed a piece to create a pawn-roller with two connected passed pawns. That is to say, he had carried out a positional combination. 1 Rxg6!?

A fresh offer, this time of an exchange, which cannot be ignored.

Shirov’s material is getting in his way and he is seeking ‘simplification’. Naturally, it is not necessary to take that literally. In reality, White has to make the strength of his passed pawns felt and that is related to time: it is essential not to waste any.



Black is mated after 3...Kxh5 4 R1g5# or 3...Kh7 4 Ng5+ Kh8 5 Nxf7+ Kh7 6 Rg7#.

1...hxg6? allows 2 Ne7+ Kh7 (or 2...Kh8) 3 Qh4#.

2...Kxh6 3 Rg6+!

4 Rxg6+ Kxh5

2 c6?!

The pawns keep advancing. However, 2 b7! would have been a more effective method, as 2...Rad8 3 Ne7+ Kf7? fails to 4 Qe5. 2...Rae8? 2...Rad8! makes it much harder for White to advance his pawns successfully. Then 3 Ne7+?! Kf7 4 Qe4 f4 gives White problems, while 3 Rd1 Rfe8 (threatening back-rank mate) 4 h3 Bf7 forces a liquidation: 5 Nf6+ gxf6 6 Qxd8 Rxd8 7 Rxd8+ Kg7 8 c7 Qe1+ 9 Kh2 Qxf2 10 c8Q Qf4+, with perpetual check. 3 b7 Bf7 4 Nb6 Be6 5 h4 Opening a flight-square for the white king. 5...Qxa3 For lack of any better options, Black finally takes the doomed pawn. 6 Rb1 Rd8? There were better defensive options, although they also seem to lead to a lost position. For example: 6...Qa7 7 Qd6! Qb8 8 Nc8! Rxc8 9 Qxe6+ Kh8 10 bxc8Q, winning, or 6...Qa2 7 Re1, and White continues to dominate the situation. 7 Qxd8!

A volatile position, typical of the sharpest lines of the Sveshnikov Sicilian. Here White has just played 1 Na3xPb5, counting on 1...axb5 2 Bxb5+ Nxb5? (Black can still win by 2...Ke7 3 Qh4+ f6 4 Qxf2 Bh6 5 Rhe1, transposing to the game) 3 Rxd8+ Rxd8 4 f6!, with complicated play. 1...Bh6!! An impressive deflection, based on the fact that 2 Qxh6 allows 2...Rxc2+ and mate next move (3 Nxc2 Nb3# or 3 Bxc2 Ne2#). “There’s no smoke without fire”, as the saying goes. If there are mating variations, it is because mate hangs over the position. 2 Rhe1 axb5! 3 Bxb5+ Ke7 4 Qh4+ After 4 f6+ Rxf6 5 Qxe5+ Re6 6 Qc5+ Qd6, Black retains the extra piece. 4...f6 5 Qxf2 Bf7! The right square to retreat to, making way for the rook. Other bishop moves would not work; for example: 5...Bc4? 6 Bxc4 Ra1+ 7 Kd2 or 5...Bb3? 6 Bd3! Ra1+ 7 Kd2 Qa5+ 8 c3, and White is holding. 6 Bd3 Qb6 7 Be4 Ra2 8 c4 Bxc4 9 Kb1 Qa5 10 Nd5+ Bxd5 11 Qxd4 A desperate resource.

The winning move, although certainly not the only one.

11...Ra1+ 12 Kc2 Rxd1!

7...Rxd8 8 c7 Rf8

Also winning was 12...exd4 13 Bxd5+ Qxe1 14 Rxe1+ Rxe1, but Kramnik wants to mate.

8...Qd6 9 cxd8Q+ Qxd8 10 Nc8 Bxc8 11 b8Q. 9 b8Q f4 10 Re1 Qd6 11 c8Q 1-0 If 11...Qxb8 then 12 Qxe6+. An impressive display by Alexei Shirov!

13 Qxd1 Qa4+ 14 Kc3 At the same time, White resigned. Instead, 14 Kb1 was equally futile on account of 14...Ba2+ 15 Ka1 Bb3+ 16 Kb1 Qa2#. 0-1 Next comes 14...Qc4#. It took Vladimir Kramnik another nine years to become world champion, when he defeated Kasparov in London in November 2000.

Black to play

Brodsky – Kramnik Kherson 1991

White has a decisive material and positional advantage. Karpov resigned 14 moves later. It is not bad beating a world champion like that, and Karpov was then at the height of his powers. On the other hand, Geller had a favourable score against several world champions, with the exception of Kasparov, Tal and Spassky. The next game was especially dramatic. The Candidates quarter-final match between Ivanchuk and Yusupov was set to have eight games, and in the event of a tie, a further two games played at a more rapid time-limit. White to play

Geller – Karpov USSR Ch, Moscow 1976 Black has just played ...Ba5-c7, in a game in which he is a pawn down and behind in development. Grandmaster Geller is going to take advantage of those factors and, naturally, exploit the fact that the black king is still in the centre.

When the time came to play the eighth game, Ivanchuk was leading 4-3, so that a draw would be enough for him. But, as the reader will already have guessed, Yusupov won that game, and in a very spectacular manner. So the match was now moving into the tiebreak phase.

1 Rxb8+! Qxb8 The only move, since 1...Bxb8 fails to 2 Qxc6+ Qd7 (2...Kf8 3 Qc8#) 3 Qxa8. 2 Qxc6+ Kf8 White has managed to destabilize the black king, but it is not easy to see how he is planning to continue the attack, if indeed there is a way. 3 Nf4 Ra7 Relieving the queen from the defence of the bishop.

Black to play

Ivanchuk – Yusupov

4 Nh4! So it’s all about the conquest of the point g6! The text-move creates the threat of 5 Nhg6+ fxg6 6 Nxe6+ Kf7 7 Qd7+ and mate in two. One of the knights is sacrificed and the other invades, in close collaboration with its queen.

Candidates rapid (9), Brussels 1991


The diagram reflects clearly that there has been an intense struggle and that with his last move White (already two pieces up) is attacking the rook on a8 and the pawn on f7. But Yusupov was not ready to resign...

Strengthening the key points e6 and g6.


5 Qxe6!!

Without the slightest exaggeration, one of the most extraordinary moves in the history of chess. Black could also play 1...Rg8, though after 2 Nce7 he needs to find the difficult move 2...Bxd4! or 2...Bf8!, in both cases planning 3 Nxg8 Rg6!.

A touch of genius: the black position collapses like a house of cards. 5...fxe6 6 Nfg6+ Qxg6 If 6...Kf7 then 7 Nxh8+ Kf8 8 N4g6+, and the queen will have to be surrendered in any case: 8...Qxg6 9 Nxg6+ Kf7, etc.

2 Qxa8+

7 Nxg6+ Ke8 8 Nxh8


So, White is now a rook and two pieces up and will have the move.

But now Ivanchuk faces a serious problem, because his opponent threatens 3...Qh1+! 4 Bxh1 Nh2+, mating, and the only possible defence is... 3 Qg8+! Kxg8 4 Nce7+ Kh7 5 Nxg6 fxg6 6 Nxg7 (D) Here it is worth taking a breath and pausing at the position now reached.

specific activity over the board, because in all his other roles (as a historian, chairman of the USSR Federation, author and endgame theoretician, editor of the magazines Shakhmaty v SSSR and Shakhmatny Biulleten, and even international arbiter) he was barely in his adolescence. GM Viktor Korchnoi’s case was quite the opposite, since although in that decade of the 1960s he went on to win (on no fewer than three occasions!) the Soviet Championship (including the one in which this game was played), his career reached its highest point in the following two decades, when he fought for the world title against Anatoly Karpov, who would then become his second eternal opponent (the first was Tigran Petrosian).

Black to play

6...Nf2!! A decisive move, which threatens 7...Nh3 and mate on g1 (or 8 Bxh3 Qf2#). At this moment White has two rooks and two minor pieces for the enemy queen, but the main thing is, of course, the enormous danger the white king is in.

Black to play

7 Bxf4 Qxf4 8 Ne6

Korchnoi – Averbakh

If 8 Rdb1 then 8...Nh3+ 9 Ke1 Qh4+ 10 Kd1 Qxd4+ 11 Kc2 Qxc4+ 12 Kb2 Qxe2+, with a decisive advantage (Yusupov).

USSR Ch, Kiev 1964/5

8...Qh2 9 Rdb1 Nh3 10 Rb7+ Kg8 11 Rb8+ Qxb8 12 Bxh3 Qg3 0-1 This final double attack (attacking the bishop and threatening mate on f2) ends the struggle. After this drastic defeat, Ivanchuk to his credit fought well in the tenth game, but Yusupov was able to draw and so qualified for the Candidates semifinals. Of course, to judge by what we have just seen, he fully deserved it.

6.4: A Diabolical Position The following position raises an analytical problem which has interested me since my first years of chess-playing activity. It serves to highlight the role of analysis in chess, and features two giants of the chessboard face to face: two grandmasters who were meeting at the peak of their respective careers, with some slight differences. Perhaps GM Yuri Averbakh was on the decline, if we are talking about his

Let us leap into the abyss and submerge ourselves in this exceptional position. However brief a glance we give the board, it will be clear that, with material equality, White has all the positional advantages he could wish for: control of the open file, knight on a dominant outpost, a 2-1 pawn-majority on the queenside. In the game Averbakh played 1...Qxc3+, and after 2 Rxc3 Re1? 3 h4? Re4? 4 Rc7? a5? 5 Ra7? Re3+? 6 Rf3, the game was adjourned and was not resumed, because Black resigned. These final moves were inaccurately played, since on each of moves 2-5, Black would have done much better to play ...g5!, which White should have prevented (3 Nf3!, 4 Rff3!?, 5 Rf3!?). Now, according to GM Nikolai Krogius’s account in the Moscow press the following day, in the diagram position the greatest excitement of the round took place because: “At this moment a stir went through the public present since, as it was Black’s turn to play, and his situation was extremely delicate, many thought they

would see the day saved by a spectacular manoeuvre. In fact, the former national champion Yuri Averbakh had at his disposal here a curious move: 1...Rg5+!!? What is happening? Can White save himself? Let’s see: a) 2 fxg5?? h4+ 3 Kf3 Qe4#. b) 2 Ng4?? Rxg4+! 3 hxg4 h4+ 4 Kf3 Qe4#. c) 2 Kh4 Qxe5!! 3 fxg5?? (3 fxe5?? Rg4#) 3...Qe4+ 4 Kg3 h4#. It resembles a composed position. However, Master Mikenas pointed out the refutation of this pretty manoeuvre. After 1...Rg5+ White must play 2 Kh4, and if 2...Qxe5 then 3 Qf3!!, and the fireworks are all over, since 3...Rg4+ would be followed by 4 Qxg4, etc.”

Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass, which is a fantastic game of chess, the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. Another Socratic question: is it possible for a king on h4 to survive, with three hostile enemy pieces hovering near, as well as other material on the board? This reflection was the starting point for a critical examination of the position. Now let us begin our analysis of Mikenas’s suggestion. I shall not mark any of the main moves until we reach the final conclusions and I shall also try to avoid including secondary lines of analysis. Let us recapitulate: 1...Rg5+ 2 Kh4 Qxe5 3 Qf3 (D)

So far we have been following the commentaries of GM Krogius for the daily papers. Let us now draw our own conclusions. The main and most obvious one is that mate is hovering over the board, based on the pattern ...h4+ and ...Qe4#, or the other way round, as in variation ‘c’. This means the position is full of drama and great things can happen. Now we begin to see the power represented by three major pieces in the pursuit of a rather exposed king, because it is clear that the rook on h1 plays an important role in this drama. Socratic questions: what business is a king doing on the third rank, with three hostile major pieces on the board and a pawn available for the attack? Is it possible to imagine that he runs no risk at all? Is it possible that this game has to be decided by an exchange of queens? These questions were the ones that stimulated my interest for years, resulting in my analyses and conclusions (originally published in the Revista Internacional de Ajedrez, no. 25, October 1989, pages 40-1), which I have revised in the light of later discoveries. Let us return to the implicit question raised by the public: 1...Rg5+. Why is this bad? According to Krogius (or Mikenas), because of 2 Kh4 Qxe5 3 Qf3. Let us reserve any kind of judgement until the results of the analysis are produced. First observation: it is odd that the only defence to 1...Rg5+ should be 2 Kh4. In other words, the king continues to advance through a minefield, as if it were a matter of no concern. It resembles Alice’s wanderings in the story by the Reverend Lewis

Black to play

My suggestion here is: 3...Qd4 Something very simple: Black sacrifices the exchange, in return for being able to push the white king closer to its ‘promotion square’. This move was not mentioned by Krogius, which is not surprising, in view of the haste required by any report for the daily papers and given the complexity of the position. What is strange is that nobody mentioned it later either, despite the fact that any game played in the Soviet Championship was usually put under intense scrutiny all over the world, even more so in the case of a position as attractive as this one. Now there only seems to be one possible option for White: 4 Kxg5 The tempting 4 Rfd2? fails to 4...Qxd2 5 Rxd2 Rg4+ 6 Qxg4 hxg4, and Black will emerge a piece up. 4...Nh7+ 5 Kh4 Obviously not 5 Kh6?? because of 5...Qg7#.

As for 5 Kxg6?, it is a bad choice, as is shown by the following line: 5...Qg7+ 6 Kxh5 Nf6+ 7 Kh4 Qh6+ 8 Kg3. Here Black has a perpetual, with checks on g6 and h6, but there is more. 8...Ne4+ (8...Nh5+ also gives Black the advantage, as is shown by a long analysis, but we are not going to dwell on that, because the text-move is stronger) 9 Kg4 Qg6+ 10 Kh4 Nd6!, and White is helpless against the lethal check on f5 (11 g4 Qh6+ 12 Kg3 Qxh3#), since not even the diversionary check 11 Rc8+ is any use, because of 11...Kf7! 12 Rc7+ Ke8, etc. 5...Qf6+ 6 Kg3 h4+ There is an interesting option here, one which opens new possibilities for analysis: 6...Ng5!?. Then 7 Rc8+? Kg7 8 Qe3 Ne4+ 9 Kf3 g5!? (9...e5 10 Rfc2 Ng5+ 11 Ke2, with a position that is difficult to evaluate) 10 Rfc2 Rf1+ 11 Ke2 Rxf4 12 R2c7+ Kh6 is complex but winning for Black, so White should prefer 7 Qe3!, which avoids a disadvantage. So, apart from the merely analytical, White already has alternatives to worry about. Let us go back to the main variation: 7 Kg4 Qf5+ 8 Kxh4 g5+ 9 Kg3 White is mated after 9 Kh5? gxf4+ 10 Kh4 Qg5# or 9 fxg5? Qxg5#. 9...Nf6 (D)

10 Qe3 Other possibilities are 10 Rc8+ Kg7! 11 Rc7+ Kg6, with a decisive advantage to Black, or 10 Rfe2, and now: a) 10...Nh5+? 11 Kf2 (11 Qxh5?? Qxf4#) 11...Nxf4 12 Rc8+ Kh7 and then: a1) After 13 Rc7+?! Kh6 14 Re3 Black’s best option is 14...Qf6, when 15 Kg3?? loses to 15...Qa1!, so White should seek salvation in 15 Rc6 Qb2+ 16 Re2 Qd4+ 17 Re3. Other ideas for Black are doubtful or frankly bad: 14...d4? 15 Rxe6+! Qxe6 16 Rc6, winning the queen; 14...Rh2?! 15 Rc6 Rxg2+ 16 Qxg2 Nxg2+ 17 Kxg2, and Black can only hope for a draw, at best; 14...Qb1? is a suicidal option, since the black king is also exposed. The punishment would be immediate: 15 Rxe6+! Nxe6 16 Qf6+ Qg6 17 Qh8+ and mate. a2) 13 Rc3! is best, when no path to an advantage for Black is apparent. b) 10...gxf4+! 11 Kf2 Ne4+ 12 Rxe4 dxe4 13 Qg4+ (13 Rc8+ Kf7 14 Rc7+ Kg6, with a decisive advantage) 13...Qxg4 14 hxg4 e3+ 15 Kf3 (if 15 Ke2, Black can bring about the position of the main line with 15...Rg1 16 Kf3) 15...Rf1+ 16 Ke4 Rf2 17 Rc8+ Kf7, and it would not be rash to state that the ending is winning for Black. Conclusion: after 10 Rfe2, Black should win with the option 10...gxf4+!. 10...gxf4+! 11 Rxf4 Nh5+ 12 Kf3 Rf1+ 13 Ke2 13 Rf2 is met by 13...Qxf4+ 14 Qxf4 Rxf2+ 15 Kxf2 Nxf4. 13...Rxf4 14 Rc8+ Kh7 15 g4 If 15 Qxa7+ then 15...Ng7. 15...Ng3+ 16 Qxg3 Qe5+ 17 Kd2 17 Qe3 Re4. 17...Rd4+ winning the queen.

White to play

One of the critical positions, although to a greater or lesser extent, all of them are critical. Now, owing to the threat of 10...Ne4+, White will have to clear one of the squares f2 or f3 for his king. It should be said that Black’s last move poses, in addition, two further secondary threats: 10...Nh5+ and 10...gxf4+. Incidentally, despite the fact that it has not moved for a good while, it is difficult to say that the rook on h1 is inactive, since it controls the entire back rank and, as if that were not enough, the mere control of h2 would already justify its presence on the board.

Black also wins in this main variation with 10...gxf4+!, so that my conclusion has became more radical, with regard to the article quoted, in which it is stated that Black should have managed to draw, at least. Currently, I am of the opinion that Black should have won, based on one move, 3...Qd4!, which is nothing special and which does no more than interpret the logic of chess in its purest sense, namely, that an exposed king determines the whole position. Now we are equipped with sufficient information to be able to evaluate the suggestion of the anonymous

public, who grew enthusiastic about an idea which could appear in a real game between two phenomenal players and which they, the public, were witnessing and in which they were participating, with their imagination and intelligence: 1...Rg5+!! 2 Kh4 Qxe5! 3 Qf3! Qd4! 4 Kxg5 Nh7+ 5 Kh4 Qf6+ 6 Kg3 h4+ 7 Kg4 Qf5+! 8 Kxh4 g5+ 9 Kg3 Nf6, and Black should win. The move 1...Rg5+ is simply marvellous. We should note that the engines recommend, as even better, the quiet 1...Qe4!. On the other hand, it is obvious that these analyses not only can be revised, but that it would be desirable for that to happen in fact, since in chess there are no eternal truths and everything can and must be submitted to review, which remains completely in accord with the spirit of our game. Let it go on record, therefore, that I encourage readers to question this work of analysis and, given my interest in this position, from now on I am grateful in advance for a contribution from anyone who feels prepared to accept the challenge.


Exercise 110: White to play ☆ Have you heard of the Columbus egg? It’s much the same here.

When the enemy position is so cramped, things can be easier than they seem.

Exercise 113: Black to play ☆ There are some chess moves that seem to have come straight out of a magician’s hat. Can you find a move like that in this position?

Exercise 111: White to play ☆ With open lines and aggressive pieces, White’s position is like a loaded gun: you only need to squeeze the trigger.

Exercise 112: White to play ☆

Exercise 114: White to play ☆☆ Can you master this position, in the way that your major pieces are masters of the board?

Exercise 115: White to play ☆☆

White has an overwhelming position, but still needs a way to finish Black off. Think how White might gain control of a key square.

You need to exploit the position of the black queen and solve the riddle.

Exercise 119: White to play ☆☆ Exercise 116: White to play ☆☆ The last move was ...Qh5-g6, pinning the g4-pawn. Use your imagination...

Double attacks and overworked pieces, with subvariations which need to be calculated.

Exercise 120: White to play ☆☆ Exercise 117: White to play ☆☆ Look for a move that exploits the geometrical features of the position.

As Napoleon might have said: “An open file is worth a mass.” What are you waiting for?

Exercise 121: White to play ☆☆ Exercise 118: White to play ☆☆

The white minor pieces are very active, but become even more so. You just need to eliminate an obstacle.

Find the key to the position and turn it. Merge tactical themes and destroy to construct.

Exercise 125: Black to play ☆☆ Exercise 122: White to play ☆☆ Focus on an essential factor: Black has his queen and king on the same open file.

Undoubtedly, Black is in command of the situation. But he has to demonstrate it.

Exercise 126: White to play ☆☆ Exercise 123: White to play ☆☆ White’s doubled rooks on the open file have to bring benefits. You need to look for a way to exploit it.

There are reasons to believe that the position is ripe for attack. Liven up White’s pieces.

Exercise 127: White to play ☆☆ Exercise 124: Black to play ☆☆

Observe the constellation of White’s pieces and then decide what is the trajectory of his lucky star.

There is a sequence of moves that wins material and is not difficult. You just need to make the most of it.

Exercise 128: Black to play ☆☆

Exercise 131: White to play ☆☆☆

Forbidden squares and invasion squares are like love and hate: they can coexist.

Here you must apply what you’ve learnt from studying how you exploit half-open files against the castled position. Calculate well.

Exercise 129: White to play ☆☆ Observe the activity of the four white pieces, all concentrated against Black’s castled position. What more do you need?

Exercise 130: White to play ☆☆

Exercise 132: White to play ☆☆☆ The secret, in this case, is how to take advantage of the position of the black queen and combine this with an attack on Black’s castled position.

Exercise 133: White to play ☆☆☆ Exposed black king, with passive rooks and bishops. You can take full advantage.

Exercise 134: White to play ☆☆☆ Combine various themes, establish geometrical relationships between lines and you will find the key to the position.

Solutions to the Exercises

White to play White to play

112) Moskalenko – Rahal Paretana 2000

110) Hellers – Cu. Hansen Malmö 1987

1 Nxe6+! 1-0 If 1...fxe6 then 2 Bg6 Qd8 3 Qf3+.

1 Qd5+! 1-0 A devastating X-ray. If 1...Bxd5 (1...Kh8 2 Bxe4) then 2 Bxd5+ Kh8 3 Rxg4.

Black to play

113) Fuchs – Korchnoi Erevan 1965

White to play

111) Godena – Al. Rabinovich European Ch, Saint Vincent 2000 1 Rxe6+! Qxe6 2 Re1 1-0 After 2...Qxe1+ 3 Bxe1 Nd7 4 Bd2, the simple threat of 5 Bxg5 terminates Black’s resistance.

1...Bd3!! 2 Bxd3 A capture with either of the rooks permits 2...Re1+, winning. 2...Qxd6 3 Bf1 Qc5 0-1

3 Re1! Kf6 4 Nd5+ and White wins.

White to play

114) Shariyazdanov – Dobrov Oberwart 2000

White to play

1 Rxg7!

116) Kramnik – Illescas

Several other moves keep a large advantage, but this is by far the most incisive. 1-0 If 1...Kxg7 (1...Rxg7 2 Rf8+ Rg8 and now 3 Qb2# or 3 Qc3#) then 2 Qc3+ Kh6 3 Qf6+ Rg6 4 Rh4+ Qxh4 5 Qxh4+.

Linares 1994 1 Rxf7+! Kxf7 2 Qc4+ 1-0 Black resigned in view of 2...Kf8 3 Qc8+, 2...Kg7 3 Qc7+ Kg8 4 Qc8+ and 2...Ke7 3 Qe4+.

White to play

117) Ståhlberg – Najdorf

White to play

Buenos Aires/La Plata 1947

115) Rosito – V. Palermo Mar del Plata Ch 1999 1 Bxe6! Eliminating Black’s control of the key d5-square. 1...Kxe6 1...Rxe6 is answered with 2 Nd5+. In the game Black played 1...Nb6 and lost after 2 Rd6 Bxh5 3 Nxf5+ 1-0. 2 Qb3+ Kxe5 2...Rc4 3 Nxc4 bxc4 4 Rxc4 Qxe5 5 Re4+.

1 Bf7! Kxf7 1...Rxd2 2 Qxg6+ Kf8 3 Qg8+ Ke7 4 Qe8+ Kd6 5 Qe6#. 2 Rxd8 Qxd8 3 Qb7+ Kg8 4 Qxa6 and White soon won.

White to play

White to play

118) McShane – McFarland

120) Aronian – Nevednichy

British Ch, Millfield 2000

European Team Ch, Batumi 1999

1 Rxc8! Rxa4

1 Ng5+! hxg5 2 hxg5 Qf7 3 Rh1+ Kg8 4 Qc3 Qg7

1...Rxc8 is met by 2 Bd7, with the threat of 3 Bg4, trapping the black queen.

4...Kf8 5 Rxe6! Qxe6 6 Qh8+ Ke7 (6...Qg8 7 Qf6+) 7 Rh7+ Qf7 8 Qf6+ Ke8 9 Rh8+.

2 Rxf8 Ra1 3 Qxa1! Bxa1 4 Rxf7+ 1-0

5 Qxg7+ Rxg7 6 Rxe6 Kf7 7 Rf6+ Ke7 8 e4! fxe4 9 Re1 1-0

If 4...Kg8 (or 4...Bg7), then 5 Rxb7, with an enormous material advantage.

White to play White to play

121) Petran – Biro

119) Bednarski – Ornstein

Budapest 1971

Malmö 1977

1 Bh6!

1 b5! Bxb5

1 Be7 is also good for White, but less clear-cut.

1...Qb6 2 Nxe6! Rc8 (2...Rxd1+ 3 Rxd1) 3 b3 h5 (3...Bxb5 4 Nxg7! Rc4 5 Qe6!) 4 Qh3! Bxb5 5 Nxg7!.


2 Nxb5 Rxd1+ 3 Rxd1 1-0 If 3...Qxb5 then 4 Rd8+ Rf8 5 Qxe6+.

1...Rg8 2 Qxe6 gxh6 3 Nf7+ Kg7 4 Rxe4. 2 Rxe4! Rf8 2...Bxe4 3 Qf6+ Kg8 4 Ng4 and mate with 5 Nxh6# is unstoppable; or 2...Qd8 3 Qxe6 Rc7 4 Rg4. 3 Rg4 1-0

White to play

Black to play

122) Morphy – Maurian

124) Karayannis – Hristopoulos

New Orleans 1866

Greece 1981

1 Re2!!

1...Bh3! 2 gxh3

The threat is 2 Rd2, winning the queen, and if 1...Qxe2 (1...Qb1+ 2 Kf2 c5 3 Rd2+ Ke8 4 Qxc8+; or 1...Qd7 2 Rd2) then 2 Qd5+, with a mating attack: 2...Ke8 3 Qe6+ Kd8 4 Qe7#.

After 2 cxd6 cxd6 3 Nb5 Ne8 the bishop is taboo, since 4 gxh3 is met by 4...Qg5+, with the same idea as in the game. 2...N6xd5! 3 Nxd5 3 Kh1 Nxb4. 3...Qg5+ 4 Qg4 Nxh3+ 0-1 Next comes 5...Qxg4.

White to play

123) Miles – Ligterink Amsterdam 1976 1 Ncxd6! 1 Nbxd6! is equivalent. 1...Rxd6 2 Nxd6 Qxd6 3 Rc6!

Black to play

125) Kudrin – Korchnoi Beersheva 1984

A fresh and decisive sacrifice, forcing an invasion along the sixth rank.

1...Rxf3! 2 gxf3 Bf4! 0-1

3...Bxc6 4 Rxc6 1-0

White resigned since 3 gxf4? fails to 3...gxf4+, winning the queen, while after 3 Qe2 Bxd2 4 Qxd2 the d4-pawn falls.

Black would have to sacrifice his queen to prevent the mate, since, for instance, 4...Qd7 is met by 5 Rg6+ Kf8 6 Qh8+ Kf7 7 Rg7+ Kf6 8 Bh4#.

White to play

Black to play

126) Ardeleanu – Vasilescu

128) Hebden – Timoshchenko

Romania 1986

London 1992

1 Bxf7+! Kxf7 2 Qb3+ Kf8

1...Bxd4! 2 Bxd4 Nf4 3 Qf3

2...Nd5 3 Qxd5+ Re6 4 Nb3 with a decisive advantage.

3 Bc3 Qxc3!.

3 Ng5!!

Black is a pawn up and has the better structure and piece coordination (open file, d2-knight attacked, etc.).

A fresh sacrifice, to open the f-file, which is decisive.

3...Ne2+ 4 Kf1 Nxd4 5 Qg4 Nf5

3...hxg5 4 f4! Bf6 4...gxh4 5 f5. 5 fxg5 Kg7 6 gxf6+ Kh8 7 Qf7 Rg8 8 fxe7 1-0

White to play

129) Magomedov – Diakaev Makhachkala 1999 White to play

127) Kasparov – Karpov World Ch (11), Moscow 1985

1 a3!! 1 Be5 f6 2 Bxf6 Rxf6 3 a3! is also good for White. 1...Qxa3

1 Qxd7! Rxd7 2 Re8+ Kh7 3 Be4+ 1-0

The only move.

If 3...g6 then 4 Rxd7 Ba6 5 Bxc6 wins a piece, since 5...Qxc6 allows 6 Rxf7#.

2 Nh6+ Kh8 3 Nxf7+ Kg8 3...Rxf7 4 Qxa3 Bxa3 5 Rxf7, with the threat of 6 Be5. 4 Nh6+ Kh8 5 Qxa3 Bxa3 6 Be5! 1-0

If 6...Rf6 then 7 Bxf6 gxf6 8 Rb1, followed by 9 Rb3 and 10 Rg3.

1...c5 1...Nxh7 2 Rxh7!! Kxh7 3 Bxg6+! Kg7 (3...fxg6 4 Ne5) 4 Bxf7! Kxf7 5 Ne5+ Ke8 6 Qg6+ Kd8 7 Qxe6 Kc7 (7...Qc7 8 Qg8+ and mate) 8 Qxc6+ Kb8 9 Nd7#. 2 Nxf8 cxd4 3 Qb3 Bxf8 4 Bxg6! b4 Or 4...dxe3 5 Bxf7+ Kxf7 6 Ng5+, winning. 5 Bh7+ Kg7 6 Rxd4 White has a decisive advantage.

White to play

130) Faibisovich – Novitsky St Petersburg 1999 1 g5 Nd7 1...Nxd5? 2 Re8+. 2 Ne6! Threatening mate on g7 and attacking the rook on d8.

White to play

132) Kaidanov – Donaldson


USA 1992

2...fxe6 allows 3 Qg7#. 3 Nxd8 Qxe7 4 Qxe5 1-0

1 Nxd5! exd5 2 e6 Nde5 3 Rxc6! Bxc6 4 e7!!

4...Qxd8 is answered with 5 Qe8+ Qxe8 6 Rxe8+ Kg7 7 Rxc8.

Not 4 Bxh7+? Kxh7 5 Qh5+ Kg8 6 Bxe5 Qe8! 7 Bxg7 fxe6!. 4...Re8 5 Bxh7+! Kxh7 6 Qh5+ Kg8 7 Bxe5 Qc8 7...Qb7 is answered with 8 Bxg7 f6 (or 8...Kxg7 9 Qg5+ Kh8 10 Rd4, with mate on h4) 9 Bxf6 Rxe7 10 Bxe7 Qxe7 11 Qg6+ and 12 Qxc6, winning. 8 Bxg7! f6 8...Kxg7 9 Qg5+, etc. 9 Bxf6 1-0

White to play

131) Kramnik – Abramović Biel Interzonal 1993 1 Nxh7! This is even better than 1 Nxf7 Kxf7 2 Rxh7+, which is also good for White.

Or: 1...Qxb5 2 Bxf6 g6 3 fxg6 fxg6 (3...hxg6 4 Qh4) 4 Qc7; 1...Bxe5 2 Bxc6 Bxg3 3 Rxe8+ Rxe8 4 Bxe8, in both cases with a decisive advantage. 2 Kg1 Not 2 Qxg2? Qxg2+ 3 Kxg2 Rxe5. 2...Bxe5 3 Rxe5 Qb7 4 Rxe8+ Rxe8 5 Bxe8 Bxf1 6 Bc6! The decisive move, which forces resignation, since Black can neither capture the white bishop nor protect his own bishop, because of the back-rank mate. White to play

133) Tregubov – Yagupov Ubeda 2000 1 Nxe6+! 1 Qf3 is also strong, but less incisive. 1...fxe6 2 Qf3+ 2 Qg6! Qe7 3 b4 wins on the spot. 2...Nf6 3 exf6 Qxf6 4 Bf4 Rh7 4...Be7 5 Rc3! Rh7 6 Be5 Qxf3 7 Rxf3+ Kg8 8 Rg3+ Kf8 9 Ra4! Bxc5 10 Rf4+ Ke7 11 Bg6. 5 Bd6+ Kg8 6 Ra4 Qxf3 7 Bxf3 Bf6 8 Re1 e5 9 Bxe5 Re7 10 Rg4+ Bg7 11 Rxg7+ Rxg7 12 Bxg7 10

White to play

134) Mamadzhoev – Wang Zili Dushanbe 1998 1 Bb5!! To deflect the queen from f6. 1...Bxg2+

7: Opening Disasters The chess openings seem to fascinate young players, who devote to their study the greater part of the time they dedicate to chess. We should add that the young are not entirely alone in this respect. The opening, the first phase of the game, is a hundred-headed monster. It is easy to understand a player wanting to be equipped, to shield himself in some way against the dangers which lie in wait for him in the opening. The problem is that, up to now, nobody has been able to draw up clear guidelines on how to study this first phase in the most effective manner. Nonetheless, we shall pause to look at a few more or less representative games in which, as a result of one or more tactical errors in the opening, the other side manages to tilt the struggle his way in fewer than 25 moves – the conventionally accepted number for the game to earn the title of miniature. Each game has a brief commentary, without going into theoretical considerations of the opening subtleties, but including an analysis of the critical moments and always pointing out the erroneous move or moves, so that the reader can learn something from master practice. For I have tried to ensure that at least one (if not both) of the contenders in this selection of miniatures is a wellknown player. That, as we shall see, does not prevent them from committing glaring errors. This, of course, is despite these players no doubt devoting thousands of hours to the theoretical study of the openings. Does that mean that studying the openings is useless? Quite the opposite. Finding your personal key to studying openings is a kind of pilgrimage you have to accomplish, with a route nobody knows for sure but which each person has to discover in his own way, with his own observations and personal investigation. Proper study of openings will lead to a deeper understanding of chess as a whole The short-circuits we are about to see in this chapter are in most cases the consequence of one or more of the following:    

Lag in development Playing too passively Neglecting the centre Exposed or unprotected king That last factor (unprotected king) tends to be decisive, if the opponent has deployed his pieces in a rational and effective manner. These miniatures, by definition, have a short development phase and the outcome is the result of significant mistakes. They are useful because the

player can learn to detect obvious mistakes in the first phase of the game and exploit them to his benefit, or else avoid them if the temptation to fall into them should arise.

7.1: Open Games Game 1 Smyslov – Barcza Helsinki Olympiad 1952 Ruy Lopez (C64) 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Bc5 4 c3 Nf6 5 d4 exd4?! 5...Bb6. 6 e5 Nd5 7 0-0 0-0 8 cxd4 Bb6 9 Bc4 Nce7 If 9...Nde7, 10 d5. 10 Bg5 Qe8 11 Qb3 c6 12 Nbd2 h6 13 Bxe7 Nxe7 14 Ne4 d5 14...Bc7 15 Rfe1, with the threat of 16 Nd6 and 16 Nf6+. 15 exd6 Nf5 16 Rfe1 Qd8 (D)

White to play

17 Ne5! Nxd6 18 Nxd6 Qxd6 19 Bxf7+ Rxf7 20 Qxf7+ Kh7 21 Nc4 1-0 If 21...Qxd4 (21...Qg6 22 Qxg6+ Kxg6 23 Nxb6 axb6 24 Re8) then 22 Re8. Game 2 Fischer – Fine New York 1963 Evans Gambit (C52) 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Ba5 6 d4 exd4 7 0-0 dxc3?! Theory prefers 7...d6 and 7...Bb6. 8 Qb3 Qe7 9 Nxc3 Nf6?

Fischer wrote that the best defence was 9...Qb4! 10 Bxf7+ Kd8 11 Bg5+ (11 Bxg8 Qxb3! holds) 11...Nge7 12 Nd5 Qxb3 13 axb3 Bb4!.

White to play

10 Bxh7!?

10 Nd5! Nxd5?!

If 10 Rxe7+ Bxe7 11 Bxh7, Black seizes the advantage with 11...Bg5+.



11 exd5 Ne5 12 Nxe5 Qxe5 13 Bb2 Qg5 14 h4! Qxh4 15 Bxg7 Rg8 16 Rfe1+ Kd8 (D)

10...Ne5! 11 Rxe5 Be6 favours Black. 11 Rxe4! dxe4 12 Bg6+ Kd8 13 Nf7+ Ke8 14 Nd6++ ½-½ 14...Kd8 15 Nf7+. An exciting draw! Game 4 Tal – Geller Budva 1967 Ruy Lopez (C81) 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 a6 4 Ba4 Nf6 5 0-0 Nxe4 6 d4 b5 7 Bb3 d5 8 dxe5 Be6 9 Qe2 Be7 10 Rd1 00 11 c4 bxc4 12 Bxc4 Bc5 13 Be3 Bxe3 14 Qxe3 Qb8 15 Bb3 Qb6?! Better is 15...Na5 16 Nbd2 Qa7.

White to play

17 Qg3! 1-0

16 Qe2! Rad8 17 Nc3 Nxc3 18 bxc3 Ne7 19 Rab1 Qa5 20 c4 Rfe8?!

If 17...Qxg3, 18 Bf6#.

20...dxc4. Game 3

I. Zaitsev – Karpov Leningrad 1966

21 Ng5 Ng6? 21...dxc4. 22 cxd5 Bxd5 (D)

Petroff Defence (C43) 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 d4 Nxe4 4 Bd3 d5 5 Nxe5 Nd7 6 Nxf7!? Qe7 6...Kxf7 7 Qh5+ Ke7 8 Qe2 leads to an equal position, according to theory. 7 Nxh8? Later it was discovered that 7 Qe2! was stronger. 7...Nc3+ 8 Kd2 Nxd1 9 Re1 Nxf2! (D)

White to play

23 Rxd5! Rxd5 24 Qf3 1-0 If 24...Rdxe5 then 25 Qxf7+ Kh8 26 Qg8+! Rxg8 27 Nf7#. Game 5 Bednarski – Sydor Polish Ch, Wroclaw 1972 Petroff Three Knights Game (C42)

1 e4 e5 2 Nc3 Nf6 3 Nf3 This position is better known from the Petroff Defence, i.e., 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nc3.

17 Rf2 Nxf4, with strong threats. According to theory, 14 Qa4 is correct. 14...Bh3 15 Qa4?

3...Bb4 4 Nxe5 Qe7 5 Nd3 Bxc3 6 dxc3 Qxe4+ 7 Be2 Qxg2?!

15 b4! is more critical.

7...0-0 is more prudent.

15...0-0! is strong.

8 Bf3 Qh3 9 Nf4 Qh4?

16 Nxc6 Nxc6!

9...Qf5 is essential.

If 16...Qd7? then 17 Qxe4+ Kf8 18 Ne5, followed by the capture on f1.

10 Qe2+ Kf8 (D)


17 Qxc6+ (D)

White to play

11 Qc4!

Black to play

Decisive, because of the threat of 12 Ne6+, winning the queen. 11...g5 12 Qxc7 Na6 13 Qd6+ Kg7 14 Be3 Re8 14...gxf4 15 Rg1+ Kh6 16 Bxf4+. 15 0-0-0 1-0

17...Qd7 18 Qxa8+? Also bad is 18 Qxc5? Bxe2 19 Kxe2 Rc8 20 Qf2 (20 Qd4 Nxf4+! 21 gxf4 Qxd4 22 cxd4 Rxc1) 20...Nb4!, when Black wins. Better is 18 Qxd7+ Kxd7 19 Kxf1, with an ending that is difficult to assess. 18...Ke7 19 Qxh8 Bxe2 20 Qb8

If 15...gxf4 then 16 Rhg1+ Kh8 17 Bd4 Re6 18 Qf8#, while 15...Rxe3 is met by 16 fxe3 gxf4 17 Rhg1+ Kh6 18 Qf8#. Game 6 Shirov – Tominsh

20 Kxe2 Qg4+ 21 Ke1 Qf3 22 Qxg7 Nf6! leaves the white king in serious danger. 20...Bd6 21 Qb3 Bd3! 0-1 Black threatens to bring his queen to e2 (...Qg4) or f1 (...Qh3).

Riga 1984

Game 7

Two Knights Defence (C59)

Lanka – Malaniuk

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Nf6 4 Ng5 d5 5 exd5 Na5 6 Bb5+ c6 7 dxc6 bxc6 8 Be2 h6 9 Nf3 e4 10 Ne5 Qd4!? An old move of Steinitz's, revived by GM Geller.

Odessa 1988 Ruy Lopez (C65)

11 f4 Bc5 12 Rf1 Qd8

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 0-0 Bc5 5 c3 Nxe4?!

To prevent the loss of piece with 13 c3 and 14 b4.


13 c3 Nd5 14 g3

6 d4 exd4 7 cxd4 Be7

Here 14 b4? is not good owing to 14...Qh4+ 15 g3 Qxh2, and if 16 bxc5 (or 16 bxa5) then 16...Qxg3+

7...Bb6 8 d5 Ne7 9 Qe2!.

8 d5 Nd6 9 Ba4 Na5 10 Bf4 0-0 11 Nbd2 b6 12 Rc1 Nab7 13 Re1 Nc5?! 13...Bf6!?. 14 Bc2 a5? (D)

White to play

11 Qa6!

White to play

The queen is immune from capture (11...bxa6? 12 Bxa6#) and White threatens Boden’s mate: 12 Qxc6+! bxc6 13 Ba6#.

