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Uncovering a Tactical Weakness

  • GM BryanSmith
  • | Jan 26, 2012
  • | 16600 views
  • | 30 comments

Tactics naturally flow from “tactical weaknesses” – an unguarded piece, an exposed king, two heavy pieces on the same line, etc. Often this weakness is out in the open and the only question is if it can be utilized. But occasionally a normal chess position arises which has a hidden weakness buried in it. A surprising turn of events uncovers this weakness.

In the following game the French Defense led to a normal-looking position where Black had some pressure on the queenside and White was attempting to get some play against the black king. It was a fairly closed position, and the poorly-guarded knight on c6 seemed completely irrelevant. However, a sudden sacrifice opened the game up to exploit this momentary tactical weakness. Black lost control of the game, and the rest of it revolved around this one theme, until the very end. After the tactics began, it turned out that there was no way out for Black – a fact that made me feel a little sorry for him. Usually one mistake won’t lose the game by force, but this time it turned out to be the case!

 

White was exploiting the knight on c6 from the beginning to the end of the combination, which began from a normal-looking position where it seems White just has a little more space in a typical French defense.

By the way, do you think I saw to the end of the game when I began the combination (at 21.fxe6)? Not a chance, because I didn’t need to. When I played 21.fxe6 (which I would not play without having the follow-up planned, since releasing the tension would give away my chances of playing f5-f6 at some point) I saw up to 25.dxe5, and knew that I would have an advantage there in any case, due to the more exposed black king and various weaknesses. I also sensed that there would be further tactics to exploit the awkward black pieces. But it was not necessary to see everything before making the decision to play the combination. Only when I got to the position later did I see the 26.e6 and 27.Nd4 idea, and at that point I also saw 28.Qxc6, since without that move White would have only an equal position. Keep in mind that when you calculate in chess, it is not necessary to see to the very end – you only have to see enough to make a decision. If you try to see everything all the time, you will tire yourself out and get into time pressure, leading to bad results.

Comments


  • 2 years ago

    Faithy911

    Fantastic

  • 2 years ago

    lenny15

    I love watching development flow like that into a solid tactic

  • 2 years ago

    NastyPawn

    Wow! I wish I can do that. Thank you,,... very good article.

  • 2 years ago

    HamTheKiller

    "By the way, do you think I saw to the end of the game when I began the combination (at 21.fxe6)? Not a chance, because I didn’t need to."

     

     

    Thank you for your honesty on how you can see tactical chances based on the evaluation of the position. Alekhine would have said. "By the way, I saw the end of the game when I began the combination at 21.fxe6!"

  • 2 years ago

    Faithy911

    This really will help me take down my opponents thnx and also because I'm a beginner I now know a great tactic to use against advanced players thnx!!!!!!! XD
  • 2 years ago

    Hermes374

    Nice article thx for posting!

  • 2 years ago

    RainbowRising

    This author is quickly becoming one of my favourites here on chess.com. 

  • 2 years ago

    RaiseTheCurve

    "If you try to see everything all the time, you will tire yourself out and get into time pressure, leading to bad results."

    The game and the lesson compliment each other perfectly. Thanks for driving that one home for me once and for all Bryan!

  • 2 years ago

    rongchen

    Great game and very nice arcicle

  • 2 years ago

    IvanK

    Those tactics were literally thrilling.

  • 2 years ago

    abrarsamen

    nice article

  • 2 years ago

    EnsoyLupez

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 2 years ago

    Kinn72

    Thanks, great tactics & great annotations.

  • 2 years ago

    7st

    I find the game to be feel with alot of traps.

  • 2 years ago

    yogesh249

    but i cant see chess games on mobile. can something be done abt it? i use samsung galaxy s gt-i9003 and opera as my browser. would be obliged if u can email me in case u have a solution
  • 2 years ago

    pawngenius

    I play the same line for White.  Great tactical find!

     

  • 2 years ago

    bolshevikhellraiser

    Nevermind I didn't read the end of the article where you answered my ?. Great game

  • 2 years ago

    bolshevikhellraiser

    That knight sacrifice was very deep, elegant, and sound. I'm just wondering when you made that sacrifice did you consider black playing e5 and did you already plan e6 w/ the intent on moving nd4. Basically I'm asking did you see the position on move 27 when you gave up your knight, or did you go on your intuition? I mean you really didn't get compensated until 7 moves later. This game is something to be proud of.

  • 2 years ago

    SpaceBrother

    nice

  • 2 years ago

    zakaryah

    Thanks Bryan, your posts are always fun to read and informative.  Great lessons!

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