Posts Tagged ‘beautiful chess’

Fork Trick or Treat

February 17, 2014

“One way to find food for thought is to use the fork in the road, the bifurcation that marks the place of emergence in which a new line of development begins to branch off.”William Irwin Thompson

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”Yogi Berra

Had it not been for the President’s Day holiday, I would have shown this game to my chess students at Mission San Jose Elementary School. I am posting this to my blog as a bonus lesson for my students and as a resource to other chess coaches. Enjoy!

[Event “Lesson”]
[Site “Woodside”]
[Date “2014.2.16”]
[White “student”]
[Black “Torres, Chris”]
[Result “0-1”]
[Eco “C50”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bc4
Bc5 4.d3 Nf6 5.Nxe5 {?} {Trying for an ill-advised “fork trick.”}

{The other choices were plentiful:}

( 5.c3 O-O 6.Bb3 d5 7.Qe2 Re8 8.Bg5 dxe4 9.dxe4 h6 10.Bh4 Be7
11.Nbd2 Nh5 12.Bg3 Bf8 13.O-O-O Qf6 14.Nc4 Nf4 15.Bxf4 Qxf4+
16.Kb1 Bg4 17.h3 Bxf3 18.gxf3 Bc5 19.Rd5 Bb6 20.a4 Rad8 21.Rhd1
Rxd5 22.exd5 Ne7 23.d6 cxd6 24.Nxd6 Rf8 {…1-0, Carlsen Magnus (NOR) 2837  – Bacrot Etienne (FRA) 2713 , Biel  7/22/2012 It “Exhibition Blitz”})

( 5.Nc3 d6 6.Be3 Bb6 7.Bb3 Be6 8.O-O O-O 9.h3 Re8 10.Bxb6 axb6
11.Ne2 h6 12.Ng3 d5 13.c3 b5 14.Re1 d4 15.Qc2 dxc3 16.bxc3 Qd7
17.Rad1 Na5 18.d4 exd4 19.cxd4 Nxb3 20.axb3 c6 21.d5 cxd5 22.e5
Nh7 23.Nd4 f6 24.Qd3 fxe5 {…1/2-1/2, Short Nigel D (ENG) 2698  – Carlsen Magnus (NOR) 2826 , London 12/12/2011 It (cat.20)})

( 5.O-O O-O ( 5…d6 6.a3 O-O 7.b4 Bb6 8.Be3 Be6 {+0.07 CAP} )
6.Nbd2 a6 7.c3 d6 8.Bb3 Ba7 9.h3 h6 10.Re1 Be6 11.Nf1 Re8 12.Bc2
d5 13.exd5 Qxd5 14.Ng3 Rad8 15.Qe2 Qd7 16.Be3 Bxe3 17.fxe3 Nd5
18.d4 exd4 19.exd4 Bf5 20.Ne5 Nf4 21.Qf2 Nxe5 22.Bxf5 Ned3 23.Rxe8+
Qxe8 24.Qd2 Qb5 {…1-0, Radjabov Teimour (AZE) 2788  – Naiditsch Arkadij (GER) 2700 , Istanbul  8/31/2012 Olympiad})

( 5.Bg5 h6 6.Bh4 d6 7.Nc3 Be6 8.Nd2 a6 9.Nd5 g5 10.Bg3 Bxd5
11.exd5 Ne7 12.h4 g4 13.h5 Nf5 14.c3 Rg8 15.Qe2 Qe7 16.O-O-O
O-O-O 17.Rde1 Rde8 18.Bh2 Nxh5 19.Bxa6 g3 20.Qxh5 Rg5 21.Qh3
gxf2 22.Re2 bxa6 23.d4 exd4 24.Rxe7 Rxe7 {…1-0, Vlassov Nikolai (RUS) 2445  – Korneev Oleg (RUS) 2605 , Moscow 1995 It (cat.10)})

( 5.Ng5 O-O 6.Nc3 h6 7.h4 d6 8.Nf3 Bg4 9.Qd2 Nd4 10.Nxd4 exd4
11.Na4 Bb6 12.Nxb6 axb6 13.f3 Be6 14.g4 Kh8 15.g5 Ng8 16.gxh6
Nxh6 17.Qg5 Bxc4 18.dxc4 Qd7 19.Rg1 f5 20.Qh5 Qe6 21.Rg6 Rf6
22.Rxf6 Qxf6 23.Bxh6 gxh6 24.a3 Rg8 {…1/2-1/2, Andrejczuk Beata (POL) 2138  – Majdan Joanna (POL) 2386 , Krynica 1998 Ch Poland (juniors) (under 10) (g)})