15 Bxh7+! Kxh7 16 Rxe7! Qxe7

11...Qc5 12 Na4 Qe3+

16...Kg8 17 Ng5 f6 18 Qh5! fxg5 19 Bxg5, threatening Rxg7+ (Lanka).

Black’s manoeuvre is the only defence but it is insufficient.

17 Ng5+ Kg6 18 Ndf3! Rh8 19 Ne5+ Kf6 20 Qf3 g6

13 Bxe3 bxa6 14 Bxa6+ Kb8

20...Nf5 21 Rxc5! bxc5 22 Ne4#.

15 Ne5! Kc7 16 Nxf7! 1-0

21 Nc6! 1-0

If 16...Bxf7, 17 Bf4+.

14...Kc7 15 Bf4+.

Black resigned in view of 21...Qe8 22 Be5++ Kxg5 23 Bf6+ Kh6 24 Qh3# and 21...dxc6 22 Bxd6+ Bf5 23 Qc3+. Game 8

Game 9 Aagaard – Brancaleoni European Under-18 Ch, Vejen 1993 Ruy Lopez (C77)

Chalupnik – Solozhenkin Gdynia 1989 King’s Gambit (C30) 1 e4 e5 2 f4 Qh4+?! 3 g3 Qe7

1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 Qe2 a6 5 Ba4 b5 6 Bb3 Bc5 7 d3 h6 8 0-0 0-0 9 Nbd2 Re8 10 c3 d5 11 exd5 Nxd5 12 Ne4 Bb6? (D) 12...Be7.

One of the most ingenious defences to the King’s Gambit. 4 d3 exf4?! 4...d5. 5 Bxf4 d5 6 Nc3 Be6 7 Qe2 dxe4 8 dxe4 c6 9 0-0-0 Nd7 10 Nf3 0-0-0? (D) Any developing move was preferable to this suicidal decision.

White to play

13 Bxh6! Bg4

25 Re1 1-0

13...gxh6? 14 Bxd5 Qxd5? 15 Nf6+.

If 25...Bh6 then 26 Bc4. No better are 25...Bd7 26 Qb3+ Kg7 27 Bb5 and 25...Re8 26 Nxe6 Qxe6 27 Bc4 Qxc4 28 Qxe8+ Kg7 29 Rac1.

14 h3 Bh5 15 Bg5 White has won an important pawn.

Game 11

15...Nf4 16 Qd2 Qd7 17 Bxf4 exf4 18 Qxf4 Bg6 19 Rad1 a5 20 Qg3 a4 King moves (to prevent Qxg6) are futile; for example, 20...Kf8 is answered with 21 Rfe1 or 21 a3. 21 Qxg6 axb3 22 Nf6+ 1-0

Fedorov – Ibragimov Katrineholm 1999 King’s Gambit (C34) 1 e4 e5 2 f4 exf4 3 Nf3 d6 4 d4 g5 5 h4 g4 6 Ng1 f5 7 Nc3 Nf6 8 Bxf4 fxe4 9 d5 Nh5?!

Game 10

The usual move is 9...Bg7.

Kasparov – Anand

10 Bg5 Be7 11 Bb5+ Kf7?

Riga 1995 Evans Gambit (C51) 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 b4 Bxb4 5 c3 Be7 6 d4 Na5 7 Be2 exd4

11...c6. 12 Nge2 a6 13 0-0+ Kg8 13...Kg6? 14 Nxe4! axb5 15 Qd3. 14 Ba4 Bxg5 15 hxg5 Nd7 16 Nf4 Nxf4 (D)

7...d6 and 7...Nf6 are alternatives. 8 Qxd4! Nf6 9 e5 Nc6 10 Qh4 A novelty at the time. 10...Nd5 11 Qg3 g6 11...0-0 is met by 12 Bh6. Kasparov proposed 11...Kf8!?. 12 0-0 Nb6 13 c4! d6 14 Rd1 Nd7?! 14...Na4!?. 15 Bh6 Ncxe5 16 Nxe5 Nxe5 17 Nc3! f6 17...Be6 18 c5. 18 c5 Nf7? White to play

18...Bd7 gives Black a somewhat more solid position.

17 Qxg4! Ne5?

19 cxd6 cxd6 20 Qe3 Nxh6 21 Qxh6 Bf8 22 Qe3+ Kf7 23 Nd5 Be6 24 Nf4 Qe7 (D)

17...Ng6? allows 18 Qe6+ Kg7 19 Qf7#, but 17...Kg7 puts up more resistance. 18 Qxf4 Kg7 19 Nxe4 b5 20 Bb3 Bd7 21 Nf6 h5 22 Rae1 1-0 A possible continuation is 22...Qe7 23 Nxd7 Qxd7 24 Qf6+ Kh7 25 Rxe5! dxe5 26 Qh6+ Kg8 27 d6+. Game 12 Nataf – Kharitonov Koszalin 1999 Scotch Opening (C45) 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 exd4 4 Nxd4 Bc5 5 Nxc6 Qf6 6 Qd2 dxc6 7 Nc3 Qe7!? 8 Qg5 Nf6

White to play

8...Qxg5 9 Bxg5 f6 10 Bd2 gives White a slight advantage.

9 Be3 Bb4?! 9...Bd6. 10 e5! Ne4?! (D) 10...Ng4 11 Qxg7 Bxc3+ 12 bxc3 Qxe5.

Black to play

14...Qd5! 0-1 This defensive move is made possible by the pin on the e4-pawn. Game 14

White to play

A. Fernandes – Dutreeuw

11 Qxg7! Rf8 12 a3 Bxc3+

Istanbul Olympiad 2000

12...Ba5 13 Bd3! Nxc3 14 0-0 intending Bg5 is rather unpleasant for Black. 13 bxc3 Bf5 14 Bd3 Bg6 15 Bxe4 Bxe4 16 Bh6 1-0 White wins after 16...0-0-0 17 Qg4+ Qe6 18 Qxe6+ fxe6 19 Bxf8. Game 13 Berkvens – V. Mikhalevski Hoogeveen 2000 Ruy Lopez (C66) 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bb5 Nf6 4 d3 d6 5 c3 g6 6 0-0 Bg7 7 d4 Bd7 8 Re1 0-0 9 Nbd2? Nxd4! 10 cxd4 After 10 Nxd4 exd4 11 Bxd7 Nxd7 12 cxd4 Bxd4 Black will emerge a pawn up.

Petroff Defence (C42) 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 Nxe5 d6 4 Nf3 Nxe4 5 d4 d5 6 Bd3 Nc6 7 0-0 Be7 8 c4 Nb4 9 Be2 0-0 10 Nc3 b6 11 Re1 Bb7 12 Ne5 dxc4 13 Bxc4 Nd6 14 Bb3 Nf5? 14...Nc6. 15 Qh5! Better than the unclear 15 Nxf7? Rxf7 16 Bxf7+ Kxf7 17 Qh5+?! g6 18 Qxh7+ Ng7 19 Bh6. 15...Nd6 16 Re3 Bg5 (D) 16...Bf6 17 Rh3 h6 18 Bxh6 is equally hopeless for Black.

10...Bxb5 11 dxe5 dxe5 12 Nxe5? Better is 12 Qb3 Qe8 13 Qc3, although Black has an advantage in development. 12...Re8 13 Nxf7? 13 f4 Nh5. 13...Kxf7 14 Qb3+ (D)

White to play

17 Rh3 h6 18 Bxg5 1-0

If 18...Qxg5 then 19 Qxg5 hxg5 20 Ng6, with mate on h8.

7.2: Semi-Open Games Game 15 Fischer – Reshevsky USA Ch, New York 1958/9 Sicilian Defence (B35) 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 g6 5 Nc3 Bg7 6 Be3 Nf6 7 Bc4 0-0 8 Bb3 Na5? Playable options include 8...d6 and 8...Ng4!?. 9 e5! Ne8? (D) Although Black’s position is already inferior, it was better to play 9...Nxb3 10 exf6 Nxa1 11 fxg7 Nxc2+ 12 Qxc2 Kxg7 13 f4!, with advantage to White.

Sicilian Defence (B42) 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Bd3 Nf6 6 0-0 Qc7 7 Nd2 Nc6 8 Nxc6 bxc6 9 f4 Bc5+ 10 Kh1 d6?! This manoeuvre is dubious, because the king’s bishop is needed for the defence of the kingside. 11 Nf3 e5 12 fxe5 dxe5 13 Nh4! 0-0 13...Ng4 14 Qf3 Qa7? is met by 15 Nf5! Nf2+ 16 Rxf2 Bxf2 17 Nxg7+, with a strong attack. 14 Nf5 Be6 15 Qe2 a5 16 Bc4! Kh8 17 Bg5 Nd7? Black should prefer 17...Ng8, followed by ...Bxf5 and ...f6. 18 Rad1 Nb6? (D) Better is 18...Bxc4 19 Qxc4 f6.

White to play White to play

10 Bxf7+! Kxf7

19 Nxg7!! Bxc4

If 10...Rxf7 then 11 Ne6, winning the queen.

19...Kxg7 20 Bf6+ Kg8 21 Qf3 Qc8 22 Qg3+ Bg4 23 Rf5.

11 Ne6! dxe6

20 Bf6! Be7

The main point is 11...Kxe6 12 Qd5+ Kf5 13 g4+ Kxg4 14 Rg1+ Kh5 15 Qd1+ and mate next move.

20...Bxe2 21 Nf5+ Kg8 22 Nh6#.

12 Qxd8

21 Qf3! 1-0 22 Nh5+ is conclusive.

Reshevsky continued playing, but he could safely have resigned here (1-0, 42 moves). It seems incredible that a player as experienced as Reshevsky should have committed a tactical error of this magnitude, right in the opening. It teaches us that everyone makes mistakes, but also that we should try to ensure that it is the opponent who does so. The only valid recipe is: concentration and knowledge. Game 16 Stein – Portisch Stockholm Interzonal 1962

Game 17 Najdorf – Portisch Varna Olympiad 1962 Semi-Tarrasch (B14) 1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nf3 c5 5 cxd5 Nxd5 6 e3 cxd4 7 exd4 Bb4 7...Be7 and 7...Nc6 are safer options. While the game began as a Queen’s Gambit, this position occurs more often from a Caro-Kann move-order. 8 Qc2 Nc6 9 Bd3

Committing White to a pawn sacrifice. 9...Nxc3?! 9...Ba5 is the most standard move nowadays. 10 bxc3 Nxd4?! 11 Nxd4 Qxd4 12 Bb5+ Ke7?! (D) 12...Kf8.

White to play

8 Nxf7! Kxf7 9 Ne5+ Ke6 9...Ke8 10 Qh5+ and mate next move, or 9...Kf6 10 Qh5!, winning. 10 Qg4+ Kd6 11 Nf7+ Kc7 White to play

13 0-0! Qxc3 14 Qe2! Bd6 14...Qxa1? 15 Bg5+.

Relying on the fact that the white queen is also en prise to the c8-bishop, but... 12 Qg3+ 1-0 White wins the queen.

15 Bb2 Qa5 16 Rfd1 Rd8 17 Qh5! f6 18 Qxh7 Kf7

Game 19

18...Qxb5? 19 Qxg7+ Ke8 20 Bxf6, winning.

Tal – Tringov

19 Be2 Qg5 20 Bc1 Bxh2+ 21 Kxh2 Qe5+ 22 f4 10

Amsterdam Interzonal 1964

Game 18

Modern Defence (B06)

Vooremaa – Luik

1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Nc3 d6 4 Nf3 c6 5 Bg5 Qb6?!

Estonia 1962

5...Nf6 is better, transposing to the Pirc Defence.

Caro-Kann Defence (B17)

6 Qd2 Qxb2 7 Rb1 Qa3 8 Bc4 Qa5 9 0-0 e6?!

1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7 5 Ng5 Ndf6 6 Bc4 Nd5

Black is dangerously neglecting his development. It was better to play 9...Nd7 or 9...h6.

The normal move is 6...e6.

10 Rfe1 a6?

7 N1f3 h6? (D)

The decisive mistake. The right move was 10...Qc7, although the black position is already very difficult.

This is a serious error, allowing a thematic tactical idea in this 4...Nd7 variation. Better moves include 7...e6, 7...g6 and 7...Bf5.

11 Bf4 e5 11...Qc7 12 e5! d5 13 Bxd5! cxd5 14 Nxd5 exd5 15 e6. 12 dxe5 dxe5 (D)

White to play

White to play

13 Qd6! Qxc3

15 Bf4!

13...exf4 14 Nd5! cxd5 15 exd5+.

Stein has only one aim: checkmate!

14 Red1 Nd7

15...Qxf1+ 16 Kd2 Qxf2+ 17 Kxd3 Nxe6

14...Bd7 15 Rxb7.

17...Nba6 is better, but still loses to 18 Kc4!.

15 Bxf7+! Kxf7 16 Ng5+ Ke8 17 Qe6+ 1-0

18 Nxe6+ Ke8 19 Qc8+ Kf7 20 Nfg5+!

Black resigned in view of 17...Kd8 18 Nf7+ Kc7 19 Qd6#, 17...Kf8 18 Qf7# and 17...Ne7 18 Qf7+ Kd8 19 Ne6#.

Mate was also possible with 20 Ne5+! or 20 Neg5+. 1-0

Stein – Birbrager

“If 20...Kg6 then 21 Qe8+ and 22 Qh5#. Also losing was 20...fxg5, since mate is unavoidable: 21 Nxg5+ Kf6 (or 21...Kg6) 22 Qe6#” (Stein).

USSR Team Ch, Moscow 1966

Game 21

King’s Indian Attack (A00)

Tal – Wade

1 e4 c6 2 d3 d5 3 Nd2 dxe4 4 dxe4 Nf6 5 Ngf3 Bg4 6 h3 Bh5?!

Palma de Mallorca 1966

Game 20

This error allows a storm to be unleashed on the board. It was necessary to play 6...Bxf3. 7 e5 Nd5 8 e6! f6 “If 8...fxe6 then 9 g4 Bg6 (or 9...Bf7) 10 Ne5, with advantage” (Stein). 9 g4 Bg6 10 Nd4 Nc7 11 c3 Qd5?! 12 Qb3! Qxh1?

Sicilian Defence (B77) 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 g6 6 Be3 Bg7 7 f3 Nc6 8 Qd2 0-0 9 Bc4 Bd7 10 h4 Rc8 11 Bb3 Qa5 The game follows one of the channels of the Dragon Variation. Now White makes a thematic sacrifice on h5, although normally this takes place with White’s king already castled on the queenside.

A serious and decisive error. “It was necessary to exchange queens. Accepting the rook sacrifice leads to immediate defeat” (Stein).

12 h5!? Nxh5 13 g4?!

13 Qxb7 Kd8 14 N2f3 Bd3 (D)


13 0-0-0. 13...Nxd4 14 Bxd4 Bxd4 15 Qxd4 Nf4. 14 0-0-0 Ne5 15 Bh6 Bxh6 16 Rxh6! 16 Qxh6 Rxc3! 17 bxc3 Rc8 18 Kb1 Nc4, with a complicated position. 16...Rxc3!? 17 bxc3 Rc8 18 Kb2 b5?! Better was 18...Nc4+ 19 Bxc4 Rxc4 20 Nb3 Qe5!. 19 Rdh1 Nc4+ 20 Bxc4 bxc4 (D)

21 Rh5! (threatening both 22 Qf5! and 22 Rxh7+) appears to save White: a) 21...Ba4? 22 Qf5 mates. b) 21...Nf6? is met by 22 Bxf6. c) 21...Qc8? 22 Qf4! Bf6 23 Re1 Be5 24 Rxe4 Bxf4 25 Rxf4 and Black can’t defend g7. d) 21...Nd2+ 22 Rxd2 cxd2 23 Rxh7+ Kxh7 24 Qf5+ Kh6 25 Qe6+ with a draw. e) 21...Qd7 22 Bxg7+ Kxg7 23 Qf4 d5 24 Qh6+ Kxf7 25 Qxh7+ Ke8 26 Qg6+ Rf7 and now both 27 Qg8+ Bf8 28 Re5+ Qe7 29 Rxe7 Kxe7 and 27 Rh8+ Bf8 28 Re1 are unclear but roughly balanced. White to play

21 Rxh7! Nxh7 21...Rb8+ 22 Nb3!. 22 Qh6 e6? 22...Qe5 23 Qxh7+ Kf8 24 f4! Qg7 25 Qh4. 23 f4! e5 24 g5 Be8 25 Ne6! 1-0

f) 21...Bd7 leads to a difficult sequence (with several forced moves for both sides), ending in a draw, viz. 22 Qe2! Bg5! 23 Qxe4!? (or 23 Bxg7+ Kxg7 24 Rd5 Nd2+ 25 Ka2 Bf4 26 Rxh7+ Kxh7 27 Qh5+ Kg7 28 Rg5+ Bxg5 29 Qxg5+ with perpetual check) 23...Qxe4 24 Rxg5 h6 25 Rxg7 Qe2 and White will soon need to give perpetual check. We now return to 21 Qf4? (D):

If 25...fxe6 then 26 Qxh7+ Kf8 27 Qh8+ Ke7 28 Rh7+ Bf7 29 Qf6+. Game 22 Fischer – Geller Skopje 1967 Sicilian Defence (B89) 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 Bc4 e6 7 Be3 Be7 8 Bb3 0-0 9 Qe2 This move, in connection with Bc4, Be3 and 0-0-0, characterizes the Velimirović Attack. 9...Qa5 10 0-0-0 Nxd4 11 Bxd4 Bd7 12 Kb1 Bc6?! Geller himself criticized this move, recommending instead 12...Rfc8 or 12...Rfd8. 13 f4 Rad8 14 Rhf1 b5 15 f5! “I didn’t want to lose a tempo playing it safe with 15 a3” (Fischer). 15...b4 16 fxe6! bxc3 17 exf7+ Kh8 18 Rf5! Qb4! 19 Qf1! If 19 Bxc3?! then 19...Qxe4. 19...Nxe4 20 a3? Fischer ends up playing a3 after all, but now it is a bad choice. Better was 20 Qf4!! d5 (20...cxb2 21 Rh5! Nc3+ 22 Kxb2 Nxd1+ 23 Kc1 Rxf7 24 Bxf7!; 20...Nd2+ 21 Rxd2 cxd2 22 c3!!) 21 Qe5 Nf6 22 Rxf6 Bxf6 23 Qxf6!. 20...Qb7 21 Qf4?

Black to play

21...Ba4!! 22 Qg4 22 Qh6 Bf6 23 Rxf6 Bxb3 24 Rxd6 Ba2+. 22...Bf6 23 Rxf6 Bxb3! 0-1 This was the third and last of Fischer’s three consecutive losses to Geller. Game 23 Spassky – Petrosian World Ch (19), Moscow 1969 Sicilian Defence (B94) 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bg5 Nbd7 7 Bc4 Qa5 8 Qd2 h6 9 Bxf6 Nxf6 10 00-0 e6 11 Rhe1 Be7? 11...Bd7 is better, according to Tal.

12 f4 0-0 13 Bb3 Re8 14 Kb1 Bf8 15 g4! Nxg4 15...Nd7 16 h4 Nc5 17 g5 gives White the advantage (Geller). The capture of the pawn, opening a kingside file, seems rash.

16 f5! exf5 17 exf5 Ne5 18 Ne6! Bxe6 19 fxe6 g6 (D) 19...0-0-0 20 exf7 Rdf8 21 a4! Nxd3 22 Rxd3.

16 Qg2 Nf6 17 Rg1 Bd7 18 f5 Kh8? Black could try 18...exf5 19 exf5 and then 19...Qe5, but not 19...b5?, which fails to 20 Bxf7+! followed by Nd5. 19 Rdf1 Qd8? 19...Qe5!? 20 Nf3 Qf4 21 Qh3, with the threat of Ng5. 20 fxe6 fxe6 21 e5! dxe5 22 Ne4 Nh5 22...Nxe4? allows 23 Rxf8+ Rxf8 24 Qxg7#. 23 Qg6! exd4 (D) White to play

20 Qxe5!! dxe5 21 exf7+ 1-0 If 21...Kd8 then 22 Bf5+, or 21...Kd7 (21...Kf8 22 Bh6#) 22 Bf5++ Kc6 23 Be4+ Nd5 24 Bxd5+ Kd6 25 Bxa8+ Ke6 26 Bd5+ Ke7 27 Bg5+ Kf8 28 Bf6. Game 25 Lutikov – Gavrilov Moscow 1972 Caro-Kann Defence (B12) 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 f3 e6 4 Nc3 Nf6 5 Bg5 Qb6?! White to play

Better is 5...h6 6 Bh4 Qb6. 6 a3 c5

24 Ng5! 1-0 If 24...hxg5 then 25 Qxh5+ Kg8 26 Qf7+ Kh7 27 Rf3 and 28 Rh3#. Game 24

Not 6...Qxb2?? 7 Na4, winning the queen. 7 Be3 Bd7 8 e5 Ng8 9 Nge2 f6 10 f4 Nh6 11 exf6 gxf6 12 Ng3 Qxb2?! (D)

Tal – Suetin Tbilisi 1969 Sicilian Defence (B42) 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 a6 5 Bd3 Ne7 6 Nc3 Nbc6 7 Nb3 Ng6 8 0-0 b5 9 Be3 d6 10 f4 Be7 11 Qh5!? Bf6?! 12 Rad1! Bxc3 Black has major problems after the attempt to play it safe by 12...Qc7 13 f5 (13 e5!?) 13...Nge5. 13 bxc3 Qc7 14 Rd2 Nce7 15 Nd4! Bd7? The only try was the greedy 15...Qxc3 16 f5 exf5 17 exf5 Ne5 18 f6 g6 19 Qh6 Nd5 20 Ne2 Qc7 (20...Qb4? is better met by 21 c3! than 21 Bxg6 Rg8!) 21 Bd4 Be6, when Black may yet hope to weather the storm.

White to play

13 Nb5! Bxb5 14 Rb1 Qc3+?

14...Qxa3 was the only move, although after 15 Bxb5+ Nc6 16 Bd2 White has very good attacking prospects.

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bc4 e6 7 Bb3 b5 8 0-0 Be7 9 Qf3 Qc7 10 Qg3 0-0 11 Bh6 Ne8 12 Rad1 Bd7 13 Nf3! b4

15 Bd2 Qxd4?

13...Nc6 and 13...a5 are the main alternatives.


14 Ne2 a5 15 Nf4!

16 Bxb5+ Kd8 17 c3 1-0

The threat is now 16 Bxg7! Nxg7 17 Nh5.

The black queen has been trapped in the centre of the board.

15...Kh8 16 Bg5 Nf6

Game 26 Nunn – Ki. Georgiev Linares 1988

After 16...Bxg5?! 17 Nxg5, followed by Qh3, etc., the white pieces are once again menacing. 17 Qh4 Bb5? (D) Now White crashes through. 17...Nc6 is correct.

Caro-Kann Defence (B17) 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7 5 Ng5 h6?! Black should play 5...Ngf6 or maybe 5...Ndf6. 6 Ne6! Qa5+?! Not 6...fxe6?? 7 Qh5+. 6...Qb6 is best; then Black can hope for a playable game although White will have the bishop-pair ‘for free’ after exchanging on f8. 7 Bd2 Qb6 8 Bd3 (D)

White to play

18 Nd4! Be8 18...Bxf1 19 Ndxe6! fxe6 20 Bxe6 g6 21 Nxg6+ Kg7 22 Qh6#. 19 Ndxe6 fxe6 20 Nxe6 Qa7 21 e5! dxe5 22 Nxf8 Bxf8 23 Bxf6 gxf6 24 Rd8 This explains the advance 21 e5!, which opened the d-file. 24...Nd7 25 Qg4 1-0 Black to play

8...fxe6?? 9 Qh5+ Kd8 10 Ba5

If 25...Bg7 then 26 Qc4, with the threat of mate on g8. Game 28

Georgiev continued playing but eventually lost.

Topalov – Bareev

Allowing Ne6 might appear naïve, but in Game 32 of this chapter you can see the game Deep BlueKasparov, in which the World Champion succumbed to a similar idea. Game 27 Kasparov – Gelfand Linares 1993 Sicilian Defence (B87)

Linares 1994 French Defence (C11) 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 dxe4 5 Nxe4 Be7 6 Bxf6 Bxf6 7 c3 Nd7 8 Qc2?! e5! 9 dxe5 Nxe5 10 f4?! 10 Be2. 10...Ng6 11 g3 0-0 12 Bd3 Qd5!

Discouraging 13 0-0-0, which would give White a slight advantage. 13 a3? White should play 13 Nf3 or, nevertheless, 13 0-0-0. 13...Nxf4! 14 Nxf6+ gxf6 15 Bxh7+ Kg7 16 Qe4

12...Ncxe5?! 13 Nxe5 Nxe5 14 Bf4 Rd8 fails to solve Black’s problems in view of 15 Bxe5 Qxe5 16 Qa4+. 13 Qa4 Qd7 14 Bg5 Ncxe5?? (D) 14...Nd4.

16 Be4 Re8. 16...Re8! 17 Qxe8 (D)

White to play

15 Rad1! 1-0 Black to play

As 15...Qxa4 would allow 16 Rxd8#. Game 30

17...Bf5!! 18 Qxa8 Qe4+ 19 Kf2 19 Kd2 Qg2+ 20 Ke1 (20 Ke3 Nd5+ 21 Kd4 Qd2+) 20...Nd3+ 21 Kd1 Bg4+. 19...Qg2+ 20 Ke3 Nd5+ 21 Kd4 Qd2+ 22 Kc5 22 Kc4 Nb6+ 23 Kb4 Qxb2+ 24 Ka5 Nc4+ 25 Ka4 b5# (Ftačnik). 22...Qe3+ 23 Kc4 Or: 23 Kxd5 Be6#; 23 Kb5 Qb6+ 24 Kc4 Ne3#.

Korneev – Piskov Linares (open) 1996 French Defence (C06) 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 Nf6 4 e5 Nfd7 5 Bd3 c5 6 c3 Nc6 7 Ne2 cxd4 8 cxd4 f6 9 exf6 Nxf6 10 0-0 Bd6 11 Nf3 Qc7 12 Bg5 0-0 13 Rc1 Bd7 14 Ng3 Qb6 15 Bxf6 Rxf6!? (D) 15...gxf6 is safer.

23...Nb6+ 0-1 24 Kb5 c6+ 25 Kb4 Qe4+ 26 Kc5 Qe7+ 27 Kd4 c5# or 24 Kb3 Qe6+ 25 Kb4 Qc4+ 26 Ka5 Qc5#. This game was awarded the Brilliancy Prize of the tournament. Game 29 Shirov – Bareev Novgorod 1994 King’s Indian Attack (A00) 1 e4 e6 2 d3 d5 3 Nd2 Nf6 4 Ngf3 b6 5 c3 c5 6 g3 Ba6 7 c4 dxc4 8 dxc4 Bb7 9 Bg2 Qc7 9...Nxe4? is well met by 10 Ne5!, and then 10...Nc3 11 Qh5! g6 12 Qh3 Qc7 13 f4 or 10...Nd6 11 Bxb7 Nxb7 12 Nxf7 Kxf7 13 Qf3+ and 14 Qxb7. 10 e5 Ng4 11 0-0 Nc6 12 Ne4 Rd8

White to play

16 Bxh7+! Kxh7 17 Ng5+ Kg8 Surprisingly, 17...Kh8 may prove safer, and leads to completely different variations: 18 Qh5+ Rh6 19 Nf7+ Kh7 20 Nxh6 Be8! 21 Nf7+ Kg8 22 Nh6+

with a draw (not forced) or 18 Qd3 g6 19 N3e4! Kg7! 20 Nxd6 Nxd4 with sharp play but roughly balanced chances.

18...g6 19 Bxf8 Bxf8 20 h5 bxc3 21 hxg6+ Kg8 22 Qg5.

18 Qh5 Be8?

19...bxc3 20 Bxg7+ Rxg7 21 Qh6+ Rh7 22 Bxh7.

18...Nd8? loses to 19 Qh7+ Kf8 20 Nh5. After 18...Rf4?! 19 Rc3 Nxd4 20 Qh7+ Kf8 21 Nh5 White has good chances, so Black had to play 18...Qxd4! 19 Qh7+ Kf8 20 Qh8+ Ke7 21 Qxa8 Nd8, imprisoning the queen, with unclear play.

19 e5 g6 20 exf6 bxc3 21 Qg5 1-0 If 21...Bd8, 22 Bg7+ Rxg7 23 Qh6+ Rh7 24 Qf8#. Game 32 Deep Blue – Kasparov

19 Qh7+ Kf8 20 Nf5!! Rxf5

New York (6) 1997

20...exf5 21 Qh8+ Ke7 22 Qxg7+ Rf7 23 Rfe1+. 21 Nxe6+ Ke7 22 Qxf5 Nxd4?! 22...g6 23 Qg4. 23 Nxd4 Qxd4 24 Rfe1+ 1-0 24...Kd8 25 Qe6, with an attack on both bishops. Game 31 Adams – Sheldon British Ch, Hove 1997 Sicilian Defence (B80) 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nc6 5 Nc3 Qc7 6 Be3 a6 7 Qd2 Nf6 8 f3 Be7 9 g4 d6 Maybe too slow. 9...b5 is an alternative. 10 0-0-0 0-0 11 g5 Nd7 12 h4 b5?!

Caro-Kann Defence (B17) If you wanted proof that even champions make mistakes, or that they too can lose a miniature game, this is a concrete demonstration. 1 e4 c6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 dxe4 4 Nxe4 Nd7 5 Ng5 Ngf6 6 Bd3 e6 7 N1f3 h6?! 7...Bd6. 8 Nxe6 See also Game 26, Nunn-Ki.Georgiev. 8...Qe7?! If 8...fxe6 then 9 Bg6+ Ke7 10 0-0 (or 10 Bf4), also with a strong attack. 9 0-0 fxe6 10 Bg6+ Kd8

13 g6! Nf6

White has only a pawn for the piece, but the situation of the black king and the horrible lack of coordination among his rooks and bishops, hemmed in on the back rank, provide more than sufficient compensation.

13...hxg6 14 h5 Nde5 15 h6!.

11 Bf4 b5

14 gxh7+ Kxh7 15 Nxc6 Qxc6 16 Bd3 Kh8 17 Rdg1 b4 (D)

Seeking lodgings for his f6-knight (on d5) by preventing it from being evicted with c4.

Black could try 12...Nxd4, intending 13 Bxd4 b5, but 13 Qxd4 may be stronger, as h5-h6 will now come with a threat of Qxg7#.

12 a4 Bb7 13 Re1 Nd5 14 Bg3 Kc8 15 axb5 cxb5 16 Qd3 “Garry knew that he was dead. He kept tapping his face with his hands and the colour of his face was a poem.” (GM Daniel King, Kasparov against Deeper Blue, page 145). 16...Bc6 (D)

White to play

18 Bh6! Rg8

White to play

White to play

17 Bf5

18 Bb5+! 1-0

Black is sunk now.

If 18...Rxb5 (18...axb5 19 Qxb4) then 19 Qc6+ Ke7 20 Qc7+ and mate in two.

17...exf5 18 Rxe7 Bxe7 19 c4 1-0

Game 34

If 19...bxc4 then 20 Qxc4, and the pin on the bishop is decisive, since 20...Kb7 allows 21 Qa6#. This was the final game of Kasparov’s match with Deep Blue, with which the supercomputer defeated the World Champion by 3½-2½. The report of this echoed round the world in all the media of communication. The most curious thing was Kasparov’s final speech in which he declared: “I personally assure you, everybody here, that if Deep Blue will start playing competitive chess I’ll tear it in pieces.”

Anand – Korchnoi Wijk aan Zee 2000 French Defence (C11) 1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 dxe4 5 Nxe4 Nbd7 6 Nf3 Be7 7 Nxf6+ Bxf6 8 h4 h6 9 Bxf6 Nxf6 10 Qd2 b6 11 0-0-0 Bb7 12 Ne5 0-0 13 Bd3 c5! 14 dxc5 Qc7 15 Rhe1 Bxg2? (D) 15...bxc5!.

Nevertheless, the image presented by the World Champion in this game was pitiful. Game 33 Stefansson – Piket Antwerp 1998 Sicilian Defence (B66) 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Bg5 e6 7 Qd2 a6 8 0-0-0 h6 9 Be3 Be7 10 f3 Nxd4 11 Bxd4 b5 12 Kb1 Qa5 13 a3 Rb8?! 13...e5 is the normal, and more solid, move. 14 f4! b4 15 Bxf6 Bxf6 15...gxf6?! 16 Na2. 16 Qxd6 Rb6?

White to play

16 Re2 Kh8 16...Qxc5 17 Rg1 Qd5 18 c4 Rfc8 19 Kb1.

Black had to play 16...Qb6, when he can hope for positional compensation for the pawn.

17 Rg1 Bd5 18 Qf4 Qxc5 19 Re3 1-0

17 axb4 Qxb4 (D)

19...Rac8 20 Reg3. Game 35 Beliavsky – Hickl Pula Zonal 2000

Modern Defence (B06) 1 d4 d6 2 e4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 f4 a6 5 Nf3 b5 6 Bd3 Bb7 7 e5 Nd7 8 Ng5!? Nf8? 8...e6. 9 Qe2 b4 10 Nce4 f5 (D)

Black to play

16...exf4 17 gxf4 Bxf4! 0-1 18 Nxf4 (18 Bd7+ Qxd7 19 Nxf4 Ne5) 18...Qh4+. Game 37 Doghri – Ilinčić White to play

Istanbul Olympiad 2000

11 Bb5+!

Sicilian Defence (B87)

A clearance sacrifice, to enable the queen to access the c4-square. 11...c6 12 Qc4 Kd7 13 Qf7 cxb5 14 Qxg7 Bxe4 15 Nxe4 fxe4 16 f5!

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Bc4 e6 7 Bb3 b5 8 Qf3 Qb6 9 Be3 Qb7 10 0-0-0 Nbd7 11 Rhe1 Be7 12 Qg3 b4? (D) 12...Nc5.

After 16 Qxh8 Nh6 Black could offer some resistance. 16...gxf5 17 Qxh8 Ne6 18 d5 Nc7 19 Qxh7 1-0 19...Qf8 20 e6+ Kc8 21 0-0 and 19...Nxd5 20 Qxf5+ e6 21 Qxe4 are both hopeless for Black. Game 36 Ramesh – Nijboer Amsterdam 2000 Sicilian Defence (B33) 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 e5 6 Ndb5 d6 7 Bg5 a6 8 Na3 b5 9 Nd5 Be7 10 Bxf6 Bxf6 11 c3 Bg5 12 Nc2 Rb8 13 h4?! White to play

White presumes that Black will castle on the kingside, when a half-open h-file would be useful, but the king has not castled yet. 13 a4 is preferable.

13 Nf5!

13...Bxh4 14 g3 Bg5 15 Bh3 Bb7 16 f4? (D)


White should play 16 Qh5 or 16 a4.

After 13...exf5 both 14 Nd5 and 14 Qxg7! are very favourable for White, though the position is complicated.

13 Nd5! is also good.

14 Nxe7 cxb2+ 15 Kb1 Nxe4 15...Kxe7 16 Qxd6+ Kd8 17 Bb6+ Ke8 18 Bc5 Kd8 19 Bxe6!.

16 Qxg7 Rf8 17 Nd5! a5 17...exd5 18 Bxd5 Qc7 19 Bd4. 18 Bh6 a4 19 Rxe4 axb3 20 Rxe6+ Kd8 21 Bg5+ 1-0 Mate is forced.

1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Nc3 d6 4 f4 Nf6 5 Nf3 0-0 6 Be3 b6 7 Qd2 c5 8 0-0-0 cxd4 9 Bxd4 Nc6 10 Bxf6!? Judit sheds this piece in order to launch a quick kingside attack – an original procedure. 10...Bxf6 11 h4 Bg4 12 h5! Bxh5 (D)

Game 38 Bryson – Sandler Istanbul Olympiad 2000 Sicilian Defence (B84) 1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 e6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 f4 a6 7 Be2 Be7 8 0-0 0-0 9 Be3 Qc7 10 g4 Nc6 11 g5 Nxd4?! 11...Nd7. 12 Qxd4 Nd7 13 f5 Re8 14 fxe6 fxe6 15 Bh5 g6?! (D) 15...Rf8 16 Rxf8+ Bxf8 17 Rf1 Ne5 18 Nd5! Qd8?! (18...Qc6) 19 Nb6 Rb8 20 Bf4 gave White a clear advantage in Short-Ljubojević, Novi Sad Olympiad 1990.

White to play

13 Rxh5! The Hungarian GM single-mindedly sets about dismantling Black’s castled position. 13...gxh5 14 Qd5 A double attack (does that ring a bell?) on c6 and h5. 14...Rc8? Black had to try 14...Bxc3 15 bxc3 Qc8 16 Bc4 e5! (16...Na5? 17 Qxh5! intending Ng5), when one critical line runs 17 Qxd6 Na5 18 Qh6 Qc6! 19 Rd6 Qxc4, when White can’t play 20 Ng5? due to 20...Qf1+ 21 Rd1 (21 Kb2 Nc4+ 22 Kb3 Qb1+!) 21...Qxf4+ 22 Kb1 Rfd8! and Black wins as his king has the e7-square.

White to play

16 Nd5! exd5? There was a precedent in Oll-Andersson, Tallinn rapid 1997, which continued 16...Qd8 17 Nxe7+ Qxe7 18 Be2 Ne5 19 Rad1 Nf7 20 Rf6 Bd7 21 Bc4 Rf8 22 Bb3 Rae8, and now 23 Rdf1 would have left White better.

15 Qxh5 Bg7 16 e5 Freeing an important square (e4) and a no less important diagonal (b1-h7). 16...Qe8 17 Qh3! h6 18 Bd3 Nb4 19 Be4 e6 19...d5 20 Nxd5 Nxd5 21 Qf5. 20 f5! Rxc3

17 Qxd5+ Kh8 18 Qf7 Qd8 19 Bd4+ Ne5 20 Bxg6! hxg6 21 Qxg6 Be6 22 Qh6+ Kg8 23 Qxe6+ 1-0

20...d5 21 f6.

After 23...Kh8 24 Rf7 Black will soon be mated.

21...Qa4 22 bxc3 Nxa2+ 23 Kb2 Nxc3 24 Rd4! Qa2+ 25 Kxc3 dxe5 26 Qg4 exd4+ 27 Kd2.

Game 39 J. Polgar – Smirin

21 f6 Qb5

22 Qg3 1-0

Istanbul Olympiad 2000

Game 40

Pirc Defence (B09)

Rublevsky – D’Amore

Istanbul Olympiad 2000 Modern Defence (B06) 1 e4 g6 2 d4 Bg7 3 Nc3 d6 4 Bg5 a6 5 Nf3 Nd7 6 a4 b6 7 Bc4 h6 8 Bh4 g5? (D) Black should try 8...Bb7 or 8...c5.

White to play

16 Qg3! Qxh1 16...Bh6+ is the main move. 17 Bg2 Bh6+ 18 Bd2 Bxd2+ White to play

Another possibility is 18...Qxd1+ 19 Kxd1 Bxd2 20 Kxd2 Kd8.

9 Bxg5! hxg5 10 Bxf7+! Kxf7?

19 Kxd2 Qxg2?

10...Kf8 11 Bd5 Rb8 12 Nxg5.

The logical and natural continuation is 19...Qxd1+! 20 Kxd1 Rf8, followed by ...a5 and ...Ra6.

11 Nxg5+ Kf6

20 Qxg2 a5 21 f4 exf4 22 Qg7 Rf8 23 Re1+ Kd8 24 Re7 Kc7

11...Ke8? 12 Ne6. 12 Qg4 Ne5 12...Nf8 13 Nd5+ Kg6 14 Ne6+ Kf7 15 Nxd8+. 13 Nd5+ Kg6 14 Nf4+ Kf6 15 dxe5+ dxe5 16 Nh7+! 1-0

The position is already lost for Black: if 24...Re8 then 25 Qxf7 Nxf6 26 Rxe8+ Nxe8 27 f6 Bd7 28 Qg8 wins. 25 Qxf8 1-0

16...Kf7 and 16...Rxh7 are both met by 17 Qg6#.

Game 42

Game 41

Peng Xiaomin – Dydyshko

Shirov – Van Wely

Istanbul Olympiad 2000

Istanbul Olympiad 2000

Sicilian Defence (B85)

Sicilian Defence (B81)

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 Nc6 7 Be2 e6 8 0-0 Be7 9 f4 Qc7 10 Qe1 0-0 11 Qg3 Bd7 12 Kh1 b5 13 e5 dxe5 14 fxe5 Ne8

1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 g4 e5 8 Nf5 g6 9 g5 gxf5 10 exf5 d5 11 Qf3 d4 12 0-0-0 This is a very complex opening variation in which White sacrifices a piece in exchange for space and activity. It is very difficult to evaluate and theory has not yet said the last word on it. 12...Nbd7 13 Bd2 Qc7 14 gxf6 dxc3 15 Bxc3 Qc6 (D)

14...Qxe5? 15 Nxc6 Qxg3 16 Nxe7+ Kh8 17 hxg3. 15 Ne4 f5? (D) Black should prefer 15...Nxd4 or 15...Rd8.

