Today’s chess tactics quiz!

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Baku Open   2016.9.19  Gadimbayli, Abdulla–Paramzina, Anastasya:  9.Ne6! 1-0  It is either the Queen or mate after 9…PxN 10.Qh5+

Baku Open   2016.9.21  Abdulov, Orkhan–Soozankar, A.M.: 13.Nf6!! Qc8 (Taking the Knight is soon mate after 14.Qc3+) 14.Qc3 Kh6 15.h3 1-0  It is forced mate in at most 4 moves.

Baku Open   2016.9.26  Mamedjarova, Turkan–Karayev, Kanan:  26…Rf1+!! 27.Kxf1 Bxd3+! 28.cxd3 Qc1+ 29.Kf2 Qe3+ 0-1 White loses his Rook after ….Qxd3+

Baku Open   2016.9.20  Hesham, Abdelrahman–Amin, Bassem:  26.d6+ Qf7 27.Nf6+! 1-0 It is either the Queen or the house (27…PxN 28.Bd5; 27…Kf8 28.Nh7+ Ke8 29.Bc6+)

Baku Open   2016.9.18  Fataliyeva, Ulviyya–Sindarov, Javokhir: 23.Bxh6! (Threatening mate in two if Black takes the Queen) 23… gxh6 24.Qf4!? (24.Rxh6+ is a bit faster) 24… Ne5  25.Rxh6+Kg8 26.Qxe5! Bxh6 27.Rg3+ Kh7 28.Rg7+ Kh8 29.Qf6 1-0 Ouch!

Winning 5-second tactic!


From a blitz game that I saw today over the ‘net. I was quite impressed!  White had just played 22.Qxd6, attacking both the Rook and Bishop.  If 22…Rf7, then 23.Qxe5 is a BIG advantage for White.

My initial impression was that Black had simply not seen White’s 22nd move.  However, after just a few seconds thought, Black uncorked a move that wins by force!


Monday’s Chess Tactics Quiz

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All of the following examples are taken from the Baku Olympiad that is taking place as you read this.  Solutions at the end. Good luck!

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It is never easy to play the former World Champion! Here Kramnik has all of his pieces around the enemy King.  Surely there must be a way to put White quickly out of his suffering?!


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Another easy one! It is Monday, after all!


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Position after 26 moves. Despite Bruzon’s efforts to play solidly, something has gone wrong. Just sufficient to look at Black’s sorry creature on b7…However, that by itself will not likely be enough to win the game.

There is a trick in the position that helps White in his task…Do you see it?


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Black’s sorry position after just 21 moves.  A classic case of being greedy and munching a pawn instead of finishing one’s development. Yes, it happens to strong grandmasters too!


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The young American grandmaster has a beautifully centralized game, and his Knights are ready to pounce on Black’s head.


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There is no doubt that White is better, you just need to look at who has all of the pawn weaknesses, and whose King is winging it on the Queenside…in the game continuation Volokitin played a very creative (and risky) line of attack beginning with 22.Nb6!? Be8 23.Nd4!? exd4 24.Rxe8! Rhxe8 25.Bxc6 Re2? 26.Bxb7! and went on to win the game.

HOWEVER, from the position above, there is a much simpler and riskless line that is good enough to win.  Do you see it?


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A rather good example at why one should never let one’s guard down in chess, even for one moment! White is, effectively, just a piece up for nothing. Ofcourse, Black has a pawn for it, and a few tricks, but hardly enough in a serious game like this…INSTEAD, tragedy struck, when he played 28.Rag1…(‘All is fair in love and war…’)



A tough fight!  Black is marginally better in the game, but if 36.c5!? it is still a game. Perhaps Alex thought that he was going to get the better of things after his 36.f4…or maybe he was trying to win ‘for the team’ (which was being crushed on the other boards)



42nd Olympiad  Baku  2016.9.3  Atabayev, Yusup-Kramnik, Vladimir: 39…Na4! 0-1 After  40.bxa4 Rxe3 ( or 40…b3 ) follows and it is not pretty.

Olympiad Women  Baku  2016.9.2 Khotenashvili, Bela-Lagutina, Olga: 38.Ng6+ 1-0 Mate next move!