( 5.h3 d6 6.a3 h6 7.Nc3 Bb6 8.Be3 Be6 9.Qd2 Nd4 10.Bxd4 exd4
11.Nd5 Nxd5 12.Bxd5 Bxd5 13.exd5 Qf6 14.O-O O-O 15.Qb4 a5 16.Qa4
Rfe8 17.Rae1 Kf8 18.Qd7 Rad8 19.Qb5 Qf4 20.a4 Qf5 21.Nd2 Re5
22.Rxe5 dxe5 23.Nc4 Qd7 24.d6 Qxb5 {…1-0, Nepomniachtchi Ian (RUS) 2632  – Khismatullin Denis (RUS) 2604 , St. Petersburg 11/ 7/2009 Cup Russia})

( 5.Bb3 O-O 6.Nbd2 a5 7.c3 d5 8.O-O Bg4 9.h3 Bh5 10.a3 b5 11.Qe2
a4 12.Ba2 d4 13.g4 Bg6 14.Rd1 Kh8 15.Nf1 Nd7 16.Ng3 f6 {1/2-1/2, Mamedov Rauf (AZE) 2631  – Adams Michael (ENG) 2734 , Cala Mayor  9/ 5/2008 Ch Spain (team) (Honor gr.1)})

( 5.Nbd2 O-O 6.O-O d6 7.c3 Ne7 8.Re1 Ng6 9.Nf1 c6 10.Bb3 Bb6
11.Ng3 h6 12.h3 Re8 13.d4 Be6 14.Bc2 Qc7 15.Be3 Rad8 16.Qc1 Bc8
17.a4 a5 18.Ra3 c5 19.Rb3 Ba7 20.d5 c4 21.Rb5 Bxe3 22.Qxe3 Bd7
23.Qb6 Qc8 24.Nf5 Bxb5 {…1/2-1/2, Bauer Christian (FRA) 2681  – Bacrot Etienne (FRA) 2713 , Pau  8/17/2012 Ch France})

{Please do not have your kids waste their time memorizing all of the above lines. I included them for completeness, not as suggested learning material. A child’s time is much better spent focusing on their tactics.}

Bxf2+ {!?} {I could have also played along with his “fork trick” and came out smelling like roses.}
( 5…Nxe5 6.d4 {The “fork trick” doesn’t work here because black can move the bishop with check.}Bb4+ {Again, this variation is objectively better but I purposefully chose a more enjoyable and challenging variation.})

"I purposefully chose a more enjoyable and challenging variation."

“I purposefully chose a more enjoyable and challenging variation.”

6.Kxf2 Nxe5 {Imbalances are fun. White has the advantage in space and I in force.}

7.Re1 {?} {My opponent’s first mistake. Obviously better was bringing out a knight and thus equalizing on development.}
( 7.Nc3 O-O )

Nfg4+ {!} {Punishment has been served.}

"Punishment has been served."

“Punishment has been served.”

8.Kg1 {?}
{When your king is under attack, accuracy is a mere matter of survival.}
( 8.Ke2 Qh4 9.Kd2 )

Qh4 {Develop with threats.}

"Develop with threats."

“Develop with threats.”

9.h3 Qf2+ 10.Kh1 Qg3 {!} {IMHO, the best move of the game.}
( 10…Qh4 {?} 11.Be3 Nxc4 12.dxc4 d6 13.Nc3 {and white is fine.} )

"IMHO, the best move of the game."

“IMHO, the best move of the game.”

11.Kg1 {??} {Can you spot the mate in three?} ( 11.hxg4 Nxg4
12.Qxg4 Qxg4 )

"Can you spot the mate in three?"

“Can you spot the mate in three?”

Qh2+ 12.Kf1 Qh1+ 13.Ke2 Qxg2# 0-1


What is the Best Sacrifice in the History of Chess?

October 22, 2013
The position before move 22. Qxf4!!!!

The position before move 22. Qxf4!!!!

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller

My answer to “What is the Best Sacrifice in the History of Chess?” as asked on Quora.

