New Variations on Old Themes

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), June 29, 2010 | Go to article overview

New Variations on Old Themes


Byline: David R. Sands, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The concepts are elementary, but the execution often requires a master's degree in chess tacticology.

Two nice examples of putting new wine in old combinational wineskins come our way this week. An inspired variant on the old back-rank mate theme brought victory for Russian GM Ian Nepomniachtchi after British star Nigel Short at the recent Capablanca Memorial Tournament in Havana. Ukrainian GM Vassily Ivanchuk won the Category 18 event for a record fourth time.

And at the Copper State International in Mesa, Ariz., this month, it was IM David Pruess upsetting top-rated GM Daniel Fridman by exploiting the proverbial weakness of the f7-square.

In Cuba, Nepo decides to mix things up early in this Sicilian with 13. Rd1 Nb4!? 14. Rd2 Nxc2 15. Rxc2 b4 16. Bxa6 Ra8 17. Bd3 bxc3 18. bxc3; White has won a pawn, but his queen-side is weak and under siege. But it's likely neither player thought Black could whip up a deadly mating attack on the king-side in the space of just 10 more moves.

Short's determination to neutralize Black's powerful fianchettoed bishop leaves him blind to the dangerous buildup of his opponent's other pieces: 23. Bxg7 Re8 24. Qa1 Ne3, and here White could have kept the game dynamically balanced with 25. Bd4! Bxg2+ 26. Kg1 Bxf1 (Nxf1 27. Rxg2) 27. Bxf1 (Bxe3?! Rxe3 28. Bxf1 Rxf4 is a much harder position for White to hold over the board) Nxf1 28. Qxf1 Rxa2, with chances for both sides.

Instead, White walks into a startling combination in which the latent weakness of his back rank is brutally exposed: 25. Rg1? Nxg2!! 26. Rgxg2 (Rdxg2 Bxg2+ 27. Rxg2 Rxa2! mirrors the play in the game) Rxa2! 27. Rxa2 (Qxa2 Re1+ 28. Bf1 Rxf1 mate is Black's main idea; on 27. Qb1, Black wins decisive material with 27..Bxg2+ 28 Kg1 Rxd2 29. Nxd2 Kxg7) Qxa2! 28. Bf1 (again the queen cannot be taken because of 28..Re1+) Bxg2+, and White resigned facing 29 Bxg2 Qxa1+ 30. Nxa1 Re1+ 31. Bf1 Rxf1+ 32. Kg2 Rxa1 and wins.

* * *

The f7-square for Black (and the f2-square for White) is the perennial problem child in king-side opening - the only pawn along the second rank guarded only by the king. Many e-pawn openings - especially such classic Romantic-era fare as the King's Gambit and Evans Gambit - are geared toward targeting the weak point while developing one's pieces and castling.

Fridman's Caro-Kann fails to meet the defensive challenge, and an early White pawn sacrifice only increases the pressure on the weak point: 10. Nd2!? Qxd4+ 11. Kh1 b5 (on the greedy 11..Qxb2?!, very pleasant for White is 12 Rab1 Qa3 13. Rb3 Qd6 14. Rxb7 Be7 15. Bxf7+! Kxf7 17. Nc4 Qe6 17. Rxd7) 13. Rad1 Qb6 14. Qf5, and Pruess has more than enough compensation for his lost pawn. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

New Variations on Old Themes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.