42nd Olympiad Baku  2016.9.4 Duda, Jan-Krzysztof-Bruzon Batista, Lazaro: 27.Nf5! Bf8 28.Rbd1 Black is tied hand and foot and can not do anything to prevent White coming in thru the centre. 28…gxf5 What else? 29.exf5 Nf4 30.Bxf4 exf4 31.f6+ Kg8 32.Qf5 Nxf6 33.Qxf6 Bg7 34.Qf5 Red8 35.Bd3 Rd5 36.Qh7+ Kf8 37.Nh4 Qd8 38.Nf5 Qf6 39.Ne7 1-0

42nd Olympiad Baku  2016.9.4 2016.9.4 Volokitin, Andrei-Fridman, Daniel: 22.Rd1! Qxe2 23.Qb4+ 1-0  Forced mate.

42nd Olympiad Baku  2016.9.3 Robson, Ray-Gourlay, Iain: 32.Ngf5! 1-0  After 32…PxN 33.Nxf5 f6 34.Qxh6+ and 35.Re3 is curtains.

42nd Olympiad Baku  2016.9.3 Volokitin, Andrei-Ashiku, Franc:  22.Ng5! (threatening Nf7) 22…QxN 23.Nxd6 Na5 (what else?) 24.Qb6 with an easily winning game

22.Nb6 Be8 23.Nd4 exd4 24.Rxe8 Rhxe8 25.Bxc6 Re2 26.Bxb7 dxc3 27.Na4 Kc7 28.Bxa6 Rb8 29.Qc4+ Kd8 30.Qxe2 cxb2 31.Nc3 Qe5 32.Nb1 Qxe2 33.Bxe2 Ke7 34.Bd3 Ke6 35.Re1+ Kf6 36.a4 Ra8 37.Bb5 Bh6 38.Re2 Bc1 39.Rc2 d5 40.Kf1 d4 41.Ke2 1-0

Olympiad Women  Baku  2016.9.2 Gaponenko, Inna-Silva, Ana Ines Teixeira Da:  28.Rxg7+! wins immediately. After 28…Nxg7 29.Qf6! and the game is as good as over, as the reader can easily verify.

42nd Olympiad Baku  2016.9.4 Cubas, Jose Fernando-Stupak, Kirill:  (Just 28.Qe3 and if 28…Qh5 29.Bd1 Rh4 30.Bxf3 etc should win) 28.Rag1?? Qxh2+ 0-1  White gets mated!

42nd Olympiad Baku  2016.9.3 Colovic, Aleksandar-Mamedov, Rauf: 36.f4??  Bxf4! 37.gxf4 Qh4 and out of nowhere Black has a winning attack! 38.Qc8+ Kg7 39.Qg4 Ra1+ 40.Kg2 Qe1 41.Bf3 h5 42.Rxh5 Qg1+ 43.Kh3 Qxg4+ 44.Bxg4 gxh5 0-1

Sunday’s chess tactics quiz!

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Badalona International  2016.8.5  GM Ortiz Suarez, Isan Reynaldo 2564—IM Cruz, Jonathan 2433: Both players missed 28.Bxh6! gxh6 29.Ne3! Qd7 30.Qxb3 when  Black’s game is shattered 

Spain Ch Linares  2016.8.11 GM Narciso Dublan, Marc 2482—IM Gonzalez De La Torre, Santiago 2452: 25…Nxf3!! 26.Qe3! (Taking the Knight loses immediately to Qh3+) Qg4+ 27.Kh1 Rbxf4 and if anyone is better, it is Black 

5th Washington Int  2016.8.13 GM Smirin, Ilia 2687—fm Gauri, Shankar 2346: 16.Nxe6 Bxe6 17.Rxe6! fxe6 ( 17…Qd7 18.Rf6 exf6 19.exf6 ) 18.Bxg6 White all of a sudden has a winning attack on the Kingside. 18… Qc8 19.Qh3! Rf5  There is no good defence  20.Ng3 Ng4 1-0  Without waiting for White’s reply.

5th Washington Int  2016.8.13 GM Sevian, Samuel 2600—fm Wang, Kevin 2339: 22.Ne5!  Decisive shot! dxe5 23.Rxd7 Rxd7 24.Be6!  The pain does not stop!| 24….Rc7 25.Qxe5 Rc6 26.Bd7 1-0

5th Washington Int  2016.8.13  fm Checa, Nicolas 2405– GM Smirin, Ilia 2687: 26.Ba6!!  A deflecting sacrífice. 26…Qxa6 27.Ng5+ 1-0  After 27…King moves 28.RxB! and 29.Rd7+( The point of deflecting in the Queen in the first place)  is curtains.

France Ch  Agen  2016.8.14  IM Jolly, Jean-Francois 2361– GM Bauer, Christian 2620: 32.Ng6+! hxg6 33.Rxf7!! and it is all over as White will open the h-file with devastating effect.

