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LCB, Issue #054 --, Deflect Your Opponent and Clear the Way to Victory
November 01, 2019

Deflect and Clear Your Way to Victory

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #054 -- GOTM #23

learn and play online chess
It's 1981 in Moscow and an interesting clash takes place between two players perhaps a level below the top table. They do know their way around the board and this game can teach us something about tactical maneuvering and the value of gaining time.

A closed game emerges with both players opting for static structures. White has more space but he must figure out a way to make use of it and make it tell. It seems like Black has a solid position and something out of the ordinary will be required to put him under pressure.

After the exchange of dark square Bishops White ends up with a weak but high value pawn on f6. The game then hinges around a fight for that pawn and f6 on which it stands. It seems like Black will inevitably capture, solidifying his King's security and emerging with a good game. Unless White can find a way to hang on to the pawn and thereby get a decisive material advantage on to the files in front of the Black King.

Deflect and Clear Your Way to Victory

Stanishevsky - Nikonov [B30]

GotM #23 - Moscow, 1981
[Connaughton, Ken]

1.e4 c5

Sicilian Defense

2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5

Game position after 3.Bb5

Rossolimo Variation - Both players now set their stall in the opening.

3...e6 4.Bxc6 bxc6

This will be a closed game.

5.d3 g6 6.0-0 Bg7 7.e5 Ne7 8.Nc3 0-0 9.Ne4 d5

Game position after 9...d5

White now has a serious decision to make as his continuation will decide the structural composition of the game.


(10.exd6 Nf5 11.Bf4 f6 (11...Bxb2 12.g4 Nd4 13.Rb1 Nxf3+ 14.Qxf3 Bg7+/-) 12.c3 e5 13.Be3 Nxe3 14.fxe3 f5 15.Qb3+ Kh8 16.Nxc5 (16.Neg5 Qf6=) 16...Qxd6+/-)

10...Nf5 11.d4 Rb8 12.Bg5 Qc7 13.b3 Rb6 14.Kh1

The first indication that White will use the g-file in his attack.

14...a5 15.Qd2 Ba6 16.Rg1 h6 17.Bf6 Bxf6 18.exf6

Game position after 18...exf6

This isolated pawn will play a big part in the game. Black will want to remove it as it's control of g7 will always be a deadly threat. It also cramps Black's Kingside and frustrates Black's ability to bring defenders there to defend.

18...Kh7 19.g4

(19.Qxa5 Ra8 20.Qd2 Nd6 21.Ne5 Qd8 22.Qf4 Ra7+-)

19...Nd6 20.Rae1 Bb5 21.Qf4 Qd8 22.Re3 Ne8

Black is anxious to take on f6 and shore up his Kingside. It seems he will achieve this now. Unless White can find a way to hold his unit there and lock Black's covering defenders out while his heavy pieces target the Black King for destruction.


Game position after 23.Nd7!!

Black sacrifices his Knight in a deeply conceived plot to get his three major pieces on top of the Black King before the defense can be mustered. Black is forced to take with his Queen, pulling her out of position, where White can move forward with the second phase of his plan with tempo.

(23.g5 h5 24.Rxe6 fxe6 25.Nxe6 Qe7 26.fxe7 Rxf4 27.Nxf4 Ba6 28.Ne5 Bc8 29.Nexg6 Rb7 30.c3+-; 23.Ng5+? hxg5 24.Rh3+ Kg8 25.Qxg5 Qxf6 26.Qd2+/-; 23.Ne5 g5 24.Qf3 Nxf6+-)

23...Qxd7 24.Ne5 Qd8

Again Black is poised to take but White can buy more time in the same way.


Game position after 25.Nd7!!

Again holding the pawn and forcing acceptance of the sacrifice. The position is the same as last time except now the White Rook can slide across to the h-file and the White attack can begin in earnest before Black is able to break through to the Kingside.

(25.Rh3 h5 (25...g5 26.Qxg5 Qxf6 27.Qe3+-) 26.gxh5 g5 27.Qxg5 Qxf6 28.Qg2+-)

25...Qxd7 26.Rh3 h5

(26...g5 27.Qxg5 Nxf6 28.Rxh6#)

27.gxh5 g5 28.Qxg5 Qd8 29.h6 Qxf6

Black finally gets that pawn but he is too late.

30.Qg7+ Nxg7 31.hxg7+ Qh6 32.gxf8N+!

(32.Rxh6+ also works: 32...Kxh6 33.gxf8Q+ Kh5 34.Qh8#)

32...Kh8 33.Rxh6#

Game position after 33.Rxh6#


Stanishevsky - Nikonov (Moscow, 1981)

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