On any logical move (20...Rfd8, 20...Bc7 or 20...Rad8) White plays 21 Qc3!, threatening mate as well as attacking the c6-bishop. Game 44 Szabo – Bisguier Mar del Plata 1955 Queen’s Gambit (D46) 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 e6 5 e3 Nbd7 6 Bd3 Bd6 7 e4 dxe4 8 Nxe4 Nxe4 9 Bxe4 Nf6 Another possibility is 9...e5 10 0-0 exd4 11 Qxd4 Qf6. White to play

16 exf6 Qxg3 17 fxe7 Rxf1+ 18 Rxf1 1-0 Black cannot save the queen because of the threat of mate on f8.

7.3: Closed Games Game 43

10 Bc2 Bb4+ 11 Bd2 Bxd2+ 12 Qxd2 0-0 13 Ne5 Qc7 14 0-0-0! c5 15 Qe3 b6?! Black could try the more energetic 15...b5. 16 dxc5 bxc5 17 g4! Rb8 17...Nd7? is met by 18 Nxd7 Bxd7 19 Qd3, with a double attack on h7 and d7. 18 Rhg1 Qb6 19 b3 Rb7 20 g5 Ne8 (D)

Konstantinopolsky – Byvshev USSR Ch, Moscow 1952 Réti Opening (A14) 1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 b6 3 g3 Bb7 4 Bg2 e6 5 0-0 Be7 6 b3 0-0 7 Bb2 c5 8 Nc3 d5 9 cxd5 Nxd5 10 Nxd5 Bxd5 11 Qc2 Nc6?! 11...Bf6. 12 e4 Nb4 13 Qb1 Bb7 14 d4 cxd4 15 Nxd4 Bc5 16 Rd1 Qe7 17 a3 Nc6? 17...Bxd4 18 Bxd4 Nc6. 18 Nxc6 Bxc6 19 b4 Bd6 (D) White to play

21 Bxh7+! Kxh7 22 Qh3+ Kg8 23 Rg4! 1-0 Black resigned in view of the threat of 24 Rh4. If 23...f6 then 24 g6. Game 45 Veresov – Bronstein USSR Team Ch, Moscow 1960 Bogo-Indian Defence (E11) 1 d4 e6 2 c4 Bb4+ 3 Bd2 a5 4 Nf3 Nf6 5 Nc3 d6 6 Qc2 Nc6 7 g3 e5 8 dxe5 dxe5 9 0-0-0? Very risky. 9 a3 is preferable. White to play

Now White wins by setting up a double attack that exploits the loose piece on c6. 20 Qd3! 1-0

9...Bxc3 10 Bxc3 Qe7 11 Bg2 Nb4! 12 Qa4+ Bd7 13 Qa3 Bc6 14 Bxe5 0-0 15 Bxf6 Qxf6 16 Rd2 Be4! 17 Rhd1 (D)

Black to play

White to play


19 Qxf6+!! Kxf6 20 Be5+ Kg5 21 Bg7! 1-0

Black has conceived the idea of transferring his queen’s bishop to the h7-b1 diagonal, to line up with his queen in deadly fashion.

The black king is in a mating-net, beginning with 22 h4+ or 22 f4+, etc.

18 Bh3 Bh7! There is already no defence against Black’s plan. 19 Rd7 Rfe8! 20 Kd2 Bf5! Flexible thinking. Grandmaster Bronstein concludes the game with his usual elegance.

An amateur player discovered, after the game, that the move 18 Re4 was not necessary, since White could have sacrificed his queen immediately: 18 Qxf6+!! Kxf6 19 Be5+ Kg5 20 Bg7, with identical consequences. If GM Ludek Pachman received a good lesson, the future world champion, Tigran Petrosian, also learned something. Game 47

21 Qc3 21 Bxf5 Qxf5 22 Ke1 Nc2+.

Honfi – Gipslis

21...Bxh3 22 Qxf6 gxf6 0-1

Pecs 1964

Game 46 Petrosian – Pachman Bled 1961 King’s Indian Attack (A04) 1 Nf3 c5 2 g3 Nc6 3 Bg2 g6 4 0-0 Bg7 5 d3 e6 6 e4 Nge7 7 Re1 0-0?! 7...d6. 8 e5 d6 9 exd6 Qxd6 10 Nbd2 Qc7 11 Nb3 Nd4? Better is 11...b6 12 Bf4 Qd8 13 Ne5 Bb7. 12 Bf4 Qb6 13 Ne5 Nxb3 14 Nc4! Qb5? 14...Qd8. 15 axb3 a5 16 Bd6 Bf6 17 Qf3 Kg7 18 Re4 Rd8 (D)

Nimzo-Indian Defence (E39) 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 Qc2 c5 5 dxc5 0-0 6 Nf3 Na6 7 a3 Bxc3+ 8 Qxc3 Nxc5 9 b4?! 9 e3 or 9 g3 is preferable. 9...Nce4 10 Qc2 a5 11 Nd2? (D) White may have nothing better than the strategically ugly 11 b5, as 11 Bb2? allows 11...axb4 12 axb4 Rxa1+ 13 Bxa1 Qb6, with a double attack on f2 and b4.

Black to play

11...Nxf2! 12 Kxf2 Ng4+ 13 Kg3

20 Rxh6+! gxh6 21 Qxh6+ Kg8 22 Qg6+ Kh8 23 Rf3 e5 24 f5 1-0 Game 49

After 13 Ke1 Qf6 Black once again has a double threat, this time against f2 and a1.

Vaganian – Maslov

13...f5 14 Nb3?

Frunze 1973

14 h3 Qc7 15 Kf3 Qe5 16 Nb1 is White’s best try, but clearly rather desperate for him.

Bogo-Indian Defence (E11)

14...Qc7+ 15 Bf4 e5 16 Bg5 d5! 17 e4

1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 Bb4+ 4 Nbd2 d5 5 a3 Bxd2+ 6 Bxd2 0-0 7 Rc1 b6?!

17 e3 f4+ 18 exf4 exf4+ 19 Kf3 Qe5! 20 Qd3 dxc4 21 Qxc4+ Be6 22 Qd3 Qxg5 (Gipslis).

It was necessary to prevent the pin on the f6-knight with 7...Ne4 or 7...h6.

17...dxe4 18 Be2 f4+ 19 Kh4 Ne3! 20 Qxe4 Nf5+ 0-1

8 Bg5 Bb7 9 e3 c6 10 Ne5 Na6? 11 cxd5?!

If 21 Kh3, 21...Ng3+. Game 48 Canal – Paoli Reggio Emilia 1965/6

11 Ng4!. 11...cxd5? 11...Qxd5 avoids an instant disaster. 12 Bd3 Rc8 13 Rxc8 Bxc8 14 Ng4 Nb8 15 Nxf6+ gxf6 (D)

Bird’s Opening (A03) 1 f4 d5 2 e3 e6 3 Nf3 c5 4 b3 Nf6 5 Bb2 Be7 6 Bb5+ Bd7 7 Be2 0-0 8 0-0 b5?! 8...Nc6. 9 Ne5! a5 10 Rf3! Ne4 11 Rh3 f6 12 Nxd7 Qxd7 13 a4 b4? 13...bxa4 is better. 14 Bb5! Qc8 15 Qh5 h6 16 Qg6 Kh8 17 d3 Nd6 18 Nd2 Nxb5 (D)

White to play

16 Qh5! 1-0 Mate on h7 can only be prevented by giving up the queen. Game 50 Robatsch – Si. Garcia Sochi 1974 English Opening (A40) White to play

19 Rf1! A different move-order was also possible: 19 Rxh6+! gxh6 20 Qxh6+ Kg8 21 Qg6+ Kh8 22 Rf1 intending Rf3, and in fact this is a little cleaner. 19...Nd6 19...Qe8 20 Rxh6+! Kg8 (20...gxh6 21 Qxh6+ Kg8 22 Rf3!) 21 Qh7+ Kf7 22 Nf3!!.

1 c4 c5 2 Nf3 g6 3 d4 Bg7 4 e4 Qa5+?! Black should settle for 4...cxd4 5 Nxd4 Nf6, with a Maroczy structure. 5 Nc3 Nc6 6 d5 Nd4 7 Bd2 Qb6?! 7...Nxf3+. 8 Nxd4 Bxd4 9 Rb1 d6 10 Nb5 Bg7? (D)

Although allowing the exchange of this bishop might appear anti-positional, any developing move was preferable.

White to play

17 d7!! Qxd7 18 Nc4 Bxa1 19 Qxa1 e5? White to play

19...Nf6 20 Nb6 Qc6 21 Nxa8 gives White a positional advantage.

11 Qa4

20 Ncxe5 Qe6 21 Ng4 f6 22 Bc4 Rf8 23 e4! 1-0

Not only threatening a double check, but also setting up a second threat: 12 Ba5.

If 23...Qxe4 then 24 Nxf6+ Rxf6 25 Qxf6. Game 52

11...Bd7 12 Ba5 Qa6

Kasparov – Begun

12...Bxb5 13 cxb5 changes nothing.

Minsk 1978

13 Nc7+ Kf8 14 Qa3 1-0

Queen’s Gambit (D42)

The black queen is lost. Game 51 Kasparov – Kengis USSR Junior Ch, Riga 1977 London System (A47)

1 d4 d5 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Nf3 c5 5 cxd5 Nxd5 6 e3 Nc6 7 Bd3 Be7 8 0-0 0-0 9 Nxd5 Qxd5 10 e4 Qd8 11 dxc5 Bxc5 12 e5 Be7?! 12...b6. 13 Qe2 Nb4

1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 b6 3 Bf4 Bb7 4 e3 c5 5 Nbd2 g6 6 c3 Bg7 7 h3 0-0 8 Be2 Nc6 9 0-0 d6 10 a4 a6?!

13...Nd4 14 Nxd4 Qxd4 15 Rd1 leaves Black under considerable pressure.

It is better to provoke the b4 advance with 10...Na5 11 b4 cxb4 12 cxb4 Nc6.

14 Bb1 Bd7 15 a3 Nd5 16 Qe4 g6 17 Bh6 Re8 18 h4! Qb6?!

11 Nc4 b5 12 Na3 b4 13 cxb4 Nxb4 14 dxc5 Nfd5!


14...dxc5 15 Rc1 Nfd5 16 Be5 offers White a slight plus.

19 h5! f5

15 cxd6! Bxb2?!

Black’s defence is also difficult after 19...Qxb2 20 Qg4.

15...Nxf4 16 exf4 Nd5 is preferable.

20 exf6 Nxf6 21 Qe1! Nxh5 22 Ne5 Bb5? (D)

16 Bh6! Re8? (D)



20 Nxh7! Qd4 21 Qh5 g6 22 Qh4 Bxa1 23 Nf6+ 10 23...Kg7 24 Nf5+ gxf5 25 Qh6#. Game 54 Adorjan – Spassky Toluca Interzonal 1982 English Defence (A40) 1 c4 b6 2 d4 Bb7 3 Nc3 e6 4 e4 Bb4 5 Bd3 f5 6 Qh5+ g6 7 Qe2 Nf6 8 f3 Nc6 9 e5? 9 Be3. 9...Nxd4 10 Qf2 Nh5 11 Qxd4? (D) White to play

11 g4 fxg4 12 Qxd4.

23 Bxg6! Nf6 23...hxg6 24 Qe4 Bf8 25 Qxg6+ Ng7 26 Ng4!. 24 Bxh7+! 1-0 24...Nxh7 25 Qe4 or 24...Kxh7 25 Qb1+ Kh8 26 Qg6. Game 53 Kasparov – Marjanović Malta Olympiad 1980 Queen’s Indian Defence (E17) 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nf3 b6 4 g3 Bb7 5 Bg2 Be7 6 00 0-0 7 d5!? exd5 8 Nh4 c6 9 cxd5 Nxd5 10 Nf5 Nc7 11 Nc3 d5 12 e4 Bf6 13 exd5 cxd5 14 Bf4 Nba6 15 Re1 Qd7 15...Nc5 16 Bd6 Re8 17 Qg4 g6 is another option, but perhaps 15...Bc8 is best. 16 Bh3! Kh8? Black has to backtrack with 16...Qd8. 17 Ne4! Bxb2 18 Ng5! Qc6 19 Ne7! Qf6 (D)

Black to play

11...Bc5 Winning the queen. 12 Qxc5 bxc5 13 Be3 Qh4+ 14 g3 Nxg3 15 Bf2 f4 16 Be4 0-0-0 17 0-0-0 Ne2+ 18 Ngxe2 Qxf2 19 Rhg1 Qe3+ 20 Rd2 d5 21 Nd1 Qxd2+! 22 Kxd2 dxe4+ 23 Kc2 g5 0-1 Game 55 Miles – Browne Lucerne Olympiad 1982 Queen’s Gambit (D40) 1 Nf3 c5 2 c4 Nf6 3 Nc3 e6 4 e3 Nc6 5 d4 d5 6 dxc5 Bxc5 7 a3 a6 8 b4 Ba7 9 Bb2 0-0 10 Rc1 d4 10...dxc4 11 Bxc4 Qxd1+ is unexciting, but offers good prospects of equalizing. 11 exd4 Nxd4 12 c5 Nxf3+?

White to play

Too meek. To have any chance of justifying his play so far, Black needed to choose the aggressive 12...e5. 13 Qxf3 Bd7 14 Bd3

14 Qxb7 is possible, though after 14...Bxc5, White must avoid 15 bxc5? Rb8 and play 15 Ne4!. 14...Bc6 15 Ne4 Nxe4 16 Bxe4 Qc7 17 0-0 Rad8? (D) 17...Bxe4.

White to play

18 Qd5+! 1-0 18...Qxd5 19 Nxe7+ Kf7 20 Nxd5. Game 57 Yrjölä – Liew

White to play

Dubai Olympiad 1986

18 Bxh7+! Kxh7 19 Qh5+ Kg8 20 Bxg7! Kxg7 20...f6 21 Qh8+ Kf7 22 Bxf8, and 22...Rxf8? fails to 23 Qh7+, winning the queen. 21 Qg5+ Kh8 22 Qf6+ Kg8 23 Rc4! 1-0 Game 56 Miles – Timman Amsterdam 1985 English Opening (A30)

Budapest Gambit (A52) 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e5 3 dxe5 Ng4 4 Nf3 Bc5 5 e3 Nc6 6 a3 a5 7 b3?! Too much passivity. 7...0-0 8 Bb2 Re8 9 Bd3 d6 10 exd6? White should play 10 0-0, 10 Qc2 or 10 e6!?. 10...Nxf2! 11 Kxf2 Rxe3! 12 Kf1 Bg4 13 Be2 Bxf3 14 Bxf3 Qh4 15 Ra2

1 Nf3 Nf6 2 c4 c5 3 b3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 Bb2 f6 6 Nc3 e5 7 Nxd5 Qxd5 8 e3 Be6 9 Bc4 Qd7 10 0-0 Bxc4 11 bxc4 Be7 12 d4 cxd4 13 exd4 exd4 14 Nxd4 0-0 15 Qf3 Nc6 16 Nf5

15 dxc7? loses to 15...Rae8.

The threat is 17 Qg4, winning the enemy queen, through the double threat of mate on g7 and a check on h6, discovering an attack on the unguarded black queen.

17...Qh3+ 18 Bg2

16...Ne5? More precise was 16...Rf7 17 Qg4 Kh8. 17 Bxe5 fxe5 (D)

15...Rae8 16 Bc3 cxd6 17 g3 After 17 Bxc6 bxc6 White is lost. 18 Rg2 Qf5. 18...Qf5+ 19 Rf2 (D)

Black to play

19...Qxf2+! 20 Kxf2 Rd3+ 0-1 Now it’s mate in two more moves: 21 Bd4 Bxd4+ 22 Kf1 Rxd1# or 21 Kf1 Rxd1+ 22 Be1 Rdxe1#. Game 58 Kasparov – Ivanchuk

1 c4 e6 2 Nc3 d5 3 d4 Be7 4 cxd5 exd5 5 Bf4 c6 6 Qc2 g6 7 e3 Bf5 8 Qd2 Nf6 9 f3 c5 10 Bh6 cxd4 11 exd4 a6 12 g4! Be6 13 Nge2 Nbd7?! 13...Nc6 14 Bg2 Bf8 15 0-0 Bxh6 16 Qxh6 Qb6. 14 Bg2 Nb6 15 b3 Rc8 16 0-0 Rc6 17 h3! Nfd7 18 Nd1 Rg8?! 19 Nf2 f5?

USSR Ch, Moscow 1988

Black’s position is already very difficult, but 19...f6 may be a better try.

English Opening (A29)

20 Rae1 g5 21 gxf5 Bf7

1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 e5 3 Nf3 Nc6 4 g3 Bb4 5 Bg2 0-0 6 0-0 e4 7 Ng5 Bxc3 8 bxc3 Re8 9 f3 exf3 10 Nxf3 d5 11 d4 Ne4

21...Bxf5 22 Ng3 Be6 23 Nh5 Rg6 24 Ng4. 22 Ng4 Bh5 (D)

More solid is 11...dxc4 12 Bg5. 12 Qc2 dxc4 13 Rb1! f5?! A risky line. 14 g4! Qe7 14...fxg4 15 Ne5 Nxe5 16 Bxe4 Ng6 17 Bxg6 hxg6 18 Qxg6 Qd7 19 Rb5! is good for White. 15 gxf5 Nd6? 15...Bxf5 16 Ng5! g6 (16...Bg6!?) 17 Nxe4 Bxe4 18 Bxe4 Qxe4 19 Qxe4 Rxe4 20 Rxb7 Ne7 21 Rxc7. 16 Ng5 Qxe2 17 Bd5+ Kh8 18 Qxe2 Rxe2 19 Bf4 Nd8 20 Bxd6 cxd6 21 Rbe1 Rxe1 22 Rxe1 Bd7 23 Re7 Bc6 (D)

White to play

23 Ng3! 1-0 23...Bxg4 24 Bxg5 Rxg5 25 Qxg5 Kf8 26 f6. Game 60 Fomin – Fedosov Ivanteevka 1988 Budapest Gambit (A52) 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e5 3 dxe5 Ng4 4 Nc3 d6 5 exd6 Bxd6 6 h3? (D) Careless. White should play 6 Nf3 or 6 e3.

White to play

24 f6! 1-0 24...Bxd5 25 Re8+ Bg8 26 f7 Nxf7 27 Nxf7#. Game 59 Kasparov – Short Thessaloniki Olympiad 1988 Queen’s Gambit (D31)

Black to play

Kasparov – Korchnoi

6...Nxf2! 7 Kxf2 Qh4+ 8 Kf3? Now it’s forced mate, but after 8 Ke3 Bf5 9 Qa4+ Nc6 10 g4 (preventing 10...Qf4#) 10...0-0-0! Black’s attack is decisive.

Skellefteå 1989 English Opening (A34)

8...Qg3+ 9 Ke4 Bf5+ 10 Kxf5

1 c4 Nf6 2 Nc3 c5 3 Nf3 d5 4 cxd5 Nxd5 5 e4 Nb4 6 Bb5+ N8c6 7 d4 cxd4 8 a3 dxc3 9 Qxd8+ Kxd8 10 axb4 cxb2 11 Bxb2 f6 (D)

10 Kd4 and 10 Kd5 are both met by 10...Qe5#.

11...e6 is an alternative.

10...Qg6# (0-1) Game 61 Ivanchuk – Csom Erevan 1989 Nimzo-Indian Defence (E20) 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 f3 c5 5 d5 Bxc3+ 6 bxc3 Nh5 7 g3 f5 8 e4 f4 9 dxe6 fxg3? 9...Qf6. 10 Qd5! g2? 10...Nf6 11 Qxc5, with an unclear position. 11 Qxh5+! g6 (D) White to play

12 e5! Bg4?! 12...Bd7. 13 Bxc6 bxc6 14 Nd4 fxe5 15 Nxc6+ Kc7?! 15...Ke8. 16 Nxe5 Bh5 17 0-0 Be8 18 Rfc1+ Kb7 19 Nc4 e5 20 Bxe5 h5 21 Na5+ Kb6 22 Bc7+ Ka6 22...Kb5 23 Nb3!. 23 Nc6+ 1-0 23...Kb5 (23...Kb7 24 Nd8+ Kc8 25 Ba5+) 24 Ra5#. Game 63 White to play

Korchnoi – I. Sokolov

12 Qe5! Qh4+

Wijk aan Zee 1993

12...gxh1Q? 13 Qxh8+ Ke7 14 Bg5+. 13 Ke2 gxh1Q 14 Qxh8+ Ke7 15 Qg7+ Kxe6 16 Bh3+ Kd6 16...Qxh3 17 Qg8+! Kf6 18 Bg5+ Kxg5 (18...Ke5? 19 Qd5#) 19 Nxh3+ and 20 Rxh1. 17 Qf8+ Kc7 17...Ke5 18 Bf4+! Qxf4 19 Qe7#. 18 Bf4+ Qxf4 19 Qxf4+ d6 20 Rd1 Nc6 21 Qxd6+ Kb6 22 Qg3! h5 23 Bxc8 Rxc8 24 Nh3 h4 25 Qf2 1-0 The black queen is trapped. Game 62

English Opening (A21) 1 c4 e5 2 Nc3 Bb4 3 Nd5 Bc5 4 e3 Nf6 5 d4 Nxd5 6 cxd5 exd4 7 exd4 Bb4+ 8 Bd2 Qe7+ 9 Ne2 0-0 10 Bxb4 Qxb4+ 11 Qd2 Qe7 12 0-0-0 c5 13 Qf4 Na6? 13...d6. 14 d6 Qd8 15 Nc3 cxd4 16 Qxd4 Qa5 17 Bd3 Nc5? (D) 17...f5.

18...Nce4 19 Bxf6 Nxf6 20 Bxb7 Rab8 21 Qxa6 Qxb4 22 Nc6. 19 Qb3! Qb6 19...Qxb4 20 Qxb4 Bxb4 21 Rxa4 Bc3 22 Rc4. 20 e3 1-0 Karpov: “This game is probably the only case in which the advance of a pawn practically decides the game from the very start.” Game 65 Kamsky – Anand FIDE Candidates rapid (10), Sanghi Nagar 1994 Torre Attack (A46)

White to play

18 Bxh7+! Kxh7 19 Qh4+ Kg8 19...Kg6 20 Rd5. 20 Nd5 g6 21 Qh6 Nb3+ 22 Kb1 1-0 Game 64 Karpov – Beliavsky Linares 1994 Catalan Opening (E05) 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 d5 3 c4 e6 4 g3 Be7 5 Bg2 0-0 6 0-0 dxc4 7 Qc2 a6 8 a4 Bd7 9 Qxc4 Bc6 10 Bg5 Bd5 11 Qd3 c5 12 Nc3 cxd4 13 Nxd5 Qxd5?! (D) After 13...Nxd5 14 Bxe7 Qxe7 15 Nxd4 Nc6 16 Nxc6 bxc6, White’s advantage is minimal.

This was a tie-break game in the Candidates match between these two players; it was played at a rate of 30 minutes per player. 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 c5 3 c3 g6 4 Bg5 Qb6 5 Qb3 Ne4 6 Bf4 Nc6? Black should prefer 6...Bg7 or 6...d6. However, Anand needed to win this game as Black to stay in the match, so he wanted to avoid anything drawish. As so often in such cases, he succeeded in that aim, but not in the way he might have hoped... 7 d5! Nd8 7...Na5 8 Qxb6 axb6 9 Nbd2 Nxd2 10 Nxd2, followed by e4. 8 Nbd2 Nf6?! 9 e4 d6 10 Bb5+ Bd7 11 a4 Qc7 12 0-0 Bg7? (D)

White to play

14 h4!! Nbd7?! 14...Nc6 15 Bxf6 and now, rather than 15...Bxf6?! 16 Ng5 Qf5 17 Be4, Black should try 15...gxf6, despite the ugly pawns after 16 Ng5 Qf5 17 Qxf5 exf5. 15 Nxd4 Qd6 16 Rfd1 Nc5 17 Qc4 Rfd8 18 b4! Nxa4?

White to play

13 e5! Nh5 14 exd6 exd6 15 Rfe1+ Kf8 16 Bxd7 Qxd7 17 Qb5 1-0 After 17...Qxb5 18 Bxd6+ Kg8 19 axb5 Nf6 20 Bxc5 White has two extra pawns. Game 66 L.B. Hansen – Vescovi

Copenhagen 1995 Colle System (D05)

Another option is 18...Be6 19 Rac1 Qa5 20 Nc7 Bxb3 21 Nxa8 Bxa2 (or 21...Ba4!?).

1 d4 c5 2 e3 Nf6 3 Nf3 e6 4 Bd3 d5 5 0-0 Nbd7 6 c3 Bd6 7 Nbd2 0-0 8 Re1 Qc7 9 e4 cxd4 10 cxd4 dxe4 11 Nxe4 Nxe4

19 Rac1 Qa5 20 Red1 Kh8?

11...Nd5 may be safer. The text-move helps White speed up preparations for the kingside attack.

21...Rad8 22 Qe7 Qg5 23 Rc5.

20...Rad8. 21 Nc7 Bb5 22 Qe7 Rac8 (D)

12 Rxe4 b6? Black should try 12...Nb6 or 12...Be7. 13 Qe2? The immediate 13 Rh4! g6 14 Qd2 gives White a very strong attack. 13...Bb7 14 Rh4 g6 15 Bd2 Rac8 16 Qe3 Rfd8? 16...Bxf3! makes it hard for White to pursue his attack. 17 Bxg6! fxg6 17...hxg6 18 Qh6. 18 Qxe6+ Kg7 (D)

White to play

23 Be6!! Rb8 23...fxe6 24 Nxe6 Bh6 25 Nxf8. 24 Bxf7 1-0 Game 68 Epishin – Kveinys Vienna 1996 King’s Indian Defence (E95)

White to play

19 Rxh7+! 1-0 19...Kxh7 20 Ng5+ Kh8 21 Qh3+ Kg8 22 Qh7+ Kf8 23 Qf7#. Game 67 Gelfand – Svidler Groningen 1996 King’s Indian Defence (E73) 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 g6 3 Nc3 Bg7 4 e4 d6 5 Be2 0-0 6 Bg5 Nbd7 7 Qd2 c6 8 Nf3 d5 9 exd5 cxd5 10 0-0 a6 11 Ne5 dxc4 12 Bxc4 Qc7 13 Bb3 Nxe5 14 dxe5 Qxe5 15 Rfe1 Qd6 16 Qe2 Qc5 17 Bxf6 exf6 17...Bxf6 18 Nd5. 18 Nd5 Bd7

1 d4 d6 2 Nf3 g6 3 c4 Bg7 4 e4 e5 5 Nc3 Nd7 6 Be2 Ngf6 7 0-0 0-0 8 Re1 c6 9 Bf1 Ng4 10 Bg5 f6 11 Bc1 Qe7 12 g3 Nh6 13 Bg2 Re8 14 b3 Nf7 15 Ba3 Qd8 16 Qd2 Bh6 17 Qb2 17 Qc2 is more natural, though the move played is far from bad. 17...exd4 18 Nxd4 Nde5 19 Qc2 19 Rad1 is also quite good for White, as 19...c5? 20 Ndb5! leaves Black’s game in ruins: 20...a6 21 Nxd6! Nxd6 22 Bxc5 Re6 (22...Bf8 23 Bxd6 Bxd6 24 c5) 23 f4, etc. 19...Qb6 20 Nce2?! 20 Na4 is good, as 20...Qxd4 21 Rad1 leaves the queen trapped. 20...Bg4 21 Qc3?! c5 22 Nf3? 22 Nc2 is better, although 22...Ng5! gives Black some advantage.

22...Bxf3 23 Bxf3 (D)

Black to play Black to play

21...Be4! 0-1 Game 70

23...Bd2! 0-1 Deflecting the queen from the f3-square. There is no defence.

Dutch Team Ch 1999/00

Game 69

Réti Opening (A09)

Illescas – Anand Leon (2) 1997 Queen’s Gambit Accepted (D27)

Boersma – Delemarre

1 Nf3 d5 2 c4 d4 3 b4 f6 4 Qa4+?! 4 e3. 4...c6 5 Na3?! e5 6 Nc2 a5 7 d3?! Na6!

1 d4 d5 2 c4 dxc4 3 Nf3 a6 4 e3 Nf6 5 Bxc4 e6 6 00 c5 7 Bb3 Nc6 8 Qe2 cxd4 9 Rd1 Be7 10 exd4 Na5 11 Bc2 b5 12 Nc3 Bb7 13 Ne5

White is already in serious trouble.

The usual move is 13 Bg5.

White has no good way to resolve the queenside tension. After 8 b5 Nc5 9 Qa3 cxb5 10 cxb5 Be6 the black pieces flood into White’s position.

13...Rc8 14 a3?! 14 Rd3 b4 15 Ba4+.

8 Ba3?

8...axb4 9 Nxb4? Bg4

14...0-0 15 Rd3 Nc4 16 Rg3?

Or 9...Nxb4!.

16 Bb3 is a better attempt to minimize White’s disadvantage. 16 Rh3? fails to 16...Qxd4 17 Bxh7+ Nxh7 18 Qh5 Be4.

10 Nxc6 bxc6 11 Bxf8 Kxf8 12 Rb1 Ne7 13 g3 Nc5 14 Qb4 (D)

16...Qxd4! 17 Bh6? 17 Nxc4 Qxc4 18 Bd3 Qc5 19 Bh6 Ne8. 17...Nxe5! 18 Rxg7+ Kh8 19 Rd1 Qc5 20 Rd5 Bxd5 21 Qxe5 (D)

Black to play

14...Nxd3+ 15 exd3 Bxf3 16 Rg1 Kf7 17 g4 Rb8 01

Game 71 Tregubov – Van der Sterren Amsterdam 2000 Slav Defence (D17)

12 Rb1 exd5 13 cxd5 Qe7 14 Ng5 Kh8 15 Nxe4 Rae8 16 Bb2 Rf5?! 16...Bxb2 17 Rxb2 Qe5 18 Rd2 Qf5. 17 d6 Qf8 (D)

1 d4 d5 2 Nf3 Nf6 3 c4 c6 4 Nc3 dxc4 5 a4 Bf5 6 Nh4 e6 7 Nxf5 exf5 8 e3 Bd6 9 Bxc4 g6?! 9...0-0. 10 f3 Qc7?! 11 e4 Bxh2?! 11...fxe4. 12 e5 Bg3+ 13 Kf1 Nh5 (D)

White to play

18 Nf6! Bxg2 18...Bxf6 19 Bxb7 Bxb2 20 Rxb2 Qf6 21 Rd2. 19 Nxe8 Bxb2 20 Kxg2 1-0 After 20...Qxe8 21 Rxb2 White emerges the exchange up. Game 73

White to play

C. Ionescu – Avrukh

14 Rxh5!? gxh5 15 f4 h4 16 Qh5 Na6

Istanbul Olympiad 2000

If 16...Rf8 then White should play 17 b3 intending Ba3, since 17 e6?! Na6! is far from clear.

English Opening (A30)

17 Qxf5 Rd8 18 Be3 Nb4 19 Ne4 Nd5 20 Bxd5 cxd5 21 Rc1 Qxc1+

1 Nf3 c5 2 c4 Nc6 3 g3 g6 4 d4 cxd4 5 Nxd4 Bg7 6 Nc2 d6 7 Bg2 h5 8 h3 Be6 9 Ne3 Qd7 10 Nd2?!

Or: 21...Qa5 22 Nd6+; 21...Qb6 22 Nf6+ Ke7 23 Qg5; 21...Qe7 22 Nf6+ Kf8 23 Qh5! h6 24 f5.

10 Nc3.

22 Bxc1 dxe4 23 e6! Rf8

12 Qa4.

23...0-0? 24 e7.

10...Rc8 11 Rb1 Nf6 12 Ndf1?! 12...0-0 13 b3 b5! 14 cxb5 Nb4 15 a4?!

24 Bd2 1-0 The threats are 25 Bb4 and 25 Qb5+. Game 72

15 a3 Na2 16 Bc6 Rxc6 17 bxc6 Qxc6 18 Rh2 Nc3 19 Qc2 Rc8. 15...Bf5 16 Rb2 Ne4 17 Bxe4

Mondariz Zonal 2000

Or 17 g4 Nc3! (not 17...Bc3+? 18 Nd2 Nxd2 19 Bxd2) 18 Qd2 Nxe2!.

English Defence (A40)

17...Bxe4 18 f3 (D)

Piket – Plaskett

1 d4 e6 2 c4 b6 3 a3 Bb7 4 Nc3 f5 5 d5 Nf6 6 g3 g6 7 Bg2 Bg7 8 Nh3 0-0 9 0-0 Na6?! 10 b4! Ne4? 11 Nxe4 fxe4 Or 11...Bxa1 12 Bg5 Qe8 13 Qxa1 fxe4 14 Bh6 Rf7 15 Ng5, with a probably decisive advantage for White.

15 exf4 Nfxd3+ 16 c5 Nxe1 17 cxb6 Nc4 gives Black an extra piece. Game 75 Ehlvest – Baburin Istanbul Olympiad 2000 English Defence (A40) 1 c4 b6 2 d4 e6 3 a3 Bb7 4 Nc3 g6 5 e4 Bg7 6 Nf3 Ne7 7 Bd3 d6 8 0-0 Nd7 9 Re1 h6 10 Be3 g5 10...e5 and 10...0-0 are more standard-looking moves, but leave Black passive.

Black to play

18...Bxf3 0-1 If 19 exf3, 19...Rxc1 20 Qxc1 Nd3+. Game 74 Babula – Kurajica

11 Rc1 a6 12 d5 Ng6 13 Nd4 Qe7 14 b4 Nge5 15 Bf1 Rc8 16 f3 h5?! Black continues a pawn advance on the kingside while the centre is still insecure, which goes against strategic principles. It seems more appropriate to play 16...c5, or maybe 16...0-0 first. 17 Na4 h4 18 h3 Bf8?! (D)

Istanbul Olympiad 2000 Nimzo-Indian Defence (E47) 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 Nc3 Bb4 4 e3 0-0 5 Bd3 d6 6 Ne2 c5 7 0-0 Nc6 8 dxc5 Ne5!? 9 a3 9 cxd6 Qxd6 10 a3. 9...Bxc5 10 b4 Bb6 11 Bb2 Nfg4! 12 Nf4? After 12 h3?! Nxd3 13 Qxd3 Ne5, Black wins the c4-pawn, since 14 Qe4 is met by 14...f5. Better was 12 Nd4. 12...Qh4! 13 h3 (D) If 13 Nh3 then 13...Nxd3 14 Qxd3 Ne5, once again winning the c4-pawn.

White to play

Black has protected the c5-square five times in an attempt to hinder White’s pawn-break. 19 c5! bxc5 20 bxc5 c6 20...dxc5 21 Nb3 and in spite of everything the c5square will fall into White’s hands. 21 dxe6 fxe6 22 Qb3 1-0 The double attack on b7 and e6 is decisive.

Black to play

13...Nxf2! 14 Qe1 14 Rxf2 Bxe3. 14...Qxf4! 0-1

8: Tactical Examination It is to be hoped that, having reached this point, the student has read the whole book quite carefully, completing all the exercises. That, together with practice over the board, should have allowed the acquisition of a certain degree of experience and knowledge. Now it is time for you to carry out a self-evaluation of your tactical ability. The examination which I propose you should do next is made up of 6 tests, each of 16 positions. It is designed to allow you to check how well you have assimilated the various concepts and tactical themes and to assess your ability to apply them to concrete positions of the type you could well confront in competition across the chessboard. The challenge you face is to solve these positions with only the help of your knowledge, experience, imagination and calculation. That is, without moving the pieces on the board. Imagine that you are playing a tournament game. It is up to you whether to solve from the diagram or to set up the position on a real board. In addition, you are asked to write down your solutions (with variations, where necessary), in order to be able to mark them later. Examination Method Each test is made up of: 8 Level One positions (one star),

Level Two (two stars): 3 points Level Three (three stars): 5 points This means that the maximum possible score in each series is 48 points. Once each test is completed, the student will have to mark his solutions, keeping track for himself of the points he has earned. To achieve a pass grade, a result of 75% is required for each test; that is to say, 36 points. Of course, this is a very high standard, but chess is a hard and complex game. Results cannot be averaged between tests, i.e. the reader will have to pass each test separately. Even if he has not passed a particular test, he should move on to the next one. After completing the whole examination, the reader will be able to repeat the tests he did not pass, even though by then he will have seen the solution. This time, though, he must reach an 80% score, or 39 points, without the right to use any hints. In any case, I recommend that, before retaking the test(s) which he has not passed, the reader should take another look in the book at those themes which he considers he failed in. Time Limit The time given for each test is two hours, with an average of 4 minutes for each level-one position, 7 for level-two positions and 15 for level three. Help

4 Level Two positions (two stars), and 4 Level Three positions (three stars). The six tests are equivalent, as regards their level of difficulty. Positions Next to each diagram, as well as its number, you will see ‘W’ or ‘B’, which indicates which side is to move. Next there will be either ‘+’ or ‘=’, which denotes whether the task is to achieve an advantage (of some kind or other, ranging from mate to a superior endgame) or to make a draw, always assuming the best possible play by the opponent. Finally, the level of difficulty is indicated, in other words one, two or three stars. Points and Pass Mark Each correctly solved position will be awarded points thus: Level One (one star): 2 points

Since this examination is dynamic and demanding, I have introduced an extra element, so that the reader can seek a little help. However, the support provided is double-edged, because it comes at a cost, namely: a) Hints. The reader can seek out a hint for each solution, by looking up the theme (or motif, or type of sacrifice) of the position he is trying to solve. In return for this, for each hint used, he will have to deduct one point from the total achieved in the test. So it is clear that if the reader uses hints to solve all 16 positions in a test he will not be able to achieve the required 75% result, even if he correctly solves all the positions (48 – 16 = 32). b) Extra time. If necessary, the reader can extend the total time for completing the test to two hours and thirty minutes, in other words an extra half hour, but in that case he will have to deduct 7 points from his total score. If he makes use of this help, he will be left with a ‘margin of error’ of only 5 points (48 – 7 = 41) in order to achieve the pass mark.

Examination Period I believe that there should be no more than a month between completing the first test and the sixth, with the ideal being two tests per week. Of course, the reader can do the tests at his convenience, but no matter how keen he is to assess his tactical ability, I do not recommend attempting more than one test per day. Good luck! And as you already know, you do not have to prove anything to me: you only have to prove it to yourself. It serves no purpose to falsify the results, because the chessboard and your opponent will be the definitive examination of your true playing strength.

Test 1

Test Position 4: Black to play (+) ☆ Test Position 1: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 5: Black to play (+) ☆ Test Position 2: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 6: Black to play (+) ☆ Test Position 3: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 7: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 10: Black to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 8: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 11: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 9: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 12: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 13: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 14: Black to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 15: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 16: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test 2

Test Position 20: White to play (+) ☆ Test Position 17: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 21: White to play (+) ☆ Test Position 18: Black to play (=) ☆

Test Position 22: White to play (+) ☆ Test Position 19: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 23: Black to play (+) ☆

Test Position 26: Black to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 24: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 27: Black to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 25: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 28: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 29: Black to play (=) ☆☆☆

Test Position 30: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 31: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 32: White to play (=) ☆☆☆

Test 3

Test Position 36: White to play (+) ☆ Test Position 33: Black to play (=) ☆

Test Position 37: White to play (+) ☆ Test Position 34: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 38: White to play (=) ☆ Test Position 35: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 39: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 42: Black to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 40: Black to play (+) ☆

Test Position 43: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 41: Black to play (=) ☆☆

Test Position 44: Black to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 45: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 46: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 47: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 48: Black to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test 4

Test Position 52: White to play (+) ☆ Test Position 49: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 53: Black to play (+) ☆ Test Position 50: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 54: White to play (+) ☆ Test Position 51: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 55: Black to play (+) ☆

Test Position 58: Black to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 56: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 59: Black to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 57: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 60: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 61: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 62: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 63: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 64: Black to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test 5

Test Position 68: Black to play (+) ☆ Test Position 65: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 69: Black to play (+) ☆ Test Position 66: Black to play (+) ☆

Test Position 70: Black to play (+) ☆ Test Position 67: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 71: Black to play (+) ☆

Test Position 74: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 72: Black to play (=) ☆

Test Position 75: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 73: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 76: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 77: Black to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 78: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 79: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 80: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test 6

Test Position 84: Black to play (+) ☆ Test Position 81: Black to play (+) ☆

Test Position 85: Black to play (+) ☆ Test Position 82: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 86: White to play (+) ☆ Test Position 83: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 87: White to play (+) ☆

Test Position 90: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 88: Black to play (+) ☆

Test Position 91: Black to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 89: White to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 92: Black to play (+) ☆☆

Test Position 93: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 94: Black to play (=) ☆☆☆

Test Position 95: White to play (+) ☆☆☆

Test Position 96: White to play (+) ☆☆☆


34. Pin 35. Deflection

Test 1

36. Clearance

1. Fork

37. Passed pawn

2. Trapping a piece

38. Stalemate

3. Double attack

39. Bishop sacrifice

4. Discovered attack

40. Exchange sacrifice

5. Deflection

41. Stalemate

6. Deflection

42. Fork

7. Knight sacrifice

43. Double attack

8. Weak back rank

44. Knight sacrifice

9. Long diagonal

45. Knight sacrifice

10. Fork

46. Discovery, exposed piece

11. Exchange sacrifice

47. Deflection

12. Knight sacrifice

48. Knight sacrifice

13. Fork

Test 4

14. Knight sacrifice 15. One sacrifice after another 16. Exchange sacrifice, double attack

49. Double attack 50. Fork 51. Weak back rank

Test 2

52. Deflection

17. Deflection

53. Discovered attack

18. Stalemate

54. Removing the guard

19. Double attack

55. Fork

20. Fork

56. Discovered attack

21. h-file

57. Rook sacrifice

22. Pin

58. Rook sacrifice

23. Discovered attack

59. Double attack

24. Long diagonal

60. Kamikaze pawn

25. Fork

61. h-file

26. Rook sacrifice

62. One sacrifice after another

27. Bishop sacrifice

63. Knight sacrifice

28. Greek Gift

64. Knight sacrifice

29. Stalemate

Test 5

30. Exchange sacrifice 31. Knight sacrifice 32. a-file

65. Promotion 66. Double attack 67. Interference

Test 3

68. Weak back rank

33. Stalemate

69. Deflection

70. Pin 71. Deflection 72. Perpetual check 73. Promotion 74. Double attack 75. Removing the guard 76. Bishop sacrifice 77. Bishop sacrifice 78. Bishop sacrifice 79. Pin, removing the guard 80. Knight sacrifice Test 6 81. Pin 82. Pin 83. Fork 84. Stalemate 85. Fork 86. Queen sacrifice 87. Pin 88. a-file 89. Bishop sacrifice 90. Clearance 91. Deflection, clearance 92. Deflection, weak back rank 93. Clearance 94. Perpetual check 95. One sacrifice after another 96. Greek Gift

Solutions Test 1

White to play

3) Vallejo – Ciuffoletti European Ch, Saint Vincent 2000 White to play

1) Petrosian – Spassky

1 b6!