France Ch  Agen  2016.8.13 GM Bauer, Christian 2620—GM Demuth, Adrien 2545:  33.b4! 1-0  Black loses a piece!  After 33…RxR 34.KxR attacking the Book, not leaving time for the Black Knight to escape its fate.

France Ch  Agen  2016.8.13 GM Maze, Sebastien 2627—GM Feller, Sebastien 2602: 40.Rxd8! Rxd8 41.Qb7! Qg8 ( the threat was 42.Nd6 ) and now the simplest way to put Black in Zugzwang is 42.Be4! followed by 43.Bd5  (In the game White played 42.Qxa7 which was also good enough to win in the long run)

Monday’s chess tactics quiz!

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ch-GBR  Bournemouth  2016.8.4 Adams, Michael–Gormally, Daniel : 40.Qd3!  1-0  It is easy to overlook this move in time trouble.  The Queen move covers the h7 escape, and there is the crushing threat of Rd8+

ch-ESP Linares  2016.8.5  gm Narciso Dublan, Marc 2482—wfm Buiza Prieto, Eihartze 2085: 22.Nb5! Nxb3 ( The first point is that if 22…Rxb5 23.Qc3+! ) 23.Nxc7 Rxa2 24.Nc3! The second point. Now Black loses a lot of material. 24… Ra3 25.N3b5 1-0  Black is convinced!

ch-ESP Linares  2016.8.7  im Gonzalez De La Torre, Santiago 2452—fm Jimenez Martinez, Jose Vicente 2329: 30.Rxe7+!! Kxe7 (30…Qxe7 31.Qxc8+ Qd8 32.Re1+ etc) 31.Bxc5+ Ke6 (31…Kd8 32.Rd1+) 32.Qb3+ Kd7 ( a bit better, though also ending in mate, is 32…Kf5 33.Qd5+ Be5 34.Rf1+ Kg4 35.Qf3+ Kxh4 36.Qe4+ etc) 33.Qd5+ Ke8 34.Re1+ 1-0

ch-ESP Linares  2016.8.5  im Andres Gonzalez, Alberto 2512–Queirolo Perez, Manuel 2096: 21.Bxe5! dxe5 22.g4!  The point of White’s play. The move cuts off the Queen from defending d7 and wins atleast an Exchange due to the Nf6+ threat. 22… Ng3?! (It is lost anyway, but this tricky move speeds up the process.  A bit better was 22…RxN 23.PxR Nf4 24.e3) 23.Rf2! f5 24.hxg3 and White had no problem picking up the point.  Black resigned on move 34.

4th Sinquefield Cup  2016.8.5 Topalov, V 2761–Svidler, P 2751: 26.Qc3! Nxd4 27.Qxb4 Ne2+ 28.Kh1 1-0  Black will be a piece down after 28…NxR 29.Qb8+! (the move Svidler overlooked in his original calculation) 29…Kh7 30.Qb1+ or 29…Kf7 30.Qxc7+ and 31.QxN

4th Sinquefield Cup  2016.8.6  Vachier-Lagrave, M 2819–Anand, V 2770: 30…Bxe6 31.Bxd5 e3!  Winning a piece in every line! White no doubt overlooked this move. The game continued 32.Bxe3 Bxd5 33.Bxa7+ Kxa7 34.Qf2+ Bc5 35.Qxc5+ Qxc5+ 36.bxc5 Rd7 and Anand had no trouble winning

Friday’s chess tactics quiz!





1st Stars Cup  Bandar-e Anzali   2016.7.15  P0sition before Black’s 33rd move.  White’s pieces have been pushed back into passive positions, while Black has cleverly weakened White’s King position.  Now is the perfect time to strike…





1st Stars Cup  Bandar-e Anzali   2016.7.18  Position after 18 moves.  It seems very much as though the game is just beginning, infact it is about to end!  



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1st Stars Cup  Bandar-e Anzali   2016.7.18  Position before Black’s 27th move.  It is clear that White has been outplayed by his more experienced rival, who dominates the centre with his powerful armada…Black can now play 27…Nb4!? to increase his pressure (28.b3! Qa6!), but the grandmaster wants more.  He wants to immediately end the game…



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1st Stars Cup  Bandar-e Anzali   2016.7.18  Position after 19 moves. Material is even, but Black’s pieces lack coordination.  His last move was 19…h6, trying to get rid of some pressure….




