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LCB, Issue #084 --, X-Ray is the Winning Way
June 01, 2022

X-Ray is the Winning Way

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #084 -- GOTM #54

learn and play online chess
Tactics, tactics, tactics. That's what separates the wheat from the chaff. You can learn all the variations and ideas from a handful of openings. You can hone your endgame skills in all the relevant endgame scenarios. But they say it's tactical nous that will send you soaring a few hundred points up the ladder.

I don't have any quibbles with the idea that becoming a good tactician is huge if you want to go from decent beginner to something approaching master level.

Tactics come in many forms. The fork is probably the one that newcomers first come across. Closely followed by the pin and the skewer. Other deeper ideas come later, the discovered check and the discovered attack among others. The tactic concerning us today is closely related to the discovery. It is the X-Ray.

So let's see the X-Ray in action. We go to New York in 1924 for this one. A game played between two heavyweights of the day. Richard Reti has White and Efim Bogoljobov has Black.

X-Ray is the Winning Way

Reti, Richard - Bogoljubov, Efim [E01]

GotM #54 - New York, 1924
[Connaughton, Ken]

1.Nf3 d5 2.c4 e6 3.g3

Giving a Catalan setup.

3...Nf6 4.Bg2 Bd6 5.0-0 0-0 6.b3 Re8 7.Bb2 Nbd7 8.d4

The masters like this move as it fixes Black's pawns on the light squares, greatly limiting the prospects for the Black light square Bishop in the game.


Game position after 8...c6

Black has a solid setup after the opening, White will try to construct a Kingside attack.

9.Nbd2 Ne4

Game position after 9...Ne4

(9...e5 10.cxd5 cxd5 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Nxe5 Bxe5 13.Bxe5 Rxe5 14.Nc4 Re8 15.Ne3 Be6 16.Qd4)

10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Ne5 f5

Trying to block the road to his Kingside, but his center is vulnerable now.


Game position after 12.f3!

Exactly the right move to exploit Black's central problems.

12...exf3 13.Bxf3!

Because the e-pawn is needed to open the center.


(13...Nxe5 14.dxe5 Bc5+ 15.Kg2 Bd7 (15...Qxd1 16.Raxd1) 16.e4!)

14.Nxd7 Bxd7 15.e4 e5

And it looks like Black has held the position. White's advantage could melt away easily unless he finds a way to open the position with advantage.


The only move that wins!

16...Bf8 17.Qc2!

Game position after 17.Qc2!

White will be better after the exchanges.


(17...fxe4 18.Bxe4+-)

18.exf5 Rad8

(18...Re5 19.Qc4+ Kh8 20.f6!)


Game position after 19.Bh5!

Having prepped the landscape with inspired play, now White begins the final assault. This is the first move in a forcing combination.

19...Re5 20.Bxd4 Rxf5

(20...Rd5 21.Qc4 Kh8 22.Bg4)

21.Rxf5 Bxf5 22.Qxf5 Rxd4 23.Rf1!

Material still level but White's pieces are much better.


Defending the home rank, apparently adequately.

(23...Qe7 24.Bf7+ Kh8 25.Bd5!! Qf6 26.Qc8)


Important to push the King away. The Queen and Rook are still attacking the Black Bishop through the White Bishop by means of X-Ray. When the King is pushed aside Black's defenders will be reduced from 2 to just 1.

24...Kh8 25.Be8!!

Game position after 25.Be8!!

This game wins the Tournament Brilliancy Award. Black resigns as a quick # is unstoppable without major material losses.

(25.Be8 Rxe8 (25...Qe7 26.Qxf8+ Qxf8 27.Rxf8#; 25...h6 26.Qxf8+ Kh7 27.Qf5+ Kh8 28.Bg6+-; 25...Bxc5+ 26.Qxc5 Rxe8 27.Qf8+ Rxf8 28.Rxf8#) 26.Qxf8+ Rxf8 27.Rxf8#)


Reti - Bogoljubov, New York (1924)

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