The Wooden Horse

The Wooden Horse

| 38 | Tactics

We have just entered 2014 which is the year of the Wooden Horse. It should be a lucky year for people who take care of their wooden horses on a daily basis. Of course I am talking about chess players. For the majority of people the Wooden Horse is just a Chinese zodiac sign, but for us, chess players, it is almost like a good old friend.

Just try to remember how much joy and sorrow was brought to us by this little chess piece with pointy ears. Sometimes the chess knights make us smile:

But sometimes they make us cry. Just imagine what the legendary U.S. Grandmaster Sammy Reshevsky must have experienced after the next game:

To add insult to injury, the variation played in this game is called sometimes "Reshevsky variation" due to the numerous games won by the famous grandmaster. How does it feel to lose a game in just nine moves... as White... in the variation named after you?

Combinations where a knight delivers the final blow are always elegant. I don't know one single chess player who wouldn't be excited when he sees a smothered checkmate. It was true over five hundred years ago:

It is true these days too:

The combinations with just one knight are beautiful, but with two knights they become exquisite. Judge for yourself:

Now tell me, can an article about beautiful chess combinations be complete without games by Morphy or Tal?  You say ‘no’? You are correct!

Let me finish this article with the next game:

You can see that I deliberately removed the names of the players. The reason is because it is the last puzzle today. Try to guess how this game is connected to the legendary Bobby Fischer? I'll answer the question next week.

Have a happy and prosperous Wooden Horse Year!


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