1st Stars Cup  Bandar-e Anzali   2016.7.15  Khademalsharieh,S–Short,N : 33…Ne2+ 34.Rxe2 ( 34.Kf1 Qh2 35.Rxe2 Qxh3+ 36.Rg2 Nxg2 37.Nxg2 Qxf3+ 38.Bf2 Qxd1+ ) Qg3+ 35.Kf1 ( 35.Ng2 Qh2+ 36.Kf1 Qh1+ 37.Bg1 Bh2 ) ( 35.Rg2 Nxg2 36.Nxg2 Qh2+ 37.Kf1 Qh1+ 38.Kf2 Qxd1 ) Qxh3+ 36.Kg1 Bh2+ ( 36…Nxf3+ is even more precise ) 0-1 After  37.RxB Nxf3+ 38.NxN RxR+ etc or 37.Kh1 RxR etc.

1st Stars Cup  Bandar-e Anzali   2016.7.18  Short,N–Ghaem Maghami,E:  19.Nd5! A very nice positional sacrifice that leaves Black paralyzed and helpless. 19…exd5 20.cxd5 Qb7 21.Nc6! Rfe8 22.f4! Nh5 23.e5! Nb8 24.Nxd8 Rxd8 25.e6 Nf6 26.f5 b5 27.Bd4 Rf8 28.Qh6 fxe6 29.dxe6 d5 30.fxg6 Nc6 31.Rxc6 1-0

1st Stars Cup  Bandar-e Anzali   2016.7.18  Firouzja,Alireza–Dreev,A: 27…Bd2!! 28.Nxd2 (White’s problem is that he can not take with the Rook because of forced mate on c1) 28… Qc2+ 29.Ka1 Rb5! 30.b3 Ra5 31.a4 Nb4 0-1 (Also 31…Rxa4+ would win)

1st Stars Cup  Bandar-e Anzali   2016.7.18  Edouard,R–Pourramezanali,A:  20.Ne4! Qe6 21.Bxd5 ! Qxd5 22.Nxf6+ Kf7 23.Nxd5 Bxc3 24.Bxc3 with two extra pawns that White had no problema converting into a win some dozen moves later.

Wednesday’s chess tactics quiz!


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TCh-CHN   2016.7.26  Fang, Yan–Xu, Yinglun.  Yesterday! Let’s start today’s work with a Rook and Pawn ending. Both sides have passed pawns, but White’s are more advanced, and therefore has the better chances of winning the game.  But he must exercise caution, as the hasty 40.b5?! (threatening 41.Rb6+ and 42.Rc6) would allow the clever 40…Kg7! when White must fight for a draw (!), as the reader can easily verify.



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17th Karpov Poikovsky  2016.7.26  Gm Motylev, Alexander–Gm Jakovenko, Dmitry. Position after White’s move, 22.Rd8, which came with a draw offer which was accepted(!). Fascinating! White is threatening Rxf8+ and Qd8 mate; Black, for his part, is threatening to capture one of White’s Bishops….

While a draw is actually a fair result in this game, it took me quite a while to understand why! And even so, I think that both players should have played on! If only because it is a very tricky position. For instance if now 22…g6 (luft!), then White wins with 23.RxR+ KxR 24.Qd8+ Kg7 25.Qf6+ and 26.e6!

So my challenge to you, dear Reader, is



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Dutch Open  Dieren   2016.7.26  Gm Debashis, Das–Vos, Tjark. Position after 22 moves of play. The grandmaster has played the opening recklessly against his less experienced rival, and now finds himself a pawn less with a shattered pawn structure.

It is clear that White would be satisfied with a draw, if he could somehow get a perpetual against the enemy King.  Tempting, therefore, is 23.Rxe6!?, when 23…PxR?! 24.RxP+ PxR 25.Qxg6+ gives a draw.  But the clever 23…Bf6! would refute White’s idea, and after 24.Rxf6 Qxf6 25.Rh4 Qg7 26.Qxg7+ Kxg7 27.Bh6+Kg8 28.Ne4 Nd5!  Black is simply better.

Another unsuccessful idea is 23.Ne4!?, trying to get in Ng5 or Bg5, but Black successfully defends with 23… Qxd4! 24.Ng5 ( or 24.Bg5 Bxg5 25.Nxg5 Qg7! ) 23…Qg7!

But there exists a very clever resource in the above position that would allow White to save his game.  Do you see it?