1 Qh8+ 1-0

Based on a simple but decisive double attack. White can also play his moves in reverse order: 1 Rxh4 Qxh4 2 b6 is just as effective.

1...Kxh8 2 Nxf7+ and 3 Nxg5.

1...axb6 2 Rxh4 b5

World Ch (10), Moscow 1966

2...Qxh4 3 Qxe8. 3 Qxb5 c6 4 dxc6 Nxc6 5 Rh1 White has an extra piece.

White to play

2) Rossolimo – Cukierman Paris 1937 1 Bxh7+! Nxh7

Black to play

1...Kh8 2 Nf7#.

4) Von Scheve – Fahrni San Remo 1911

2 Ng6 The black queen is trapped.

1...Rxb3+! Or 1...c4 first, with basically the same idea. 2 Rxb3 c4+ 3 Rb4 3 Qxe7 Qxb3#. 3...Qb3# (0-1)

Black to play

White to play

5) Yudasin – E. Vladimirov

7) Chandler – Lemmers

Tilburg 1994

Bundesliga 1999/00

1...Rxd4! 2 Qe3

1 Nf4+! Qxf4 2 Qd5+ Kf6 3 Rf7+ 1-0

Or 2 Nxd4 Qg5 3 Rg3 Nxh3+ and 4...Qxd2. 2...Rxb4 3 Rxa6 Qc7 and Black won.

White to play

8) Shabalov – Benjamin Foxwoods 2000 Black to play

6) Paoli – Smyslov Venice 1950 1...Rxc2! 2 Qxc2 Nf3+ 3 Kf2 3 Kh1 Qg3 and mate on h2 or g1. 3...Qg3+ 0-1 After 4 Ke2 Nfd4+ (or 4...Ned4+) the queen is lost.

1 Qxd6+! White can also win by 1 Rxe5 dxe5 2 Qd6+ Kg8 3 Qd8+ Kh7 4 Bd3+. 1-0 1...Bxd6 2 Re8# or 1...Kg8 2 Qxe5.

White to play

White to play

9) Alexander – Lachmann

11) E. Moser – Titz

Stolp 1934

Aschach 1999

1 Nf6+! gxf6

1 Rxf6! gxf6 2 Ne4 Ne8

After 1...Kh8 2 Nxe8 White should win easily enough.

2...f5 3 Qd2.

2 Qxf6 d4 3 Rxd4! cxd4 4 Bxd4 Kh7 5 g4!

3...Nd4 4 Nxf6+ Nxf6 5 Qg5+ Kh8 6 Qxf6+ Kg8 7 Qg5+ Kh8 8 Nxd4.

The final touch, threatening 6 Qh8+ Kg6 7 Qg8+ and mate. In contrast, 5 Qh8+ Kg6 6 g4?? would fail to 6...Qxh2+! 7 Kxh2 Bd6+ and 8...Rxh8.

Black to play

10) de Rivière – Morphy Paris 1863 1...Nf3+ 2 gxf3 Qh4 3 Rh1 Bxh3! 4 Bd2 Rf6! 0-1 The threat of 5...Rg6 is unstoppable.

3 Qe3! Qf5

4 Nh4 Qh5 5 Qg3+ 1-0

White to play

12) El Taher – Hassan Tanta 2000 1 Rxc7 Rxc7 2 Rd8+ Ka7 3 Qd4+ b6 4 Nc6+! Kb7 4...Rxc6 5 Qd7+ and mate. 5 Rb8+! Kxc6 6 Rxb6# (1-0)

2...Ne3 3 Bxe3 Qxe3 4 Rf3 Qb6 5 g5 Rh8! 6 gxf6 Bxf6 7 Rd3 7 Qf1 Bxh3 8 Rxh3 Rxh3+ 9 Qxh3 Qg1#. 7...f3! 7...Bxh3? 8 Bh5+ muddies the water. 8 Rxf3 Bxh3 9 Rf2 Bg2++ 0-1

White to play

13) Berezovsky – A. Heinrich German Ch, Heringsdorf 2000 1 Ne6+ This fork deflects the f7-pawn, leaving g6 defenceless. 1...fxe6 2 Qxg6+ Kf8 3 Bh6+ Rxh6 4 Qxh6+ Kg8

White to play

4...Ke8 5 Bg6+ Ke7 6 Qg7#.

15) Finkel – Kantsler Kfar-Saba 1999

5 Bh7+ Kh8 5...Kf7 6 Qf6+ Ke8 7 Bg6#.

1 Rdh1! e6

6 Bg6+ 1-0

1...Rxd4 2 Qh8+! Bxh8 3 Rxh8+ Kg7 4 R1h7#.

6...Kg8 7 Qh7+ Kf8 8 Qf7#.

2 Nxe6+ fxe6 3 Qh8+!! Kf7 3...Bxh8 4 Rxh8+ Kf7 5 R1h7#. 4 Qxg7+! A persistent queen. 4...Kxg7 5 Rh7+ Kf8 6 Rh8+ and 7 R1h7#. The e5-pawn covers the flight-squares d6 and f6.

Black to play

14) Arlandi – Aldrovandi Italian Ch, Saint Vincent 1999 1...Nxg2! Black has a number of attractive attacking ideas, but this is clearly the most potent. 2 Bf2 2 Kxg2 Nxg4 3 Kh1 Rh8 4 Rf3 Ne3.

White to play

16) Gusev – Berezin

USSR 1960 1 Rxd4! cxd4 2 Nf5! The simultaneous attack on g7 (threatening mate) and d4 permits this attractive move. 2...Bd7 2...Qxf5 3 Bxd4+. 3 Bxd4+ Kg8 4 Qg3+ Qg6 5 Nh6+ Kf8 6 Qf4+ 1-0 After 6...Ke7 7 Qe5+ Be6 (7...Kf8 8 Bc5+; 7...Kd8 8 Nf7+! Kc8 9 Nd6+; 7...Qe6 8 Nf5+ Kd8 9 Qb8+ Bc8 10 Bb6+) 8 Qc7+ Bd7 9 Bc5+ Kf6 10 Qxd7 White has a decisive material advantage.

Test 2

White to play White to play

19) Benko – Robei

17) Ftačnik – Ehlvest

USA 1963

Istanbul Olympiad 2000

1 Nd4! f5

1 Bb3!

1...exd4 2 Qb3+ and 3 Qxd1.

A deflection, thanks to the pin.

2 Nxc6 1-0


If 2...fxe4, 3 Qb8+ Kf7 4 Nxe5+ and 5 Nxd7.

Now Black cannot prevent the promotion of the apawn. 2 a6 c4 3 a7 1-0

White to play

20) Tseshkovsky – I. Polgar Russia-Hungary, Ordzhonikidze 1964 Black to play

1 Bxh7+! Kxh7


1...Kf7 2 Bh4!.

1...Rxf3+! 2 Kxf3 Bxe4+!

2 Rxe6! Qf5

Forking king and rook.

2...Qxe6 3 Ng5+ and 4 Nxe6.

3 Kxe4

3 Rxc6


and White won.

White to play

Black to play

21) Halkias – L. Vajda

23) Ravinsky – Simagin

World Junior Ch, Erevan 1999

USSR 1947

1 Rxh6+! 1-0


1...Kg8 2 Nxf6+ or 1...Bxh6 2 Nxf6+ Kh8 3 Nxe8.

1...Nf3+ has the same idea and also wins. 0-1 Any capture of the knight is answered with 2...Be5+, winning the queen. A curious case, since the knight can be captured in four different ways.

White to play

22) Safholm – Dalmau Stockholm 1999/00 1 a3 Na6 2 Rxe6! 1-0

White to play

2...Qxe6 3 Ba2 exploits the weakness of the a2-g8 diagonal.

24) Zhidkov – Verner USSR Army Ch 1975 1 Rxf7+! There is no reason to avoid this forcing move, but 1 Rdf1 intending Rxf7+ is also a clear win. 1-0 1...Kxf7 2 Qg6+ Kf8 3 Rf1+ or 1...Bxf7 2 e6+ Rd4 3 Qe5+ Kg8 4 exf7+, winning the queen.

Morphy instead played 3...Qg6+?? 4 Ng5 and was fortunate to draw. 4 fxe4 4 Rxe4 Qg6+ 5 Kh1 Rxf3 6 Qxf3 Bxe4. 4...Qg6+ 5 Kh1 Rf2 White is mated; e.g., 6 Rg1 Bxe4+.

White to play

25) Lutz – Ghaem Maghami FIDE Knockout, New Delhi 2000 1 Bb3+! Decoying the rook into a fork. 1...Rxb3 If 1...Kb5, 2 Nd6+ Ka6 (2...Kc5 3 Rd5#) 3 Bc4+ and 4 Bxe2.

Black to play

27) Tepper – Manik Tatranska Lomnica 1999

2 Nd2+ Kb5 3 Kxb3 White has an extra piece and won 19 moves later.

1...exf3+ 2 Qxf3 Re3 3 Qf2 Bxg4! 4 hxg4 Qxg4+ 01 5 Kh1 Rh3+ 6 Qh2 Rxh2+ 7 Kxh2 Qg3+ 8 Kh1 f3 9 Rd2 Rf6.

Black to play

26) L. Paulsen – Morphy New York 1857 1...Rxg2+! The simple 1...f5 2 Ng3 Qh4 is also strong. 2 Kxg2 f5 3 f3 3 Qe2 Bxe4+ 4 f3 Rf6! 5 Rh1 Rg6+ 6 Kf2 Rg3 7 fxe4 Rg2+! 8 Kxg2 Qxe2+. 3...fxe4

White to play

28) Lukin – Cherepkov Leningrad Ch 1974 1 Bxh7+! Kxh7 2 g6+! fxg6 3 Qh3+ Kg8 4 Qxe6+ Kh7 5 Rf3 Nf6 6 exf6 gxf6 7 Qxf6 Qg7 8 Rh3+ 1-0 8...Kg8 9 Qe6+ Qf7 10 Rh8+ Kg7 11 Rh7+ Kxh7 12 Qxf7+.

6 Qxe7+ Kg8 7 h3 with a simple win for White.

Black to play

29) Stanciu – Zarcula Bucharest 1968

White to play


31) Marin – De Vreugt Tel Aviv 2000

1...Qxf7? loses to 2 Nd6! Rxd6 3 Qc8+. 2 Qxc5

1 Nxg7! Rxe4

2 Rc7 Qxc7!.

1...Kxg7 is answered with 2 Bh6+! Kg8 3 Qxf6, followed by mate.

2...Rd1+! 3 Rxd1 Rb1+! with a draw by stalemate after both 4 Kxb1 and 4 Rxb1.

2 Qxf6 Re1+ 3 Kh2 Be4 After 3...Qa1, 4 Qd8+! Kxg7 5 Bh6+! Kxh6 6 Qxd6+ forces mate. 4 Qe6+ Kh8 5 Qe8+! Kxg7 6 Bh6+! Kxh6 7 Qf8+ 1-0 7...Kg6 and 7...Kg5 are both met by 8 Qf6#.

White to play

30) M. Lindgren – Iskov Gausdal 1988 1 Rxe7! Nxe7

White to play

1...Qxe7 2 Nf5 Qc5 3 Rxg7+ Kh8 4 Qh5.

32) Enif – Eiffel

2 Bh7+ Kxh7 3 Qxd6 Rad8

Correspondence 1957

Black was relying on this move, which is based on the weakness of White’s back rank.

1 Ra8!! Rxa8

4 Rxg7+! Kh8 5 Rh7+ Kxh7

After 1...Qg3+ White can hold the draw by 2 Qxg3 Rxa8 3 Qh4, as the g6-pawn offers White some

5...Kg8 6 Qe6+.

tactical ideas, or 2 Kh1, continuing the stalemate theme. 2 Qa2+!! Rxa2 Stalemate.

Test 3

White to play Black to play

35) Lerner – Sideif-Zade

33) Najdorf – Kurtić

Frunze 1979

Mar del Plata 1984

1 Bb2! Qxb2 2 Rd8+! Bxd8

1...f6+!! 2 Qxf6 Qh4+!!

2...Ke7 3 Qd6#.

After 3 Kxh4 g5+ it will be a draw by stalemate.

3 Qxb2 b5 4 Qe5+ 1-0

White to play

White to play

34) Von Freymann – I. Rabinovich

36) Kasparov – Adams

USSR Ch, Leningrad 1934

Internet 2000

1 Nb6! axb6

1 Bxd4! Qxf6

1...Qxb6 2 Ba5, winning the queen.

1...cxd4 2 Rc8+ Kd7 (2...Kxc8 3 Qxe7) 3 Qc6#.

2 Qxa8

2 Bxf6+

White has won an exchange.

with a winning endgame.

White to play

White to play

37) Soultanbéieff – Sergeant

39) Keller – Rehaczek

Ramsgate 1929

Hietzing 1937

1 Bf7+! Ke7 2 Qxd7+ Kxd7 3 Bxg6! Ke7 3...hxg6? 4 h7.

1 Bxh7! Qc6+ 2 e4 Kxh7 3 Qh5+ Kg8 4 Rxg7+! 10 4...Kxg7 5 Rg1+ and mate next move.

4 Bxh7 with a won endgame for White.

Black to play

40) Temirbaev – Moskalenko

White to play

USSR 1987

38) Bartolich – Atkins St Petersburg 1902 1 Qf6+ Kg8 2 Qg7+!! Kxg7 3 h6+ Forcing stalemate.

1...Re1+! Black can also start with 1...Ng3+! – the idea is the same. 2 Bxe1 Qxe1+ 3 Kh2 Ng3! 4 Ra1 4 fxg3 hxg3#. 4...Nf1+ 0-1 5 Kg1 Qxa1.

Black to play

White to play

41) Ormos – Betotsky

43) Gershon – Marin

Budapest 1951

Tel Aviv 2000

1...Rh1+! 2 Kxh1 Ng3+! 3 fxg3 Qxg2+! 4 Kxg2

1 Rxg4+! Qxg4 2 Qh6+!


Not 2 hxg4?? in view of 2...Re1+ 3 Kh2 Rh1#. 1-0 If now 2...Ke4 (2...Qg5 3 fxg3+) then 3 Qe3#.

Black to play

42) Ujtelky – Kolarov Batumi 1966

Black to play

1...Bxe2! With such a powerful position, Black naturally has a range of promising options, but this is by far the most effective.

44) Halfdanarson – Wade Reykjavik 1966 1...Ng4+!

2 Qa1

1...Ng3 2 Nxg3 Rxg3 is also strong, but less immediately decisive.

Or 2 Kxe2 Ncd3 3 Qc3 Qxd4!, with the same sequence as in the game.

2 hxg4 Nxf4+ 3 Kg3 Qh3+! 4 Kxf4 Rxg4+ 0-1

2...Ncd3+ 3 Kxe2 Qxd4! 4 Qxd4 Nxc1+ 5 Ke3 5 Ke1? allows 5...Nc2#. 5...Nc2+ Or 5...Bg5+!. 6 Kxe4 Nxd4 0-1

After 5 Qxg4 Rxg4+, Black’s two major pieces deliver mate to the white king: 6 Kf5 Qh5+ 7 Ke6 Qe5+ 8 Kd7 Rg7+ 9 Kc6 Qe8+ 10 Kxd6 Qe7+ 11 Kc6 Qc7#.

Not 3 e5? Qxd5 4 Bxd5 Nxd5, with three minor pieces for queen and pawn, which is close to material equilibrium. 3...cxd5 3...c5 is answered with 4 e5! Qb8 (4...Qxe5 5 Re1 Ne4 6 Rxe4 Qxe4 7 Nc7#) 5 Nxe7! Kxe7 6 Bxc5+, followed by 7 Bd6, again incarcerating the queen. 4 Bxd6 dxc4 5 Bxe7 Kxe7 6 e5 White is winning. After 6...Ne8, 7 Qd5 prepares Rad1, as well as an eventual check on c5, at the same time preventing ...Be6 because of the attack on g7, which would win the rook. White to play

45) Spassky – Darga Varna Olympiad 1962 1 Nxe6! fxe6 2 Qxa4+ Qb5 2...Ke7 3 Qh4+ Ke8 4 Qg4! Rf8 (4...Qe7 5 Qa4+) 5 Qxe6+ Be7 6 Rxf8+ Kxf8 7 Rd7, winning. 3 Qg4! Qc6 3...Rf8 4 Qxe6+ Be7 5 Rxf8+ Kxf8 6 c4! Qc5 7 Rf1+ Ke8 8 Qg8+ Bf8 9 Qf7+, with a decisive advantage. 4 Qxg7 Rf8 5 Rxf8+ Bxf8 6 Qxh7 Rc8 7 Qg6+ 1-0 If 7...Ke7 then 8 Rd6 wins.

White to play

47) Kasparov – Ivanchuk Linares 1994 White wants to play a6, but his queen would be hanging. 1 Re8!! Qh2+ 2 Kf1 Qxg2+ The only move, since 2...Rxe8 is met by 3 a6. 3 Kxg2 d4+ 4 Qxb7+ Rxb7 5 Rxh8 Rxb5 6 a6 Ka7 7 Rf8 Rxb2 8 Rxf7+ Ka8 9 a7 c3 10 Rf8! 1-0 White threatens 11 axb8Q#, which cannot be prevented.

White to play

46) Nimzowitsch – Marco Gothenburg 1920 1 Nxe5! Qxe5? But 1...Be6 2 f4 is simply good for White. 2 Nd5! Qd6 Or 2...Qb8 3 Nxe7 Kxe7 4 Ba3+ Ke8 5 Bd6, trapping the queen. 3 Ba3!

Black to play

48) Arbakov – V. Milov Bad Ragaz 1994 1...Nxg4+! 2 hxg4 Qh4+ 3 Kg1 fxg4 4 Bd2 Or: 4 Ra3 Nxf4! 5 exf4 Bd4+; 4 Nd7 g3 5 Rf3 Nxf4! 6 exf4 Qh2+ 7 Kf1 Bd4 8 Be3 (8 Qxd4? cxd4 9 Nxf8 Re2, with a decisive advantage) 8...Rxe3 9 Rxe3 Rxf4+. 4...g3! 5 Rf3 5 Re1 Qh2+ 6 Kf1 Bd4!. 5...Qh2+ 6 Kf1 Nxf4!! 7 exf4 Bd4 8 Be3 Bxe3 Or 8...Rxe3. 0-1 9 Rxe3 Rxe3 10 Qg4 Re4!.

Test 4

White to play White to play

51) Larsen – Szabo

49) Doroshkevich – Shishkov

Beverwijk 1967

St Petersburg 1999 1 Qb4! 1-0 A double attack on b8 and c4. 1...Rxb4 2 Rc8+ and mate next move.

1 Rb5! Qxf2+ Or: 1...Qxb5 2 Bxb5; 1...Nxb5 2 Qxb8#; 1...Rxb5 2 Qe8#. 2 Kh3 Rf8 2...Rc8 3 Rb8. 3 Qxc3 and White won.

White to play

50) Bronstein – Uhlmann Szombathely 1966 White to play

1 Rxb6! axb6 2 Nf6+ 1-0

52) Panczyk – Schurade

If 2...Kf8 (2...Kh8 3 Nxe8), 3 Qd6+ Re7 4 Qd8+ and mate next move.

Zakopane 1978 1 Qa8!! 1-0 If 1...Rxa8 (1...Rxg6 2 Qxa7; 1...Rb7 2 Nxe7+ Rxe7, and White wins at least the exchange: 3 Qxb8) then 2 Nxe7+ Kf7 3 Nxc8.

Black to play

Black to play

53) R. Stone – Nijboer

55) Holopainen – Pirttimäki

Den Bosch 1999

Helsinki 1981

White has just made a blunder (1 Qd1-d2?). Now Black concluded the struggle with...

1...Rh3! 2 Qxh3

1...Nfxe4! 0-1

2...Nf4 3 Qg3

2 Bxd8 Nxd2 and 2 Nxe4 Nxe4 3 fxe4 Qxh4 both give Black a decisive advantage.

The only move, but now the fork costs White his queen.

The white queen has no squares.

3...Ne2+ 0-1

White to play

54) Stein – Petrosian USSR Ch, Moscow 1961 1 Bxe6! 1-0 1...fxe6 2 Qg4, with decisive threats against e6 and g6.

White to play

56) Fraas – Rachela Slovakian Junior Ch, Bratislava 2000 1 Bxh7+! Kxh7 2 g8Q+! Rxg8 3 Bg7+ 1-0

White to play

Black to play

57) Short – Adianto

59) Bogoljubow – Capablanca

Internet blitz 2000

New York 1924

1 Rxf7+! Kg6

1...Nxd4! 2 cxd4 R8xc5! 0-1

1...Kxf7 2 Qxe6+ Kg6 3 Bd3+ Kg7 (3...Kh5 4 Qg4#; 3...Kg5 4 Qg4#) 4 Qe7+ Kg8 5 Bc4#.

White’s cause is hopeless after 3 Rxc4 Rxc4 or 3 dxc5 Qxc5+ and 4...Rxc1.

2 Rxf6+ 2 Qe4+! is the quickest path to mate. 2...Kxf6 3 Qxe6+ Kg5 4 f4+ Kxf4 5 Qxh6+ and White won.

White to play

60) Spassky – Pachman Moscow 1967 1 d7! Black to play

58) Miranda – Izeta Rio de Janeiro 1999

Far more incisive than 1 Bxf6+ Kh7 2 Rxe6, though this is good for White too. 1...Kg8

1...Bg2+ 2 Kg1 Rxg3!

1...Rxd7 2 Qxf6+ Kh7 (2...Kg8 3 Re3) 3 Qh8+ Kg6 4 Qg8+ Kh5 5 g4+ Kxh4 6 Bf6+ Kh3 7 Re3#.

You need to have seen this move to consider the exercise solved.

2 Qxf6 Rxd7

0-1 White resigned in view of 3 hxg3 Rxg3, followed by ...Rh3 and ...Rh1#, or 3 Nxd6 Rh3, intending either ...B(x)f1+ followed by ...Rxh2 and ...Rh1# or ...Bh1+ followed by ...Rg2 and ...Rhxh2#.

White promotes after 2...Rxf6 3 Bxf6. 3 Re3 1-0

2...fxe6 3 Qg6+ Kf8 4 Rxh6 Rh5 5 Ne5! and 2...Qb7 3 Rxh6 Bf8 4 Rexf6 Bxh6 5 Rxh6 both give White a decisive advantage. 3 Rxh6! Ng8 3...fxe6 4 Qg6 reaches, by a different move-order, the previous variation. 4 Rh8! f5 4...Rh5 5 Rxh5 fxe6 6 Qg6!. 5 Qe2 Kg7 6 Ne5! 1-0 6...Kxh8 7 Qh5+ Kg7 8 Qf7+ Kh8 9 Ng6# or 6...Rxe5 7 Qh5! Rxe6 8 Rh7+ and now 8...Kf8 9 Qf7# or 8...Kf6 9 Rf7#. White to play

61) Gusev – Polovodin RSFSR Ch, Novosibirsk 1976 1 Rxh7! Kxh7 2 Rh1+ Bh6 2...Kg8? allows 3 Rh8#. 3 Qf4 Qf8 4 Ng5+ Kg8 5 Ne4! f5 5...Bg7 6 Nf6+ Bxf6 7 Qxf6. 6 Rxh6 Rg7 Or: 6...Qxh6 7 Nf6+ Kg7 8 Ng4+; 6...Kf7 7 Ng5+. 7 Qh4 Kf7 8 Ng5+ Ke8 9 Ne6 1-0 Black cannot avoid significant material loss. White to play

63) Botvinnik – Batuev Leningrad Ch 1930 1 Nxf7! Rxf7 2 Qxe6 Qf8 2...Ned5 3 Nxd5 Nxd5 4 Bxd5 Bxd5 5 Rxc8. 3 Ne4 Rxc1 3...Ned5 is best, but after 4 Rxc8 Bxc8 5 Qe5 the pin will cost Black material. 3...Nxe4 is answered with 4 fxe4 Rc6 5 Rxc6 Bxc6 6 d5, followed by 7 d6. 4 Rxc1 Nfd5 5 Nd6 Ba8 6 Re1! g6 7 Nxf7 Qxf7 8 Qxe7 1-0 8...Nxe7 9 Rxe7 Bd5 10 Rxf7 Bxf7 11 Bxf7+. White to play

62) Wilder – Lein Lone Pine 1981 1 Bxh6! gxh6 Now White wins by force, but otherwise Black has lost a vital kingside pawn. 2 Rxe6!! Kf8

Black to play

64) Sorokin – Ulybin USSR 1986 1...Nce5!! 2 dxe5 The only move. 2...Bxb5 3 Re1? Also bad is 3 hxg4? Qxg4+ 4 Kh1 Bxf1, with a decisive advantage for Black. White’s only hope is 3 Qc1 but after 3...Bxf1 4 Qxf4 Rxf4 5 Rc8+ Kf7 6 Ng5+ Kg6 7 Nxe6 Rb4 8 hxg4 Be2 Black wins a pawn and his king is more active. 3...Nxf2!! 4 Kxf2 d4! With the threat of 5...Qh2#; the pawn covers the important flight-square e3. 5 Rd3 Qh2+ 6 Kf1 Qg3! 0-1 There is no defence against the threat of 7...Rxf3+ as the d3-rook is pinned.

Test 5

White to play White to play

67) Gligorić – Szabo (variation)

65) Bilek – F. Kuijpers

Venice 1949

Beverwijk 1966

1 Rd6!

1 Rg7+

Threatening 2 Qxe5+ Kf7 3 Qf6#.

White can win in more mundane ways (the other winning moves are the obvious 1 Nxf8 and the less obvious 1 Kg4), but a forced sequence leading to mate should not be overlooked.

1...Bxe7 2 Bxe7

1...Kh8 2 Rh7+ Kg8 3 Rh8+! Kxh8 4 g7+ 1-0

Or 2 Rd7!. 2...Qxe7 3 Rd7! A pin and a discovered attack, winning the queen.

and 5 gxf8Q.

Black to play Black to play

66) Korchnoi – P. Nikolić Wijk aan Zee 2000 White has just played 1 e2-e4, but after 1...Nxe4! he was forced to resign in view of 2 Bxe4 Qxd4+, winning the bishop.

68) De Wolf – V. Mikhalevski Vlissingen 1999 1...Bxd4! 2 Qxd4 Rfd8 White loses his queen, since he is unable to retain control of the back rank.

Black to play

Black to play

69) Klovans – G. Timoshenko

71) McKim – I. Crisan

Cappelle la Grande 2000

Canadian Ch, Brantford 1999

1...Rf3! 0-1


2 Qxf3 Qh2# or 2 Qg2 Rxf1+.

Black can also win, using the same idea, by 1...Rf1+ or 1...Rf2. 2 Qxe4 Rf1+! 0-1 3 Rxf1 Bxe4+ 4 Rf3 Bxf3#.

Black to play

70) Najdorf – Rubinetti Buenos Aires 1972 Black to play

1...Bb3! 2 Qxb3 There is no square from which the queen can continue to defend the e2-rook. 2 axb3 is met by 2...Qxa1+. 2...Qxe2 Black has won the exchange. There followed: 3 Bf1 Qh5 4 Qxb7 Nxe4 5 Qxc6 Qf3 6 Nd1 g6 7 Qb5 Nxg3! 8 hxg3 Re1 9 Qb3 Qe2 0-1

72) Sax – Mariotti Las Palmas 1978 1...Nxe3! After other moves (e.g., 1...Qf5), Black would have to fight for half a point. The move played forces a draw immediately and safely. 2 Rxc2 Ra1+ 3 Kh2 Nf1+ 4 Kg1 ½-½ Drawn by perpetual check.

White to play

White to play

73) Zelčić – Jovanić

75) Vasiukov – Lysenko

Pula 2000

Beltsy 1981

1 Qxg6+! hxg6 2 h7 Rxe6 3 h8Q+ Kf7

1 Bxe7! Rxe7 2 Nf6+! Bxf6 3 exf6 Kh7

Now 4 Qh7+ Kf8 5 Rd8+! wins the queen: 5...Qxd8 6 Qh8+ Kf7 7 Qxd8.

After 3...Rd7 4 Qxh6 Rxd1 5 Ng5! Rxe1+ 6 Kh2, mate on g7 or h7 is inevitable. 4 fxe7 White has a decisive advantage.

White to play

74) Ermenkov – Kr. Georgiev Sofia 1984

White to play

1 Nxe6! Qd6 1...Nxe6 2 Bxg6! hxg6 3 Qxg6+ Kh8 (3...Ng7 4 Rf7) 4 Qh6+ Kg8 5 Qxe6+ leads to mate, while 1...Qb8 is met by 2 Nd5!. 2 Rad1! Qxe6 3 Bf3 White’s simultaneous threats against a8 and d5 win material.

76) Pinter – Karolyi Budapest 1989 1 Bxe4! This is the most effective move by far. Naturally, in such a strong attacking position White has other advantageous options, including 1 Nf7, 1 Nxh7 and 1 Nxe4. 1...fxe4 1...Nf3+ 2 Qxf3 Qxg5 3 Bd5+ Kf8 4 Ba3+ Kg7 5 Be7. 2 Rxe4 Nf3+

Or: 2...Be6 3 Nxe6 Nxe6 4 Qg4+ Kf7 5 Qf5+; 2...Ne6 3 Rg4!. 3 Kg2!!

12 Bxe3 fxe3 13 Bc4+ Kh8 14 Nf1 Qf6 0-1 With this attack on f1 and a1, Black brings the struggle to an end.

Avoiding 3 Qxf3? Qxg5, with a complicated position in which play might continue 4 Qc3 Bf5 5 Rf4 Rd1+ 6 Kg2 Rf8. 3 Nxf3?? loses to 3...Rd1+ 4 Kg2 Qxe4. 3...Bh3+ A last throw. 3...Qxg5 allows 4 Re8+ Rxe8 5 Qxe8#. 4 Kxf3! 1-0 4...Qd7 5 Qxh3! or 4...Qf8+! 5 Rf4 Rd3+ 6 Ke2 Bf5 7 Ne4 Bxe4 8 Rg4+! Bg6 9 Rxg6+ hxg6 10 Qxg6+.

White to play

78) Psakhis – Saravanan Andorra 2000 1 Bxf7! 1 Rxf7+? Rxf7 2 Bxf7 is ineffective due to 2...Qb4!. 1...Rxf7 2 Rxf7+ Kxf7 3 Qh6 Bf5

Black to play

77) Euwe – Rubinstein The Hague 1921

3...Kg8 4 Ne4 Qb4 5 Nf6+ Kf7 6 Qxh7+ Ke6 7 Rd1 Ba4 8 Rd6+ Kxe5 9 Qe7+ Kf5 10 Qe6+ Kg5 11 Nh7+. 4 Qxh7+ Ke8 4...Kf8 5 e6 Bxe6 6 Rf1+ Ke8 (6...Bf5 7 Qxg6) 7 Ne4.


5 e6! 1-0

A curious sacrifice, which defies classification.

If 5...Bxe6 then 6 Re1.

2 Kxf2 Ng4+ 3 Ke2 Qxg3? 3...Bb7! is correct. Then Black has a decisive attack; e.g., 4 Bh3 Qxg3, 4 Rh3 Rad8 or 4 Rg1 f4!. 4 Bd4? Controlling the invasion points e3 and f2. However, White should have played 4 Qd3!, when Black’s resources should prove insufficient. 4...Bb7 5 Rh3 Qd6 6 Qc3 e5 Black follows up his bishop sacrifice in a positional manner. 7 Bg1 f4 8 c5 Qh6 9 Ke1 e4 The pawns keep advancing and the threats seem to develop their own dynamic.

White to play

79) Alekhine – Sterk

10 Rh4? Qg5 11 Qh3 Ne3! Is it not a technical requirement for the attacking side to open lines?

Budapest 1921 1 Bf6!

Several other moves give White an advantage, but only this one offers him a clearly decisive attack. 1...Rfc8 The only move. 1...gxf6? fails to 2 Rg4+ Kh8 3 Qxa6, while 1...h5 is met by 2 Rg4! (or 2 Ne5!) 2...Qxe2 3 Rxg7+ Kh8 4 Ng5, with unstoppable mate by 5 Rh7++ and 6 Rh8#. If 1...h6, then 2 Ne5!, threatening 3 Qg4. 2 Qe5! Rc5 Or: 2...Rxc4 3 Qg5 Rg4 4 Qxg4 g6 5 Qxa4; 2...gxf6 3 Rg4+ Kf8 (3...Kh8 4 Qxf6#) 4 Qd6+ Ke8 5 Rg8#; 2...Qxc4 3 Qg5 Kf8 (3...g6 4 Qh6) 4 Qxg7+ Ke8 5 Qg8+ Kd7 6 Ne5+ Kc7 7 Qxf7+ Kb8 8 Nxc4. 3 Qg3! 3 Rxc5! is also winning; e.g., 3...gxf6 4 Qg3+ Kh8 5 Ng5 Rf8 6 Qh3 fxg5 7 Qh6. 3...g6 4 Rxa4 and White won.

White to play

80) Keres – Unzicker Hamburg (2) 1956 1 Nxg7! Rxg7 Or: 1...Raf8 2 Ne6 Rxf5 3 Qg4+ Kh8 4 Nxf8; 1...Kxg7 2 Bh6+! Kg8 3 Qg4+ Kh8 4 Qd4+ Kg8 5 Rg5+. 2 Bh6 Qe7 The rook cannot move: 2...Rf7 3 Rg5+ Kh8 4 Qc3+; 2...Re8 3 Bxg7 Qxg7 4 h4 h6 5 Rc4 Re1+ 6 Kh2 Bd1 7 Rf8+! Qxf8 8 Rg4+, winning material, since 8...Kh7 is met by 9 Qxf8 Bxg4 10 Qf7+ Kh8 11 Qxb7. 3 Bxg7 Qxg7 3...Kxg7 4 Qc3+ Kg8 5 Rf3, with the threat of 6 Rg3+, etc.

4 h4 h6 5 Rc4 1-0 With the same position as before, but with the substantial difference, in White’s favour, that the black rook is still on a8.

Test 6

White to play Black to play

83) Antal – Kolvur

81) Kotov – Botvinnik

Budapest 2000

USSR Ch, Leningrad 1939 1...Qxg2+! 2 Qxg2 Rxe2 0-1 Black wins the exchange.

1 Rc7+! 1-0 Black resigned due to 1...Kd8 2 Nxe6+ fxe6 3 Qd7#, 1...Ke8 2 Rc8+, winning the queen, and 1...Kxc7 2 Nxe6+ and 3 Nxf8, exploiting the pin on the f7pawn.

White to play

82) Stoltz – G. Thomas

Black to play

Zaandam 1946

84) Reefschläger – Seppeur Bundesliga 1982/3

1 Rxe7! White is also better after 1 Qe4 or 1 Bg5, but the text-move is much more clear-cut. 1...Qxe7 1...Qxd5 2 Bxd5 Nxe7 3 Bxa8 leaves White a piece up.

1...Rh1+! Black can also draw using the same stalemate idea by sacrificing his queen first: 1...Qh2+ (or 1...Qg2+) 2 Kxh2 Rc2+! and the rook repeatedly sacrifices itself on White’s second rank.

2 Qxc6

1...Rxb1?? and 1...Qxb1?? both allow 2 Qa7+ followed by mate on g7.

White has two pieces for a rook.

2 Rxh1 Qg2+!! ½-½ Stalemate is forced.

Black to play

White to play

85) Alexander – Botvinnik (variation)

87) Reviakin – Tripolsky

Nottingham 1936

USSR 1988

1...Nxc2! 2 Qxc2 Rxd3! 3 Rxd3 Nb4

1 Ra7! Qc6

Black has a decisive advantage, since 4...Bxd3 or 4...Nxd3 follows.

The main point is that 1...Qxa7 allows 2 Qd5+ Ke8 3 Qe6+ Kd8 4 Qe7#. 2 Nxe5+ White exploits both pins.

White to play

86) Grishchuk – Ibragimov European Team Ch, Batumi 1999

Black to play

1 Qxg6+! Kxg6 2 Rfg1+ Kh7 3 Rg7+! 1-0 After 3...Qxg7 4 hxg7+ Kxg7 5 Bh6+ White wins the exchange with a decisive advantage.

88) Vogt – Züger Lucerne 1994 1...Qf2! The best move-order, since 1...b3 2 Qxb3 Qf2 3 Qxa4 allows White to drag the game out. After the move chosen, a quick mate is forced. 2 Qd2 2 Rd2 b3!?. 2...b3! 0-1

White to play

Black to play

89) Kavalek – Pfleger

91) Barnes – Morphy

The Hague Zonal 1966

London 1858

1 Bxh7+!


The same idea in reverse order is also effective: 1 Re3!, with Bxh7+ coming soon, or a skewer on the e-file, is winning too.

Deflecting the white bishop from control of d3.

1...Kxh7 2 Re3 Qg5! 3 Qc2+ After 3 Rxe8? Qxc1+ 4 Qf1 Qd2 Black has two minor pieces for the rook. 3...Bf5 4 Rxe8

2 Bxe6 Nd3+! With the idea of opening lines and deflecting the c2pawn to d3, where it will be unable to block the black bishop’s check on b4. 3 Qxd3 3 cxd3 Bb4+ mates.

White has won the exchange.

3...exd3 4 0-0-0 Bxa3 and Black soon won.

White to play

90) Savon – Litvinov

Black to play

Minsk 1976

92) Drimer – Pomar

1 Ne7+! Bxe7 2 fxe7 Qxe7 Or: 2...Qxd2 3 Bxf7+! Kg7 4 exf8Q+ Kxf8 5 Bd5+, winning the queen; 2...Rxd2 3 Bxf7+! Kg7 4 Qa1+ Kh6 5 exf8Q+ Kh5 6 Rf5. 3 Rxf7! 1-0 3...Rxf7 4 Rxd8+ Kg7 5 Bxf7.

Leipzig Olympiad 1960 1...Rc1! Clearly Black has a huge advantage here, so many moves should eventually lead to a win. This one gets the job done quickly and cleanly. 2 Bxh7+

2 Qxc1 Bxg2+! 3 Rxg2 Qxc1+. 2...Kh8 Not 2...Kxh7? 3 Qh4+ Kg8 4 Qd8+, with perpetual check. 3 Qxc1 The players indicated the variation 3 Qg3 Rxg1+ (it is more crushing to remove the queens from the board, remaining with an extra piece: 3...Qa1 4 Qf2 Rxg1+ 5 Qxg1 Qxg1+ 6 Kxg1 Kxh7) 4 Kxg1 Qd4+ 5 Kf1 Kxh7. 3...Bxg2+! 4 Rxg2 Qxc1+ 5 Rg1 Qc6+ 6 Rg2 Kxh7 0-1 Black to play

94) Obukhov – Tregubov Russia 1992 1...Bxb2+!! Not 1...Nd6? 2 Qb8+ Kh7 3 Be6, or 1...Nb6? 2 Qb8+ Kh7 3 Qf4, in both cases with a decisive advantage to White. 2 Kxb2 2 Bxb2?? Qf1+ and mate in two. 2...Nb6! 3 Qg2 White to play

93) Si. Garcia – Watanabe Merida 2000 1 Nd5!

3 Qb8+ Kh7 4 Qh2 Na4+ 5 Ka1 Qc3+ 6 Kb1 Qb4+, followed by ...Qxg4. 3...Nc4+ 4 Ka1 Qc3+ 5 Kb1 Qb4+ 6 Kc2 Qa4+ ½½ With a draw by perpetual check, since if 7 Kd3?! then 7...Ne5+ wins the bishop.

Much more clear-cut than 1 Bxf7 Rd8, although White should still be winning after 2 Bg8+! Kh8 3 Qxh6+ Kxg8 4 Rxf6 Rg3 5 Rf4. 1...Rxd5 1...f5 2 Qe8 Qh4 (2...Rxd5 transposes to the game) 3 Qe5!. 2 Qxf7+ Kh8 3 Bxd5 Qxd5 4 Qxf6+ Kh7 4...Kg8 5 Qg6+ Kh8 6 Rf8+. 5 Qe7+ Kg6 6 Rf6+ Kh5 7 Rf5+! 1-0 If 7...Qxf5 then 8 g4+ Qxg4 9 hxg4+, etc.

White to play

95) Richter – Alexandrescu Munich (team event) 1936 1 Rxg7!!

