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LCB, Issue #073 --, Turn the Tide with Piece Power Plays
July 01, 2021

Turn the Tide with Piece Power Plays

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #073 -- GOTM #43

learn and play online chess
At times you will find yourself having to fight really hard to maintain parity. It may seem that your opponent gains an edge that perseveres throughout the game.

It's important to hang in there in such situations, fighting as hard as you can. If you can prevent your opponent from making his advantage tell for long enough, he may be the one that becomes frustrated.

Somewhere in the tense battle as you parry his threats there may come a time when he makes a mistake and gives you a tactical opportunity to change the complexion of the entire game.

Something like this happened in a very famous game played in Breslau, Germany (now Wroclaw, Poland) in 1912. The game was contested by Stepan Levitsky with the White pieces and Frank Marshall with Black.

Turn the Tide with Piece Power Plays

Levitsky, Stepan M - Marshall, Frank J [C10]

GotM #43 - Breslau, 1912
[Connaughton, Ken]


King's Pawn Opening


French Defense

2.d4 d5 3.Nc3

Paulsen Variation


The classic c5-push, the main idea for Black in the French Defense as he sets about undermining White's center.

4.Nf3 Nc6 5.exd5

White decides to take the tension out of the position by neutralizing the center.

5...exd5 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Bg5 0-0 9.dxc5

Game position after 9.dxc5

And now Black is left with an isolated d-pawn. White will try to build up the pressure on this pawn and Black will try to hold it.

9...Be6 10.Nd4 Bxc5 11.Nxe6

Taking out the defender but now d5 has a solid base coming from the support of e6. So now Black has hanging pawns to defend.


e6 is the new target.

12.Bg4 Qd6 13.Bh3

Keeping the Bishop out of the Knight's reach.

13...Rae8 14.Qd2 Bb4 15.Bxf6

The attacking side always does well to exchange pieces. It's harder to defend weaknesses with less pieces.

15...Rxf6 16.Rad1

White begins what he hopes will be the decisive combination.

16...Qc5 17.Qe2

Game position after 17.Qe2

He's hoping the hanging Rook on Black's homerank will provide the basis for a tactical maneuver.


Black exchanges off the threatening Knight and he will also win a pawn and rupture White's Queenside.

18.bxc3 Qxc3

But now White can make use of his tactical opportunities, first winning back the pawn.


Game position after 19.Rxd5


Black counters.


The threat on the Black Rook should preserve the White Rook on d5. But this move is a critical error. He needed to maintain a presence on the e-file.

(20.Qe4= would have kept White in good stead.)

20...Ref8 21.Re5

And now White wants to return to targeting e6.


Game position after 21...Rh6!

And suddenly White realizes he is not the one with the whip hand. His opponent, a renowned tactical wizard, has seen a clever shot that may turn the game on it's head.

22.Qg5 Rxh3

The Rook can't be taken of course as the overworked g2-pawn has a more important task than protecting the Bishop. The Knight has to be kept out of f3.


White tries to harrass the Queen in order to somehow dig himself out of trouble, but something even more amazing is to come from Black.


Game position after 23...Qg3!!

This move causes White to resign. If the Rook was untouchable, the Queen, incredibly, is even moreso.

(23...Qg3 # is being threatened with 24...Qh2# on the next move. Remarkably there is no good continuation for White, even though he can take the Queen in three different ways. 24.Qxg3 staves of defeat longer than the other options (24.hxg3 Ne2#; 24.fxg3 Ne2+ 25.Kh1 Rxf1#; 24.Qe5 attempting to cover h2 fails against 24...Nf3+ 25.Kh1 Rxh2#) but after 24...Ne2+ 25.Kh1 Nxg3+ 26.Kg1 (26.fxg3 Rxf1#) 26...Ne2+ 27.Kh1 Rc3-+ White is a Knight down and it's over.)


Levitsky - Marshall, Breslau (1912)

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