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Quebec  Open  U2000  Montreal  2016.7.23  Morin, Louis–El-Adraoui, Mourad. Position after 18 moves of play. White had earlier sacrificed a Knight to open the Black King position, hoping that he could take advantage of it. It is not easy, however.  If White now tries to bring in the Rook with the immediate 19.Qh3 (planning 20.Re3 and 21.Rg3) then Black can successfully defend with 19…Ndf6! 20.Re3 Bc8! followed by BxN.

However, Louis Morin, a resourceful tactician, had forseen a very clever idea….



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Quebec  Open    Montreal  2016.7.25  Gm Lesiege, Alexandre–Fm Barbeau, Sylvain. Position after 31 moves. Both players had aimed for this position and Black–having an extra pawn–must have felt satisfied.  If White tries to win it back with 32.Ng5(?!) Bd5 33.Re1 then the simple 33…Bg7! would be very strong. However, Lesiege had forseen a clever resource in the position above that gives him the advantage…




TCh-CHN   2016.7.26  Fang, Yan–Xu, Yinglun: 40.Kb1! 1-0  If 40…Rc4 41.b3 Rc3 42.Kb2 Rc6 43.b5 and 44.Rb6+ and 45.Rc6 (note:43.Rb6 should be good enough also); Ori f 40…Rc6 then 41.b5 as in the last variation.

17th Karpov Poikovsky  2016.7.26  Motylev, Alexander–Jakovenko, Dmitry: 22…f6! 23.exf6 ( 23.Rxf8+ Kxf8 24.exf6 Qc1+ 25.Bf1 Qxc3 26.fxg7+ Kxg7 ( or 26…Qxg7 27.Qd8+ Kf7 28.Qxc7+ Kg8 29.Qd8+ Qf8 30.Qg5+ etc ) 27.Qe7+ with a perpetual ) Rxd8 ( 23…Qxc3?! 24.f7+ Kxf7 25.Rxf8+ Kxf8 26.Qd8+ Kf7 27.Qxc7+ Kf8 28.Qxb7 with advantage ) 24.f7+ Kxf7 25.Bh5+ g6 26.Qf6+ Ke8 27.Qh8+!? (trying to win?. Ofcourse, White had a perpetual with Qe6+) Kd7 28.Bg4+ Kc6 29.Qxd8 Nxc4 30.Bf3+ Kb6 31.Bxb7 Qxc3 with na even game 

Dutch Open  Dieren   2016.7.26  Debashis, Das–Vos, Tjark: 23.Ree4!!  ( Beautiful! Talk about Rooks and files, well this is certainly weird. White wants to play Rh4)23…Nd6?? ( Correct is either 23…Nd3!? 24.Rh4 Bxh4 25.Rxh4 Qxh4 26.Qxh4 Nxc1 27.Ne4 Kg7 but White has a forced repetition if he wants; or the immediate 23…f5, which allows 24.Rxg6+ with a draw ) 24.Rh4 Bxh4 25.Rxh4 Qxh4 26.Qxh4 Nf5 27.Qe4 and Black does not have enough for the Queen.  Rfd8 28.Be3 a6 29.Bb3 Rd6 30.Qb7 Rcd8 31.Ne4 Rc6 32.Bd2 Nxd4 33.Ng5 Rf8 34.Bxb4 Rc1+ 35.Kg2 1-0 

Quebec  Open  U2000  Montreal  2016.7.23  Morin, Louis–El-Adraoui, Mourad: 19.Qg3! Very strong move, deflecting the Bishop and gaining time for the attack 19…Bf6 (19…Bh8 would be answered the same way) 20.Qh3! Bg7 21.Re3!  Decisive  21… Bxe4 22.Rxe4 Ndf6 23.Rh4 Qd7 24.Bxh6 Nxh6 25.Rxh6+ Kg8 26.Rxf6 Rfd8 27.Qg4 1-0 

Quebec  Open    Montreal  2016.7.25  Lesiege, Alexandre–Barbeau, Sylvain: 32.Rd8!! Re7?? (After the correct  32…Bc6! 33.Nd4.Be7 34.Rxe8+ Bxe8 White is only a bit better ) 33.Ng5 e5 ( 33…Bd5 34.Bf6 ) 34.Nxe4 1-0

Monday’s chess tactics quiz!


“When you see a good move, wait.  Look for a better move!”

Em. Lasker (1868-1941)

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TCh-CHN  2016.7.24 .  Position after 39 moves. White has outplayed his rival and has actively posted each and every piece. Now is the time to cash in.