White has a wonderful attacking position; this is the best of a bunch of tempting options. 1...Kxg7 2 Bxh6+! Kg8 Or 2...Kxh6 3 Qd2+ Kg7 4 Qg5+ Kh8 5 Qh6+ Kg8 6 Nd7! Qxd3 7 Nxf6+ Bxf6 8 cxd3, with a decisive advantage for White. 3 Qf3 Ne8 3...Qd4 4 Qg3+ Ng4 5 Nxg4 Qa1+ 6 Bf1 and White wins. 4 Qg4+ Kh8 5 Bg7+ Nxg7 6 Qh3+ Bh4 7 Qxh4+ Nh5 8 Qxh5+ Kg7 9 Qg5+ 1-0 9...Kh8 10 Qh6+ Kg8 11 Qh7#.

White to play

96) Sariego – J. Arencibia Cuban Ch, Las Tunas 1987 1 Bxh7+! 1 Nxf7 is also good, but a little messier: 1...Nxd4 (1...Kxf7? 2 Qxe6+ Kf8 3 Bc4 leads to mate) 2 Nxd4 Rxd4 3 Qxe6 Bd5 4 Nh6++ Kf8 5 Qf5. 1...Kf8 1...Kxh7 2 Qh5+ Kg8 3 Qxf7+ Kh8 4 Re3. 2 Nxf7! axb5 2...Kxf7 3 Qxe6+ Kf8 4 Qg8#. 3 Nh8!! Qd6 White was threatening 4 Ng6+ Kf7 5 Qxe6#. If 3...Rd6 then 4 Qh5 (or 4 d5!) 4...Rc7 5 Ng6+ Ke8 6 d5! Ne7 (6...Nd4 7 Ne5+) 7 Ne5+ and White wins. 4 Qh5 g6 4...Rd7 5 Ng6+ Ke8 6 Nf4+ Ke7 (6...Rf7 7 Rxe6+; 6...Kd8 7 Nxe6+) 7 Rxe6+ Qxe6 8 Nxe6 Kxe6 9 Bf5+. 5 Qh6+ Ke7 5...Bg7 6 Nxg6+ Kf7 7 Qh5.

6 Nxg6+ Ke8 7 d5 Ne5 8 Nxe5 Bxe5 9 Qh5+ White wins the e5-bishop.

Index of Names A – B – C – D – E

APŠENIECKS – Mattison ARAPOV – Kurmashov ARBAKOV – Milov, V.

F – G – H – I – J

ARDELEANU – Vasilescu

K – L – M – N – O

ARENCIBIA, J. – Sariego

P – R – S – T – U

ARENCIBIA, W. – Rodriguez, Am.

V – W – Y – Z – Composers

ARLANDI – Aldrovandi

When a name appears in bold, that player had White. Otherwise the FIRST-NAMED PLAYER was White.


AAGAARD – Brancaleoni

ARONIN – Mikenas


ASIF – Tseitlin, Ma.


ASLANOV – Khachian

ADAM – Demitriescu

ÅSTRÖM – Kinnmark

ADAMS – Kasparov; Leko; Sheldon; Sokolov, I.

ATANASOV – Spiridonov


ATKINS – Bartolich

ADORJAN – Spassky AFEK – Gershaev

AVERBAKH – Bondarevsky, Bondarevsky; Furman; Horberg; Ilivitsky; Korchnoi; Penrose; Spassky; Tal; Unzicker

AHUES – Rellstab

AVERKIN – Spassky


AVRUKH – Ionescu, C.

ALATORTSEV – Goglidze; Kopaev; Ragozin



BABULA – Kurajica; Shulman

ALEKHINE – Euwe; Hofmeister; Johner, H.; Rubinstein; Sämisch; Ståhlberg; Sterk; Tartakower; Tartakower; Tylor

BABURIN – Ehlvest

ALEXANDER – Botvinnik; Lachmann; Szabo

BAGIROV – Imanaliev


BALASHOV – Lukin; Maslov; Romanishin

ALEXANDROV – Riazantsev

BALL, L. – De Villiers

ALMASI, Z. – Khalifman; Torre, E.

BARCENILLA – Reizniece


BARCZA – Bronstein; Simagin; Smyslov


BAREEV – Bator; Hellers; Khuzman; Shirov; Topalov; Vaganian

ANAND – Illescas; Ivanchuk; Kamsky; Kasparov; Korchnoi; Ninov; Reinderman

ARONIAN – Nevednichy

BACROT – Movsesian

BARNES – Morphy

ANDERSEN – Tronhjem


ANDERSSON – Ehlvest; Paoli

BARUA – Camilleri; Prakash

ANDREEV – Dolukhanov

BATOR – Bareev

ANDRIANOV – Korsunsky

BATUEV – Botvinnik

ANDRUET – Petrosian, A.

BAUER, C. – Movsesian

ANIĆ – Marciano


ANTAL – Kolvur

BAZAN – Olafsson, F.

ANTUNAC – Hübner

BAZKOV – Syrtianov

BEDNARSKI – Ornstein; Sydor

BÖÖK – Saila

BEGUN – Kasparov


BELIAVSKY – Cebalo; Christiansen; Hickl; Karpov; Topalov

BOTVINNIK – Alexander; Batuev; Capablanca; Kotov; Sharov; Smyslov; Szabo; Vidmar; Yudovich

BELLON – Garcia, S.


BENJAMIN – Shabalov

BOUTON – Grabuzova

BENKO – Lokvenc; Robei; Weinberger

BOUWMEESTER – Galliamova; Polgar, Zso.



BEREZIN – Gusev; Zelevinsky

BREDER – Tancsa

BEREZOVSKY – Heinrich, A.

BRODSKY – Kramnik

BERKVENS – Hummel, E.; Mikhalevski, V. BERNARD, R. – Sznapik

BRONSTEIN – Barcza; Boleslavsky; Korchnoi; Kotov; Simagin; Spassky; Uhlmann; Veresov


BROWNE – Bhat; Miles


BRYSON – Sandler

BETS – Elianov

BULAKH – Petrov

BEYEN – Filip

BURN – Marshall

BHAT – Browne

BURSTEIN – Kramer, H.

BHEND – Polanyi

BYRNE, R. – Fischer; Reshevsky; Tarjan

BICK – del Rio; Garcia, Gild.

BYVSHEV – Konstantinopolsky


ČABRILO – Matović; Pajković; Vujičić

BILEK – Kuijpers, F.; Simić, V.; Szilagyi



CANAL – Paoli

BIRIUKOV – Shaposhnikov; Zakharevich

CAPABLANCA – Bogoljubow; Botvinnik; Fonaroff; Lilienthal; Nimzowitsch

BIRO – Petran BISCHOFF – Nogueiras BISGUIER – Larsen; Szabo BITMAN – Tal BJARNEHAG – Wedberg BLATNY – Kranzl BLEHM – Malakhov BOERSMA – Delemarre BOGDANOVIĆ – Padevsky BOGOLJUBOW – Capablanca BOLBOCHAN, JU. – Pachman BOLESLAVSKY – Bronstein; Lundin; Ufimtsev

CAPELAN – Spassky CARBONE – Paglilla CASPER – Rajca CEBALO – Beliavsky; Berzinsh CHALUPNIK – Solozhenkin CHANDLER – Lemmers; Littlewood, P. CHAROUSEK – Wollner CHEREPKOV – Lukin CHERNIAEV – Motylev CHERNIN – Polgar, J.; Yudasin CHIBURDANIDZE – Goldin CHIGORIN – Kotrc; Paulsen, L.; Pollock

BOLOGAN – Rozentalis; Sulskis; Westerinen; Ye Jiangchuan




BONDAREVSKY – Averbakh, Averbakh


BONIN – Djurić

ČIRIĆ – Spassky


DOGHRI – Ilinčić

CLAVIJO – David, A.

DOLMATOV – Lautier; Zimmer

CONQUEST – Yakovich


CRAMLING, D. – Velikov

DONALDSON – Kaidanov

CRISAN, I. – McKim

DONOVAN – Howell, C.

CSERNA – Ozsvath

DONSKYKH – Radevich

CSOM – Ivanchuk; Velimirović


CUKIERMAN – Rossolimo

DOUVEN – Van der Sterren

CZERNIAK – Spassky

DREEV – Sveshnikov; Zhang Zhong

D’AMORE – Rublevsky

DRIMER – Pomar; Stanciu

DAHL – Schulz

DUBINKA – Faibisovich

DALMAU – Safholm



DÜRSCH – Tarrasch

DANIELIAN – Pogosian

DUTREEUW – Fernandes, A.

DARGA – Spassky; Uhlmann

DVOIRYS – Ernst, S.

DAVID, A. – Clavijo

DVORETSKY – Vaganian

DAVIDSON – Kensmin

DYDYSHKO – Peng Xiaomin


FIRMIAN – Svidler

EFIMOV – Hodgson


RIVIÈRE – Morphy

EHLVEST – Andersson; Baburin; Ftačnik; Rey

DE SOUSA – Minasian, Ara.

EIDELSON – Rutseva



DE VREUGT – Marin; Nijboer

EL TAHER – Hassan

DE WOLF – Mikhalevski, V.


DEEP BLUE – Kasparov

ELISKASES – Müller, H.; Panno; Roux Cabral; Schenkirzik


RIO – Bick

ENCH – Heisler


ENGLUND – Perfiliev

DELY – Hajtun

ENIF – Eiffel


EPISHIN – Kveinys


ERLANDSSON – Larsson, L.

DIAKAEV – Magomedov

ERMENKOV – Georgiev, Kr.

DIEKS – Lindblom

ERNST, S. – Dvoirys


EUWE – Alekhine; Flohr; Naegeli; Rubinstein; Soultanbéieff; Tartakower; Thomas, G.

DJUKIĆ – Smejkal DJURAŠEVIĆ – Vasiukov DJURIĆ – Bonin DLUGY – Stoyko DOBROV – Shariyazdanov DODA – Sliwa

EVANS – Larsen; Reshevsky EVSEEV – Praslov FAHRNI – Von Scheve FAIBISOVICH – Dubinka; Novitsky FAINBERG – Zaid FALCON – Tringov

FARAGO, I. – Fauland; Mazi


FAULAND – Farago, I.

GERSHON – Marin; Senff

FEDOROV – Ibragimov

GERUSEL – Huguet



FELETAR – Dizdarević

GHEORGHIU – Kinnmark; Miles

FERNANDES, A. – Dutreeuw


FEUER – O’Kelly

GIPSLIS – Honfi; Kostro


GLASS – Russell

FILIP – Beyen; Korchnoi

GLEIZEROV – Kempinski

FILIPPOV – Gurevich, M.; Short FINE – Fischer; Tartakower

GLIGORIĆ – Fischer; Jimenez, E.; Keres; Littlewood, N.; Reshevsky; Szabo

FINKEL – Kantsler

GODENA – Rabinovich, Al.

FISCHER – Byrne, R.; Fine; Geller; Gligorić; Reshevsky; Reshevsky; Rossetto; Shocron

GOFSHTEIN – Khalifman

FLOHR – Euwe; Milner-Barry



GOLDIN – Chiburdanidze; Rovner

FOMIN – Fedosov


FONAROFF – Capablanca

GOLMAYO, C. – Mackenzie

FRAAS – Rachela


FTAČNIK – Ehlvest; Polugaevsky; Ree

GOVBINDER – Kapengut

FUCHS – Korchnoi; Zinn




FURMAN – Averbakh; Kholmov; Ufimtsev

GRISHCHUK – Ibragimov; Shirov, Shirov

GALLIAMOVA – Bouwmeester



GUDE – Dunkelblum; Petersen, S.; Rodriguez, F.

GARCIA, S. – Bellon

GUFELD – Spassky

GARCIA, SI. – Robatsch; Watanabe

GULKO – Kremenetsky; Polugaevsky

GAUGLITZ – Luther GAVRILOV – Lutikov

GUREVICH, M. – Filippov; Nielsen, P.H.; Scherbakov


GUSEV – Berezin; Polovodin


GUTOP – Timoshchenko

GELFAND – Kasparov; Ljubojević; Norwood; Svidler; Van der Sterren

GUZEL – Stojanovski

GELLER, A. – Tseitlin, Mi.


GELLER, E. – Fischer; Kapengut; Karpov; Keres; Polugaevsky; Smyslov; Spassky; Taimanov; Tal, Tal


GEORGADZE, G. – Shirov GEORGIEV, KI. – Ligterink; Nunn GEORGIEV, KR. – Ermenkov; Ionescu, C. GEORGIEV, V. – Heinbuch

GOGLIDZE – Alatortsev

HAAG – Szabo

HALKIAS – Vajda, L. HANSEN, CU. – Hellers; Smyslov HANSEN, L.B. – Vescovi HASSAN – El Taher HEBDEN – Timoshchenko

HEEMSOTH – Heissenbüttel

JELEN, IG. – Pavasović

HEINBUCH – Georgiev, V.


HEINRICH, A. – Berezovsky

JIMENEZ, E. – Gligorić


JOHANSEN, D. – Gedevanishvili



HELLERS – Bareev; Hansen, Cu.

JOHNER, H. – Alekhine

HENNINGS – Uhlmann

JOSHI – Muralidharan

HICKL – Beliavsky

JOVANIĆ – Zelčić

HINDLE – Littlewood, N.

JUNGE – Kottnauer

HINDRE – Randviir

KADAM – Meera


KAIDANOV – Donaldson; Taimanov

HODGSON – Efimov

KAILA – Keres


KALUGIN – Mindadze


KAMSKY – Anand

HOLOPAINEN – Pirttimäki


HONFI – Gipslis; Jelesijević; Ozsvath

KAPENGUT – Geller; Govbinder; Zhuravliov

HORBERG – Averbakh


HORT – Ree; Wahls

KARAYANNIS – Hristopoulos

HOWELL, C. – Donovan

KAROLYI – Pinter

HRISTOPOULOS – Karayannis HSU – Nunn

KARPOV – Beliavsky; Geller; Kasparov; Korchnoi; Kramnik; Morović; Timman; Topalov; Zaitsev, I.

HÜBNER – Antunac; Kramnik; Timman

KARTTUNEN – Molander

HUG – Korchnoi; Spassky


HUGUET – Gerusel

KASPAROV – Adams; Anand; Begun; Deep Blue; Gelfand; Ivanchuk, Ivanchuk; Karpov; Kengis; Korchnoi; Ligterink; Marjanović; Pigusov; Portisch; Shirov; Short, Short, Short; Smyslov; Van Wely

HUMMEL, E. – Berkvens IBRAGIMOV – Fedorov; Grishchuk ILCHENKO – Sozina ILINČIĆ – Doghri ILIVITSKY – Averbakh ILLESCAS – Anand; Kramnik; Vaganian IMANALIEV – Bagirov INKIOV – Pritchett IONESCU, C. – Avrukh; Georgiev, Kr. IONOV – Loginov, A. ISHCHUK – Novokovsky

KATAEV – Markov KAUNAS – Rozentalis KAVALEK – Pfleger; Portisch KELLER – Rehaczek; Rubinstein, S. KELLY, B. – Summerscale, A. KEMPINSKI – Gleizerov KENGIS – Kasparov KENSMIN – Davidson

ISKOV – Lindgren, M.

KERES – Geller; Gligorić; Kaila; Kholmov; Mecking; Reshevsky; Spassky; Teschner; Unzicker

IVANCHUK – Anand; Csom; Kasparov, Kasparov; Nenashev; Yermolinsky; Yusupov

KHACHIAN – Aslanov

IVKOV – Kudrin IZETA – Miranda

KHALIFMAN – Almasi, Z.; Gofshtein; Seirawan KHARITONOV – Nataf

KHARLOV – Maksimenko

KRAIDMAN – Mazzoni

KHODOS – Mikenas

KRAMER, H. – Burstein

KHOLMOV – Furman; Gretarsson; Keres KHUZMAN – Bareev

KRAMNIK – Abramović; Brodsky; Hübner; Illescas; Karpov; Kozlov; Svidler

KING – Shirov

KRANZL – Blatny

KINNMARK – Åström; Gheorghiu

KRASENKOW – Mikhalevski, V.; Romanishin




KROGIUS – Tal; Zaratov

KLINGER – Lobron

KUCZYNSKI – Wedberg; Wojtkiewicz

KLOVANS – Dementiev; Timoshenko, G.

KUDRIN – Ivkov; Korchnoi; Nieminen


KUIJPERS, F. – Bilek

KOCHIEV – Rogers

KUJALA – Nesis

KOGAN – Seirawan

KURAJICA – Babula; Timman

KOJOVIĆ – Ristić, N.


KOLAROV – Ujtelky

KURTIĆ – Najdorf

KOLVUR – Antal

KUZNETSOV, I. – Kotkov

KOMOV – Sidorov

KVEINYS – Epishin


LACHMANN – Alexander

KOPAEV – Alatortsev

LAHIRI – Vadasz

KORCHNOI – Anand; Averbakh; Bronstein; Filip; Fuchs; Hug; Karpov; Kasparov; Kotsur; Kudrin; Lobron; Nikolić, P.; Robatsch; Seirawan; Sokolov, I.; Tal; Zhu Chen

LANDAU – Lilienthal

KORNEEV – Piskov KORSUNSKY – Andrianov KOSIĆ – Marković KOSTEN – Pytel KOSTRO – Gipslis KOTKOV – Kuznetsov, I. KOTOV – Botvinnik; Bronstein; Tartakower; Tolush

LANGEWEG – Schmid, L. LANKA – Malaniuk LARSEN – Bisguier; Evans; Petrosian; Szabo LARSSON, L. – Erlandsson LAUTIER – Dolmatov; Nisipeanu LEHMANN – Lerner LEIN – Karasev; Wilder LEKO – Adams LEMMERS – Chandler LENGYEL – Puschmann

KOTRC – Chigorin

LERNER – Lehmann; Sideif-Zade

KOTSUR – Goloshchapov; Korchnoi

LESIÈGE – Kasimdzhanov


LEVENFISH – Ragozin; Reshevsky; Riumin

KOUATLY – Plachetka


KOVAČEVIĆ, A. – Martinović

LIEW – Yrjölä

KOVAČEVIĆ, V. – Martinović

LIGTERINK – Georgiev, Ki.; Kasparov; Miles

KOVALENKO – Ribnikov

LILIENTHAL – Capablanca; Landau

KOZLOV – Kramnik


KOZLOV, V.N. – Sturua

LINDGREN, M. – Iskov

KOŽUL – Van der Wiel

LIOGKY – Alterman

LIPNITSKY – Sokolsky


LISITSYN – Taimanov

MARKOV – Kataev

LITTLEWOOD, N. – Gligorić; Hindle


LITTLEWOOD, P. – Chandler



MAROSI – Muratov

LJUBOJEVIĆ – Gelfand; Tarjan


LOBRON – Klinger; Korchnoi

MARTINOVIĆ – Kovačević, A.; Kovačević, V.


MASLOV – Balashov; Vaganian

LOGINOV, A. – Ionov

MATOVIĆ – Čabrilo


MATTISON – Apšeniecks

LOTTI – Sabia

MATULOVIĆ – Vasiukov

LUIK – Vooremaa

MAURIAN – Morphy

LUKIN – Balashov; Cherepkov

MAZI – Farago, I.

LUNDIN – Boleslavsky

MAZZONI – Kraidman

LUTHER – Gauglitz


LUTIKOV – Gavrilov; Sakharov; Tal


LUTZ – Ghaem Maghami

MEERA – Kadam

LYSENKO – Vasiukov

MEIER, R. – Müller, S.

LYSKOV – Volkevich

MENSCH – Simon


MEŠTROVIĆ – Razuvaev

MACHT – Takacs

MICHELL – Sultan Khan

MACKENZIE – Golmayo, C.


MCKIM – Crisan, I.

MIEZIS – Smirin

MCNAB – Groszpeter; Parkin

MIKENAS – Aronin; Khodos

MCSHANE – McFarland

MIKHALCHISHIN – Plachetka; Schmittdiel; Zheliandinov

MAGOMEDOV – Diakaev; Urban MAKAROV – Shteinberg MAKARYCHEV – Sokolov, A.

MIKHALEVSKI, V. – Berkvens; De Wolf; Krasenkow


MILES – Bouaziz; Browne; Gheorghiu; Ligterink; Timman

MAKSIMENKO – Kharlov; Roskar

MILIĆ – Fuderer

MALAKHOV – Blehm; Degraeve


MALANIUK – Lanka; Nikitin, An.

MILOV, V. – Arbakov



MANIK – Tepper

MINASIAN, ART. – Lobzhanidze; Villamayor


MINDADZE – Kalugin

MARCO – Nimzowitsch


MARIN – De Vreugt; Gershon



MIRCESCU – Montabord




NORWOOD – Gelfand


NOVIKOV – Azmaiparashvili

MOLANDER – Karttunen

NOVITSKY – Faibisovich



MONTABORD – Mircescu

NUN, JI. – Sapis

MOROVIĆ – Karpov; Panno

NUNN – Arnason; Georgiev, Ki.; Hsu

MORPHY – Barnes; de Rivière; Maurian; Paulsen, L.

O’KELLY – Feuer

MOSER, E. – Titz

ODEEV – Rakhmanov

MOSKALENKO – Rahal; Temirbaev

OLAFSSON, F. – Bazan; Unzicker

MOTSEASHVILI – Tseitlin, Ma.

OLL – Sokolov, I.

MOTYLEV – Cherniaev

OLTRA – Rivas

MOVSESIAN – Bacrot; Bauer, C.

ORMOS – Betotsky

MÜLLER, H. – Eliskases

ORNSTEIN – Bednarski

MÜLLER, S. – Meier, R.

OZSVATH – Cserna; Honfi


PACHMAN – Bolbochan, Ju.; Petrosian; Spassky; Vizantiadis


PADEVSKY – Bogdanović; Vagalinsky

NAJDORF – Kurtić; Portisch; Rubinetti; Spiro; Ståhlberg

PAGLILLA – Carbone

NATAF – Kharitonov



PALERMO, V. – Rosito

NENASHEV – Ivanchuk

PANCZYK – Schurade

NESIS – Kujala

PANNO – Eliskases; Morović

NEUKIRCH – Spiridonov

PANOV – Makogonov


PAOLI – Andersson; Canal; Smyslov

NIELSEN, J. – Suetin

PARAMOS – Rodriguez, Am.

NIELSEN, P.H. – Gurevich, M.

PARKER – Pert, N.



NIJBOER – De Vreugt; Ramesh; Stone, R.

PAULSEN, L. – Chigorin; Morphy

NIKITIN, AN. – Malaniuk

PAVASOVIĆ – Jelen, Ig.

NIKOLIĆ, P. – Korchnoi; Van der Wiel

PEND – Mickovics

NILSSON – Pietzsch


NIMZOWITSCH – Capablanca; Marco

PENG ZHAOQIN – Slingerland

NINOV – Anand

PENROSE – Averbakh


PERENYI – Pinter

NISMEEV – Boltobekov


NN – Rossolimo; Vidmar

PERIĆ – Sorokin

NOGUEIRAS – Bischoff

PERT, N. – Parker

NORRI – Holmsten


OBUKHOV – Tregubov

PAJKOVIĆ – Čabrilo


PYTEL – Kosten

PETROSIAN, A. – Andruet


PETROSIAN, T. – Larsen; Pachman; Simagin; Spassky, Spassky; Spassky; Stein; Visier

RABINOVICH, I. – Von Freymann

PETROV – Bulakh

RADEVICH – Donskykh

PFLEGER – Kavalek; Spassky

RAGOZIN – Alatortsev; Levenfish; Veresov

PIANKOV – Sorokin

RAHAL – Moskalenko

PIETZSCH – Alvarez del Monte; Nilsson

RAJCA – Casper

PIGUSOV – Kasparov


PIKET – Plaskett; Stefansson; Svidler


PIKULA – Rajković

RAMESH – Nijboer

PILNICK – Reshevsky


PINTER – Karolyi; Perenyi; Ungureanu

RANTANEN – Schüssler

PIRA – Rausis

RATNER – Podgorny

PIRC – Stoltz


PIRTTIMÄKI – Holopainen

RAVINSKY – Simagin; Sokolsky

PISKOV – Bielczyk; Korneev

RAZUVAEV – Meštrović; Zuckerman

PLACHETKA – Kouatly; Mikhalchishin; Psakhis

REE – Ftačnik; Hort; Speelman





POGOSIAN – Danielian



REIZNIECE – Barcenilla

POLGAR, I. – Tseshkovsky


POLGAR, J. – Chernin; Sinkovics; Smirin; Volkov

RENET – Mirallès

POLGAR, ZSO. – Bouwmeester


POLLOCK – Chigorin

RESHEVSKY – Byrne, R.; Evans; Fischer; Fischer; Gligorić; Keres; Levenfish; Pilnick


REVIAKIN – Tripolsky

POLUGAEVSKY – Ftačnik; Geller; Gulko; Veltmander

REY – Ehlvest

POMAR – Drimer; Palacios

RIBNIKOV – Kovalenko

POMES – Teran

RICHTER – Alexandrescu

PORTISCH – Kasparov; Kavalek; Najdorf; Stein

RISTIĆ, N. – Kojović


RIUMIN – Levenfish; Verlinsky

PRASAD – Shantharam

RIVAS – Oltra

PRASLOV – Evseev

ROBATSCH – Garcia, Si.; Korchnoi


ROBEI – Benko

PRODANOV – Zlatilov

RODRIGUEZ, AM. – Arencibia, W.; Paramos

PRZEPIORKA – Schlechter


PSAKHIS – Plachetka; Saravanan

ROGERS – Kochiev


ROMANISHIN – Balashov; Krasenkow; Volkov

RIAZANTSEV – Alexandrov

ROMIH – Maroczy

SEIRAWAN – Khalifman; Kogan; Korchnoi

ROSITO – Palermo, V.

SENFF – Gershon

ROSKAR – Maksimenko

SEPP – Shirov

ROSSELLI – Vistaneckis

SEPPEUR – Reefschläger

ROSSETTO – Fischer; Uhlmann

SERGEANT – Soultanbéieff

ROSSOLIMO – Cukierman; NN


ROTH – Baumgartner

SHABALOV – Benjamin

ROTSTEIN – Smirnov


ROUX CABRAL – Eliskases


ROVNER – Goldin


ROZENTALIS – Bologan; Kaunas; Terreaux; Ulybin



SHAROV – Botvinnik

RUBINSTEIN, A. – Alekhine; Euwe



SHIROV – Bareev; Georgadze, G.; Grishchuk, Grishchuk; Kasparov; King; Sepp; Tominsh; Topalov; Van Wely; Yudasin

RUBLEVSKY – D’Amore RUSSELL – Glass RUTSEVA – Eidelson SABIA – Lotti

SHISHKOV – Berelovich; Doroshkevich SHOCRON – Fischer

SAFHOLM – Dalmau

SHORT – Adianto; Filippov; Kasparov, Kasparov, Kasparov

SAILA – Böök


SAKHAROV – Lutikov

SHULMAN – Babula

SÄMISCH – Alekhine


SANDLER – Bryson; Voitsekhovsky


SANTA CRUZ – Uhlmann


SAPIS – Nun, Ji. SARAVANAN – Psakhis

SIMAGIN – Barcza; Bronstein; Chistiakov; Petrosian; Ravinsky; Spassky

SARIEGO – Arencibia, J.

SIMIĆ, V. – Bilek

SAVON – Litvinov

SIMON – Mensch

SAX – Mariotti

SINKOVICS – Polgar, J.

SAZONTIEV – Vladimirov, E.



SKURATOV – Svedchikov

SCHERBAKOV – Gurevich, M.

SLINGERLAND – Peng Zhaoqin

SCHLECHTER – Przepiorka; Wolf, H.

SLIWA – Doda; Johansson, M.

SCHMID, L. – Langeweg

SMEJKAL – Djukić

SCHMITTDIEL – Mikhalchishin

SMIRIN – Miezis; Polgar, J.


SMIRNOV – Rotstein


SMYSLOV – Airapetov; Barcza; Botvinnik; Geller; Hansen, Cu.; Kasparov; Paoli; Tal; Vasiukov

SCHURADE – Panczyk SCHÜSSLER – Rantanen

SOCKO, B. – Skripchenko SOKOLOV, A. – Makarychev

SOKOLOV, I. – Adams; Korchnoi; Oll

SZÖLLÖSY – Navarovszky

SOKOLSKY – Lipnitsky; Ravinsky

TAIMANOV – Geller; Kaidanov; Lisitsyn; Vasiukov


TAKACS – Macht

SOROKIN – Perić; Piankov; Ulybin

TAL – Averbakh; Bitman; Geller, Geller; Ghitescu; Klavinš; Koblencs; Korchnoi; Krogius; Lutikov; Medina; Mohrlok; Smyslov; Spassky; Suetin; Tringov; Wade

SOULTANBÉIEFF – Euwe; Sergeant SOZINA – Ilchenko SPASSKY – Adorjan; Averbakh; Averkin; Bronstein; Capelan; Čirić; Czerniak; Darga; Foguelman; Geller; Goldgewicht; Gufeld; Hug; Keres; Pachman; Petrosian, Petrosian; Petrosian; Pfleger; Simagin; Tal; Zhu Chen

TALLA – Gdanski


TARRASCH – Dürsch; Walbrodt

SPIRIDONOV – Atanasov; Neukirch SPIRO – Najdorf

TARTAKOWER – Alekhine; Alekhine; Euwe; Fine; Kotov

STÅHLBERG – Alekhine; Najdorf

TEMIRBAEV – Moskalenko

STANCIU – Ciocaltea; Drimer; Zarcula

TEPPER – Manik


TERAN – Pomes

STEIN – Birbrager; Petrosian; Portisch

TERREAUX – Rozentalis

STEINITZ – Mongredien


STERK – Alekhine

THIPSAY, B. – Bosboom-Lanchava

STOČEK – Sveshnikov

THOMAS, G. – Euwe; Stoltz

STOJANOVSKI – Guzel STOLTZ – Pirc; Thomas, G.

TIMMAN – Hübner; Karpov; Kurajica; Miles; Vallejo

STONE, R. – Nijboer

TIMOSHCHENKO – Gutop; Hebden

STOYKO – Dlugy

TIMOSHENKO, G. – Klovans

STURUA – Kozlov, V.N.

TITZ – Moser, E.

SUBA – Mirković

TKACHEV – Van der Wiel

SUETIN – Nielsen, J.; Tal

TOLUSH – Kotov; Mititelu

SULA – Sermek

TOMILIN – Goldstein

SULSKIS – Bologan

TOMINSH – Shirov


TOPALOV – Bareev; Beliavsky; Karpov; Shirov; Vaganian

SUMMERSCALE, A. – Kelly, B. SVEDCHIKOV – Skuratov SVESHNIKOV – Dreev; Stoček SVIDLER – de Firmian; Gelfand; Kramnik; Piket SYDOR – Bednarski SYRTIANOV – Bazkov

TAN – Dambacher TANCSA – Breder TARJAN – Byrne, R.; Ljubojević

TORRE, E. – Almasi, Z. TREGUBOV – Obukhov; Van der Sterren; Yagupov TRINGOV – Falcon; Tal TRIPOLSKY – Reviakin TRONHJEM – Andersen TSEITLIN, MA. – Asif; Motseashvili

SZABO – Alexander; Bisguier; Botvinnik; Gligorić; Haag; Larsen

TSEITLIN, MI. – Geller, A.


TSESHKOVSKY – Polgar, I.; Vladimirov, E.

SZNAPIK – Bernard, R.

TYLKOWSKI – Wojciechowski

TYLOR – Alekhine

VON FREYMANN – Rabinovich, I.

UFIMTSEV – Boleslavsky; Furman


UHLMANN – Bronstein; Darga; Hennings; Rossetto; Santa Cruz


UJTELKY – Kolarov

WADE – Halfdanarson; Tal

ULYBIN – Rozentalis; Sorokin

WAHLS – Hort


WALBRODT – Tarrasch

UNZICKER – Averbakh; Keres; Olafsson, F. URBAN – Magomedov

WANG ZILI – Liang Jinrong; Mamadzhoev; Ye Jiangchuan

VADASZ – Lahiri

WATANABE – Garcia, Si.


WEDBERG – Bjarnehag; Kuczynski

VAGANIAN – Bareev; Dvoretsky; Hjartarson; Illescas; Maslov; Topalov; Yusupov


VAISER – Marinković

WIBE – Schneider, L.Å.

VAJDA, L. – Halkias


VALLEJO – Ciuffoletti; Timman

WINTER – Abrahams

VAN DER STERREN – Douven; Gelfand; Tregubov


VAN DER WIEL – Kožul; Nikolić, P.; Tkachev


VAN WELY – Kasparov; Shirov

WOLF, H. – Schlechter

VASILESCU – Ardeleanu

WOLLNER – Charousek

VASIUKOV – Djurašević; Lysenko; Matulović; Smyslov; Taimanov

WOSTYN – Zwaig

VEKSLER – Kirpirchnikov VELIKOV – Cramling, D. VELIMIROVIĆ – Csom; Zahilas VELTMANDER – Polugaevsky VERESOV – Bronstein; Ragozin VERLINSKY – Riumin VERNER – Zhidkov VESCOVI – Hansen, L.B. VIDMAR – Botvinnik; NN VILLAMAYOR – Minasian, Art. VISIER – Petrosian VISTANECKIS – Rosselli VIZANTIADIS – Pachman VLADIMIROV, E. – Sazontiev; Tseshkovsky; Yudasin

VUJIČIĆ – Čabrilo

WESTERINEN – Bologan; Sigurjonsson

YAGUPOV – Tregubov YAKOVICH – Conquest YE JIANGCHUAN – Bologan; Wang Zili YERMOLINSKY – Ivanchuk YRJÖLÄ – Liew YUDASIN – Chernin; Shirov; Vladimirov, E. YUDOVICH – Botvinnik YUSUPOV – Ivanchuk; Vaganian ZAHILAS – Velimirović ZAID – Fainberg ZAITSEV, A. – Zhukhovitsky ZAITSEV, I. – Karpov ZAKHAREVICH – Biriukov ZALTSMAN – Shamkovich ZARATOV – Krogius

VOGT – Züger

ZARCULA – Stanciu


ZELČIĆ – Jovanić



VOLKOV – Polgar, J.; Romanishin


ZHELIANDINOV – Mikhalchishin

Index of Openings

ZHIDKOV – Verner ZHU CHEN – Korchnoi; Spassky

Bird’s Opening 1


Bogo-Indian Defence 1, 2


Budapest Defence 1, 2

ZIMMER – Dolmatov

Caro-Kann Defence 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

ZINN – Fuchs

Catalan Opening 1

ZLATILOV – Prodanov

Colle System 1

ZUCKERMAN – Razuvaev

English Defence 1, 2, 3

ZÜGER – Fiedler; Vogt

English Opening 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

ZWAIG – Wostyn

Evans Gambit 1, 2

Composers Abrahams, G. de Musset, A. Greco, G. Haring, J. Kubbel, L. Kubbel, L. Naef, W. Nazanian, A. Plonnings, F. Pogosiants, E. Polerio, G. Ponziani, D.L. Réti, R. Rudolph, W.E. Simkhovich, F. Stamma, P. Troitsky, A. Troitsky, A.

French Defence 1, 2, 3, 4 King’s Gambit 1, 2 King’s Indian Attack 1 King’s Indian Defence 1, 2 London System 1 Modern Defence 1, 2, 3 Nimzo-Indian Defence 1, 2, 3 Petroff Defence 1, 2, 3 Pirc Defence 1 Queen’s Gambit: Accepted 1 Declined 1 Semi-Slav 1 Semi-Tarrasch 1, 2 Slav 1 Queen’s Indian Defence 1 Réti Opening 1, 2 Ruy Lopez 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Scotch Opening 1 Sicilian Defence: Accelerated Dragon 1 Classical 1, 2 Dragon 1 Kan 1, 2 Najdorf 1, 2, 3, 4 Scheveningen 1, 2 Sveshnikov 1 Taimanov 1 Torre Attack 1

Two Knights Defence 1

Copyright Information First published in printed form in English language in the UK by Gambit Publications Ltd in 2017 First Kindle edition published by Gambit Publications Ltd in 2017 Copyright © Antonio Gude 2017 Translation © Phil Adams 2017 The right of Antonio Gude to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without prior permission of the publisher. In particular, no part of this publication or images thereof may be transmitted via the Internet or uploaded to a website without the publisher’s permission. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damage. ISBN-13: 978-1-911465-22-5 ISBN-10: 1-911465-22-8 (Printed edition: ISBN-13: 978-1-911465-17-1; ISBN-10: 1-911465-17-1). Gambit Publications Ltd, 50 Freshwater Road, Chadwell Heath, London RM8 1RX, England. E-mail: [email protected] Website (regularly updated): Edited by Graham Burgess Kindle edition prepared by Graham Burgess Cover illustration by Wolff Morrow Gambit Publications Ltd Directors: Dr John Nunn GM, Murray Chandler GM and Graham Burgess FM German Editor: Petra Nunn WFM

About the Author Antonio Gude is a well-known chess writer and teacher from Spain who has represented his country in international correspondence chess events. His previous book for Gambit, Fundamental Checkmates, was shortlisted for the English Chess Federation Book of the Year Award.

About Gambit Publications Gambit Publications Ltd is a dedicated chess publishing company catering for players of all skill levels. The company was founded in 1997 by three expert chess players and editors: Grandmaster John Nunn, Grandmaster Murray Chandler, and FIDE Master Graham Burgess. To date, Gambit has published more than 180 chess books, and has published or licensed editions in 13 different languages. Over 1 million Gambit chess books have been sold. Up-to-date news on all Gambit chess books in print – including current and future Kindle editions – can be found at the Gambit website: For information about Gambit’s app for tablet computers, and the books available in this format, visit: If you like our books, the best way to thank us is to write a review on Amazon.

About Gambit Chess Studio Gambit Chess Studio is an app that enables the purchasing and reading of Gambit chess books in a convenient electronic format. An on-screen board allows the chess content of the book to be viewed, meaning a physical chess set is no longer required. For example, if you have finished playing over a side-variation there is no tedious re-setting of the position – just one tap on the screen restores the main line. Or tap on any chess move in the book, and the position instantly appears on the screen. Once you have bought and downloaded a book via Gambit Chess Studio, it’s stored on your device. So it is easy to access your Gambit chess library when travelling, even without an Internet connection. The app itself is free to download from the Apple Store (for iPads and iPhones), or the Google Play Store (Android devices), and a free sample is available for downloading. From within Chess Studio you then select which Gambit books to purchase from the inapp bookstore. Once you’ve bought a book, you can read it on all your compatible devices.

1001 Deadly Checkmates – John Nunn Chess Tactics for Kids – Murray Chandler Chess Endgames for Kids – Karsten Müller Chess Strategy for Kids – Thomas Engqvist Chess Puzzles for Kids – Murray Chandler Chess Openings for Kids – John Watson and Graham Burgess

Books for Improvers and General Works To find Chess Studio in an app store (Google Play or Apple) search for “Gambit Publications” or click on the direct links: Google Play Apple

Learn Chess Tactics – John Nunn Fundamental Checkmates – Antonio Guide Instructive Chess Miniatures – Alper Efe Ataman The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book – John Emms Understanding Chess Move by Move – John Nunn

Our Gambit app books page shows which books are currently available for Chess Studio. App titles currently in preparation are included in the Forthcoming Books section.

FCO: Fundamental Chess Openings – Paul van der Sterren

PC users may be able to run Chess Studio by using an Android emulator such as Nox or BlueStacks, though this cannot be guaranteed. A new version of the app, packed with new features, is coming soon.

