Saturday, January 7, 2012

A Rich Tactical Position (plus Position Analysis Sheet)

Last night at the local chess club an interesting position arose with white to move:

Can you find a way out? A small crowd of us spent an hour looking at this position, and we could not find one.

FYI: Black's main threat is 1...f3

FEN for position: r4rk1/p5pp/2Nb4/3b4/2R1pp1q/8/P2BQPPP/1R4K1 w - - 0 1

(select below to see some of what we looked at)
We fiddled with a null move first to examine how 1...f3 would work:
2.g3 fxe2 3.gxh4 Bxc4 and black is a clear rook up.
Key things to notice:

  • Black f3 frees up the Bd6 attack on h2
  • White recapture Qxc4 comes with check
  • White Rc4 pins the supporting pawn if either ...e3 or ...f3 

First try: The natural 1.Rcc1 fails to both 1...e3 or 1...f3. We missed White's best reply to 1...e3 (2.f3 which still is losing after ...exd2)  and followed 2.fxe3 f3 3.g3 Bxg3

Second try: 1.f3 blocks the Black f-pawn from moving and unleashing the Bd6, but 1...exf3! 2.gxf3 Rae8 3.Qd3 Qg5+ 4.Kf1 Re3 looked devastating.

Third try 1.Rd4 saves the rook, threatens the undefended Black bishops, and maintains the potential pin on the e+f pawns, but 1...f3 still works, because the threat to h2 prevents 2.gxf3, so 2.g3 Qf6! 3.Qf1 Bxc6 4.Qc4+ Kh8 and the Bc6 is immune, because the Rd4 would be loose. Black is up a piece and maintains his initiative.

We tried some other things, that I have forgotten.

I wish I had brought one of my new position analysis sheets to keep track:
Position Analysis Sheet

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