Tactical Cusps 2

Oct 9, 2013, 12:24 AM |

First, some good news. 

Yve from the DTNH feels chuffed to see that our club is going so well.  Consequently, DTNH has agreed to buy us two chess clocks.... YAHOO!

Another interesting position, tactically speaking, occurred last Saturday in the following game:


My first move, above, was intended only to relieve the pin on my knight at f3.  I would have been delighted to continue with 1...Bxf3 2.Qxc6+ Qd7 3.Qxa8+ Qd8 4.Qxd8 Kxd8 etc., as this wins a knight and a rook for white, and naturally Branko wasn't having any of that!  I would also have been happy to continue with 1.Qa4 Bd7 2.Qc2; but at this stage neither of us had seen 2.e6.
White's second move is surprising and counter intuitive, as the pawn can be taken by Branko's bishop or by his pawn.  Consequently it is the kind of move you never consider.  It's difficult to see such a move ahead of time, and I hadn't.  It is tremendously powerful, though, resulting in a fork (2...Bxe6 3.Qxc6+ Bd7 4.Qxd5) and a gain of a knight, or in a nasty, surprising checkmate (2...Pxe6 3.Bg6#).  Branko wasn't having any of that, either, electing to defer material loss into the unknown future.
The tactical elements of this situation are these:
  • pin: of white's knight to his queen
  • counter-threat: white's threat of Qxc6+ is stronger than black's threat of Bxf3
  • pin: of black's knight to his king.
  • discovered attack: against white's queen by black's bishop, after 1...Bd7. This threatens 2...Nxd4
  • counter-attack: 2.d6 Nxd4 3.Pxd7+ Qxd7 4.QxQ KxQ 5.Pxd4
  • multiple threats: 2.d6 threatens both 3.Pxd7 and 3.Pxf7
Perhaps you could say that the strategic elements of the situation are a little clearer in this position.  Black has wasted time on prophylactic defence (h6) and on another pawn move, b6.  Both these moves were unnecessary, and have caused black to be way behind on development, with his king vulnerable. These wasted moves have merely made black weak on his white squares, and on both sides of the board.  White's queen and wh.sq.bishop are well-placed to exploit this.
My argument attempts to convince you that "bad" strategy leads to tactically volatile & dangerous positions.  However, it is not just teenage boys who are convinced that their innate superiority will result in victory for them in any tricky situation.  After all, teenage boys just know that they are the smartest and meanest on the block!  In fact, some modern grandmasters play in just such a fashion, and I don't think that my arguments can hold against them.  It would be like disputing the cosmos with Dr.Who.