Understanding Chess Endgames – John Nunn

Other Gambit Titles on Chess Studio and Kindle Books for Kids and Beginners Books for Improvers and General Works Opening Books: General Opening Books: Specific and Repertoire Tactics, Exercises and Puzzles Strategy and Training Game Collections Endgames, Studies and Problems Complete List

Books for Kids and Beginners Chess for Children – Murray Chandler and Helen Milligan Your First Chess Lessons – Paul van der Sterren

The Giant Chess Puzzle Book – Zenon Franco Understanding Chess Middlegames – John Nunn Fundamental Chess Endings – Karsten Müller and Frank Lamprecht

Opening Books: General FCO: Fundamental Chess Openings – Paul van der Sterren Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 1 – John Watson Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 2 – John Watson Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 3 – John Watson Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 4 – John Watson Chess Openings for Kids – John Watson and Graham Burgess Understanding the Chess Openings – Sam Collins How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire – Steve Giddins 101 Chess Opening Traps – Steve Giddins

Learn Chess – John Nunn

The Quickest Chess Victories of All Time (new enlarged edition) – Graham Burgess

A Complete Chess Course – Antonio Gude

125 Chess Opening Surprises – Graham Burgess

How to Beat Your Dad at Chess – Murray Chandler

Opening Books: Specific and Repertoire A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire (new enlarged edition) – Aaron Summerscale and Sverre Johnsen Attack with Black – Valery Aveskulov A Rock-Solid Chess Opening Repertoire for Black – Viacheslav Eingorn Grandmaster Secrets: The Caro-Kann – Peter Wells Play the Najdorf Sicilian – James Rizzitano Play the Alekhine – Valentin Bogdanov Chess Explained: The Queen’s Gambit Declined – James Rizzitano

Understanding the King’s Indian – Mikhail Golubev Play the Sicilian Dragon – Edward Dearing Mastering the Najdorf – Julen Arizmendi and Javier Moreno Play the Open Games as Black – John Emms Anti-Sicilians: A Guide for Black – Dorian Rogozenko The Gambit Guide to the Torre Attack – Graham Burgess An Explosive Chess Opening Repertoire for Black – Jouni Yrjölä and Jussi Tella Understanding the Scandinavian – Sergey Kasparov How to Beat 1 d4 – James Rizzitano

Chess Explained: The French – Viacheslav Eingorn and Valentin Bogdanov

Understanding the Leningrad Dutch – Valeri Beim

Chess Explained: The Classical Sicilian – Alex Yermolinsky

The Ruy Lopez: A Guide for Black – Sverre Johnsen and Leif Erlend Johannessen

Chess Explained: The c3 Sicilian – Sam Collins Chess Explained: The Grünfeld – Valentin Bogdanov Chess Explained: The Nimzo-Indian – Reinaldo Vera Chess Explained: The Queen’s Indian – Peter Wells Chess Explained: The Modern Benoni – Zenon Franco Chess Explained: The Meran Semi-Slav – Reinaldo Vera Chess Explained: The Taimanov Sicilian – James Rizzitano Chess Explained: The Main-Line Slav – David Vigorito

Understanding the Marshall Attack – David Vigorito A Simple Chess Opening Repertoire for White – Sam Collins Play the Classical Dutch – Simon Williams The Slav – Graham Burgess Understanding the Sicilian – Mikhail Golubev My Secrets in the Ruy Lopez – Lajos Portisch 125 Chess Opening Surprises – Graham Burgess

Tactics, Exercises and Puzzles How to Beat Your Dad at Chess – Murray Chandler Chess Tactics for Kids – Murray Chandler

Chess Explained: The English Opening – Zenon Franco

The Gambit Book of Instructive Chess Puzzles – Graham Burgess

Win with the Stonewall Dutch – Sverre Johnsen, Ivar Bern and Simen Agdestein

Chess Puzzles for Kids – Murray Chandler

Win with the London System – Sverre Johnsen and Vlatko Kovačević

The Most Amazing Chess Moves of All Time – John Emms The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book – John Emms

The Dynamic English – Tony Kosten

365 Ways to Checkmate – Joe Gallagher

A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire for White – John Watson

1001 Deadly Checkmates – John Nunn

The Cambridge Springs – Krzysztof Panczyk and Jacek Ilczuk

101 Chess Opening Traps – Steve Giddins

Learn Chess Tactics – John Nunn Endgame Challenge – John Nunn

John Nunn’s Chess Puzzle Book – John Nunn The Giant Chess Puzzle Book – Zenon Franco How to Calculate Chess Tactics – Valeri Beim Perfect Your Chess – Andrei Volokitin and Vladimir Grabinsky The Quickest Chess Victories of All Time (new enlarged edition) – Graham Burgess

Chess Training for Budding Champions – Jesper Hall 50 Essential Chess Lessons – Steve Giddins How Chess Games are Won and Lost – Lars Bo Hansen Essential Chess Sacrifices – David LeMoir Storming the Barricades – Larry Christiansen

How to Become a Deadly Chess Tactician – David LeMoir

Chess for Life – Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan

Essential Chess Sacrifices – David LeMoir

Fundamental Checkmates – Antonio Gude

A Course in Chess Tactics – Dejan Bojkov and Vladimir Georgiev

Instructive Chess Miniatures – Alper Efe Ataman

A Complete Chess Course – Antonio Gude

Chess Strategy for Kids – Thomas Engqvist

Problem Chess: Art and Magic on the Chessboard – Göran Forslund

How to Play Dynamic Chess – Valeri Beim

Fundamental Checkmates – Antonio Gude

The Seven Deadly Chess Sins – Jonathan Rowson

Improve Your Positional Chess – Carsten Hansen

Instructive Chess Miniatures – Alper Efe Ataman

The Chess Attacker’s Handbook – Michael Song and Razvan Preotu

Extreme Chess Tactics – Yochanan Afek

Fundamental Chess Tactics – Antonio Gude

Fundamental Chess Tactics – Antonio Gude

Strategy and Training

Game Collections Understanding Chess Move by Move – John Nunn

FCO: Fundamental Chess Openings – Paul van der Sterren

Garry Kasparov’s Greatest Chess Games Volume 1 – Igor Stohl

Understanding Pawn Play in Chess – Dražen Marović

Garry Kasparov’s Greatest Chess Games Volume 2 – Igor Stohl

Understanding Chess Middlegames – John Nunn

John Nunn’s Chess Course – John Nunn

Chess for Zebras – Jonathan Rowson Understanding Chess Move by Move – John Nunn

Vishy Anand: World Chess Champion – Vishy Anand and John Nunn

Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy – John Watson

Secrets of Grandmaster Chess – John Nunn

Chess Strategy in Action – John Watson

John Nunn’s Best Games – John Nunn

Secrets of Practical Chess (new enlarged edition) – John Nunn

The Quickest Chess Victories of All Time (new enlarged edition) – Graham Burgess

The Road to Chess Improvement – Alex Yermolinsky

50 Essential Chess Lessons – Steve Giddins

John Nunn’s Chess Course – John Nunn

Instructive Modern Chess Masterpieces – Igor Stohl

Secrets of Positional Chess – Dražen Marović

Grandmaster Chess Move by Move – John Nunn

Secrets of Chess Defence – Mihail Marin

Instructive Chess Miniatures – Alper Efe Ataman

Secrets of Attacking Chess – Mihail Marin

My Secrets in the Ruy Lopez – Lajos Portisch

How to Play Chess Endgames – Karsten Müller and Wolfgang Pajeken 101 Winning Chess Strategies – Angus Dunnington Dynamic Pawn Play in Chess – Dražen Marović

Endgames, Studies and Problems Fundamental Chess Endings – Karsten Müller and Frank Lamprecht Understanding Chess Endgames – John Nunn

Nunn’s Chess Endings Volume 1 – John Nunn

Chess Puzzles for Kids – Murray Chandler

Nunn’s Chess Endings Volume 2 – John Nunn

Understanding Pawn Play in Chess – Dražen Marović

Endgame Challenge – John Nunn How to Play Chess Endgames – Karsten Müller and Wolfgang Pajeken

The Most Amazing Chess Moves of All Time – John Emms

Secrets of Pawn Endings – Karsten Müller and Frank Lamprecht

A Rock-Solid Chess Opening Repertoire for Black – Viacheslav Eingorn

Secrets of Rook Endings – John Nunn

Understanding Chess Middlegames – John Nunn

Secrets of Pawnless Endings – John Nunn

Understanding the Chess Openings – Sam Collins

The Survival Guide to Rook Endings – John Emms

The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book – John Emms

Chess Endgames for Kids – Karsten Müller

Understanding Chess Move by Move – John Nunn

Problem Chess: Art and Magic on the Chessboard – Göran Forslund

365 Ways to Checkmate – Joe Gallagher

Understanding Rook Endgames – Karsten Müller and Yakov Konoval

Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy – John Watson

Solving in Style – John Nunn Extreme Chess Tactics – Yochanan Afek

Complete List

Chess for Zebras – Jonathan Rowson

1001 Deadly Checkmates – John Nunn Chess Strategy in Action – John Watson Learn Chess Tactics – John Nunn How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire – Steve Giddins

FCO: Fundamental Chess Openings – Paul van der Sterren

Secrets of Practical Chess (new enlarged edition) – John Nunn

Fundamental Chess Endings – Karsten Müller and Frank Lamprecht

The Road to Chess Improvement – Alex Yermolinsky

A Cunning Chess Opening Repertoire for White – Graham Burgess

Understanding Chess Endgames – John Nunn

Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 1 – John Watson

Learn Chess – John Nunn

Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 2 – John Watson Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 3 – John Watson Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 4 – John Watson

101 Chess Opening Traps – Steve Giddins Chess for Children – Murray Chandler and Helen Milligan Grandmaster Secrets: The Caro-Kann – Peter Wells Play the Najdorf Sicilian – James Rizzitano Play the Alekhine – Valentin Bogdanov

Chess Openings for Kids – John Watson and Graham Burgess

Chess Explained: The Queen’s Gambit Declined – James Rizzitano

A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire (new enlarged edition) – Aaron Summerscale and Sverre Johnsen

Chess Explained: The French – Viacheslav Eingorn and Valentin Bogdanov

How to Beat Your Dad at Chess – Murray Chandler Chess Tactics for Kids – Murray Chandler

Chess Explained: The Classical Sicilian – Alex Yermolinsky Chess Explained: The c3 Sicilian – Sam Collins

Attack with Black – Valery Aveskulov

Chess Explained: The Grünfeld – Valentin Bogdanov

The Gambit Book of Instructive Chess Puzzles – Graham Burgess

Chess Explained: The Nimzo-Indian – Reinaldo Vera

Chess Explained: The Queen’s Indian – Peter Wells

The Survival Guide to Rook Endings – John Emms

Chess Explained: The Modern Benoni – Zenon Franco

The Giant Chess Puzzle Book – Zenon Franco

Chess Explained: The Meran Semi-Slav – Reinaldo Vera Chess Explained: The Taimanov Sicilian – James Rizzitano

The Cambridge Springs – Krzysztof Panczyk and Jacek Ilczuk Understanding the King’s Indian – Mikhail Golubev How to Calculate Chess Tactics – Valeri Beim

Chess Explained: The Main-Line Slav – David Vigorito

Perfect Your Chess – Andrei Volokitin and Vladimir Grabinsky

Chess Explained: The English Opening – Zenon Franco

Chess Training for Budding Champions – Jesper Hall

Nunn’s Chess Endings Volume 1 – John Nunn

Play the Sicilian Dragon – Edward Dearing

Nunn’s Chess Endings Volume 2 – John Nunn Garry Kasparov’s Greatest Chess Games Volume 1 – Igor Stohl Garry Kasparov’s Greatest Chess Games Volume 2 – Igor Stohl

Mastering the Najdorf – Julen Arizmendi and Javier Moreno The Quickest Chess Victories of All Time (new enlarged edition) – Graham Burgess

Endgame Challenge – John Nunn

How to Become a Deadly Chess Tactician – David LeMoir

John Nunn’s Chess Course – John Nunn

Play the Open Games as Black – John Emms

Win with the Stonewall Dutch – Sverre Johnsen, Ivar Bern and Simen Agdestein

Anti-Sicilians: A Guide for Black – Dorian Rogozenko

Secrets of Positional Chess – Dražen Marović

50 Essential Chess Lessons – Steve Giddins

Secrets of Chess Defence – Mihail Marin

Instructive Modern Chess Masterpieces – Igor Stohl

Secrets of Attacking Chess – Mihail Marin Vishy Anand: World Chess Champion – Vishy Anand and John Nunn

The Gambit Guide to the Torre Attack – Graham Burgess

Win with the London System – Sverre Johnsen and Vlatko Kovačević

An Explosive Chess Opening Repertoire for Black – Jouni Yrjölä and Jussi Tella

How to Play Chess Endgames – Karsten Müller and Wolfgang Pajeken

How Chess Games are Won and Lost – Lars Bo Hansen

101 Winning Chess Strategies – Angus Dunnington

Essential Chess Sacrifices – David LeMoir

The Dynamic English – Tony Kosten

A Course in Chess Tactics – Dejan Bojkov and Vladimir Georgiev

A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire for White – John Watson

Chess Endgames for Kids – Karsten Müller

John Nunn’s Chess Puzzle Book – John Nunn

Storming the Barricades – Larry Christiansen

Secrets of Pawn Endings – Karsten Müller and Frank Lamprecht

A Complete Chess Course – Antonio Gude

Secrets of Rook Endings – John Nunn Secrets of Pawnless Endings – John Nunn Secrets of Grandmaster Chess – John Nunn John Nunn’s Best Games – John Nunn Dynamic Pawn Play in Chess – Dražen Marović

Problem Chess: Art and Magic on the Chessboard – Göran Forslund Understanding the Scandinavian – Sergey Kasparov Grandmaster Chess Move by Move – John Nunn How to Beat 1 d4 – James Rizzitano Understanding the Leningrad Dutch – Valeri Beim

The Ruy Lopez: A Guide for Black – Sverre Johnsen and Leif Erlend Johannessen Understanding the Marshall Attack – David Vigorito Understanding Rook Endgames – Karsten Müller and Yakov Konoval Chess for Life – Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan Fundamental Checkmates – Antonio Gude A Simple Chess Opening Repertoire for White – Sam Collins Instructive Chess Miniatures – Alper Efe Ataman Play the Classical Dutch – Simon Williams The Seven Deadly Chess Sins – Jonathan Rowson The Slav – Graham Burgess Chess Strategy for Kids – Thomas Engqvist Your First Chess Lessons – Paul van der Sterren How to Play Dynamic Chess – Valeri Beim Improve Your Positional Chess – Carsten Hansen Solving in Style – John Nunn Understanding the Sicilian – Mikhail Golubev My Secrets in the Ruy Lopez – Lajos Portisch Extreme Chess Tactics – Yochanan Afek The Chess Attacker’s Handbook – Michael Song and Razvan Preotu 125 Chess Opening Surprises – Graham Burgess Fundamental Chess Tactics – Antonio Gude FCO: Fundamental Chess Openings Paul van der Sterren This just has to be the perfect single-volume survival guide. All openings are covered, with detailed verbal explanations of plans for both sides. The first moves of a chess game define the nature of the whole struggle, as both players stake their claim to the critical squares and start to develop their plans. It is essential to play purposefully and to avoid falling into traps or reaching a position that you don’t understand. This is not a book that provides masses of variations to memorize. Paul van der Sterren instead offers a wealth of ideas and explanation, together with the basic variations of each and every opening. This knowledge will equip players to succeed in the opening up to good club level, and provide a superb grounding in opening play on which to build a more sophisticated repertoire. The strategies he explains will, unlike

ever-changing chess opening theory, remain valid as long as chess is played, and so the time spent studying this book will be rewarded many times over. Also available on Chess Studio.

“The format of the book is very friendly, openings very clearly set out and identified, with the variations touched upon in short and sweet sections” – John Lee Shaw, CHESS CHECK (e-zine) Fundamental Chess Endings Karsten Müller and Frank Lamprecht This is the first truly modern one-volume endgame encyclopaedia. It makes full use of endgame tablebases and analytical engines that access these tablebases; where previous authors could only make educated guesses, Müller and Lamprecht have often been able to state the definitive truth, or get much closer to it. Covers all major types of endgame, featuring rules of thumb, thinking methods, principles, practical advice, and much more. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“The authors love the endgame phase of the game and this shows in the writing. ... Anyone reading it will seriously improve their game.” – British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award press release A Cunning Chess Opening Repertoire for White Graham Burgess A good opening repertoire need not require an enormous amount of study to be highly effective. A cunning choice of lines and move-orders can steer the game to positions that we like and deny the opponent his preferred strategies. The main cornerstones of this repertoire are carefully chosen Queen’s Gambit lines, the Torre Attack (vs ...e6), and a variety of fianchetto options against the King’s Indian and related set-ups. White’s position is kept highly flexible, with many possible transpositions to a wide variety of systems that the reader can use to extend and vary the repertoire. The book features a wealth of new ideas and original analysis. Also available on Chess Studio.

“This is the way opening books should be written. It is a training repertoire book which you can use to build a solid white repertoire for your career. It is not a ‘hope they make a mistake and fall for the trap’ book. Best value if you want to learn to play the opening like a grandmaster.” – Danny Woodall, review Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 1 John Watson

In this major four-volume work, Watson explains not only the ideas and strategies behind specific openings, but also the interconnections of chess openings taken as a whole. By presenting the common threads that underlie opening play, he provides a permanent basis for playing openings of any type. Volume 1 offers both entertainment and challenging study material in king’s pawn openings such as the Sicilian and Ruy Lopez. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“The publication of this series is a bellwether event in chess publishing, and all players should avail themselves of the opportunity to read these books.” – Mark Donlan, CHESS HORIZONS “All of these epic Watson works have one thing in common. You walk away after reading with a deeper understanding of chess.” – Pete Tamburro, CHESS LIFE Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 2 John Watson Watson presents a wide-ranging view of the way in which top-class players really handle the opening, rather than an idealized and simplified model. This volume, focusing on queen’s pawn openings, will make chess-players think hard about how they begin their games. It also offers both entertainment and challenging study material in openings such as the Nimzo-Indian, King’s Indian and the entire Queen’s Gambit complex. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“Watson has managed to present the most important openings after 1 d4 and analyses them in detail as well as explaining the backgrounds. ... you have the feeling you are holding a real classic in your hand. It may sound exaggerated, but I believe Watson is a sort of modern Aron Nimzowitsch. Absolutely recommended!” – Martin Rieger, WWW.FREECHESS.DE Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 3 John Watson In the third volume of his highly acclaimed series, Watson moves on to flank openings. He provides indepth coverage of the English Opening, while drawing upon many themes from the first two books. Particularly in the context of reversed and analogous forms of standard structures, we understand why certain ideas work and others don’t, and experience the concept of ‘Cross-Pollination’ at work in even more varied forms than seen in earlier volumes. Also available on Chess Studio.

Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“This volume can be read separate from the other two in this series; however, I recommend reading all three books. They will truly take your game to the next level and help you understand the opening phase so much better, as well as help minimize the risk of starting the game out from an inferior position. Those who play the English Opening should buy this book without any hesitation. This book is a modern classic. It is genuinely instructive and provides numerous examples of original analysis and improvements over existing theory.” – Carsten Hansen, CHESSCAFE.COM Mastering the Chess Openings Volume 4 John Watson This final volume draws together many themes in a wide-ranging discussion of general opening topics. In the process, Watson covers a variety of opening structures and variations not seen in the earlier volumes and presents a great wealth of original analysis. He also explains how players should best prepare and choose their openings for the level at which they play. The final topics are the future of chess openings and the skills that will be most important as chess evolves in the forthcoming decades. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“The section on gambit play is extremely well done and must reading for any player coming up through the ranks. So too is the following chapter ‘Choosing and Preparing Openings’ which is pure gold. Watson gives well-considered suggestions for appropriate openings for players from just beyond beginner to 2300 that will solve many amateurs’ perennial headache. Highly Recommended” – IM John Donaldson, US Team Captain Chess Openings for Kids John Watson and Graham Burgess This book teaches the names and starting moves of all the main chess openings, and explains the basic ideas. Beginners will learn how to position their pieces for maximum impact. More experienced players will discover some remarkable tactical and strategic themes that are vital for chess mastery. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“A very succinct overview of the main openings and the ideas behind them” – GM Luke McShane, NEW IN CHESS

“To be able to provide both enthusiasm, inspiration and basic knowledge is a praiseworthy effort.” – FARBRORTHEGURU.BLOGSPOT.COM

A Killer Chess Opening Repertoire (new enlarged edition) Aaron Summerscale and Sverre Johnsen Bored with the same old openings? Worried about having to learn too much theory? Then this book – a set of exceptionally dangerous opening weapons for White – will come as a godsend. The queen’s pawn repertoire is based on rapid piece development, and includes many lethal attacking ideas and traps. Also available on Chess Studio.

“Johnsen has chosen to build on the first edition, addressing the areas where theory has substantially changed or Summerscale’s original coverage needed expanding. Offers a nice mix for the player who doesn’t like to study theory too much but still wants a chance to come out of the opening with chances for an advantage” – IM John Donaldson, US Team Captain How to Beat Your Dad at Chess Murray Chandler The enduring bestseller – explaining in simple terms all the basic checkmate patterns. Learn about the 50 Deadly Checkmates – attacking patterns that occur repeatedly in games between players of all standards.

a sound but ultra-aggressive repertoire based on gambits that have proved their worth in grandmaster play over many years. The Benko Gambit offers Black very active piece-play and intense positional pressure. If White dodges the Benko, we hit him with the Blumenfeld, sacrificing a pawn to set up a strong pawn-centre. Aveskulov examines all of White’s options and move-orders after 1 d4 Nf6. Also available on Chess Studio.

“This isn’t like previous books on the Benko ... this book has the real strength of taking the total Black approach in hand. Anyone looking to fill out a full defense to 1 d4 would do well to pick this up.” – Bill McGeary, WWW.CHESSVILLE.COM The Gambit Book of Instructive Chess Puzzles Graham Burgess Solving chess puzzles is one of the most effective ways to improve your game. This convenient book provides 300 exercises, with instructive points highlighted in the solutions. Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

“There are several things a successful book on tactical puzzles should have. They include examples that are not well-known, material arranged not by theme but by degree of difficulty and perhaps most importantly solutions that are detailed enough to explain to the student why they went wrong. Burgess passes all these tests with flying colors.” – IM John Donaldson, US Team Captain

Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“Fun to read for players of any age or any strength” – GM Lubosh Kavalek, WASHINGTON POST Chess Tactics for Kids Murray Chandler In an easy-to-understand format, this book explains how to bamboozle your chess opponents using commonly occurring tactical motifs. 50 different tactical motifs are covered, all leading to the win of material. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“As a teacher of scholastic/junior players, I have long wished for a comprehensive yet brief and inexpensive guide to chess tactics. Finally a work that fills the bill” – Bill Whited, CHESS COUNTRY

Chess Puzzles for Kids Murray Chandler This chess puzzle super-challenge contains 100 fun positions to solve, ranging from encouragingly easy to mind-numbingly hard. Using an innovative format, every puzzle is preceded by an instructive example, illustrating an important pattern. Chess Puzzles for Kids will quickly enable children to enjoy using their new-found skills to outwit friends and relatives. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“Grandmaster Murray Chandler writes excellent books for kids who already know how to play. ... presents the mating and tactical patterns in such a clear and entertaining way that it is a joy to read it.” – GM Lubosh Kavalek, HUFFINGTON POST

Attack with Black

Understanding Pawn Play in Chess

Valery Aveskulov

Dražen Marović

Need a reliable way to fight for the initiative when White plays 1 d4? Grandmaster Aveskulov presents

Chess owes its extraordinary depth to pawns. These humble pieces can take on many roles in the chess

struggle. They can be blockers, battering-rams, selfsacrificing heroes, and can even be promoted to the ranks of royalty. Marović investigates high-quality games to provide the reader with an armoury of pawn-play concepts that will help him make the right judgements at the board. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

Also available on Chess Studio.

“...shows depth of reading and balanced research. ... A pleasure to recommend this little gem of a book. ... Perhaps the best book of 2012 so far. A creative effort.” – James Pratt, BRITISH CHESS MAGAZINE Understanding Chess Middlegames John Nunn

“GM Marović utilizes all his experience as a GM and trainer to outline appropriate strategies associated with specific pawn-structures: isolated pawns (specifically IQP), isolated pawn couples, hanging pawns, passed, doubled and backward pawns, pawn-chains and pawn-islands. This approach ... has of course been attempted before, but not, that I have seen, with such clarity as in this book” – Jonathan Tait, BCCA

The middlegame is the phase of the chess battle where most games are decided, yet is the one that has received the least systematic treatment from chess writers. With the outstanding clarity for which he is famous, Nunn breaks down complex problems into bite-sized pieces. Each of the 100 lessons features two inspiring examples from modern chess, with a clear focus on the key instructive points.

The Most Amazing Chess Moves of All Time

Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

John Emms Very occasionally, a chess move is played that astonishes the whole world. It may be a move of astounding complexity, unearthly beauty, deep paradox... or all three. The move is discussed and analysed around the world as chess-players attempt to fathom both why the move works, and how on earth anyone thought of it in the first place. In this book John Emms has selected, from hundreds of candidates, the 200 most amazing chess moves of all time. In each case, the reader is given the chance to try to find the move for himself – making this one of the most challenging chess puzzle books ever published. Also available on Chess Studio.

“ are getting double value for money – a wonderful games collection and a ‘find the continuation’ complication. A really enjoyable and instructive book.” – Alan Sutton, EN PASSANT

Also available on Chess Studio.

“I own several books on the Middlegame in chess written by esteemed Grandmasters but this one is probably my favourite. John Nunn knows his subject; he is three-times World Chess Solving Champion” – Carl Portman, CARLSPLANET.CO.UK Understanding the Chess Openings Sam Collins A comprehensive guide to all important chess openings. There is coverage of all major variations, and helpful descriptions and explanation of the typical strategies for both sides. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“Anyone rated under 1700 should own this book and even higher rated players who are looking to fill in the blanks in their repertoire can benefit. It arms you with the knowledge of where to focus your resources when investing money on other opening books.” – Carsten Hansen, CHESSCAFE.COM

A Rock-Solid Chess Opening Repertoire for Black

The Ultimate Chess Puzzle Book

Viacheslav Eingorn

John Emms

Grandmaster Eingorn shows that it is possible both to play solidly, and to take White out of his comfort zone. The repertoire, based on playing 1...e6, is strikingly creative and will appeal to those who want a stress-free life as Black. You will get every chance to demonstrate your chess skills, and are very unlikely to be blown off the board by a sharp prepared line. Eingorn’s subtle move-orders are particularly effective if White refuses to pick up the gauntlet, as Black can then use his delay in playing ...Nf6 to good effect and take the fight directly to his opponent.

This book provides a wealth of puzzle positions to test just about every facet of your tactical skills. The book begins with 100 relatively easy positions suitable for novices, and ends with 100 extremely tough puzzles, which provide a mind-bending challenge even for top-class players. There are 1001 puzzles in all. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“The material is well chosen, and a marking system enables you to assess your performance relative to

masters and grandmasters” – Leonard Barden, EVENING STANDARD Chess for Zebras Jonathan Rowson An insight into human idiosyncrasies, in all phases of the game. The reader will begin to appreciate chess at a more profound level, while enjoying a book overflowing with common sense and humour. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

“I warmly recommend the book, especially to players frustrated by a long period of stagnation. Most chess books attempt to change what we think, but Rowson’s helps us to change how we think, and in the long run, that’s what will pay the biggest dividends” – Dennis Monokroussos, CHESS TODAY Understanding Chess Move by Move John Nunn

With the help of Grandmaster John Nunn, you will be ready to shock your next opponent with a deadly checkmate, whether in a school match, a club tournament – or even a championship game! Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“A great book, which I think will be useful to a wide range of players, say from 1400 to 2400. Chess is largely a matter of pattern recognition, so exercises like these are useful to everyone.” – Frederick Rhine, CHICAGOCHESS.BLOGSPOT.COM Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy John Watson In a profound but thoroughly practical manner, this classic work explores how chess concepts have evolved over the past 70 years. Acclaimed doublewinner of the British Chess Federation and United States Chess Federation ‘Book of the Year’ awards. Also available on Chess Studio.

Thirty modern games are examined in depth, to help the reader understand the most important aspects of chess and to illustrate modern chess principles in action. Virtually every move is explained using words that everyone can understand.

“can, without resorting to hyperbole, be considered a classic” – GM Nigel Short, THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Also available on Chess Studio.

John Watson

Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

Here Watson fleshes out the theory presented to enormous acclaim in Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy. He illustrates the modern practice of chess with examples from imaginative players such as Kasparov, Kramnik, Anand and Ivanchuk, and tempestuous innovators like Shirov and Morozevich.

“This is a great book from one of the best chess writers in the world. He does a fine job explaining the plans ‘move by move’ so everybody can understand what it’s all about” – Søren Søgaard, SEAGAARD REVIEWS

Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

Chess Strategy in Action

365 Ways to Checkmate

Also available on Chess Studio.

Joe Gallagher

Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

Tactics based on checkmate ideas against the enemy king decide a large proportion of chess games, so it is vital to be alert to these possibilities when they occur. Joe Gallagher provides 365 checkmate puzzles to help readers sharpen their skills. In each position, the task is to find a way to force a clear-cut win. “One of the things that makes this a good book is Gallagher’s skill at selecting examples and placing them at the right level of difficulty. Another is offering detailed solutions which often cover plausible sidelines that might have attracted the reader.” – IM John Donaldson, JEREMYSILMAN.COM 1001 Deadly Checkmates John Nunn The ability to spot checkmates is a vital skill – and this easy-to-use book shows you how it is done.

“...above all else Watson is excellent at explaining these mysterious grandmaster concepts to the club player” – IM Richard Palliser, CHESS MONTHLY Learn Chess Tactics John Nunn This book teaches basic tactical ideas such as the fork, pin and discovered attack, and introduces general ideas like elimination, immobilization and compulsion. A basic knowledge of simple tactics will enable a novice to start winning games, by giving checkmate or capturing material. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“The quality of the material, the fine layout, and the enlightening comments make this book the ideal introduction to chess tactics for the inexperienced player.” – SCHACHMARKT

How to Build Your Chess Opening Repertoire

John Nunn

Steve Giddins

Assuming no specialized endgame knowledge, John Nunn presents 100 key endgame concepts, and explains how they are used to win games or save difficult positions. He covers all the main types of endgames and typical thinking methods, and so equips readers with all the skills needed to excel in this vital phase of the game up to good club level and beyond.

Whether a novice or a master, every player needs to select an opening repertoire. In this book, the first to focus on these issues, Steve Giddins provides common-sense guidance on one of the perennial problems facing chess-players. He tackles questions such as: whether to play main lines, offbeat openings or ‘universal’ systems; how to avoid being ‘moveordered’; how to use computers; and if and when to depart from or change your repertoire. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

“I can recommend this book unreservedly to anyone who is serious about improving” – Phil Adams, 3Cs website Secrets of Practical Chess (new enlarged edition) John Nunn What is the best way to improve your chess results? Memorizing openings, learning endgames... there must be an easier way! How about making the most of your existing talent? Contains 45% more material than the first edition. Also available on Chess Studio.

“Grandmaster John Nunn offers practical advice on how to improve your chess results. It includes guidance on making decisions at the board, the study of opening, middlegame and endgame play, use of computers plus the selection and use of chess books. ... I found the chapters on use of computers and the selection and use of chess books of particular interest” – David Mills, TIME TROUBLE The Road to Chess Improvement Alex Yermolinsky “How can I improve my game?” is a perennial question facing chess-players. Alex Yermolinsky is well-qualified to offer advice – having trained himself, slowly but surely raising his game to topclass grandmaster standard. In this award-winning book he passes on many of the insights he has gained over the years, steering the reader away from ‘quick-fix’ approaches and focusing on the critical areas of chess understanding and over-the-board decision-making.

Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“A fantastic endgame primer ... Nunn has distilled a vast amount of detailed endgame research into clear and well-presented chunks. There are 100 short sections, each with four examples, each with a diagram, fitting neatly across two pages” – GM Daniel King, THE GUARDIAN 101 Chess Opening Traps Steve Giddins This timeless collection of deadly traps might win you games in just a handful of moves! The book focuses on established opening traps that club players are most likely to fall for. Also available on Chess Studio.

“To my delight and amazement [my opponent] fell straight into the trap” – Alec Toll, OPEN FILE Learn Chess John Nunn Starting with the very basics, this book tells you everything you need to know to become a successful chess-player. No prior knowledge is assumed. The reader learns step-by-step, with each new point illustrated by clear examples. By the end of the book, the reader will be fully ready to take on opponents across the board, or on the Internet, and start winning. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

“an excellent primer. The prose is lucid and the presentation systematic; an adult reader with no prior knowledge of the game will be taught all he needs to know” – James Vigus, DRAGON Chess for Children

Also available on Chess Studio.

Murray Chandler and Helen Milligan

Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

With this charming book, children will delight in learning the basic moves of chess. All the rules are explained step by step, assuming no prior knowledge. The lessons are reinforced by the inventive tales that George is told by his pet alligator Kirsty, self-proclaimed Grand Alligator of chess.

“a magnificent achievement, by far the finest book I’ve ever seen on the subject of practical play” – GM Matthew Sadler, NEW IN CHESS Understanding Chess Endgames

Chess is widely recognized as a useful tool for developing creative thinking in children, yet the rules of the game are straightforward. With this book, even children as young as five can enjoy exciting games and will thoroughly enjoy outwitting friends and relatives. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“...the best book of its type ever published” – Peter Connor, CHESSCOUNTRY.COM “The highly professional design of this book commends it for use in chess lessons for beginners” – Dr W. Schweizer, ROCHADE

those that play Bg5 or Be3 since so many different lines for Black are analysed here.” – Hedinn Steingrimsson, WWW.SCHACH-WELT.DE Play the Alekhine Valentin Bogdanov The Alekhine is arguably the most forcing and aggressive reply to 1 e4. Black immediately forces the pace and drags the game onto his own favoured territory. Those who specialize in the Alekhine find that the opening has a real practical sting and quickstrike potential. The coverage in this book is evenhanded, and there are abundant ideas presented to both sides.

Grandmaster Secrets: The Caro-Kann

Also available on Chess Studio.

Peter Wells

“This is Bogdanov’s third book for Gambit, showing that this quality publishing house trusts the author – and why wouldn’t they? The language is fluent and informative, and the sample games are well chosen and instructive.” – Marko Tauriainen, SUOMEN SHAKKI

The Caro-Kann is one of the most popular responses to 1 e4. Black stakes a claim to the central squares and seeks free development for all his pieces. While solid, it is by no means a drawing weapon – the resulting positions generally contain at least a degree of imbalance and the critical lines lead to sharp positions with chances for both sides. Many new approaches for both sides have been developed in recent years, and a good understanding of these ideas is vital for anyone looking to handle either side of the Caro with success.

Chess Explained: The Queen’s Gambit Declined James Rizzitano

“I would be quick to pick up this book as an e4 player or if I defended it with the Caro-Kann. Wells really focuses on how to play the opening by presenting a wide range of ideas for both sides. Explanations abound ... the analysis and coverage is outstanding.” – Lou Mercuri, CHESS HORIZONS

The Queen’s Gambit Declined is one of the most important and popular of chess openings. Both sides have ways to create imbalance and test their opponent’s skills and knowledge in a full-blooded struggle. In addition to the traditional main lines with Bg5, White has at his disposal the Exchange Variation, and the Bf4 system, both of which can be handled in highly aggressive style if he wishes. Rizzitano covers all these lines and a plethora of other important options, focusing on the fundamental ideas on which they are based.

Play the Najdorf Sicilian

Also available on Chess Studio.

Also available on Chess Studio.

James Rizzitano The Najdorf Sicilian has a unique place amongst chess openings: for several decades it has been regarded by the top grandmasters as the best way for Black to play soundly for a win against 1 e4. James Rizzitano, a battle-hardened Sicilian warrior, distils the most important ideas and themes from current practice to provide an ideal guide for those looking to succeed as White or Black in the Najdorf in the modern scientific era. Also available on Chess Studio.

“A good book for those that want to start playing the Najdorf with Black and also recommendable for Najdorf players not the least because it is very much up to date and includes state of the art knowledge about the lines presented. Also quite useful for players that face the Najdorf with White, specially

“I should also loudly call attention to Rizzitano’s new, well-written, and amazingly well-researched Chess Explained: The Queen’s Gambit Declined...” – John Watson, THE WEEK IN CHESS Chess Explained: The French Viacheslav Eingorn and Valentin Bogdanov The French appeals to a wide range of chess temperaments: it is solid yet uncompromising, and with a variety of chaotic variations to appeal to the most bloodthirsty of players, but also offering more tranquil lines to those seeking a quieter existence. Chess Explained books provide an understanding of an opening and the middlegames to which it leads, enabling you to find the right moves and plans in your own games. Also available on Chess Studio.

“...if you are considering utilizing the French as a weapon against 1 e4, then this book is a very good and inexpensive way of deciding if the opening is for you. It will give you a solid grounding in fundamental positional ideas and typical tactics in the French.” – Munroe Morrison, OPEN FILE Chess Explained: The Classical Sicilian Alex Yermolinsky

“If you like aggression when you play Black then this book is for you. It creates immediate imbalance and again it is crucial to know how to handle this opening as White too.” – Carl Portman, DEFENCE FOCUS Chess Explained: The Nimzo-Indian Reinaldo Vera

Also available on Chess Studio.

The Nimzo-Indian is one of the most important of all chess openings, and popular at all levels of play. It provides winning chances for both sides as it leads to structures of great strategic variety and complexity. Key battlegrounds in the Nimzo include the blockade, IQP positions, the handling of unbalanced pawn-structures, and the struggle between bishop and knight. An understanding of these topics will prove valuable in a very broad context.

Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

Also available on Chess Studio.

“Yermo’s book represents a good way to get to grips with this sound and interesting opening system.” – Phil Adams, 3Cs website

“This is a very well-written book with enough analytical material to launch your Nimzo-Indian career, and more than enough explanation to justify the series title.” – John Watson, THE WEEK IN CHESS

The Classical (1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 Nc6) is one of the most popular and respected systems of the Sicilian. Black develops his pieces more quickly than in many Sicilian systems, and intricate piece-play often results. Yermolinsky covers lines that retain the independent significance of the Classical move-order, such as 6 Bc4 Qb6 – a line in which he is a leading specialist.

Chess Explained: The c3 Sicilian Sam Collins The c3 Sicilian is one of White’s most popular and poisonous ways to avoid the main lines of the Sicilian. With the forcing line 1 e4 c5 2 c3, White denies his opponent the chance to demonstrate his preparation in some chaotic system. There are plenty of tricks and traps in the c3 Sicilian, and the open piece-play that often results can lead to quick attacks and means that careless play will rarely go unpunished. Also available on Chess Studio.

“...the format is well suited to the average club player who wishes to start using this variation.” – David Mills, TIME TROUBLE Chess Explained: The Grünfeld Valentin Bogdanov The Grünfeld creates immediate imbalance: Black strikes at White’s centre with all available resources. In the main lines, White creates a large pawn-centre and launches an attack. While the theory of these lines has been extensively developed, there is a coherent logical thread that needs to be understood in order to get to grips with the theory and handle the resulting positions. This book features a special contribution from Viacheslav Eingorn on the key ideas of the Rb1 Exchange main line, which he was instrumental in developing. Also available on Chess Studio.

Chess Explained: The Queen’s Indian Peter Wells The Queen’s Indian is an important and popular opening at all levels of play. Black’s flexible stance allows him to choose between a range of solid and dynamic structures. In turn, White can play flexibly, opposing Black’s fianchetto, or can try to force the pace in the centre and start a hand-to-hand fight. It is an opening rich in nuances, and many of the modern main lines involve moves that look extravagant, but are backed up by a deep underlying logic. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

“The annotations in particular really impressed me, for the author actually did explain what was happening at every stage of the game. Everything appeared logical as I played through the games and read the annotations. Where alternatives are given, you are told why a certain move is good or bad, not just the fact that it is so. Peter Wells is to be congratulated on presenting everything so lucidly.” – Alan Sutton, EN PASSANT Chess Explained: The Modern Benoni Zenon Franco The Modern Benoni is one of the few openings where White has no easy way to force drawish simplifications or deny Black any dynamic counterplay. In this book Franco shows how Black can seek to create the kind of mayhem that has

attracted champions such as Tal, Kasparov and Topalov to the Benoni, and also demonstrates how White can seek either to put a positional clamp on the game, or else to storm Black’s position before his development is complete. A special section deals with the vital question of move-orders. Also available on Chess Studio.

“These books provide 25 well annotated, up to date model games which you can use to guide you when learning the openings. Excellent introduction to these openings for intermediate players.” – Paul Dunn, AUSTRALIAN CHESS Chess Explained: The Meran Semi-Slav Reinaldo Vera Belying its solid classical appearance, the Semi-Slav is one of Black’s most aggressive responses when White opens with the queen’s pawn. The Meran is its traditional main line, and often leads to chaotic positions of immense strategic and tactical richness. Vera draws upon decades of personal experience to explain the underlying logic of the Meran and related lines, and to pick out the key features of positions that to the untrained eye might appear random and unfathomable. Also available on Chess Studio.

“What he offers is honesty! I like that. It means to me you can trust the rest of the book because he is honest about his own contribution.” – Bob Long, WWW.CHESSCO.COM Chess Explained: The Taimanov Sicilian James Rizzitano The Taimanov Sicilian is one of the most flexible options for Black in the Open Sicilian. It leads to a great variety of central structures, and the player with the better understanding of typical Sicilian themes will often emerge victorious – Taimanov positions need to be understood well in order to be played well. This book covers the Paulsen set-up with ...Qc7 in addition to the ‘pure’ Taimanov with ...Nge7. Also available on Chess Studio.

“I’m really impressed with how thorough and helpful the explanations are. I’m quite sure that anyone interested in taking up the Taimanov would learn a lot from this book – in fact, the average club player would probably be able to make do with this as his or her one and only Taimanov book.” – S. Evan Kreider, WWW.CHESSVILLE.COM Chess Explained: The Main-Line Slav David Vigorito

The Main-Line Slav is one of the key battlegrounds of modern chess, with adherents among all levels of chess-players. This book discusses all major lines following the moves 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 3 Nf3 Nf6 4 Nc3 dxc4. Vigorito dissects the most important themes and nuances, placing them firmly in the context of the practical struggle, making sure that readers will be familiar with the resources at their disposal, and understand when to employ them. Also available on Chess Studio.

“...a solid understanding of the pawn-structures and piece-play will be the main factor in the success of any player who takes on this opening. ... As an introductory work to the Main-Line Slav, this book is an excellent place to start” – Carsten Hansen, WWW.CHESSCAFE.COM Chess Explained: The English Opening Zenon Franco The English Opening is a flexible and dynamic choice for White, which avoids a great deal of sharp and well-mapped opening theory. It is popular with all levels of chess-players, and has been used to good effect at world championship level by Kasparov, Korchnoi, Botvinnik and other greats of the game. The English gives rise to an immense variety of structures, ranging from reversed Sicilians to Hedgehogs and fluid or locked central structures. Also available on Chess Studio.

“Altogether I found this book really helpful in both the white as well as the black side of this opening.” – Andy May, WWW.NSGCHESS.COM Nunn’s Chess Endings Volume 1 John Nunn Going beyond standard texts, Dr Nunn shows how to apply knowledge of standard endgames to find the right methods in tricky real-life practical situations – even when they differ greatly from the idealized forms given by traditional endgame manuals. Nunn shows that lack of familiarity with key ideas can cause important ideas and themes to be missed even by very strong players. We discover that a staggering amount of previously published endgame analysis is simply wrong, and that many of the standard guidelines are at best partially true. This first volume covers general topics and discusses in detail pawn endings, queen endings and minor-piece endings. Also available on Chess Studio.

