Here is the first of seven miniature games taken from various stages of my so-called career. Each game features some hard-hitting tactical play... hence the title, borrowed from an old article in Joel Benjamin's magazine Chess Chow. (My favourite chess magazine of all time, by the way. After it folded unexpectedly I was depressed for months.)
Scoones D - Holzknecht A
Pirc Defence B08
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 g6 4.e4 Bg7 5.Be2 0-0 6.0-0 Nc6 7.d5 Ne5 8.Nxe5 dxe5 9.Be3 Bd7 10.f3 Nh5 11.Qd2 e6 12.Bc4 exd5 13.Nxd5 c6 (diagram) 14.Bg5! 1-0
Al Holzknecht is a local expert who plays resolutely for a draw whenever he is up against higher-rated players. Needless to say, this approach does not always produce the desired result. This game is no exception.
7...Ne5 is hardly the best way for Black. Such theory as exists on this position says Black should retract his last move with 8...Nb8, as in the old game Leonhardt-Chigorin, Carlsbad 1907(!) In fact I have played 8...Nb8 myself with success.
The decentralising 10...Nh5 might have worked out if Black had continued with 12...Nf4!? If White accepts the pawn sacrifice Black gets excellent compensation through dominating the central dark squares.
Instead, Black exchanges pawns with the aim of clearing up the situation in the centre. Unfortunately, 13...c6? is not the correct follow-up, as White demonstrates. But even after the stronger 13...Be6 14.Rfd1 the position is better for White.
After 14.Bg5! Black is losing at least a pawn on account of his awkwardly placed queen and the unavailability of the defensive move 14...f6. Still, resignation was a pleasant surprise!