A medley of X-ray tactics
X-ray tactics

A medley of X-ray tactics

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Recently I was doing commentary on the Icelandic Championship. One important game featured an incredible amount of x-ray tactics.....and in fact missed x-ray tactics!

I hope after this post you will be better equipped to anticipate and find x-ray tactics in your own games.

To clarify, lets first define what an x-ray tactic is. Sometimes it is used for a skewer but for me and I think most veteran players, this is the definition:

  • indirectly attacks an enemy piece through another piece or pieces, or
  • defends a friendly piece through an enemy piece.

In the game in question the tactic first came on my radar when Stefansson moved his Queen in in this position: after 34...Qg3

This would set up our first does black continue?

Now...this didn't happen but it was clear something was in the air in the position. White reacted horribly and played 35.Qd3?? when 35.Qc3 (protecting the rook) was called for. Here Stefansson missed a golden opportunity....lets see if you can find it. The key is the quiet 2nd move!

Other ways to avoid the mate end up badly, taking on g4 allows h3 and a try such as 37.Qd2 loses as well after 37...Rxe3 38.Rxe3 Qf4 because of backrank issues.

This was all missed and the game continued. Remarkably, black had another chance to use the x-ray.

The tricky part in this one is probably if white takes with the king. In that case we have to take twice on e2 and then play Qg3+ picking up h3 and the knight on b3.

This was however also missed an incredibly, on the next move black got ANOTHER chance!

White finally realized on move 41 and there were no more x-rays to fall for. The game itself was quite entertaining. You can see the whole game below and you can also check out my YT video on it, below the playable PGN

The full game with these x-ray tactics is analyzed on my YouTube channel

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