“I think this really is a fantastic book. ... The book’s introduction and the first chapter (The Three Key Endgame Skills) are some of the best endgame-

related chess prose I’ve read in a long time.” – Arne Moll, CHESSVIBES.COM Nunn’s Chess Endings Volume 2 John Nunn In this award-winning two-volume series, Dr John Nunn identifies new and important motifs which occur repeatedly in over-the-board play. Tactical elements are heavily featured, and the focus is on endgames that are susceptible to concrete analysis. The discussion is geared to the over-the-board player; the ideas underlying the analysis – however complex – are richly explained in words. This second volume focuses on rook endgames – the most common and important category of practical endgames. Nunn also covers endings with rooks and minor pieces, a wide and rich area of strategic endgame play that is universally recognized as vital for chess mastery, but nevertheless neglected in chess literature.

Igor Stohl This second volume covers Kasparov’s career from 1993 up to his retirement in 2005, a period during which he successfully faced the challenge of a new generation and achieved some of his greatest successes, both creatively and competitively. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“Congratulations to Gambit and to Igor Stohl for this masterpiece! As a matter of fact I would like at this point to state how much this book for me personally constitutes an absolute milestone in the field of chess books, but extraordinary quality needs no more words. ... sets new standards in the field of commentary and presentation of mastergames! Categorically a must-buy!” – Martin Rieger, WWW.FREECHESS.DE

Endgame Challenge John Nunn

Also available on Chess Studio.

“The book is in many respects different and better than the majority of the other books on the endgame where often the inspiration of the author languishes after a few chapters. ... the reader undoubtedly takes profit even from a passive or lazy reading: so great is the way the author explains complex positions making them easy and appealing to any range of audience” – Martin Eden, SOLOSCACCHI Garry Kasparov’s Greatest Chess Games Volume 1 Igor Stohl Garry Kasparov dominated the chess world for more than twenty years. His dynamism and preparation set an example that is followed by most ambitious players. Igor Stohl has selected 74 of Kasparov’s best and most instructive games from 1973 to 1993, and annotated them in detail. The emphasis is on explaining the thoughts behind Kasparov’s decisions, and the principles and concepts embodied by his moves. Stohl provides a wealth of fresh insights into these landmark games, together with many new analytical points. This makes the book outstanding study material for all chess enthusiasts.

John Nunn presents 250 challenging positions where your task is to find a cunning way to win or draw. In many cases the odds against success seem overwhelming, yet by using all the tactical resources in the position it is possible to achieve the goal. Nunn’s detailed solutions contain many points and clarifications that have hitherto gone unmentioned, so readers will rarely be left to wonder whether their intended solution really did work. In an over-theboard game, the ability to use the pieces in harmony is paramount, and those players who can exploit every resource in a position are those who become champions. While the focus in this book is on tactics, readers will also develop a greater understanding of many important endgame topics, such as fortresses, stalemate defences, the opposition and zugzwang. Also available on Chess Studio.

“The first 50 pages contain 250 diagrams to solve, and then we get 250 pages of shocking solutions – shocking in the sense that even world-class players might draw or even resign positions, when beautiful and unlikely possibilities still exist” – Bab Wilders, NEDERLANDS DAGBLAD

Also available on Chess Studio.

John Nunn’s Chess Course

Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

John Nunn

“[Stohl] often improves on Kasparov’s past comments. It is one of this year’s best books, and it could be a great help to Kasparov in preparation of his own works about his career.” – GM Lubomir Kavalek, WASHINGTON POST Garry Kasparov’s Greatest Chess Games Volume 2

Following on from his successful books Understanding Chess Endgames and Understanding Chess Middlegames, John Nunn fleshes out the theory by showing how World Champion Emanuel Lasker handled a wide variety of practical situations. We see how Lasker’s play, which his opponents found so unfathomable, was based on logic, extreme

pragmatism and a deep understanding of how chessplayers think. Nunn covers topics not usually considered, such as queenless middlegames and manoeuvring, and dissects strategic issues including piece-activity, pawn-structure and bishop vs knight. He looks at psychological aspects of chess, such as choosing lines which are most uncomfortable for the opponent. The explanations focus on general ideas rather than detailed analysis. The book concludes with a selection of exercises, with full commentary and explanation.

How can one determine if a piece is weak or strong? Or if a square is weak or strong? These are the principal questions that grandmaster and trainer Dražen Marović addresses in this important book. By discussing carefully-chosen games and positions, Marović explains how to recognize good and bad features of positions, and how to make use of one’s advantages and exploit the opponent’s weaknesses.

Also available on Chess Studio.

Also available on Chess Studio.

Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

“Now and again, amongst the hundreds of new books published, a jewel arrives. ... Choosing to examine chess strategy, tactics, etc., through the medium of the career of one player satisfies two objectives – one, the biographical chess career of a world champion and the other, all techniques necessary to become a proficient chess-player. Nunn succeeds magnificently in achieving this. When I was involved in running a chess stall at congresses, many times I faced the question ‘Can you recommend a chess book that I can read?’. Now, I would not struggle to find an answer.” – Bill Frost, CHESS DEVON

“As in his previous works, Marović’s deep knowledge shines through and he makes welcome use of classics and not just recent games. This work looks at many important positional principles, such as the weakness of the second rank or the use of rooks on half-open files ... the club player who takes time to study its many themes, and hundreds of wellexplained examples, should significantly boost the depth of their positional understanding memory bank” – Richard Palliser

Win with the Stonewall Dutch

Good defensive abilities earn players a great many half-points and full-points. The climax of the defence is the launching of a devastating counterattack, a skill at which all the great chess champions have been adept. Of particular interest to club players is Marin’s discussion of how to defend against unsound attacks, and the problem of how to parry the attack while retaining winning chances. Other topics include attack and defence in equal positions, where both sides must judge carefully how much of their resources to devote to the attack and the counter-attack. The main subject, though, is the case where the defender is fighting for his life, and must decide how to maximize his chances of survival. Marin considers psychological issues and explains the main options available to the defender: simplification, cold-blooded defence, a positional sacrifice, ‘blackmailing’ the attacker, or a counterattack.

Sverre Johnsen, Ivar Bern and Simen Agdestein The Stonewall Dutch is a traditional favourite amongst club players, as it offers Black ready-made attacking plans on the kingside. As Bent Larsen noted, the Dutch also has the tendency to ‘bring out the coward’ in opponents, giving it an added practical sting. However, up until the late 1980s, the Stonewall wasn’t fully trusted at grandmaster level, despite its earlier use by Alekhine and Botvinnik. Black’s attacking plans were too one-sided, and White’s methods too well worked out. The change came when a new generation of players, including Nigel Short and Simen Agdestein, showed that Black could handle his position in many other ways, including play on the queenside and in the centre, with the ‘Stonewall’ structure stifling White’s attempts to generate play of his own. Agdestein in particular has continued to experiment with many new set-ups and move-orders for Black, and this book contains a wealth of new recommendations and suggestions based on this work. Also available on Chess Studio.

“An outstanding book ... Not only do the authors rehabilitate an underestimated opening – they even do so by means of inspiring chapters supported by the personal experiences of leading experts.” – GM Peter Heine Nielsen, SKAKBLADET

Secrets of Positional Chess Dražen Marović

Secrets of Chess Defence Mihail Marin

“Chess defence is invariably the part of the game that a lot of players don’t like to study because they find it too boring or they’d rather attack like Tal. In this his first publication, Mihail has written a book that will change your mind about defence as an important element to the game.” – Michael Stevenson, NEW ZEALAND CHESS Secrets of Attacking Chess Mihail Marin

What are the premises for a successful attack? Marin discusses the traditional concept that a player with the advantage is obliged to attack, and also the value of notions of logic and justice in deciding whether to attack. If we believe an attack is justified, but cannot back it up with concrete variations, how do we decide whether to trust our intuition? Marin surveys typical attacking scenarios, such an attack on two wings, with a queenside attack as a prelude for a swift strike on the other wing, and all-out attacks against apparently well-defended positions. He also explains why grandmasters generally prefer to maintain as many options as possible, and investigates the role of prophylactic thinking in attacking play. Also available on Chess Studio.

“A quick glance at Secrets of Attacking Chess might prove somewhat intimidating. While there is plenty of explanatory prose Marin believes in backing up his conclusions with concrete analysis. A closer look reveals that Marin has a definite pedagogical bent and has taken pains to sprinkle instructive comments throughout the book that are destined to stay with the reader. Highly Recommended.” – IM John Donaldson, JEREMYSILMAN.COM

real practical sting. The authors of this new book seek to maximize this sting in two principal ways. Firstly, by explaining in detail the typical plans for White, they help readers to make the most of their chances, whether they are based on a kingside attack, queenside penetration, central play, or transition to a favourable endgame. Secondly, they advocate some subtle move-orders that limit Black’s options, and give White possibilities to change the nature of the game and go straight for the kill if Black responds casually or inappropriately. These move-orders have been tested successfully by coauthor Kovačević at grandmaster level, and much of the analysis presented here is of totally new variations, and is previously unpublished. Covers all responses to 1 d4 against which White can use the London System. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

“This is a first-class book, extremely well written, about a system that for too long has had its light hidden under a bushel.” – Michael Stevenson, NEW ZEALAND CHESS How to Play Chess Endgames

Vishy Anand: World Chess Champion

Karsten Müller and Wolfgang Pajeken

Vishy Anand and John Nunn

In this companion volume to the award-winning Fundamental Chess Endings, Müller and Pajeken focus on the practical side of playing endgames. They cover all aspects of strategic endgames, with particular emphasis on thinking methods, and ways to create difficulties for opponents over the board. Using hundreds of outstanding examples from modern practice, the authors explain not only how to conduct ‘classical’ endgame tasks, such as exploiting an extra pawn or more active pieces, but also how to handle the extremely unbalanced endings that often arise from the dynamic openings favoured nowadays. All varieties of endgames are covered, and there are more than 200 exercises for the reader, together with full solutions.

Anand has been one of the world’s top players for more than two decades, but it’s not just his results that make Anand special. His style of play leads to highly spectacular games, and his speed of thought is the stuff of legends. He is also a great explainer of ideas, as his annotations for this book demonstrate. Anand is renowned as ‘Mr Nice Guy’, popular with both the public and his fellow supergrandmasters. This new expanded edition of the award-winning Vishy Anand: My Best Games of Chess features 30 extra games from the period of Anand’s greatest successes, selected by Anand and annotated by John Nunn, and also contains a biographical sketch and a detailed career record. “This book is full of wonderful games, many of which are tremendously complex, and occasionally the variations run to a considerable depth – neither Anand nor Nunn refrains from showing concrete variations, where the position warrants it. But both offer a nice balance of explanatory annotation as well, so there is a great deal of instructional value in here as well.” – GM Luke McShane, NEW IN CHESS Win with the London System Sverre Johnsen and Vlatko Kovačević The London System is a perennial favourite of club players, as it is a very sound and solid system with a

Also available on Chess Studio.

“Karsten Müller rose to the Mount Olympus of endgame literature with Fundamental Chess Endings. ... His latest book, How to Play Chess Endings, with colleague Wolfgang Pajeken, is a sequel to that standard work.” – Harry Schaack, KARL 101 Winning Chess Strategies Angus Dunnington Without strategy, a chess game is just a series of tactical tricks. A good strategy binds together the tactics, and enables a player to make methodical

progress towards victory. This book makes sure you will never be short of winning strategies. Angus Dunnington utilizes his many years of chess playing and training to provide an arsenal of ideas that can be employed in many types of position. These plans have been proven in many grandmaster games, so you can be sure that by using them your game will be soundly based. Also available on Chess Studio.

“...a useful book for players seeking to improve their creativity and piece coordination” – Alan Borwell, SCOTTISH CORRESPONDENCE CHESS The Dynamic English Tony Kosten In the first book to explain the popular English Opening for many years, Grandmaster Kosten supplies players of the white side with a set of weapons that will equip them to challenge any opponent they face. Kosten concentrates on aggressive treatments of the English – an approach that has brought him great success in tournament play. His book provides everything you need to start attacking with the English Opening. Also available on Chess Studio.

“Grandmaster Tony Kosten, a great exponent of this line, makes out a compelling case for this opening. He conveys his understanding with great skill” – IM Craig Pritchett, THE HERALD A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire for White John Watson Such has been the acclaim for John Watson’s ground-breaking works on modern chess strategy and his insightful opening books, that it is only natural that he now presents a strategic opening repertoire. The repertoire is based on 1 d4 and 2 c4, following up with methodical play in the centre. Watson uses his vast opening knowledge to pick cunning move-orders and poisonous sequences that will force opponents to think for themselves, providing a true test of chess understanding. Throughout, he discusses strategies for both sides, so readers will be fully ready to pounce on any inaccuracies, and have all the tools to decide on the most appropriate plans for White. Also available on Chess Studio.

“Watson’s Secrets of Modern Chess Strategy I consider as one of the best books ever written! So for me Watson is the big star among chess book authors and I presume that all his books are best sellers – and that this last one, A Strategic Chess Opening Repertoire for White, also will be that” – GM Simen Agdestein, VERDENS GANG

John Nunn’s Chess Puzzle Book John Nunn Most chess puzzle books put you in an artificial situation: you are told a combination exists, what the theme is and what you are required to achieve. This one is different. In a real game, a player may sometimes need to find a combination. On the other hand he may have to reject a tactical idea and simply find a good positional move. His task is to find the right move, whatever it may be. The 300 puzzles in this book put you precisely in that situation. Spectacular ideas abound in these positions, but it is for you to decide whether to go in for them, or whether you would be falling into a trap. If you need them, there are hints to help you on your way. The book ends with a series of tests to measure your skills against those of other players. Also available on Chess Studio.

“I think puzzle books serve as a great training tool before tournaments, to sharpen up tactics and help players to get into the groove of being able to calculate some lengthy variations. I don’t have a great deal of puzzle books but this is clearly the best one on my bookshelf!” – GM Stephen Gordon, 3CS CHESS Secrets of Pawn Endings Karsten Müller and Frank Lamprecht This book provides a thorough course in endings with just kings and pawns, from the simple to the highly complex. Armed with this knowledge, the reader will also be able to tackle other types of endgame with greater confidence and certainty. Many interesting and beautiful positions are included, and there are test positions for the reader to solve. The authors follow the rigorously logical conventions introduced by John Nunn in his famous series of endgame manuals. This has necessitated a phenomenal amount of new analysis of theoretical positions to assess precisely the merits of each and every move. Also available on Chess Studio.

“For years, Secrets of Pawn Endings has been one of my favorite endgame books. Müller and Lamprecht have written a book of great theoretical and practical significance. Secrets of Pawn Endings is a musthave.” – Josh Specht, CHESSVIDEOS.TV Secrets of Rook Endings John Nunn The first edition of this book ushered in a new era in chess publishing. It was the first book based on computer-generated position databases that are guaranteed to provide the actual result of a position.

However, this book is no computer print-out. It takes a human ‘oracle’ to extract the useful information from this mass of data and to identify new principles to help the rest of us appreciate the key practical points. Dr John Nunn, top-class grandmaster and renowned theoretician, performs this role admirably. He has identified where previous theory has been overturned, and where there are important new results. Dr Nunn was also the first to reveal the general importance of the many ‘reciprocal zugzwang’ positions. Also available on Chess Studio.

“I am sure that in fifty years’ time Secrets of Rook Endings will be regarded as one of the great classics of the twentieth century. It is as close as any book can ever realistically come to perfection on its subject.” – GM Julian Hodgson, BRITISH CHESS MAGAZINE Secrets of Pawnless Endings John Nunn After the success of Secrets of Rook Endings, John Nunn turns his attention towards endgames without pawns. These occur surprisingly often in practice and are extremely tactical in nature. This book unites man and machine in the search for ultimate answers. The computer databases created by Ken Thompson, formerly of Bell Laboratories, can state with certainty the correct result of any position with five pieces or fewer. John Nunn has extracted the most important information from these databases and presented it in the form of guidelines and specific key positions, which can be more readily digested by the human mind. With most competitive games these days being played to a finish in a single session, this knowledge may prove invaluable over the board. This is a new and expanded edition of an important book. Since the first edition was published, the databases for six-man endings have been created, resulting in some surprising and paradoxical discoveries. The coverage has therefore been expanded to include the most interesting features of these endings. Also available on Chess Studio.

“...a treasure trove of the precisely extraordinary, with considerable practical value for more serious players in the earlier sections” – GM Jon Speelman, THE INDEPENDENT Secrets of Grandmaster Chess John Nunn This book, originally published in 1997, is an updated edition of Secrets of Grandmaster Play,

which was hailed as a modern classic and won the British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award in 1988. It covers Nunn’s career from childhood up to 1985 and features 24 of John Nunn’s best and most instructive games, including his award-winning 1985 victory over Beliavsky. This superb manual of strategy and tactics also offers advice on how to think at the board and insights into the world of professional chess. Also available on Chess Studio.

“A beautifully eloquent and instructive blend of variations and verbal explanations.” – INSIDE CHESS John Nunn’s Best Games John Nunn Winner of the British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award John Nunn has an unparalleled reputation as a chess theoretician and writer of the highest class. In this book he focuses his attention on his own games and annotates 40 complete games and many game fragments. The book covers the period 1985-93, when Nunn rose to enter the world top 10, and includes victories over Short, Tal, Korchnoi, Anand, Gelfand, Portisch, Judit Polgar and many other top players. The analysis of these games provides a manual of attacking chess from one of the world’s best tacticians. This book is far more than a collection of superbly analysed games, however, since the author has brought the games to life with anecdotes from the events, and provides many practical tips which will be of benefit to aspiring chess players of all levels of ability. Also available on Chess Studio.

“[Nunn’s] combination of erudition and straightforwardness makes him a particularly good subject to emulate. ... Perhaps the high point of this collection is Nunn’s 25-move victory over Sokolov of the USSR at the Dubai Olympiad, 1986. Wiping a top Soviet player off the board so unceremoniously was something that British players simply never did until Nunn and Tony Miles came along.” – T.D. Welsh, ‘Top 500’ reviewer Dynamic Pawn Play in Chess Dražen Marović This book tackles fundamental questions such as: ‘How should pawns be used to fight for the centre?’ and ‘How does the central pawn formation affect planning for both sides?’ These issues are central to understanding chess. Marović discusses central pawn-structures and their impact on play both in the centre and on the wings. He begins by surveying

how the pawn’s role in controlling the centre has been developed over the last 150 years, and how this has led to the refinement of concepts such as the ‘dynamic’ backward pawn and the positional exchange sacrifice. The bulk of the book is devoted to discussions of the main type of centre: Open Centre; Closed/Blocked Centre; Fixed Centre; and in particular the Mobile/Dynamic Centre. “Marović has obviously been in the company of some of the greatest players and listened carefully to what they had to say ... this book is excellent value and is sure to improve your chess” – Chris Rice, WEEKEND CHESS The Survival Guide to Rook Endings John Emms For all chess-players – from beginners to grandmasters, and whatever their style of play – one thing is certain: rook endings will arise in a great many of their games. Yet it is precisely in this area of the game that many players give away hardearned points, either through lack of knowledge or inadequate understanding. Most previous books on the subject have been extremely technical and theoretical, but this one is different. John Emms provides the essential specific knowledge and explains the key concepts that will enable readers to find the right plan in most common types of rook endings. Also available on Chess Studio.

“If you didn’t purchase this book first time around then I think you missed out. Rook endgame knowledge is at the core of endgame theory. Many club players would save a huge amount of points by having the confidence to go into a rook endgame, especially when a pawn or two down.” – Munroe Morrison, OPEN FILE The Giant Chess Puzzle Book Zenon Franco More than anything else, a player’s ability to find tactical solutions determines how successful he is over-the-board. No endgame scheme, opening idea or strategic plan, however brilliant a concept it may be, is of any value unless it is accurately calculated and implemented. This book provides a wealth of chess puzzles to test just about every facet of your tactical ability. Franco has searched recent events and used powerful computers to seek out previously unpublished puzzles, and has also drawn extensively upon Latin American sources that he has been scouring for brilliant examples over the last three decades. The book begins with 120 relatively easy positions suitable for novices, and ends with 80 extremely tough puzzles, which provide a mind-

bending challenge even for grandmasters. There are 1001 puzzles in all, including themed sections and graded tests, all with detailed computer-verified solutions and verbal explanations of the main instructive points. “Most of the positions will not have been seen before in other publications and you will not fail to improve your game – certainly your tactical awareness – if you have the discipline to work through this lovely book. Chess problems are like life. We are given a question and we don’t always know the answer. Is it right to turn away and not try to find that answer? Maybe we should just roll up our sleeves and meet that challenge head on; after all the answers are all there, waiting to be found. Enjoy the journey and absorb yourself in just some of the delightful mysteries of the 64 squares.” – Carl Portman, DEFENCE FOCUS The Cambridge Springs Krzysztof Panczyk and Jacek Ilczuk The Cambridge Springs is a popular defence to the Queen’s Gambit that takes its name from the famous tournament in 1904 during which it was tested in a number of games. Since then it has become firmly established as a club-player’s favourite, since Black sets a number of traps and can generate a very quick initiative if White fails to respond precisely. Several world champions have used the Cambridge Springs, most notably Alekhine and Smyslov, while Kasparov has played it on occasion, including a sensationally quick victory over Karpov in 1985. The authors combine thorough research with a wealth of original material to offer comprehensive coverage of this combative system. While the main body of the book covers both sides of the Cambridge Springs, it also offers Black a repertoire against White’s alternative options in the Queen’s Gambit, the most important of which is the Exchange Variation. “A professional effort where the authors have made their own contributions and have overturned longheld erroneous conclusions. I’m quite happy giving it 9/10” – GM Glenn Flear, NEW IN CHESS Understanding the King’s Indian Mikhail Golubev Despite its sharp and aggressive nature, the King’s Indian is an opening that lends itself well to discussion in terms of plans, ideas and pawnstructures. Those who are familiar with these underlying themes will enjoy an enormous practical advantage when facing those who lack this understanding, even if they are theoretically wellprepared. This engaging personal account of the

King’s Indian is also wide-ranging and detailed. The main games are all from Golubev’s own practice, enabling him to provide a completely accurate description of the decisions at the board. The notes contain a wealth of references to games and ideas from other King’s Indian specialists, and the coverage is sufficient to provide Black with a flexible and aggressive repertoire.

Volokitin’s own games, so we get the ‘inside story’ on some truly spectacular chess. We are also presented with fine examples from Grabinsky’s training files, carefully collected and graded over the years for their instructive merit. The commentaries and detailed solutions explain the key issues in each position, and also convey the authors’ philosophy of chess and their love for the game.

“If you work with this book, you will affirm that the author is with you in the tiniest details, thorough, self-critical, and comprehensively analytical” – E. Carl, ROCHADE

Also available on Chess Studio.

How to Calculate Chess Tactics Valeri Beim Thinking methods are at the heart of the chess struggle, yet most players devote little conscious effort to improving their calculating ability. Much of the previous literature on the subject has presented idealized models that have limited relevance to the hurly-burly of practical chess, or else provide little more than ad hoc suggestions. Here, experienced trainer Valeri Beim strikes a balance by explaining how to use intuition and logic together to solve tactical problems in a methodical way. He also offers advice on when it is best to calculate ‘like a machine’, and when it is better to rely on intuitive assessment. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“One of Beim’s insights is that, when we find a beautiful combination that fails, we’re often halfway to finding the move we should play. The opponent’s strength that breaks our attack is precisely the target we should set about undermining. ... Beim shares with us a set of tools that, once mastered, appear well-designed for rapid, effective calculation in the critical positions that separate the master from the amateur.” – Derek Grimmell, CHESSCAFE.COM Perfect Your Chess Andrei Volokitin and Vladimir Grabinsky Andrei Volokitin is one of a rare breed of players: he achieved a ranking in the world’s top 20 while still a teenager, playing dynamic and often brilliant chess. Although we cannot all aspire to emulate his achievements, there is much that we can learn from his training methods, his games and his general approach to chess. These topics are the subject of this book, written in collaboration with his trainer. The core material of the book is 369 positions where the reader is given a task or asked a question. These tasks resemble those that players regularly face over the board, and are especially useful from a training viewpoint. Many of the positions are from

“I had the opportunity to ask 21-year-old GM Valery Aveskulov, how it was that the Ukraine produced so many great young talents. I had already factored in a tradition of excellence, government and private support, and an economically challenging environment in which being a chess professional did not look so bad, but Valery added one more key ingredient – good coaching. One of the best he said was IM Grabinsky of Lvov and then rattled off a list of teenage IMs and GMs over 2500 on a rapid course toward 2600. Perfect Your Chess is geared towards this level and many of the young talents Aveskulov mentioned have gone through this material which relies on the games of Volokitin and others.” – IM John Donaldson, USA Team Captain Chess Training for Budding Champions Jesper Hall Many chess-players find it difficult to improve their game beyond a certain level. They can see basic tactics, know a little about openings and can calculate a few moves ahead. However, so do their opponents. What is the next level, and how does one get there? This book is aimed at chess-players who have progressed well beyond beginner level and have acquired the basic skills required to play at club level, but need guidance to improve their understanding of chess. It is based on the training program that Hall himself followed when he was an up-and-coming player. The lessons are not based on ‘quick fixes’, but instead provide a well-rounded course in all aspects of chess that will equip the reader well for his chessboard battles, and provide a firm yet flexible basis for further improvement. Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

“The examples are great, the pieces of advice even better and the presentation is logical and easy to follow” – BIBLIOTEKSTJÄNST Play the Sicilian Dragon Edward Dearing The Dragon Variation is one of the key battlegrounds of modern chess, and a perennial favourite of ambitious chess-players of all standards. Black develops his pieces so as to maximize the strategic pluses granted him in the Open Sicilian. If

White is to expose a defect in the Dragon, it must be by a direct attack, and this leads to ferocious battles, with White trying to checkmate the black king via the h-file, while Black seeks to gain counterplay down the c-file and on the long diagonal. In the Dragon, many Sicilian themes are seen in their clearest form, with the ...Rxc3 exchange sacrifice particularly important. Even Dragon endgames tend to be very sharp, with Black often possessing a swathe of mobile pawns in return for an exchange, a piece, or even a whole rook. In hazardous territory, a guide is essential, and Edward Dearing has stepped up to offer his services. He explains at length the allimportant general themes, and advises on how to choose plans and methods, drawing upon his many years of experience and study of the Dragon. Dearing also provides an up-to-date view of Dragon theory, including many new ideas and suggestions to help the reader tailor his Dragon repertoire to suit his own preferences. “This is the new Dragon bible and because of the analysis it will remain essential to every Dragon player for years to come. Gambit’s emphasis has always been on quality and depth, thus giving their books a long shelf life. Play the Sicilian Dragon is a great example of this, and also one of the best opening books in recent years.” – IM John Watson, THE WEEK IN CHESS Mastering the Najdorf Julen Arizmendi and Javier Moreno The Najdorf is the most popular line of the Sicilian Defence for a very good reason: Black can play for a win without taking undue risks. The Najdorf’s fundamental soundness has been confirmed in countless top-level games, and in particular by Garry Kasparov’s successful use of it throughout his career. White has tried a wide variety of approaches against the Najdorf, including quiet positional lines and the traditional main line with 6 Bg5. Recently the idea of a rapid kingside pawn advance has found favour. The Najdorf’s landscape changes rapidly, and this presents its devotees with a complex task: they must not only keep up-to-date with sharp theoretical lines, but must also have a firm grasp of the strategies that underpin the main systems, both old and new. This book lends a helping hand to those who play the Najdorf or wish to take up this complex opening. Two Najdorf experts from Spain present a flexible repertoire for Black, including a wealth of original analysis of the critical variations. They also explain the key ideas behind the Najdorf, focusing on those plans that are most relevant to modern practice.

“If you are interested in taking up the Najdorf, I highly recommend this book if you are looking for a good reference that will let you learn the opening quickly and give you excellent winning chances to boot.” – Bill Whited, CHESS COUNTRY The Quickest Chess Victories of All Time (new enlarged edition) Graham Burgess This updated and expanded new edition contains a comprehensive collection of the shortest decisive games in chess history. It is an indispensable guide to the pitfalls and traps that lurk in every opening system. An ability to punish errors in the opening is an essential aspect of modern opening play. The thousands of games featured in this book show how to detect the opponent’s errors and take maximum advantage. Studying this book will help you seize your chances to win crisp miniature games, while reducing your chances of suffering an opening catastrophe, and overall will improve the level of your opening and tactical play.   

An outstanding and comprehensive collection of games won in thirteen moves or fewer. Explanations of the errors made and how to avoid them. Helps sharpen your killer instinct! Also available on Chess Studio.

“The notes are excellent. Each chapter has a brief summary of the odds of an opening’s difficulty. Transposing move-orders are usually mentioned. Some games have little anecdotes or historical connections. Whenever a game is resigned for lessthan-obvious reasons (as most of these are) Burgess explains the mate threat or material loss to us patzers succinctly and precisely. This is really a book of how not to play openings. It will complement any repertoire books and opening encyclopediae. I highly recommend it for your shelf, even to intermediate players (like me). You might find it entertaining. You will find it useful.” – C. Dunn, reviewer How to Become a Deadly Chess Tactician David LeMoir A guide for chess-players to help them spot unlikely-looking tactical tricks and launch cunning attacks. Readers are shown how to hunt the enemy king and how to seize the initiative with surprising sacrifices. LeMoir shows that the key factors in becoming a deadly tactician are motivation (having the willingness to sacrifice and to consider tactical ideas during play), imagination (being aware of tactical concepts that lead to ideas which other

players might miss) and calculation (being able to analyse and calculate effectively). This user-friendly and humorously written book contains many outstanding examples of seized opportunities, together with guidance on how to spot surprising tactics and handle positions of material imbalance. Throughout, there are exercises for the reader to tackle. Also available on Chess Studio.

“LeMoir has selected his chess material extremely well – there are a huge number of startling examples which I’d never seen before – and his comments are always entertaining or instructive” – GM Matthew Sadler, NEW IN CHESS Play the Open Games as Black John Emms This book fills a gaping chasm in chess literature. For years, those who wish to take on the black side of the Ruy Lopez have had to muddle their way through against the variety of alternative openings at White’s disposal, as there have been no good books to assist them. Grandmaster John Emms is ideally qualified to deal with this subject. Not only does he face these openings as Black, but he also used to play many of them as White before he graduated to the Lopez. He provides no-nonsense answers to such openings as the King’s Gambit, Vienna, Scotch, Four Knights, Italian Game, Bishop’s Opening and the variety of oddball gambits White can try. Also available on Chess Studio.

“I was also impressed by watching the way Magnus [Carlsen, age 10] read chess books. While the others lay around and relaxed or clowned around in their rooms, Magnus lay in his bed and read Grandmaster John Emms’s Play the Open Games as Black, a brilliant book that covers everything but the Ruy Lopez that one can meet when answering 1 e4 with 1...e5. That the book was in English and at a level more suited for top international players did not appear to worry Magnus in the slightest. He didn’t need to get out a board and pieces either, he simply read the games from the book without a problem.” – GM Simen Agdestein, How Magnus Carlsen Became the Youngest Chess Grandmaster in the World Anti-Sicilians: A Guide for Black Dorian Rogozenko The Sicilian is far and away the most popular chess opening. The reason is obvious: it enables Black to fight for victory without taking excessive risks. The Sicilian scores well in practice and is a firm favourite with players of all standards. Given both the Sicilian’s fearsome reputation and the amount of

theoretical preparation required to tackle it head-on, many players prefer to side-step the Open Sicilian with one of the Anti-Sicilian systems at White’s disposal. These include: positionally motivated lines such as the 2 c3 Sicilian and the 3 Bb5 systems; slow but tricky attacking lines including the Closed Sicilian and the King’s Indian Attack; and aggressive but loosening ideas like the Grand Prix Attack and a variety of gambits. This book equips Black to fight against all these lines. In the most critical variations, Rogozenko provides a choice between a solid and an aggressive option. He caters for those who meet 2 Nf3 with the three main moves, 2...d6, 2...e6 and 2...Nc6. Also available on Chess Studio.

“To be blunt, any player who plays the Sicilian Defense as Black must have this book” – Chris Chambers, GEORGIA CHESS 50 Essential Chess Lessons Steve Giddins Steve Giddins has chosen 50 supremely instructive games – some old, some new, and including many that few readers will have seen before. He has annotated these games in detail from a modern perspective, explaining the useful lessons that can be learnt from them, while avoiding the harmful dogma that characterized many older works of this type. Topics include: Attacking the King, Defence, Piece Power, and Endgame Themes. Each game is followed by a recap of the main lessons to be learned. Giddins writes in a highly accessible downto-earth style that appeals to club players seeking to improve their understanding of practical chess. His knowledge of Russian-language chess literature has enabled him to find many excellent examples that have not appeared in previous western literature. Also available on Chess Studio.

“Highly recommended for 1200-2000 players seeking for a game collection, especially those who would like to improve their understanding in middlegame pawn-structures. Giddins tried to update Chernev’s Most Instructive Chess Games but he outdid his teacher.” – CHESSBUG.COM Instructive Modern Chess Masterpieces Igor Stohl Igor Stohl has selected 62 outstanding games from recent years and analysed them in painstaking depth. Here he presents his findings to chess enthusiasts, who will find the games entertaining and the annotations both instructive and illuminating. Stohl is an outstanding theoretical expert, so the opening phase of each game reads like a lesson in the key strategic aspects of the opening chosen, with a

critical survey of modern trends. The middlegame is dissected and the critical decisions subjected to keen scrutiny – we are invited inside Stohl’s laboratory to join him in the quest for the truth. The endgame phase, if reached, is handled with similar erudition, with insights into the grandmaster’s approach to questions of technique. Following each game there is a discussion of the most important lessons to be learned. The expanded and revised new edition of this award-winning work features 12 new top-level games from the period 2000-7 annotated in great depth – about 40% new material. There are also corrections to the existing notes and a revised Introduction. Also available on Chess Studio.

“This is an outstandingly thorough and insightful book. I have greatly enjoyed playing through some of the 50 deeply annotated games and learned a fair amount in the process, including various insights in the opening phase in which Stohl is a renowned expert ... I heartily recommend it” – GM Jonathan Rowson The Gambit Guide to the Torre Attack Graham Burgess An award-winning author provides user-friendly coverage of an opening in which he has a wealth of experience against players of all levels. The Torre Attack is a very attractive system for White as it allows him to set the agenda from the outset, preventing many counterattacking systems. It has quick-strike potential if Black is careless or unfamiliar with the subtleties. The book provides detailed coverage and explanation of the Torre. The main themes are explained, and the critical variations examined in detail. The book focuses squarely on the ideas and systems that are of most relevance to the practical player. The analysis has been checked and revised for this new electronic edition. Also available on Chess Studio.

“A couple of books dealing with the Torre came out early in the nineties, but this superb work by Burgess surpasses them. The Torre is a very flexible set-up and gives White good chances of having a pleasant initiative after 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nf3 e6 with 3 Bg5. The Torre will repay careful study and provide interesting chess. The strategic introduction whets the reader’s appetite right from the word go as Burgess shows, via 12 illustrative games, just how dangerous the Torre is, and readers will realise that by taking up the opening they will have excellent chances of a quick and decisive attack” – IM Richard Palliser, HULL CHESS CLUB MAGAZINE

An Explosive Chess Opening Repertoire for Black Jouni Yrjölä and Jussi Tella This book equips the reader with everything he needs to know to play Black in a game of chess. Two experienced Finnish players have described an exciting repertoire based on the move 1...d6 in reply to whatever White’s first move happens to be. Black’s strategy is hypermodern and dynamic: White is encouraged to seize space, while Black develops his pieces rapidly and actively, waiting for the ideal moment to attack and destroy White’s central bastions. The variations advocated have been proven in top-level play and have quick-strike potential if White is at all careless or imprecise. The repertoire is based around the Pirc Defence and the variations 1 d4 d6 2 c4 e5 and 1 d4 d6 2 Nf3 Bg4, which fit seamlessly together with 1...d6 systems against White’s various flank openings. Also available on Chess Studio.

“To my pleasant surprise the whole book focused solely on Black’s opening move 1...d6. Having dabbled with this a few times myself, I can assure you that the opening is a lot more dazzling than it sounds. The authors appear to have done an extremely diligent job, covering all possibilities for White and, with not far off 300 pages, you get a lot of chess for your money” – GM David Norwood, WEEKEND TELEGRAPH How Chess Games are Won and Lost Lars Bo Hansen Traditionally, chess games have been divided into three stages – opening, middlegame and endgame – and general principles presented for how to handle each stage. All chess-players will be well aware that these principles all too frequently fail to help in their selection of the best move. In this important work, Lars Bo Hansen, grandmaster and professional educator, presents chess as a game of five phases, and explains the do’s and don’ts in each: the opening; the transition to the early middlegame; the middlegame; strategic endgames; technical endgames. With a wealth of examples from both his own practice and that of his colleagues, Hansen discusses the typical mistakes and pitfalls, and shows how to handle the subtleties unique to each stage. He also gives advice on how to work on your chess in each aspect of the game. Of special value is his explanation of how to study typical middlegames, and that middlegame preparation – a neglected area for most players – is both possible and necessary. Also available on Chess Studio.

“Very rarely is so much good advice packed into one book. Hansen considers the lessons to be learned from the way his opening repertoire evolved, pawn structures, advice on swindling, defending, when to seek counterplay, tactics, technical endgames and how to use computers to analyse. This amongst many other ideas. What was particularly impressive to me was the 25 pages of discussion on how to play Queen’s Gambit Exchange structures from the point of view of Black and White. Really good stuff. This may be for the advanced player (1800+), but it’s a real treasure trove of ideas. It is very rare that one volume can contain such a wide breadth of information over the whole spectrum of chess ideas without sacrificing depth. A true ‘desert island’ chess book.” – Munroe Morrison, OPEN FILE Essential Chess Sacrifices David LeMoir Sacrifices are an essential part of chess. Those who never consider sacrificing will miss countless opportunities and find that promising positions repeatedly slip away. Players who do not appreciate their opponents’ sacrificial possibilities will be unable to see danger signs, and find themselves on the wrong end of too many king-hunts. Rather than merely cataloguing the various possibilities and providing examples, LeMoir discusses the possible follow-ups to the sacrifices, the defensive options against them, and the positional factors that might suggest whether the sacrifice will be sound or unsound. There are many important types of chess positions that can only be played well by those who understand the thematic sacrifices that are possible. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as German-language Chess Studio and Kindle editions.

“What makes this book brilliant, is that the concepts and positions examined are part of any top player’s fundamental chess knowledge. However, for the average player, below this aura of invincibility, there is no way to gain such an understanding without help from a teacher such as Mr LeMoir. We cannot sift through games, recognize the themes, make numerous case studies, and figure out what factors lead to success, and what factors let you down. David LeMoir has done this for us, and anyone who devotes some time to this book will emerge a better chess-player.” – Søren Søgaard, SEAGAARD REVIEWS A Course in Chess Tactics Dejan Bojkov and Vladimir Georgiev The advice frequently given to chess-players eager to improve their results is straightforward: study tactics! But there is often little useful guidance as to how this is best done. By solving puzzle positions?

Or endgame studies? By dissecting the games of great tacticians? Few books present a structured approach to tactics, so this book fills a valuable niche in the ambitious player’s library. The authors present each major tactical theme in turn, explaining how it works and providing inspiring examples. They then explain how you can spot the idea in your own games and use it to your advantage. You immediately get a chance to put your knowledge to the test, as there are challenging exercises throughout the whole book, with detailed solutions. The second part of the book offers more advanced material, and takes us inside the professional’s tactics laboratory. Here we see how tactical themes are combined, and employed to achieve strategic goals. We are also shown how grandmasters spot the targets for their breathtaking combinations, which we thus come to see not as sheer witchcraft, but as the product of disciplined thought and training. Also available on Chess Studio.

“The two Bulgarians spend the first part of the book explaining and delineating the elements of tactics (pin, deflection, decoy, discovered attack, etc.) and then move on to some more advanced tactical themes and then top the book off with 40 pages of exercises to reinforce what has been learnt.” – John Saunders, BRITISH CHESS MAGAZINE Chess Endgames for Kids Karsten Müller Most chess games are decided in the endgame. It is here where you reap the reward for your good play, or else use all your cunning to deny the opponent victory. Knowing just a few key endgame techniques will dramatically increase your confidence, as you will understand what positions to aim for and which to avoid. Starting with the basic mates and the simplest pawn endings, this book provides all the endgame knowledge that players need to take them through to club level and beyond. Müller carefully guides us step-by-step through a fascinating range of endgame tactics and manoeuvres, helping us understand the underlying logic. Throughout the book, many cunning endgame tricks are highlighted. You will have fun springing them on friends, family – or your opponents in serious tournaments. Chess Endgames for Kids makes learning chess endgames fun. But it is also a serious endgame course written by a leading endgame expert, and provides a firm basis for vital skills that will develop throughout your chess career. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

“Useful for both young kids and old kids like me!” – GM Matthew Sadler, NEW IN CHESS

Storming the Barricades Larry Christiansen Many books provide training in how to round off a successful attack with a final combination, but that’s really just the easy part. The difficult thing is to decide how and where to attack in the first place, and to build up the offensive without giving the opponent real counterchances. Larry Christiansen is highly respected by his grandmaster colleagues for his ability to conjure up dangerous attacking chances from almost any position. In this book he takes more than 50 real-life positions, breaks each one down into its key elements and explains the right strategy for conducting a successful attack. The examples are selected to illustrate a wide variety of attacking themes and to provide an instructive and accurate picture of how modern players attack and defend. Also available on Chess Studio.

