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Chess Puzzle for January 28th, 2014

Our Partner, The Chess Mind

For more great chess discussion, see Dennis Monokroussos’ Chess Blog Here!

Chess Puzzle with FIDE Master Dennis Monokroussos

Before we have a look at a new puzzle, let’s take a look at our chess board from last time:

Chess Position

Starting Position

Last time, we asked if this move was a blunder. Solving this is a two-part question. First, you have to find what looks like a great tactical opportunity for White. Tartakower managed that part.

9. Bxb8 At first glance, this is a winning or at least a very strong move. Black recaptures the bishop, and then White plays Qa4+ and takes the bishop. But there’s a fly in the ointment… (9. Qa4+ {doesn’t win a piece because of} Nc6, but then you might notice that you can take the knight on b8 first and then give the check.)

9… Nd5!

Chess Position

Starting Position

That’s part two, and so the answer is no, Black’s 8th move was not a blunder! The bishop on b4 is protected, and meanwhile Black threatens not just to recapture the bishop on b8 but, more importantly, to win the queen by …Ne3+. This kind of tactic is called a zwischenzug or an in-between move, and it is very easy to miss chess moves of this sort. There’s a kind of rhythm we have when we analyze a chess game, and often we assume that if we take a piece our opponent will automatically recapture. Tartakower probably expected that from his great opponent, but because of this zwischenzug White’s position turns out to be very bad.

10.Kf2 – Probably White’s best, but after 10. Bf4!? is a very clever rejoinder, and if you saw this (and its refutation) then you really get full points. White is trying for the same trick again. The bishop covers the fork, and if it’s captured then once again Qa4+ picks up the stray bishop on b4. Black has only one good move here, but it’s crushing.} Qf6! {The bishop on b4 is still protected, the bishop on f4 is attacked a second time, and because that bishop is pinned Black again threatens to win the queen by …Ne3+ and …Nxd1. Now there’s no wriggling left, and White will end up a pawn down with a horrible position.

10… Rxb8 11. Bxc4 O-O The material is even but the chess position isn’t. Black is ahead in development and has two very good bishops. Capablanca won the game in nice style, as usual.

Here is a look at the complete game:

Now, with one chess game down, let’s take a look at another chess board with a new puzzle!

Chess Position

Starting Position

White just sacrificed a bishop on h6, and while Black took it with his king he could have taken it with the pawn, in which case we would have this position. It’s White to move and win – in fact, it’s checkmate in just a few moves. But how? The variations aren’t very long, but you’ll need a bit of imagination to find the key idea. Be patient, and remember that when you’re looking for tactics the place to start is by looking at checks, captures and threats.

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