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Chess Puzzles / Games

White to Play

by Pete Tamburro
White to Play

Today’s puzzle is more of a chess lesson than a mate in three or four. This position is from a game Kaufman-Popel, US Open Championship, 1972. White has an attack along the h-file, but Black will have a defense with rooks and queen along his second rank. White’s bishop and rook next to it are limited in range. Map out your strategy here and find the best first move and the idea for the follow-up.

Solution:

This is a great lesson in vacating squares to enhance the range of your pieces. The White bishop and rook need to gain more scope, so White sacrifices the e-pawn in order for the bishop to take its place. Not only that, but because the pawn has vacated e5 and the bishop has moved there to hit h7, the rook can then occupy f2 with control of the f-file. The pressure on h7 becomes unbearable and the final result is that Black resigns when he sees the king and pawn ending is quite lost. White did miss a mating attack (might have been time pressure) on move 5, please notice that d6 also vacates d5 for the bishop and Kg3 clears the way for the rook. Increasing the scope of your pieces often requires you make a vacating or clearing move that you might not ordinarily think of. The result, however, is that pieces with greater range get more done!

1.e5 dxe5 2.Be4 Qc7 3.Rf2 Rg7 [3...Rf8 4.Bxh7+ Rxh7 5.Rxf8+] 4.Qh6 Qe7 5.Qxa6 [5.d6 Qd7 6.Kg3 Re8 7.Bd5+ Kh8 8.Qf6 c4 9.Rxh7+ Kxh7 10.Rh2#] 5...Rf8 6.Rxf8+ Nxf8 7.Qh6 Nh7 8.Bxh7+ Rxh7 9.Qxh7+ Black Resigned

Send questions and comments to PTamburro@aol.com.




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