“Christiansen reveals what he has studied to become a master tactician ... in contrast to many attacking books, Christiansen gives fresh examples from recent years, organizing them according to attacking principles” – GM Lubosh Kavalek, WASHINGTON POST A Complete Chess Course Antonio Gude This book is a comprehensive manual for those new to chess, which explains with great clarity the basics of the game. Using innovative methods, Gude ensures that readers quickly grasp each key concept before building on it by introducing new ideas. This is an interactive course. With a total of 280 questions and exercises to tackle, the reader will quickly gain skills rather than mere knowledge. Gude strips the mystery away from tactics and combinations by looking first at the strengths and weaknesses of each piece in isolation, and then showing how they work together with each of the other pieces. He also presents guidelines on chess strategy that will help shape the reader’s understanding of chess, and a wide variety of patterns for the reader’s all-important ‘mental database’. The section on openings explains the main aims of each major opening, and the style of game to which they tend of lead, together with some key variations. Later chapters provide examples of how to launch attacks, putting together the skills from earlier chapters, and deal with issues such as chess training, psychology and competitive chess at club and tournament level. Also available on Chess Studio.

Antonio Gude is an extremely experienced chess writer and teacher from Spain. Several of his books

on tactics and for beginners are long-standing bestsellers in Spanish language. Gude has also translated a great many books, including some of the classics of chess literature. “My fellow teachers at my elementary-middle school have been trying to get a real curriculum for our chess program, and in Gude’s book I think we’ve found it” – Ben George, Houston, Texas Problem Chess: Art and Magic on the Chessboard Göran Forslund This is a book for those who enjoy problem-solving and appreciate clever solutions, and have at least a basic knowledge of chess. It is about the composition and beauty of chess problems: positions forged not in combat but from pure human imagination, and featuring elegant and surprising solutions. The author offers a personal view of chess problems, conveying an infectious zeal for his subject. Because this is as much a collection of short stories as it is a conventional problem collection. No matter how you use the book, you can expect many hours of excitement and a craving for more. Each chapter presents a variety of chess problems of a specific type, ranging from the familiar ‘mate in two’ puzzles via retro-analytical problems worthy of a whodunit novel to 15-move series problems and the ‘outer limits’ of fairy problems (altered rules or pieces). Throughout, the creative processes of problem chess are at the forefront of the discussion. Readers are given the opportunity to solve most of the problems before being presented with the solutions. Or you can simply enjoy reading the book from cover to cover without ever needing to set up a chessboard. Also available on Chess Studio.

Göran Forslund (1958–2015) was a computer software professional with a PhD in computer science, with a focus on artificial intelligence. He published chess compositions in most genres, and won awards in the World Chess Composition Tournament, and several of his problems were selected for the FIDE albums. He also served as a judge in chess composition contests. He played regular chess too, with some success: he was a finalist in both the Swedish Junior Championship and the Swedish Correspondence Chess Cup. “problem books are usually written for the already initiated. But now an exception has been accomplished by Göran Forslund. ... Forslund introduces each chapter with short texts about, for example, ice hockey, film, childhood memories or Einstein’s theory of relativity, and finds relations with chess problems. This makes the book very

special and personal, even a little autobiographical.” – IM Axel Ornstein, TIDSKRIFT FÖR SCHACK Understanding the Scandinavian Sergey Kasparov The appeal of the Scandinavian Defence is easy to understand: it is very forcing – Black is virtually guaranteed to get his desired structure. There are no annoying ‘Anti-Scandinavians’ to study! But for many decades the Scandinavian was regarded with some suspicion, as Black apparently loses time recapturing on d5. Modern players have a different view. The great Danish player Bent Larsen kickstarted the revolution with his provocative assertion that it is an improved Caro-Kann (and, not least, beating Karpov with our opening)! But the 21st-century Scandinavian is a different beast altogether; the new main line of the whole opening (3...Qd6) has proven to have great strategic richness, with more than a few tactical tricks lurking just behind the scenes. The Scandinavian has been transformed into an opening that strong grandmasters are willing to use as their main defence, rather than as an occasional surprise weapon. This thoroughly modern guide focuses on these new approaches, while also covering the more traditional main lines. Kasparov guides the reader carefully through each system, explaining his recommendations with wit and clarity. With his help, you will have your opponents wishing there really were some ‘Anti-Scandinavian’ lines! Also available on Chess Studio.

Sergey Kasparov is a grandmaster from Belarus. He plays regularly in international events around the globe and is an experienced writer, with several books and online reports to his credit. “Conclusion: Understanding the Scandinavian is a new addition to the book market and focuses especially on the strategic basis of the Scandinavian Defence. It is both an instruction manual and a guide book, and distinguishes itself particularly by explaining and illustrating as much as possible of what’s happening on the board.” – Uwe Bekemann, German Correspondence Chess Federation Grandmaster Chess Move by Move John Nunn A collection of John Nunn’s best games from 1994 to the present day, annotated in detail in the same style as the best-selling Understanding Chess Move by Move. Throughout, the emphasis is on what the reader can learn from each game, so the book is ideal study material for those seeking to progress to a higher level of chess understanding. There is also entertainment in abundance: Nunn has a direct

aggressive style, and many of his opponents in these games are ambitious young grandmasters from the generation inspired by Kasparov’s dynamic chess. The book also includes all of John Nunn’s compositions – problems and studies – with full solutions. Also available on Chess Studio.

“GM John Nunn is at the pinnacle of chess writers and this book shows why. His analysis is always first-rate, and he does a good job of using words, where practical, to explain what’s going on. Besides giving you 46 of his most interesting games (complete with detailed notes) played during the last third of his career, he also throws in a slew of chess problems and studies, as well as two interesting articles.” – Michael Jeffreys, WWW.CHESSVILLE.COM How to Beat 1 d4 James Rizzitano Rizzitano, author of Understanding Your Chess, presents a full repertoire for Black against 1 d4, based on the Queen’s Gambit Accepted (QGA). The QGA is an extremely popular opening amongst players of all levels, as it gives Black free development and counterpunching potential, especially if White takes up the challenge and tries to set up a broad pawn centre. The QGA’s soundness is shown by the number of top-class grandmasters who have used it in critical games – it was a key factor in Short’s victory over Karpov, and has even been used by Garry Kasparov at worldchampionship level. Rizzitano has chosen to recommend dependable main lines of the QGA, and throughout emphasizes how Black can create winning chances and White’s typical ways to go wrong. The repertoire is completed by a set of weapons against White’s alternatives to offering the Queen’s Gambit, ranging from the stolid Colle to the weird Hodgson Attack and the reckless BlackmarDiemer. Also available on Chess Studio.

James Rizzitano is a strong international master who dominated chess in the New England region during a 14-year period from 1976 to 1989 – he won 157 out of 336 events in which he competed. His career highlights include victories over Alburt, Benjamin, Benko, Christiansen, Dlugy, I.Gurevich and Wolff, and exciting draws with de Firmian, Larsen, Speelman, and the legendary former world champion Tal. Rizzitano has recently made a return to competitive chess. “Overall, I see no reason not to recommend this book to players from 1200 through at least master level. The analysis is comprehensive, the judgments

and evaluations are carefully considered, and a complete repertoire against a major opening move is presented. Highly Recommended.” – Lou Mercuri, CHESS HORIZONS Understanding the Leningrad Dutch Valeri Beim The Leningrad System of the Dutch Defence is an interesting hybrid of the Dutch and the King’s Indian. For many years, it was viewed with some suspicion in view of the slight positional weaknesses created in Black’s position. However, in the 1980s dynamic new approaches were introduced by such players as Sergei Dolmatov, Evgeny Bareev, Mikhail Gurevich and especially Vladimir Malaniuk. These players showed how an active approach could compensate for these defects, and offer Black excellent winning chances. Since then, the Leningrad has been a popular and effective opening choice for players of all levels. A good understanding of the themes of the Leningrad is at least as important as detailed knowledge of its theory. Valeri Beim has a wealth of experience with the Leningrad Dutch and is an accomplished trainer, so is ideally qualified to guide the reader through the twists and turns of this remarkable opening. Also available on Chess Studio.

Valeri Beim is a grandmaster who lives in Austria. He has won numerous tournaments and plays in the Austrian and German leagues. For many years, he was the head trainer at the chess school in Odessa (Ukraine), and he was also the trainer of the Israeli olympiad team. This is his second chess book.

Anatoly Karpov relied during much of his career. This line leads to sharp play, often in open battles where Black gains active counterplay and challenges White to seize the initiative on the kingside. The authors explain in detail how Black can weather the storm. They also explain how Black can handle the practical problem of the Ng5 repetition, and recommend reliable procedures against White’s other options in the Lopez, starting off with the Exchange Variation, and moving on to a variety of closed systems. Throughout, the emphasis is on what readers actually need to know and understand in order to play the opening successfully in practice. There is a great deal of explanation of important ideas, and the authors take pains to guide their readers away from potential pitfalls. Also available on Chess Studio.

Sverre Johnsen is a FIDE-rated player from Norway. He is an enthusiastic chess analyst, researcher and writer, and co-author of Win with the London System one of the most popular openings books of recent years. Leif Johannessen is a young grandmaster, also from Norway. He plays in several national leagues and has represented his country in many team events. The quality of his opening preparation is shown by the fact that he won the prize for most important theoretical novelty in Informator 92.

“Valeri, as well as being an experienced chess trainer, is a player that uses the Leningrad Dutch Defence himself which is a big plus when writing a chess book. Through nine well-written chapters Valeri covers not only the Leningrad Dutch but also covers what to do if White plays a gambit or tries to deviate early. At the end of the book there is also homework in the form of exercises to do to see how much you’ve learned. If you wish to learn and understand how to play the Leningrad Dutch then this is the book for you.” – Michael Stevenson, NEW ZEALAND CHESS

“Good chess opening books are all about ‘feel’ – do you feel the authors are making you at home in the variation, do you feel they are giving up their ‘secrets’ to you, the reader, and do you get the feeling they are on your side? Well, this book scores very highly in this respect; take the Preface, for example. It’s a 15 page discussion by GM Johannessen on how to learn a chess opening (albeit aimed at the Zaitsev, but the lessons are universal) – and it does the subject matter wonderful justice. I’ve read magazine and internet articles which do not come close to Johannessen’s logical explanation of taking an opening from a thought over a coffee at a chess bookstall to a full part of your tournament repertoire. For my money, the best part of the book, although the rest of the material doesn’t lag behind in quality.” – Munroe Morrison, OPEN FILE

The Ruy Lopez: A Guide for Black

Understanding the Marshall Attack

Sverre Johnsen and Leif Erlend Johannessen

David Vigorito

The Ruy Lopez (or Spanish Opening) is one of the critical chess battlegrounds. It has long been recommended as an excellent chess opening for training purposes, as it leads to a wide variety of structures and strategies. This book is a complete guide to handling the black side of the Lopez, based principally around the Zaitsev Variation, upon which

The Marshall Attack is a chess opening like no other. Rather than subjecting himself to the ‘Spanish torture’ so typical in the Ruy Lopez, Black simply gives away a centre pawn. But in return, he gets long-term attacking chances and activity that can persist well into the endgame. It is almost a century since Frank Marshall invented his sensational

gambit, but it is still controversial, and more popular than ever amongst the best players in the world. In their hands, the Marshall Attack looks remarkably solid – even if White neutralizes Black’s attacking chances and remains a pawn up, Black often achieves full positional compensation. However, the Marshall appears a forbidding opening to ordinary club players, who feel that the theory is too difficult to understand and much too complex to memorize. Many simply avoid it with both colours. That, argues David Vigorito, is a shame. He shows that many typical Marshall positions can be broken down into elements that we can all grasp, and so build up an intuition to guide us. Then we are able to tackle this incredible opening and develop a feel for why pieces go to the squares that they do, and when Black has sufficient compensation, and when he does not. Of course, the Marshall remains a highly sharp and concrete opening, even to those who are versed in its unique brand of black magic. Vigorito provides detailed, cutting-edge theoretical coverage of all its main lines and the most important AntiMarshall systems.

enables new classes of positions to be assessed with definitive certainty. Using six-man and the brand new seven-man tablebases, the authors re-examine many of the old evaluations and reach new and enlightening conclusions about classic rook endings. You will be startled and amazed, and soon discover that you are becoming a far more effective endgame player.

Also available on Chess Studio.

“You can feel confident that anything you study and learn on the basis of Müller’s book is 100% correct” – GM Matthew Sadler, NEW IN CHESS

David Vigorito is an International Master from the United States. He plays regularly in high-level competitions, including the US Championship. He has written extensively for a variety of publications and is a chess teacher. This is his second book for Gambit. “a good summary of existing theory, and the author has taken care to track down often overlooked, but sometimes theoretically crucial correspondence games, and importantly there is a decent sized section on Anti-Marshall lines that often crop up in practice.” – GM Michael Adams, DAILY TELEGRAPH Understanding Rook Endgames Karsten Müller and Yakov Konoval Endgames with rooks and pawns are the most frequently occurring in chess, arising in about 1 game in 10. If you learn an important technique in this endgame, chances are you will end up using it sooner or later. And there are a great many methods and concepts that can be mastered with a little effort. This book highlights the key themes in rook endings, and at each turn invites the reader to test his knowledge and skills with abundant exercises. Rook endgame theory does not stand still. New practical examples illustrate novel approaches as players seek to pose problems to their opponents – Magnus Carlsen has shown that even the driest-looking positions can feature deadly traps. The ongoing creation of new endgame tablebases – of which coauthor Yakov Konoval has been at the forefront –

Also available on Chess Studio.

German grandmaster Karsten Müller is arguably the world’s foremost writer on chess endgames. His ‘masterwork’, Fundamental Chess Endings, is a modern endgame ‘bible’ and was studied intensively in his youth by current World Champion Magnus Carlsen. Yakov Konoval is a Russian chess-player and programmer who studied at Mikhail Botvinnik’s chess school. He has written programs for solving chess problems and has pioneered new techniques for generating endgame tablebases. “Unbelievably well written ... many new discoveries are revealed here. One of the best endgame books of all time” – John Elburg, WWW.CHESSBOOKS.NL

Chess for Life Matthew Sadler and Natasha Regan WINNER OF THE ECF BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD In this thought-provoking, wide-ranging and often inspiring book, the authors examine how chess style and abilities vary with age. The conventional wisdom is that greater experience should compensate for a loss of youthful energy, but with so many of the world elite currently in their twenties, chess is increasingly looking like a young man’s game. By making a number of case studies and interviewing players who have stayed strong into their forties, fifties and beyond, the authors show in detail how players can steer their games towards positions where their experience can shine through. Interviewees include: GM John Nunn, GM Yasser Seirawan, GM Nigel Short, GM Judit Polgar, GM Keith Arkell, GM Pia Cramling, FM Terry Chapman, GM Jon Speelman, GM Sergei Tiviakov and WIM Ingrid Lauterbach. By examining so many aspects of chess, the authors have written a work that ends up transcending its subject-matter, and becomes a text on how and why we love chess, the means by which we can play successfully whatever our age and level of play, and how chess is truly a game for life. Also available on Chess Studio.

Matthew Sadler is one of the strongest British players of recent decades. Having become a GM in his teens, he twice won the British Championship and was awarded an individual gold medal at the 1996 Olympiad. After concentrating on an IT career for more than a decade, he returned to high-level chess in 2010 and quickly regained a spot in the world top 100. Matthew’s struggles to bring his game back up to speed after his long break were part of the inspiration for this book. Natasha Regan is a Women’s International Master from England who achieved a degree in mathematics from Cambridge University. While pursuing a successful career as an actuary in the insurance industry, she has raised a family and maintained a strong interest in chess and other board games, including Go. “unlike any other chess book I have seen. It addresses the subject of how to sustain, and seek to improve, one’s chess strength throughout life, despite the inevitable diminution of calculation ability. Sadler and Regan have produced an insightful analysis of the way chess players of different styles adapted to age and the advancement of theory. From this, and candid interviews ... they unveil a tour de force of ideas to consider applying to one’s own game. This is not a book for the aging – it is rather a testament to the value of experience with lessons for players of all ages” – Ross Jackson, NEW ZEALAND CHESS Fundamental Checkmates Antonio Gude SHORTLISTED FOR THE ECF BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD Chess might seem a complex and mysterious game, but the ultimate goal is simple: checkmate. Checkmate can occur in all stages of the game, from snap mates in the opening, through middlegame attacks to simplified endgames. Learning how to use our pieces together to corner the enemy king is a fundamental skill that all chess-players must constantly practise, sharpen and develop. This book lays out, in systematic and thorough fashion, a wide range of mating patterns and techniques, in particular showing how each piece-pair can combine to deliver mate. A working knowledge of these ideas enables players to move on to mating combinations, where pieces lay down their lives so that the remaining forces can deliver mate. Gude explains an amazing variety of tactical devices, and illustrates them in unforgettable style with some of the most brilliant mating attacks from practice, new and old. There are chapters on how to attack kings in the centre, as well as standard (and other!) attacks against the castled position. This is a true textbook

of checkmate; readers will never be short of mating ideas, and will instinctively know when there is a possibility to launch an attack, or when they must parry the opponent’s threats. Fundamental Checkmates also features more than 300 exercises with full solutions. Also available on Chess Studio.

Antonio Gude is an extremely experienced chess writer and teacher from Spain. Several of his books on tactics and for beginners are long-standing bestsellers in Spanish language. Gude has also translated a great many books, including some of the classics of chess literature. “The number of great examples is overwhelming. On the one part there are classic game fragments you may already know, but also a lot is new, giving something for everyone. I myself am currently using this book as study material for my constant training ... the book is actually suitable for any chess player. High recommended” – IM Dirk Schuh, ROCHADE EUROPA A Simple Chess Opening Repertoire for White Sam Collins By choosing variations that lead to similar structures, highly experienced player, writer and teacher Sam Collins has put together an ideal repertoire for players with limited study time. White opens with 1 e4 and develops his pieces to natural squares and seeks open lines and the initiative. A successful repertoire is more than a set of variations; it also requires strategic understanding of the resulting positions and a knowledge of the key tactical methods and patterns. Because many of Collins’s recommendations lead to IQP (Isolated Queen’s Pawn) structures, ideas can easily be transplanted from one opening to another. He gives complete illustrative games that emphasize the main themes. The specific analysis is up-to-the-minute and features many new ideas that have proven their worth in recent grandmaster practice. Throughout there is a great deal of attention to move-order subtleties and on finding nuances in ‘sidelines’ that your opponents are most unlikely to have examined in detail. Also available on Chess Studio. Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

Irish international master Sam Collins won the championship of his home country in 2002 and 2014. He has represented Ireland in numerous Olympiads, winning an individual gold medal at Bled in 2002. He is also an experienced chess teacher who has lectured at the Berkeley Chess School in California. His previous books for Gambit

were Chess Explained: The c3 Sicilian and the highly successful general opening work Understanding the Chess Openings. “Sam Collins delivers a small but very well thought out repertoire book for White, based on lines that I have hardly seen before – for example the Italian line: 1 e4 e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5 4 c3 Nf6 5 d4 exd4 6 cxd4 Bb4+ 7 Nbd2!?. One of the most interesting repertoire books at this moment!” – John Elburg, WWW.CHESSBOOKS.NL Instructive Chess Miniatures Alper Efe Ataman Warning: this book is not just entertainment. The author wants to teach you a lot about chess and improve the quality of your play! He has selected 53 miniatures from throughout chess history – the earliest are from the 1850s, while the most recent are from grandmaster events just a few months ago! A miniature is a decisive game, won in 25 moves or fewer. Most of these 53 games feature brilliant tactics, attacks on the king, and even a few outrageous king-hunts. In many, the winner had to overcome cunning defensive ploys and inventive counterattacks. But our aim in this book is not just to admire the players’ skill, but to learn how we can play like this in our own games. Chess coach Ataman is keenly focused on the instructive points, explaining which features of the position justified the attacks, and what prompted the critical decisions. Where analysis is given, it is restricted to what it would be realistic for a human to work out at the board. But why are miniatures so instructive, especially for younger players? It’s because we get to see an idea or plan implemented successfully, in full. Once we understand what players are trying to achieve, we can then appreciate how to oppose these ideas, and the cut-and-thrust typical in modern grandmaster play will make a lot more sense.

The Classical Dutch is a flexible opening that often gives Black dynamic attacking chances. In this book, one of its most enthusiastic adherents explains the workings of his favourite opening, and provides Black with a complete repertoire against 1 d4. Few opponents will be ready to take on the Classical Dutch, since it has received little attention in chess literature in recent decades. For an opening that has been played by all-time greats such as Korchnoi, Tal and Larsen, the Classical Dutch’s current lack of popularity is puzzling. In this book, Simon Williams shows how Black can obtain counterchances against each of White’s main options. He also provides recommendations against all of White’s alternative approaches against the Dutch, including a variety of sharp possibilities after 1 d4 f5. Also available on Chess Studio.

English grandmaster Simon Williams has gained a reputation for playing daring attacking chess. He represented England in World and European Championships in various age groups, and has been a regular in the British Championship since his early teens. “The author makes a spirited plea for the Dutch. Its key ideas and theory are relatively clear and selfcontained, providing a rare opportunity these days to absorb sufficient information to play and experiment confidently without considerable research.” – IM Craig Pritchett, THE HERALD The Seven Deadly Chess Sins Jonathan Rowson

“The author has dragged his net wide and rediscovered gems like Freeman-Mednis, New York 1955, played when the future Grandmaster was still a teenager. Instructive Chess Miniatures is a book that will provide plenty of pleasure and instruction at a very reasonable price ... recommended” – IM John Donaldson, USA Team Captain

Everyone loses chess games occasionally, but all too often we lose a game due to moves that, deep down, we knew were flawed. Why do we commit these chess-board sins? Are they the result of general misconceptions about chess and how it should be played? And how can we recognize the warning signs better? In this thought-provoking and entertaining book, Jonathan Rowson investigates, in his inimitable style, the main reasons why chessplayers sometimes go horribly astray, focusing on the underlying psychological pitfalls: Thinking (unnecessary or erroneous); Blinking (missing opportunities; lack of resolution); Wanting (too much concern with the result of the game); Materialism (lack of attention to non-material factors); Egoism (insufficient awareness of the opponent and his ideas); Perfectionism (running short of time; trying too hard); Looseness (“losing the plot”; drifting; poor concentration).

Play the Classical Dutch

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Simon Williams

Also available as a German-language Kindle edition.

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Alper Efe Ataman is a FIDE Master from Turkey. He is a chess publisher, author and an experienced trainer, especially at the scholastic level.

Jonathan Rowson became Scotland’s third grandmaster in late 1999, within months of graduating from Oxford University. He was runnerup in the 1997 European Junior Championship, Scottish Champion in 1999 and winner of the Canadian Open in 2000. Rowson’s first book, Understanding the Grünfeld, has been highly praised for the quality and originality of his writing, and freshness of approach. “Whenever two large groups argue over a subject so intensely, that subject must be interesting and thought provoking ... The Seven Deadly Chess Sins is a fascinating, original, insightful work by the most promising young chess writer out there. It’s well worth owning (in fact, I consider it a must own!), and contains a bounty of knowledge that will improve your game at the cellular level if the Zen gene is a dominant one in you ... Quite simply, The Seven Deadly Chess Sins is one of the best chessbooks to come out in many, many years.” – Jeremy Silman, SILMAN REVIEWS The Slav Graham Burgess The Slav has been played by 11 of the first 13 World Champions, and has been favoured by many stars of modern chess, including Anand, Kramnik, Shirov, Ivanchuk and Morozevich. Its great popularity is due to its extreme solidity and abundant possibilities for dynamic counterplay. This book provides detailed coverage to help players as both White and Black face the challenges of this tough yet rewarding opening. All lines after 1 d4 d5 2 c4 c6 are discussed, except those that transpose to the SemiSlav. The sharpest tactical lines of the Slav receive especially detailed coverage. These include the critical piece sacrifice in the main line (5...Bf5 6 Ne5 e6 7 f3 Bb4 8 e4 Bxe4), the Steiner line (5...Bg4) with 6 Ne5 Bh5 7 h3, and the possibly dubious but highly dangerous Geller Gambit (5 e4), which was a favourite of the young Kasparov. The trendy ...a6 lines are also covered systematically for the first time in chess literature. Also available on Chess Studio.

Graham Burgess holds the world record for marathon blitz chess-playing. He is a highly versatile chess writer, whose previous books range from general guides for relatively inexperienced players to high-level theoretical manuals. His Mammoth Book of Chess won the 1997 British Chess Federation Book of the Year Award, while Nunn’s Chess Openings, of which he is a co-author, has established itself as the leading modern onevolume openings encyclopaedia.

“The Slav continues to remain a very popular opening at all levels and so a thorough survey from the ever diligent Burgess is very welcome. Burgess has meanwhile managed to maintain his reputation as a very conscientious author with this work, as once again he constantly corrects the analysis of others, whilst providing many important suggestions and improvements himself as well as producing clear assessments of lines” – IM Richard Palliser, HULL CHESS CLUB MAGAZINE Chess Strategy for Kids Thomas Engqvist So you have learned how to play chess, studied tactics and know some basic endgames and openings. What’s next? The glue that binds it all together is strategy. By forming a good plan, chessplayers seize strong points on the board and target the opponent’s weaknesses. Experienced player and teacher Thomas Engqvist shows that it all depends on logic that can be grasped by players of any age. He explains how to identify the right strategy in a wide range of typical situations. With his guidance, you will soon be finding good plans on your own – and then it will be time to demonstrate your tactical mastery! He first teaches the importance of the central squares and the basics of pawn-play, before examining the role of each of the pieces and how they are affected by the pawn-structure. Finally we see how to use them together to launch attacks of many different types. You then get a chance to test your new strategic skills in 27 exercises, all with full solutions. Chess Strategy for Kids provides a complete course that will help readers understand the potential of their pieces and play more purposefully in their games. Chess will stop feeling like a series of random events as you take command of your forces and direct them like a general in charge of an army. Also available on Chess Studio.

Thomas Engqvist is an International Master from Sweden with more than three decades’ experience of international chess. He is a successful chess trainer and has also made notable contributions to chess theory. Engqvist is editor of the website and teaches at a school in the Stockholm area. “simplifies some chess concepts in a manner that a modern reader can understand and appreciate. ... the author clearly shows he understood Nimzowitsch and knows how to convey Nimzowitsch’s ideas, but he does it in an easier and more appealing fashion. ... I also found the graphics absolutely exhilarating. They show typical chess ideas in a stunning fashion, which makes them easy to remember, especially for

the amateur. I think this book can be a nice gift for children who are interested in improving, or for adults who would like to know more about the game but don’t want to deal with some boring authors of the past who ... didn’t treat the topic in an entertaining manner.” – Davide Nastasio, GEORGIACHESSNEWS.COM

Your First Chess Lessons Paul van der Sterren Assuming no previous knowledge of the game, Grandmaster Paul van der Sterren teaches you how to play and draws you into the fascinating world of modern chess. This carefully crafted chess course is divided into true lessons, each building on what has been learned in the previous ones. Before moving on from a topic, you have the chance to test that you have fully understood it with the help of thoughtfully graded exercises. This is a 21st-century guide. Throughout, there are references to online chess resources and suggestions for online activities, such as training, playing and live broadcasts, and chess-related social media. Also dotted throughout the book are pieces of chess lore, practical tips and information about great players past and present. Also available on Chess Studio.

Grandmaster Paul van der Sterren has won the Dutch Championship on two occasions, and in 1993 reached the Candidates stage of the World Chess Championship. He is an internationally renowned chess writer and editor: he was one of the founding editors of New in Chess, and is author of the bestselling user-friendly opening guide Fundamental Chess Openings. How to Play Dynamic Chess Valeri Beim Chess is fundamentally a dynamic game. Each move changes the situation and the possibilities for both sides. No piece is ever identically as valuable as any other, and their scope changes from move to move. The current generation of supergrandmasters play unrelentingly dynamic chess, but a great deal of chess literature still deals with chess as if it were a predominantly static game. Much of our understanding of the game is based around traditional rules of thumb that might work well ‘on average’ or in ‘typical’ situations. But these rules may not equip us at all well in the specific and sometimes exceptional situations that we face in our games. In this book, Valeri Beim explains how to factor in dynamic considerations, and weigh initiative and time against material and other static factors. This is a realistic account by an experienced trainer and battle-hardened competitor, geared

towards the needs of players looking to improve their results. Topics include: Dynamics; Development; The King as a Target; Breakthrough; Initiative. Valeri Beim is a grandmaster who lives in Austria. He has won numerous tournaments and plays in the Austrian and German leagues. For many years he was the head trainer at the chess school in Odessa, and he was also the trainer of the Israeli Olympiad team. This is his fourth chess book. “an incredible work, simply the best I have ever read on this topic. I suspect even some players of the first rank will find something to think about, and the rest of us will have our games adjusted forever. If you buy one chess book this year, this should be it. This book is so good, I have to stray from my usual method of categorizing books, and deem it an Instant Classic.” – Don Aldrich, CHESS TODAY Improve Your Positional Chess Carsten Hansen Throughout a game of chess, we must constantly make judgements and decisions that cannot be determined simply by calculation. We must then rely on our positional judgement. Good positional skills are primarily developed by experience, but they can also be learnt. In this book, Carsten Hansen provides a wealth of advice and ideas that will help give readers a helping-hand up to new levels of positional understanding. Paramount in this discussion is the player’s need to weigh up positional elements at the board, and decide which are most important for the situation at hand. Topics include: The Quest for Weaknesses; What is the Initiative?; Understanding Imbalances; The Relative Value of the Pieces; Decisions Regarding Pawn-Structures; Structural Weaknesses; Where and How to Attack. The book is rounded off with exercises to test your understanding of the concepts discussed, together with full solutions. Carsten Hansen is a FIDE Master from Denmark who currently lives in the USA. He has a reputation for writing well-researched books on major chess topics, and is known to many through his painstaking book reviews on the Internet. This is his fourth book for Gambit. “I figure to put about 20 Elo points on to my grade (2433) by the time I’ve finished; that’s how good it is. I can’t really say more than that. Oh, and I am enjoying reading it!” – IM Andrew Martin, SEAGAARD’S REVIEWS Solving in Style John Nunn

In this book, John Nunn, a top-class grandmaster who has also won the World Problem Solving Championship three times, explains the methods by which chess problems and studies are solved. The logical and creative methods advocated, while targeted at the solving of composed positions, may also help players find startling tactical solutions in their games. Solving in Style also constitutes an entertaining and insightful introduction to the world of problems and studies. There are chapters on series problems and other unorthodox stipulations, and also a discussion of specific themes such as the Novotny interference. This brand new electronic edition contains 50% more material than the original print edition. There are new chapters on proof games and solving competitions, as well as a large collection of new problems for readers to solve. Unsound problems from the first edition have been replaced, and errors and omissions corrected. Also available on Chess Studio.

Dr John Nunn is one of the best-respected figures in world chess. He was among the world’s leading grandmasters for nearly twenty years, winning four gold medals in chess Olympiads and finishing sixth overall in the World Cup in 1989. He is a muchacclaimed writer, whose works have won ‘Book of the Year’ awards in several countries. In 2004, 2007 and 2010 Nunn was crowned World Chess Solving Champion, ahead of many former champions. “Nunn does an excellent job of explaining the special rules of this parallel universe, but where he is likely to gain the most converts is in the field of chess studies ... Many of these studies look sufficiently ‘game-like’ that the over-the-board player will have no trouble appreciating the beauty and ingenuity involved. Highly recommended” – IM John Donaldson, USA Team Captain Understanding the Sicilian Mikhail Golubev Mikhail Golubev has played the Sicilian as Black and White for the whole of his chess career, specializing in the sharpest and most aggressive systems. Here he presents the whole undiluted truth – as best he sees it – about this most popular and cut-throat of openings. The quality of the games is striking. Even the list of opponents in junior tournaments features Kramnik and Shirov, while more recent opponents include Ponomariov and Svidler. Ivanchuk’s extraordinary ideas crop up repeatedly. But we also see Golubev facing more ‘normal’ opposition, where as the higher-rated player the top priority was to create winning opportunities.

There is much to learn from Golubev’s honest ‘warts and all’ presentation. We see the process of discovery and experimentation, and develop a feel for the spirit of the Sicilian. There is a wealth of original analysis (all scrupulously computerchecked), novelties and strategic guidance. For Dragon, Sozin/Najdorf and Velimirović players in particular, this book is an absolute must-read, but Anti-Sicilian and Taimanov players are among those who must also watch out. All Sicilian lines are covered, with the exception of those that have never occurred in the more than 440 Sicilian games from Golubev’s professional career. Also available on Chess Studio.

Mikhail Golubev is a grandmaster from Odessa, Ukraine, who plays regularly in tournaments in eastern and central Europe. He is a noted expert in several sharp and aggressive opening systems, including the King’s Indian and the Dragon. His previous books, The Sicilian Sozin and Understanding the King’s Indian, have been praised for the quantity and quality of their original analysis, and for Golubev’s objectivity in identifying the critical lines. My Secrets in the Ruy Lopez Lajos Portisch SHORTLISTED FOR THE ECF BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD It’s major news when a legendary player reveals his opening secrets. And when he has rarely written about his games or preparation methods, and was famous for meticulous, ahead-of-his-time opening analysis, it makes it a true publishing event. Yet that is what eight-time world championship candidate Lajos Portisch has done. In this book, he opens his extensive opening files and presents the most important games and unused novelties in the Ruy Lopez (or Spanish Game). He also explains the strategies and ideas behind these lines, and places the key games in their historical settings. Anecdotes abound, as do reflections on his key rivals, including Fischer, Karpov, Tal, Larsen and Smyslov. This is also a thoroughly modern work. As well as drawing upon games from his own long career, Portisch includes important Ruy Lopez games by modern champions, including Anand and Carlsen, describing them from his own unique perspective. All analysis has been computer-verified, with Portisch’s hand-made variations standing up to scrutiny in most cases, but with the computer adding new and surprising twists. Thus we see how human creativity can remain a vital component in modern preparation.

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Lajos Portisch is one of the greatest players of the modern era. An elite player from the 1960s to the 1990s, he qualified for the candidates eight times and was board 1 for the Hungary team that won olympic gold in 1978, ahead of the USSR. He is one of the 12 Hungarian ‘Sportsmen of the Nation’ – the country’s highest sporting honour. Extreme Chess Tactics Yochanan Afek Tactical ability requires knowledge and skills: knowledge of patterns and tactical methods, and the skill to recognize them, combine them, and calculate accurately. This book features both composed studies and realgame positions. Composed positions distil tactics into their purest form: nothing irrelevant is present on the board. We can focus purely on the key ideas, which makes them an ideal learning tool. As one of the world’s greatest experts on chess composition, Yochanan Afek is the perfect man to select the best studies for this purpose. In over-the-board chess (in which Afek is also highly accomplished), the tactical ideas tend to be less complex, but they may prove harder to identify – unless they are already familiar to you. Afek provides a case in point in his introduction, where the stunning final move of the 2016 world championship could not possibly have been missed by those familiar with an earlier game. All the real-game positions in this book are taken from games by world champions (male or female). Following the structure of John Nunn’s best-selling Learn Chess Tactics, in each chapter a theme is introduced and a number of examples are explained. Then the reader immediately gets to use this knowledge in a series of carefully selected exercises. Also available on Chess Studio.

Yochanan Afek is both a Grandmaster of Composition and an over-the-board International Master. This unique combination of talents makes him a highly insightful writer, noted for his work on the factors that make moves hard to see. He grew up in Tel-Aviv and now lives in Amsterdam. His greatest over-the-board success was winning the Paris Championship in 2002. The Chess Attacker’s Handbook Michael Song and Razvan Preotu Life is too short to play boring chess! That’s the mantra of the two young authors of this book, and as you read their energetic and insightful words, you may find yourself caught up in their enthusiasm for direct attacking play.

Their over-the-board successes are not based on mere bravado or trickery, but on a profound understanding of the chessboard struggle and thought process. Song and Preotu consider the role of manoeuvring and prophylactic thought, and examine attacks in the endgame, as well as more standard topics such as play on colour complexes and when and how to launch the pawns in an all-out assault. And because life’s too short to read a boring chess book, the text is packed with advice, study suggestions and anecdotes as well as quotes and references to philosophy and other ‘real-world’ topics. Their examples are drawn from their own practice and their supergrandmaster trainer, as well as modern classics and older gems. Most of their material you will not have seen before; the rest you will not have seen explained this way before. Also available on Chess Studio.

The authors are the two highest-rated Canadian juniors. Razvan Preotu earned the Grandmaster title in 2016 at the age of 17. The most notable result during his meteoric rise was at the 2016 Calgary International, which he won outright ahead of a strong international field including five GMs. Michael Song became an International Master by winning the North American Under-18 Championship. He has represented Canada many times, winning a bronze medal at the 2011 World Youth Championship. His trainer is supergrandmaster Evgeny Bareev. 125 Chess Opening Surprises Graham Burgess Surprising the opponent is a primary aim of modern opening preparation. You can’t afford to be a stationary target – gone are the days when players worked out an elaborate repertoire from which they never varied. These 125 opening surprises land like bombshells in the apparent calm of standard openings and disorientate your opponents as they grapple with original problems. This book is a treasure-trove of unusual ideas at an early stage of the opening, each with a firm logical foundation, yet running against the grain of conventional play. Each idea has quickstrike potential and is supported by enough concrete analysis to enable you to try it with confidence. For this new edition, Burgess has thoroughly revised and expanded the original content with a great many new verdicts and additional analysis and ideas. Every single move has been re-examined and checked against current theory. The brand-new

sections mostly deal with ideas that were unknown or untopical before 2016 or 2017. Reviews of the first edition (101 Chess Opening Surprises): “explodes right in your face, with ideas in all openings ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous” – GM Lubosh Kavalek, WASHINGTON POST “I was stunned by some of the author’s ideas ... excellent” – GM Paul Motwani, THE SCOTSMAN Also available on Chess Studio.

FIDE Master Graham Burgess is Gambit’s Editorial Director, and one of the founders of the company. He holds the world record for marathon blitz chess playing, and lives in Minnesota. This is his 24th chess book, his earlier works including well-regarded opening guides and best-selling general texts. Fundamental Chess Tactics Antonio Gude Once a player has learned how the pieces move, the next task is to put them to work – that is, to study tactics. For all players, from beginners to champions, tactical skill is the main component of chess ability. And this skill must be constantly practised and improved. This book provides a systematic course in chess tactics and hundreds of exercises to sharpen and measure your skills. With Antonio Gude’s assistance, you will understand how the pieces work, so you can carry out your strategic plans and launch devastating attacks. And even in those games where things go wrong, you will always be ready to pounce when given the chance. The book is packed with entertaining and inspiring examples, brought to life with information and stories about some of the more notable figures in chess history. This is a companion volume to Gude’s muchacclaimed Fundamental Checkmates: “Books offering tactical positions to solve are universally agreed upon as first-rate training, but before starting out it makes sense to first have a solid grounding in the fundamentals. This book will do that and more.” – IM John Donaldson, USA Team Captain “[Gude] is well-read, knows important games from the past and present, and uses famous endgame compositions to create a useful mating manual for wide readership” – GM Lubosh Kavalek, HUFFINGTON POST Also available on Chess Studio.

Antonio Gude is a well-known chess writer and teacher from Spain who has represented his country in international correspondence chess events. His previous book for Gambit, Fundamental Checkmates, was shortlisted for the English Chess Federation Book of the Year Award. 1. Fork 2. Trapping a piece 3. Double attack 4. Discovered attack 5. Deflection 6. Deflection 7. Knight sacrifice 8. Weak back rank 9. Long diagonal 10. Fork 11. Exchange sacrifice 12. Knight sacrifice 13. Fork 14. Knight sacrifice 15. One sacrifice after another 16. Exchange sacrifice, double attack 17. Deflection 18. Stalemate 19. Double attack 20. Fork 21. h-file 22. Pin 23. Discovered attack 24. Long diagonal 25. Fork 26. Rook sacrifice 27. Bishop sacrifice 28. Greek Gift 29. Stalemate 30. Exchange sacrifice 31. Knight sacrifice 32. a-file 33. Stalemate 34. Pin 35. Deflection

36. Clearance

75. Removing the guard

37. Passed pawn

76. Bishop sacrifice

38. Stalemate

77. Bishop sacrifice

39. Bishop sacrifice

78. Bishop sacrifice

40. Exchange sacrifice

79. Pin, removing the guard

41. Stalemate

80. Knight sacrifice

42. Fork

81. Pin

43. Double attack

82. Pin

44. Knight sacrifice

83. Fork

45. Knight sacrifice

84. Stalemate

46. Discovery, exposed piece

85. Fork

47. Deflection

86. Queen sacrifice

48. Knight sacrifice

87. Pin

49. Double attack

88. a-file

50. Fork

89. Bishop sacrifice

51. Weak back rank

90. Clearance

52. Deflection

91. Deflection, clearance

53. Discovered attack

92. Deflection, weak back rank

54. Removing the guard

93. Clearance

55. Fork

94. Perpetual check

56. Discovered attack

95. One sacrifice after another

57. Rook sacrifice

96. Greek Gift

58. Rook sacrifice 59. Double attack 60. Kamikaze pawn 61. h-file 62. One sacrifice after another 63. Knight sacrifice 64. Knight sacrifice 65. Promotion 66. Double attack 67. Interference 68. Weak back rank 69. Deflection 70. Pin 71. Deflection 72. Perpetual check 73. Promotion 74. Double attack