A new pedagogical series in which we will look at a portion of a game from the previous weekend in which I miss some obvious tactic or other. Readers will be invited to practice their skill by seeing if they can spot what I missed.
We open the series with the game Moreno García - Horton, Huesca 2007, which after these opening moves:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4 Bc5 5.Nb3 Bb6 6.a4 a6 7.a5 Ba7 8.Nc3 Nf6 9.Bg5 h6 10.Bh4 O-O 11.Bd3 d6
reached the following position:
and then proceeded 12.O-O Ne5 13.Qd2 Ng6 14.Bxf6 Qxf6 15.Nd5 Qd8 16.Kh1 Be6 17.Ra3?! Ne5 18.Qb4? Ng4 and Black won swiftly.
However, somewhere in the sequence between the diagram and move 16 Black missed a simple and thematic tactic. Can you see what I did not?
(Answers in the comments box - so don't read it until you've had a go at solving it. The game can be played through below.)
Tsk, you can't engage in tactics on "perhaps".
Well, I'm having my first coffee now, which might clear the doubts...
13. ... Nxe4 and if 14. Qf4 then ... Nxd3
(no coffee but I've just had a couple of cups of tea).
hmmm. I was thinking if
13. ... Nxe4, 14. Qf4 Nxd3, 15. Qxe4 then ... Re8 but that doesn't seem to work afterall. Also, that line's getting a bit complicated and not really an "easy" tactic.
Perhaps I'd better have another think (i.e. switch on Fritz).
"Pablo Moreno Garcia" ... did he win a contest for Most Spanish Name by any chance?
No, but I would have won a prize for the least.
Matter of fact the whole question of prizes in this particular competition is very controversial, but that's another posting...
13... Nxe4 is worth considering. If then 14 Qf4, Black can play ...Ng5 (which I think is better than ...Nf6 as the knight can be supported by ...f6 if necessary). The position after ...Ng5 needs to be evaluated though.
It does, but it evaluates to White having nothing of any substance to show for a pawn!
Black's a7 bishop is a monster, the best piece on the board by a stretch. Which by the way is a reason why Bg5, although it's a move a lot of club players make, is rarely good in the Italian Game.
I understand the principles, I just never see the tactics...
15...Qxb2 looked like the most obvious tactic. The queen can escape to e5.
13...Nxe4 looks unclear.
14. Qf4 Ng5
later f6 as Angus says but this leaves a lot of weak light squares near black's king with the bishop pointing that way.
On 15...Qxb2 white has 16. Nc3 and the Q isn't going to e5.
It goes down memory lane after 17. Rfb1.
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