A Rare And Brutal Rook Configuration

A Rare And Brutal Rook Configuration

| 32 | Middlegame

Once in a while, a game grabs my attention due to some amazing positional concept or, less often (I say “less often” since most tactics are rather repetitive), due to a really interesting tactical battle. Usually you’ll see these types of games played by grandmasters, but now and then, non-GMs light up the board.

For example, here is a study I had never seen before. You can find it in IM Mark Dvoretsky’s new and very instructive book, "Maneuvering: The Art of Piece Play."

Puzzle 1:

What is really creepy is that, when I put the initial position into my very useful HIARCS Chess Explorer for Mac (every chess fan that has a Mac should get this), it immediately said: "Endgame database: White wins in 22 moves after ...." I won't spoil the puzzle! In any case, this chess study is very, very cool.

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

The main game, though, isn’t a study. It was played in the last week or so, and White was my old (meaning we’ve known each other for a long time, and we are also both quite old) friend IM Elliott Winslow.

16.Be5 is a very thematic, very easy-to-play move, but it turns out that White’s overlooking Black’s queenside counterplay. White needed to go all-in with 16.g5 when the game became very sharp.

Puzzle 2:

How would you play Black's position?

Let’s return to the actual game.

Puzzle 3:

What would you do as Black?

Back to the actual game.

Puzzle 4:

Once again we’ll step back into the actual game.

Puzzle 5:

Here’s the crushing end to our game. See if you can find what Winslow found.

Where's the coup de Winslow?

Puzzle 6:

Rip Black to bits!

The final position with White’s rooks doubled on the h-file IN FRONT of the h3-pawnis very rare.

Well done, Elliott. Very well done!

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