Today’s winning 5-second tactics

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“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” ― Michael Altshuler

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1.

1a

 

CVST Wijk aan Zee  2015.11.18  Lai, Hing Ting–Kerigan, Demre. Position after 30 moves.  A curious situation: neither side has any pawn weaknesses, and both sides have coordinated pieces. Yet, one side is about to lose by force!  Just goes to show you the power of having the move…

WHITE TO PLAY AND CRUSH!

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2.

INVERTED MOVE ORDER

 

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20th European Teams  Reykjavik  2015.11.16   gm Naiditsch, Arkadij–gm Esen, Baris. Position after White’s 20th move (20.c3) defending his Knight. White is somewhat better–but not much–due to his more active pieces.  The correct defence is now to play 20…Pxc3! 21.PxP e5!? when 22.PxP e.p. PxP 23.Nxe6 Bxc3 is still a tough game for both sides. If White would then play 24.Qd5?! then Black has the strong 24…Nb4! which holds comfortably.

HOWEVER, Black carelessly inverted his move order, playing e5 first:

20…e5?  21.dxe6 fxe6 22.Nxe6 bxc3

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Black was now expecting 23.Pxc3 which would have transposed into the note given above.  A NASTY surprise awaits Black…

23.Qd5!!

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A powerful blow from which Black will not recover.  White threatens, amongst other things, a discovered check.  Should Black sidestep this check with the immediate 23…Kh8, then 24.NxB! is crushing: 24…RxR 25.RxR Pxb2 26.Rxb2! QxR 27.Qxd6 and Black’s position collapses like a house of cards. OR if instead 23…BxN 24.RxR RxR 25.QxR+ and 26.QxR+(again!). Finally, if 23…Pxb2 then 24.Nd8+ vacuums up all of Black’s pieces.

 

THAT LEAVES…

23…Nb4!?

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The best chance, but insufficient against Najditsch’ precise play. Should White play the natural Queen retreat 24.Qb3, then 24…a4! turns the tables on White!

24.Nd8+!

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One of the most unusual (and strong!) discovered checks I have ever witnessed!  The Knight move cuts-off the link between the two Black Rooks.  Black must take the Queen…(24…Kh8 allows a mate in 3, while 24…Be6 (or …Re6) allows 25.RxR! leaving Black with the same predicament as in the game)

24…Nxd5 25.Rxe8+ Bf8!?

diag3FE004D30387542D

Nothing serious would change had Black taken the Rook first, there would still be a mate, but different from in the game continuation, as the reader can verify for himself.

 

26.Bxd5+ Kg7

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White to play and mate in two!

27.R1e7+ Bxe7 28.Rg8#

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A brilliant finish.  Moral of the story: don’t invert your move order!

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SOLUTIONS

CVST Wijk aan Zee  2015.11.18  Lai, Hing Ting–Kerigan, Demre: 31.Nbxc7! Nxc7 32.Re7! Rxe7 33.Rxe7 Qxe7  what else?  34.Nxe7 Nde6 35.Bxg7+ Kxg7 36.Qxd6 Rd8 37.Qe5+ Kf7 38.Nd5 1-0

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