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Karpov Poikovsky  2016.7.24  Position after 24 moves. A very unusual position, especially for Grandmasters! Both Kings are in the open, but Black is up a Rook and piece…In this kind of game, the initiative is everything.  In the game continuation White decided to win back some material with 25.RxN(?), but after 25…g5! White’s position collapsed like a house of cards.  INSTEAD, from the above position, White has a much stronger continuation, giving some winning chances.



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Lake Sevan  Martuni  2016.7.21 Position after 20 moves. White had sacrificed a piece for the attack, but now what to do?  If 21.e5?! Black beats back the attack with 21…BxB! 22.QxB Ng4+ 23.K-moves Qf5!  Or if 21.Bxc8?! Rxc8 22.d5?! PxP 23.NxP (23.cxd5 Rxc3!) Rxp+ with a mating attack.



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Lake Sevan  Martuni  2016.7.20  Position after White’s 43rd move. A fascinating and wild game! Both sides are trying to win, material even but unbalanced. In such positions the initiative is everything. Wrong now would be 43…Qc3? as 44.Qb8+! Ke7 45.Qd6+! wins. Better would be 43…Qa1!?, but things are still messy after 44.Kg2 as taking the Bishop would allow a perpetual check starting with Qb8+.



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27th Czech Open Pardubice 2016.7.23  Position after 20 moves.  At first sight, a complex fight with opposite-side castling. If now 21.Bd2!?, with the idea of 22.Rc1, then 21…Kb8 is anybody’s game. Black must have felt confident about his chances in this position above…



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27th Czech Open Pardubice 2016.7.23  Position after Black’s 24th move (24…Nb4). White had sacrificed his h-pawn to open the h-file and build up an attack against Black’s King with a later Rh1.

Black’s last move aims to exchange White’s light-colour Bishop. If White now plays 25.BxN BxB 26.Nf4, then 26…RxR and 27…Bf8 will give a sufficient defence against White’s Kingside initiative.




1.) TCh-CHN  2016.7.24 gm Lu, Shanglei (2611)—fm Yu, Kaifeng (2251) : 40.BxN! QxB 41.Nc6! PxN 42.QxR Rf8 43.PxP! etc.  In the game continuation we saw 40.Ka2 Nc5? 41.Nc6! bxc6 42.Qxb8 Nxa4 43.dxc6 Rc5 44.Qb7 1-0

2.) Karpov Poikovsky  2016.7.24  gm Jakovenko, Dmitry (2712)—gm Sutovsky, Emil (2622): 25.Qb4+! Kf7 26.Bd5+ Kg6 27.Rxf8 Rxf8 28.Qxf8 with dangerous threats. 28… Nd7! 29.Qd8 ( 29.Qd6+= ) Nf6 30.exf6 Qd7 31.Qg8 And Whtie has the better chances.

3.) Lake Sevan  Martuni  2016.7.21  gm Sevian, Samuel (2595)—gm Onischuk, Vladimir (2615): 21.d5! cxd5 22.Nxd5 Qe2+ 23.Kh3 Bxe6+ 24.Qxe6 Nxd5 25.Rxd5+ Ke8 26.Qxg6+ 1-0

4.) Lake Sevan  Martuni  2016.7.20  gm Pashikian, Arman (2615)—gm Anton Guijarro, David (2627):  43…g3!! 44.hxg3 Bh3+ 45.Ke2 Qb2+ 46.Kf3 Qg2+ 0-1

5.) 27th Czech Open Pardubice 2016.7.23 gm Gavrilov, Alexei (2465)—fm Wallner, Joachim (2333): 21.Bf4!! Qxf4 22.Rxe7 Rd7 23.Rxd7 Kxd7 24.Qxb7+ 1-0

6.) 27th Czech Open Pardubice 2016.7.23  im Cerveny, Martin (2384)—gm Lintchevski, Daniil (2548): 25.Bxg6!! fxg6 ( 25…hxg6 26.Qh3 ) 26.Nf4 Bf8 ( 26…Rxc1 27.Nxg6 ) 27.Nxg6 Bg7 28.Bxb4 Nc2 29.Bd6 hxg6 30.Qxg6 Qd7 31.Rxc2 Rxc2 32.Qxc2 Rc8 33.Bc5 1-0

Friday’s chess tactics quiz

Lasker Em

“Believe in the existence of that combination and seek to discover it.  And if you have searched in vain a hundred times, continue.  Possibly the advantage that you think you hold is only an illusion; your valuations may be at fault: prove them and improve them.  But, first of all, search diligently; work, for such work is rewarded.”  (Lasker’s Manual of Chess; p215)



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The following examples are all taken from the Sant Marti International Open tournament that just finished yesterday.  Just click the previous image to find all the tournament information and results.  Or HERE.

