Sunday, June 17, 2007

Find the continuation 2

This position from the match game Chistiakov-Goldin, Moscow 1967 appeared in the Encyclopaedia of Chess Middlegames: Combinations (1980) under the section Annihilation of Defence. The stipulation is White to play and win.

Because the lone defender of f7 is under attack, the most natural try is 1.Rxd5. This is in fact what Chistiakov played and after 1...cxd5 2.Qxf7+ Kh8 3.Qxd5 Black defended against the threatened attack 4.Nf7+ Kg8 5.Nh6+ Kh8 6.Qg8+! Rxg8 7.Nf7# with 3...Re7. The continuation was 4.Be3 Bxe3 5.Rxe3 and after 5...Rd8 White concluded matters with 6.Ng6+! 1-0 Black had to resign because 6...Qxg6 7.Qxd8+ mates quickly while 6...hxg6 7.Rh4# mates immediately.

Could Black have defended himself more accurately? Yes, and there were three separate opportunities to do so:

A. Instead of 5...Rd8?, Black had to try 5...Qf6. After this White has two pawns and a strongly-placed knight against Black's rook but there is still a lot of play left and anything could happen.

B. Instead of 3...Re7?, Black could have turned the tables completely with 3...Bxf2+! White's moves are practically forced: 4.Kf1 Rf8 5.Re2 Rad8 6.Nd7 Qa6! 7.Qd6 Bb6! After this clever manoeuvre White is completely tied up and has nothing better than giving up his queen for two rooks with 8.Qxf8+ Rxf8 9.Nxf8. Then comes 9...Qxa2 and Black is winning without too much difficulty.

C. Instead of 1...cxd5?! Black could have played the immediate 1...Bxf2+, for example: 2.Kf1 cxd5 3.Qxf7+ Kh8 4.Bh6 (practically forced) 4...gxh6 5.Qxf2 Rf8 6.Nf3 Qxf2+ 7.Kxf2. White is down the exchange and faces a difficult defensive task.

A database search reveals that the diagram position did occur in the actual game. Instead of 1.Rxd5? White's strongest move is 1.Qc2, after which the chances or more or less even.

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National master (Canada) since 1984. B.C. Champion 1977 and 1984. Runner-up 1991 and 2002. B.C. Open Champion 1972 and 1982. B.C. U/14 Champion 1964-65-66. Mikhail Botvinnik once wrote that publishing your analytical work forces you to be accurate because it exposes you to criticism. Hence this blog.