From Paul Morphy To Wei Yi

From Paul Morphy To Wei Yi

| 54 | Tactics

The Chinese chess prodigy Wei Yi wins the hearts of fans with every new tournament he plays. It is not just his phenomenal results (with his current rating, he should be the highest-rated 16-year-old ever!), but also his sparkling style of play that attracts attention of the whole chess world.

If you deduce from the title of the article that Wei Yi is reincarnated Paul Morphy, I am not going to argue, even though the point of the title was different.

Today, we are going to discuss a powerful tactical pattern that was employed by Paul Morphy and which is as deadly today as it was 150 years ago! 

The following game demonstrates how this pattern works. Try to find the way GM Bent Larsen finished his game in style:

So, you see how the combo gets executed: your queen needs access to a very important square next to your opponent's king. But the king protects this key square -- therefore you sacrifice your rook to deflect the King from defending the square.

By the way, in this old article we analyzed a mirror image of this pattern. Find why White resigned in the following position:

Yes, instead of playing 30.Kg2 I resigned the game since I had no doubt that Korchnoi would have played this typical combo. First of all, it is really chess 101! Besides, Korchnoi won the tournament where Larsen executed his beautiful attack in the game above and possibly Korchnoi was sitting next to Larsen's board and watched that gem live!

Checkmate isn't always the goal of the combination, as the next game demonstrates. 

By the way, notice the "invisible pin" GM Robert Byrne used by playing 14.e5!  We discussed this unusual chess concept in this article.

Needless to say, GM Robert Byrne played in the same Leningrad Interzonal 1973 (where he qualified for the Candidates' matches!) and therefore saw the Larsen's combination live as well Smile

While the rook is most frequently sacrificed on the f7 square (or the f2 square for the Black rook), sometimes the same combination can be executed in different places of the board. Here is the famous Morphy game that I mentioned in the beginning of the article:

For a more complicated case where the rook is not sacrificed on the f2 or f7 square, try to solve a puzzle from the game Gaisert-Zaitsev, which can be found in my old article here.

Let's get back to the classical sacrifice on the f7 square. If you look at the next diagram, you'll see that the critical f7 and h7 squares are protected twice, and yet it is exactly where White delivered the decisive blow. Can you find it?

Finally, let me present you the modern masterpiece by GM Wei Yi.

I have no doubt that this game will grace chess textbooks for centuries, just like the games of Paul Morphy!

If you enjoyed this unbelievable game (and I know that you enjoyed it Smile), you can check this article fully devoted to the game.

I hope that a combination from your game will one day be listed among those from Morphy, Larsen, Byrne, Korchnoi, or Wei Yi.  

Good luck!

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