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From the 8th round.  Position after 29 moves of play.  White has played a brilliant game, completely outplaying his talented rival. Even though White is a whole Rook down, his three passed pawns, dominant pieces and Black’s exposed King are more than full compensation.  HOWEVER, the game is complicated and White must still prove his advantage…Here White should probably play 30.d5!? (threatening Be3+ winning). After 30…RxB 31.QxR(d8)! White would have excellent winning chances.

IN THE GAME continuation, probably short of time, Peralta completely lost his head, and with it, all of his advantage:


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This obvious move gives Black the opportunity to cleverly turn the tables on his rival…

30…RxB! 31.PxR?!

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After 32.Rf1 Rd1! is more than sufficient.




Black had just played 22…Nxc2, trying desperately to gain some momentum for his counter-attack on the Queenside.  I suppose the idea is that if 23.KxN Ba4!? would follow…but it is hardly forced. White has better; much better!



If I had a dollar for everytime I see this tactic in praxis…



The game is just starting. White played 20.Nd5 and Black immediately resigned!  WHY? Can someone please explain this to me?


A CaroKan, White having shamelessly grubbed a pawn on b7 (against a Grandmaster!)




Sant Marti 2016.7.16  Gautier, Anand(2186)—fm Meneses Gonzalez, Kevin (2379) : 23.Rh8! White simply ignores Black’s threats on the other side of the board! 23…Nxe3 24.Rxg8+ Kd7 25.Nc5# 1-0

Sant Marti 2016.7.15  Jimenez Ruano, Adrian(2089)—fm Teichmann, Erik O (2312) : 24.Qxh7+ 1-0

Sant Mart1 2016.7.14  Hernando Rodrigo, Julio Antoni (2333)–Castillo Dalmau, Albert (1998):  20.Nd5 1-0 Resignation is not just premature, but unncessary!  Black had only calculated that 20…PxN 21.cxd5 Qb8? 22.Nc6! which wins big material. But 20…PxN 21.cxd5 Nbc5 and Black can still fight. White’s advantage is small.

Sant Mart1 2016.7.13   Fernandez Aguilar, Francisco (1622)—gm Cuartas, Jaime Alexander (2455): 12…Nb4! 13.cxb4 Qxb4+ Black recovers the material with a strong attack. 14.Ke2?! Rab8 15.Qxa7 Qxb5+ 16.Ke3 Ng4+ 17.Kf4 Nxf2  and Black soon won

The lost art of analysis

(This article was originally published in 2011, and then again in 2014,  but given the tímeless nature of the subject, I felt it time to dust it off and publish it one more time.)

It is ironic  today  that while many are trying to sell chess to school boards as a relatively inexpensive and  fun way to make kids smarter, the chess community itself  is rapidly being swamped by hundreds, if not thousands, of dumbed-down chess books , dvds and other chess products, all purporting to help raise the reader’s level of play with minimum effort on his part.


”DUMBING DOWN is a pejorative term for a perceived trend to lower the intellectual content of literature, education, news, and other aspects of culture. According to John Algeo, former editor of American Speech, the neologism dumb down meaning “revise so as to appeal to those of little education or intelligence” was first recorded in 1933 as movie slang. 

Dumbing down can point to a variety of different situations, but the concept always involves a claim about the simplification of culture, education and thought; a decline in creativity and innovation; a degradation of artistic, cultural and intellectual standards, or the undermining of the very idea of a standard; and the trivialization of cultural, artistic and academic creations.”

(wiki pedia, 2011)

And I am not just referring to the usual crap such as ”Winning with this opening” , or ”Winning against this same opening”.  I needn’t remind the reader of this vast and soul-less body of chess literature, as whenever he investigates what is for sale over at Amazon’s (or the London Chess Center, as just one well known example) he can not avoid it occupying his face on the computer screen!  And would I be exaggerating things if I were to say that whenever you walk into a specialty book shop you could bump into it immediately and even risk injuring yourself…?


BUT worse still,  many reputable authors  have produced best-selling products  that are deliberately dumbed-down  with absolutely useless and often redundant computer-generated analysis of variations. Computer analysis trivializes the basic skills that are needed to become a master level player. Nigel Davies over at his well-known site The Chess Improver wrote today on this exact same problem and labelled the practice ”computer analysis dumping”


This is probably one of the reasons why I rarely buy more than a half-dozen new chess books per year these days.  Most chess books on the market today are opening-speciality items and at age 57 I can guarantee you that I get by perfectly well  with the reliable sources of  information that a life-time of experience as a GM has taught me about.

