Learning the open games starting with 1.e4 e5 is very important for the development of any chess player. Normally such games (regardless of the opening line) are offering open positions with lots of combinations and vicious attacks on one or both Kings. It is very important to improve your tactical abilities very early and be able to calculate combinations of 2-3-4 and even more moves at anytime; at the beginning things will not go too easy and you might see mostly 2 moves ahead, but as you practice more you could see more moves and learn how to identify the strong and weak points for yourself and for your opponent.
The Italian opening appears a lot in junior games, even if not too many players know all the tricks on how to setup a trap, or how to take advantage of a wrong move. Most of them just simply play automatic moves they've seen played by other juniors like them. Let's see a possible line:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.c3 Nf6 5.d4 exd4 6.cxd4 Bb4+ 7.Nc3 Nxe4 8.O-O Bxc3 9.d5 Ne5 10.bxc3 Nxc4 11.Qd4 Ncd6 12.Qxg7 Qf6 13.Qxf6 Nxf6 14.Re1+ Kf8 15.Bh6+ Kg8 16.Re5 Nde4 (see diagram)
White has sacrificed a piece for the attack and Black has decided to hold onto it. If Black could stop the attack without much damage, he might win. However the attack is too powerful. Questions:
a) White to move and win (3 points)
b) What tactical element is White using to win? (1 point)|
c) How does White win if Black plays 14... Kd8? (3 points)
d) Why is White's attack so powerful? (1 point)
Total available points for this puzzle is 8 (3+1+3+1). The answers will be published next week together with puzzle #20.
Puzzle #18 solution:
Black is up a pawn and has a dominant Knight on "d4", but White controls the open "g-" file (with the battery "Q+R") and together with his other piece Bc4 attacks the critical "g8" square. The only problem to solve for White is how to switch the position between Rg1 and Qg4; with the Rook in front White could win the Black Queen for the combo "R+B". The first move in the plan to switch the position of his pieces also achieves an important target: 1.Qd7! ... takes under control the 7th rank (this was the answer for point "c") Now Black sets up a trap with 1... Nxf3 so if White plays careless 2.Rg8+?? ... Black wins after 2... Qxg8! 3.Bxg8 Rxg8 and the only way for White to defend the smothered mate on "g1" (this was the answer for point "d") is to give back his Queen for Rook and Knight. Black would win this endgame easily (this was the answer for point "b"). After 1... Nxf3 White should continue his idea of using the 7th rank with 2.Rg7! Ng5 (the only move beside dropping the Queen) 3.Rxg5 Rd8 4.Qe6! ... (threatening 5.Qxe5+ and mate) 4... Re8 5.Qg4 ... and Black resigned.
Correct solutions (perfect):
Jacob and John D - 11 points
Jeremy - 8 points
Matthew, Nathaniel and Katerina - 5 points
Joanne - 4 points
Wilson and Karl - 3 points
TOP 10 STANDINGS
62.0 John D
56.0 Jeremy and Jacob
12.5 Algerd ... 14 more solvers with less points
Opening play (1)