Today’s winning 5-sec tactics



“Thinking before taking actions is useful only if you are going to take action, otherwise you are wasting time and insulting your mind.”

― Amit Kalantri


The Importance of Objectivity


Australasian Masters  Melbourne 2015.12.15  im (2463)Smirnov, A–fm (2332) Li, L  Position before Black’s 25th move.

A tricky position, especially for Black. The White Knight is clearly more active than the Bishop, and,  along with the White Queen, poses a constant threat over the Black kingside.  However, for the moment, atleast, the Black kingside has no weaknesses. For this reason, Black should seek counterplay. The active 25…Qa5 (with ideas such as Qa1+ or Qe1+) seems like the move that Black should investigate.

Black probably did not like the fact that White has the brutal 26.Nxg7!? at his disposal. After 26…Kxg7 27.Qg5+ Kh8 28.Qf6+ Kg8 29.Qxc6 White recovers the piece, leaving Black with an open King position and weak pawns.  However, is it that bad for Black?  After 29…Qe1+ 30.Rf1 Qxe5 31.Qxa6 we get the following position:


There is no doubt that White is somewhat better, but after 31…f4! Black prevents the consolidating 32.Qd3 (32…Qe3+!) while at the same time preparing to meet 32.Qh6 with 32…Rc8!

Probably White has nothing better than to try to improve his position with 32.h3 (32…Kg7!?), with a tough game for both sides.  My view is that Black should hold the game without too much difficulty, given the fact that there are no minor pieces on the board and it is very difficult for White to get his Rook into play.

OFCOURSE, there is no doubt that the chances belong to White, but–given the state of affairs in our first diagram above–Black must be objective: he has to accept the unpleasant and suffer a bit to make a draw.

INSTEAD, Black could not make this decision, prefering to ‘complicate’ the game:

26…g6 (?)


Black no doubt realized that this weakens a bit the Kingside, but he must have reckoned that after the natural 26.Nf6+ Kg7  27.g4!? Bd7! 28.g5 Be6 29.Qh4 h5 30.gxh6+ Kh8 Black’s King is relatively safe and he has chances of getting real counterplay.

HOWEVER, to voluntarily weaken one’s kingside always creates dangers…




 The Scorpion’s Sting!


Bundesliga Solingen 2015.12.13  This past weekend.  From the game gm Parligras,M–gm Hracek,Z., position before Black’s 20th move. Black clearly stands better, virtually all of his pieces more actively posted than his adversary’s.

20…RxR! 21.RxR d3!


Attacking the Rook as well as the pawn on e2



All of White’s options are unsatisfactory

22…Nc2! 23.Rc1 RxP 24.QxP


White is attacking two pieces.  Did Black overlook something?

24…Rxf2! 25.Kh1!


It looks like the worse has passed for White…



The whole point of Black’s play, no doubt forseen many moves before…White resigns!  After 26.KxR Ne3+! 27.Kf2 Qb2+ etc, or if instead 26.RxN RxR 27.QxR QxN+ etc.


Melbourne Chess Club  2015.12.15  Smirnov, Anton–Li, Luke:  26.Qh6! Very well calculated. 26…gxh5 27.Rxf5 Threatening Rg5+ 27…f6!? ( Useless would be the desperate 27…Qb6+ 28.Kh1 Bd7 29.Qxb6 Bxf5 30.Qxa6 Rc8 31.h3 Rxc2 32.Qa8+ Kg7 33.Qxd5 and the win is simple ) 28.exf6! Kf7 ( 28…Rf7 29.Rg5+ Kh8 30.Rg7 ) 29.Re5! Qxf6 30.Qxh7+ 1-0  White has several ways to win.

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