 Not that I don’t follow what is happening :  on the contrary–I find myself faced with so much more information via the internet (live games, great chess blogs, free videos and commentary) than I ever did in the past.  The only difference is that I REFUSE  on principle to fall for the commercialized or  chess-engine processed information put out by those who want me to later buy their products…

I limit myself in my chess work to a good data-base program and a free chess engine

I might be able to understand an up-and-coming player buying a product that promises to tell every secret about such and such an opening (and then back it up with endless pages of computer generated analysis) IF he might be able to win one or two games with it, BUT for the life of me I see no sense in buying this product if he thinks that this will make him a better player!


HE WOULD JUST BE DELUDING HIMSELF… in the same way as if he thought that by memorizing all the answers to a final exam would make him more qualified to graduate to the next class.  It doesn’t!  Memorizing why a chess move is good (or not so good) is not evidence of chess skill.  It never was, and it never will be.

The great Emanuel Lasker would certainly be horrified by the average quality of today’s chess literature.  Several years ago I wrote an instructive article entitled ”Reflections on the data-base generation”  where I discussed some of Lasker’s thoughts on the subject of the rapid expansion of opening analysis in modern chess.


Lasker raised (cerca 1925)  several insightful and interesting points that are very relevant today:


1) the Opening has increasingly become the centre of our attention and work in chess almost to the exclusion of everything else 

2) industrious and intelligent learners can and do successfully compete with stronger and more talented players because they ‘know’ the Openings better 

3) chessplayers are becoming ”compilers of variations”

Lasker wrote in his famous Manual :

”I want to train pupils to think for themselves and exercise just criticism.  I will not teach them mere formulae, mere generalities, but will instil into them lasting principles that will grow and blossom; which are alive, and vital. 

They must be ready and willing to put their conceptions , laws and valuations to the proof , again and again, diligently and cheerfully, from a sheer joy of the law and from veneration of the fact.”


You might want to argue that Lasker was ‘old school’ and that the chess world has changed so much today–especially with the advent of computers– and in some ways you would be right.  But while the chess world has certainly changed, the game itself has not changed very much! Good moves and basic principles are the backbone of any chess position and every chess player.  Lasker argued for less information–but better information; not simply increasing information exponentially.  For the good of the players themselves… 

You might want to get a competitive edge by using computer analysis or by keeping up to date with the latest games played in Moscow or Gibraltar, but if your opponents do the same then you are just wasting your time.  In the  period 1950 to 2000 information in chess was not distributed democratically or equally: you could win many games simply because you had access to some printed analysis that your opponents did not have.  The internet changed all that.  The internet became the great equalizer in chess information: today EVERONE has access to EXACTLY  the same openings data. 

Today, more than ever, the need for creativity and imagination are the most reliable ways to make progress as chess players and to get a competitive edge in tournament play.  And we should all work together to avoid the trivialization of the game by NOT becoming mere clones or copies of each other.



WHILE  I am on this subject, let me tell you what I don’t want  in a chess book:  I don’t want to be treated as an idiot who can not figure things out for himself.  This means that I don’t want 20 pages of analysis proving why such and such a move is best when a word to the wise is sufficient.

My model book is the 1909 tournament book  of the St.Petersburg Chess Congress


”THIS is a book in which analysis is accurate. 

The games in this book show the working of the mind of the master, and the commentary has been intended to guide the thought of him who plays over these games so that he may perceive weakness and merit.  Notes have been made solely for that purpose.  The glossary was meant to be both necessary and sufficient.  Nowhere will it be found lacking in supplying explanation needed, but it has no superfluities.

 The work has been translated from German, all but the early part, by Mr. R. Teichmann, and some valuable advice has been given to me by Mr. Teichmann, for which I beg to thank him here.”


New York, May 10, 1910.


I am not sure when this model for chess books was replaced by the present dumbed-down model that we find in the chess world, but in 1953 Lasker’s model was still respected and admired.  I quote from the introduction of the classic ‘Zurich 1953’ (Bronstein)

 ”The author has tried to avoid weighing down his book with variations.  Variations can be interesting, if they show the beauty of chess: they become useless when they exceed the limits of what a man can calculate; and they are a real poison when they substitute the study and clarification of positions in which the outcome can only be decided by intuition , fantasy and talent.”