Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Interesting Sicilian Tactic

I've set my formula on ICC to play opponents 0-200 points higher than my current rating, and I'm seeing games where the opening resembles something "normal", including a lot more open Sicilians. So far, the Sicilian/Najdorf hybrids seem pretty common, although they seem to leave book quite early. I've been playing Sicilian systems with Bc4, f4, and kingside castling for the most part. I should reread the sections in Soltis' Pawn Structure Chess on the e4-e5 and f4-f5 breaks, since that's a key issue in a lot of my Sicilians.

The following position occurred in a recent ICC game:

I dismissed 14.fxe6, which Fritz discovered, because I thought the exchanges relieved the tension and gave Black a freer game. It turns out that the main line seems to lead to about a pawn advantage for White after 14...Bxe6, but the line isn't very forcing so I forgive myself for not seeing this at the board. What's more interesting is that the alternate recapture 14...fxe6 is a tactical blunder. The reason is the nasty move 15.Nf5!:

There's a few motifs here that I should remember for future games. One is the possibility of a pin on the a2-g8 diagonal allowing a piece to hop into f5. Another is that the bishop on e7 is often insufficiently protected. When lines open up, these factors may come into play.

Here, the knight move is possible because the e5 pawn is pinned. Mate on g7 is threatened, as is the knight fork on e7.

If Black tries to defend by playing 15...Rf7:

White has the simple "removal of the guard" tactic 16. Nxe7+ Rxe7 17. Rxf6, since the g7 pawn is pinned.

Another defensive try is 15...Ng6:

But a removal-of-the-guard/counting tactic gives White the clear advantage: 16. Qxg6! hxg6 17. Nxe7+ Kh7 18. Nxc8. After the knight is recaptured White is a piece up and has a great position to boot.


transformation said...


Wahrheit said...

Very useful information; Fischer played the Sozin with the idea of f5 for much of his career, and this post highlights one of the basic motifs.

gorckat said...

Oh, wow. Wicked cool possibilities!