Before I explain my choice for the best sacrifice in the history of chess, I need to elaborate on the difference between: 1) what is the best move? and 2) what is a beautiful sacrifice? I define “beauty” in chess as a move played for the sake of art and not of necessity. Exciting moves should not be confused with beauty as exciting play is often the only correct path hidden by more natural looking moves. Many refer to such moves as “beautiful” but if a computer had played it the move would just be considered “best.” Therefor, a beautiful sacrifice in chess should be a move which loses material in route to a win for the sake of art and not because the position requires the piece to be sacrificed for victory to be achieved. It is my hope that what is “best” according to a computer will never become the standard for what is “beautiful” to a human.

Below is my favorite example of when the most beautiful piece sacrifice is not considered best by a computer, but still remains an ultimate achievement in human chess:

[Event “Ch Western”]

[Site “Detroit (USA)”]

[Date “1924”]

[Round “”]

[White “Torre Carlos (MEX)”]

[Black “Banks Newell”]

[Result “1-0”]

[Eco “A46”]

[Annotator “Chris Torres”]

[Source “”]

{[ 1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3,A46] Torre Carlos (MEX) +4 =2 -0 Banks Newell +0 =0 -1 Torre Carlos (MEX)-Banks Newell +1 =0 -0}

1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 d6 3.Nc3 {Carlos Torre delays his signature Bg5 for one move. The opening with 1. d4 2. Nf3 and 3. Bg5 is known as the Torre Attack.}

Bf5 4.Bg5 Ne4 {Some other moves worth thinking about are:}

( 4…Nbd7 5.Nh4 Bg6 6.Nxg6 hxg6 7.e4 c6 8.Be3 Qa5 9.f3 e5 10.Qd2

Be7 11.O-O-O exd4 12.Bxd4 b5 13.Kb1 b4 14.Ne2 Nb6 15.Nc1 c5 16.Nb3

Qa4 17.e5 cxd4 18.exf6 Bxf6 19.Re1+ Kf8 20.Nxd4 Rh5 21.Nb3 Rd5

22.Qf4 Qc6 23.Bd3 Na4 24.Be4 {…0-1, Hebden Mark (ENG) 2550  – Hanley Craig (ENG) 2396 , Halifax 2003 Ch Great Britain (active)}


( 4…c6 5.Bxf6 exf6 6.e4 Bc8 7.Bd3 Be7 8.O-O O-O 9.Qd2 Re8

10.Rfe1 Nd7 11.Rad1 a6 12.Ne2 Nf8 13.h3 b5 14.Ng3 g6 15.Nf1 Bb7

16.Ne3 d5 17.exd5 cxd5 18.Ng4 Bc8 19.Rxe7 Qxe7 20.Re1 Be6 21.Qf4

Nd7 22.Nh6+ Kh8 23.g4 Qf8 24.g5 {…0-1, Tasic Zoran (SRB) 2200  – Radlovacki Jovan (SRB) 2407 , Belgrade  1/24/2010 Ch City (open)}


( 4…d5 5.Nh4 Be6 6.Qd3 c6 7.f4 Ne4 8.f5 Nxg5 9.fxe6 Nxe6

10.O-O-O g6 11.e4 Bg7 12.exd5 Nf4 13.Qg3 Nxd5 14.Nf5 Bf6 15.Nh6

Nxc3 16.bxc3 Qa5 17.h4 Nd7 18.Bc4 Rf8 19.Rhe1 Qa3+ 20.Kb1 Nb6

21.Bb3 O-O-O 22.Ng4 a5 23.Ne5 Bxe5 24.Rxe5 {…0-1, Hebden Mark (ENG) 2567  – McShane Luke J (ENG) 2531 , Southend 2001 It “Redbus” (KO-system)}


5.Nxe4 Bxe4 6.Nd2 {A clever retreat which allows Carlos Torre to dominate the center.}

Bg6 7.e4 {Carlos Torre has established complete control of the center.}

f6 {Mr. Banks is trying to be a little too clever here. Better would have been just attacking the center with “d5.”}

( 7…d5 8.Bd3 c6 9.Qg4 dxe4 10.Bxe4 Nd7 11.O-O-O Nf6 12.Bxf6

gxf6 13.f4 Bxe4 14.Nxe4 Qd7 15.f5 O-O-O 16.Kb1 Qd5 17.Rhe1 e6

18.fxe6 f5 19.Qh3 fxe6 20.Ng5 Re8 21.Re5 Qd7 22.Rde1 Bg7 23.Rxe6

Rxe6 24.Nxe6 Re8 25.Qxf5 Bxd4 26.a3 Bb6 27.g4 {…0-1, Miles Anthony J (ENG) 2600  – Hickl Joerg (GER) 2535 , Calcutta 1994 It (open)}


