PLEASE TAKE MY ROOK!
Photo courtesy of tournament organizers
Ch Poland 2016.4.4 WIM (2200) Wozniak, Mariola– WIM (2280)Kantane, Anna. Position after White’s 22nd move (22.Rh5). Note that earlier Black had gambitted a pawn and had excellent compensation–if not the advantage–,but then played an imprecise move and lost her edge. Now Black has very little commpensation for the pawn; even so, it is still a fight.
White is now threatening the h-pawn and the question is how Black should defend it: play h6 or g6? What do you think? What is your first impression?
Objectively, the best move is 22…h6, not worrying about 23. Qe4 g6! 24. Rxh6? Bf5! winning. In the game, however, Black chose the most provocative continuation, encouraging mind-boggling complications:
This move really brings the game to a crisis point!
Ofcourse Black has seen this move before playing her previous move. The Rook can not be captured as 24.Qxf7+ Kh8 25.Bxg6 mates. Neither does 23… Be6 work after 24. Nf4! Kxh7 25. Qh5+! Kg8 (25… Kg7 26. Nxe6 fxe6 27. Qxg6) 26. Bxg6 etc.
Black’s hopes are pinned on this move. Now he threatens to take the Rook. Curiously, the Rook does not have a clean exit: if now the obvious 24.Rh6 Qe5! 25.Rd1 Rbd8! 26.Rd5 Qg7! leads to an obscure position because the Rook on h6 has great difficulites finding a safe haven. (Note that 24…Bg5? is wrong because of 25.RxP+! and 26.Qd5+!)
A brilliant tactical resource that is just about the strongest move I have seen this week! I am not certain if White had forseen this move before taking the h-pawn, and if she did, then she deserves even more credit for her 23rd move. Most likely Black did not see this move!
18-year old Mariola Wozniak. A talented tactician!
The move threatens the Bishop on e7 and/or Nd5. Clearly 24…KxR 25.RxB will not do for Black at all…especially given that there will soon be a decisive exposion on g6.
Forced, and best practical chance. Now White can get a sizeable advantage with 25.Nd5: 25…Qd6 (25…Bd6? 26.Nf6++)26.RxB! RxR 27.Nf6+ QxN 28.QxQ Re1+ 29.Kh2 KxR 30.Bxg6+!. But White played better:
Neither Rook nor Knight can be captured: 25… Kxh7 26. Nxe7+ Kg7 27. Qh5 Rh8 28. Qg5+ Kf8 29. Qf6 Rh5 30. Bg6! etc. or 25… fxg6 26. Qd5+ Kxh7 27. Qh5+! etc.
Perhaps 26.Re7 is more precise, but the text is more than good enough to do the job! If now 26…BxN 27.Qh5! Qf4! 28.Re3!-threatening Rg3+ and Black can resign with a clear conscience…
26…RxN 27.RxR BxR
Now the way to win is with the precise 28. Qe4!: 28…Bg5!? 29. Rh8+! Kg7 30. Qh7+! Kf6 31. Rxf8 etc. INSTEAD, probably already short of time, White makes a small but significant error that gives Black the chance to escape:
White threatens mate in two moves starting with 29.Rh8+. The move 28…Bf6 would change nothing: 29.Rh8+! and mate next move anway!
But now Black can draw with the clever 28…Qf4!!, covering the h6-square, and forcing White to take the perpetual check, as the reader can easily verify for himself: 29. Rh8+ (29. g3 Qg5!) 29… Kg7 30. Rh7+ Kg8! repeating the position ( Note: not 30… Kf6? 31. Rh6+ Kg7 32. Rg6+!! mating by force)
INSTEAD, no doubt also short of time, Black missed this opportunity and went down in flames:
28… Qd6 ?
29. Rh8+ Kg7 30. Qh7+ Kf6 31. Qh6+! Ke5 32. Qe3+
Now if 32…Qd5 (probably best!) 33.Qe4++. Black decided to play on a few moves before throwing in the towel…
32… Kf6 33. Rh6+ Kg7 34. Rxd6 Bxd6 35. Qg5+