A Blitz Lesson on Decoys and Discoveries
Hi Chess Friends,
I reached this position in a blitz game a few days ago, and since then have had the opportunity to show it to a few of students, rated between 1300 and 1700 USCF. It's a fascinating position and I recommend spending a few minutes trying to find a winning line for white, prior to continuing.
What did you come up with?
It's been interesting talking with students as they worked their way through the critical lines. Often they get caught up in the pin, 14. Be3? and take a long time to give up on it working. Eventually, they do come around to the main idea of 14.Nxd4 Qxd4, drawing out the black queen.
Now there's a bit of logic puzzle for white. How do you use the potential discovery on black's queen to win material? There are only two diagonals to e8, so eventually trying to remove the f7 pawn with 15.Nxe6 or 15.Nxf7 comes to mind. Nxf7 is strong because it attacks the black rook. My students have enjoyed refuting 15...Rg8, and then we get the critical position after 15...Rf8.
16.Ng5 is playable, with an advantage, but another move is not only stronger, but much more esthetically pleasing. It's great seeing the moment when everything clicks and the student finds the winning idea. I want to give my readers that same opportunity, so I recommend finding the win yourself before looking at the whole game below.