Broken Tactics

Broken Tactics

NM CoachJKane

Hi Chess Friends,

Since having a kid I haven't had the time or focus to compete in tournaments, so most of my play has been blitz right here on I've noticed that as I've gotten more adept at the traps in my current openings a clear pattern has emerged. Many games are won and lost in faster time controls through a player relying on pattern recognition and playing a common tactic in a situation where it doesn't quite work. I'm going to demonstrate a couple examples that work frequently in some of my blitz openings.

1. The Discovered Check Trap

I've previously posted about a successful tactic I've enjoyed playing a couple of times. I first played it against a hustler in one of New York's many parks where people play. Here's the trap as it's supposed to work. 

Most master level players (and many lower rated players) are familiar with the power of a queen or bishop on the a4-e8 diagonal, paired with a pawn on c6 that can either win Black's queen or rook while promoting. It's a tempting enough tactic that I've now won multiple games by being on the receiving side. Here's an example of White overplaying his hand to try to make the tactic work.
And another one... White kept playing on in a lost position for a long time, but the result was never in doubt. 
2. That knight on b8.
I've been playing more games recently with an early Bg5 or Bf4 for White I've noticed that several common patterns get screwed up if Black doesn't foresee Bxb8 coming.  Here's the common tactical motif as Black intends it to work. Black's early g5 leads to a complicated game, where I prefer his chances, although it's still playable for White.
However, when you place pieces slightly differently the pattern doesn't work. Counter-threats against a bishop on the b8-h2 diagonal often fail because of the tempo gaining Bxb8.
And a similar b8 issue...
Note, Black does have a move to stay in the game instead of 6...Nd6, but none of my opponents have found it. If you see how Black can reach a playable position, please post in the comments.
Here's one more similar trap I've had more than once in the London system, an opening I'd never played until recently. 

I'll leave you with one more broken tactic from a blitz game. Black just sacrificed to set up the pin on White's f4 knight. What did he miss?