( 7…c6 8.f4 f6 9.Bh4 e6 10.Bd3 Na6 11.O-O Be7 12.f5 exf5

13.exf5 Bf7 14.Bxa6 bxa6 15.Qe2 O-O 16.Qxa6 Qb6 17.Qd3 d5 18.b3

Ba3 19.Rae1 Rfe8 20.c3 a5 21.Nf3 Qb5 22.Qd2 Bd6 23.Rxe8+ Rxe8

24.Re1 Ra8 25.Bg3 Bf8 26.h3 a4 27.b4 {…1-0, Miles Anthony J (ENG) 2590  – Pedzich Dominik (POL) 2435 , Cappelle la Grande 1998 It (open)}


( 7…h6 8.Bh4 Qd7 9.Bd3 e5 10.c3 Be7 11.Bg3 exd4 12.cxd4 O-O

13.O-O d5 14.Qb3 dxe4 15.Bxe4 Bxe4 16.Nxe4 b6 17.Rfd1 Nc6 18.d5

Na5 19.Qe3 Rfe8 20.Rac1 Bg5 21.f4 Bd8 22.Qf3 f5 23.Nf2 Bf6 24.Nd3

Re4 25.Ne5 Qd6 26.Qh5 Rf8 27.Qxf5 {…1-0, Tregubov Pavel V (RUS) 2602  – Honfi Karoly (HUN) 2365 , Hungary 1992 It (open) “Duna Kupa”}


8.Be3 e6 9.Bd3 {White’s pieces and pawns are better.}

( 9.c3 Qc8 10.h4 d5 11.h5 Bf7 12.Bd3 Nc6 13.Qf3 Qd7 14.exd5 exd5

15.h6 Bg6 16.Bf4 O-O-O 17.O-O-O Ne7 18.hxg7 Bxg7 19.Nf1 Qa4 20.Kb1

Be4 21.Bxe4 dxe4 22.Qe2 Nd5 23.Ng3 Rde8 24.Bc1 Qd7 25.Rh5 Kb8

26.Rdh1 Rhf8 27.Nxe4 f5 28.Nc5 Qc6 {…1-0, Tregubov Pavel V (RUS) 2545  – Van Esch Sebastian (NED) 2206 , Groningen 1994 It (open)}


Be7 10.Qg4 {Despite the fairly tame opening that is named after him, Carlos Torre was a master of attacking chess.}

Qd7 11.O-O {The three opening goals are:^013^010

} {1) Maintain a center pawn.^013^010


{2) Castle^013^010

} {3) Unify Rooks.^013^010

} {Carlos Torre has accomplished all three. Black has accomplished none.}

e5 12.Qg3 exd4 13.Bxd4 Nc6 {Black forces some concessions but still has not accomplished any of the three opening goals.}

14.Bc3 O-O-O 15.b4 {Again, we see Carlos Torre play extremely aggressively.}

Rdf8 {And again we see Mr. Banks fail to thrust his pawn to “d5.”}

16.b5 Nd8 17.Qe3 b6 {?} {Defending by playing Kb8 would have not created weaknesses around black’s king.}

18.a4 {Carlos Torre controls the center so he focusing on a flank attack. Attacking on

the flank with “pawn storms” is an important strategy when the two players are castled on opposite sides of the board.}

Qg4 19.a5 Ne6 20.axb6 axb6 21.Bc4 Nf4 {Black finally has a serious threat of his own. I imagine he was expecting pawn to g3 or Queen to g3.} {%08DA}

22.Qxf4 {!!!!!} {

And now we have the most beautiful sacrifice ever played on a chessboard. The

strongest chess engines of 2013 still fail to completely comprehend the winning lines which are forced to follow.}

Qxf4 23.Be6+ {!} Kb7 {?} {mate in 9!} ( 23…Kb8 {This would be better but there still is no escape for black.}

24.Bd5 c6 25.bxc6 Bf7 ( 25…Rc8 26.Rfb1 Rxc6 27.Bxc6 Kc7 28.Bd5

Rb8 29.Nf3 Bxe4 30.Bxe4 Qxe4 31.Re1 ) 26.Ra6 Bxd5 27.exd5 Qg5

( 27…Qf5 28.Rxb6+ Kc8 29.Ra6 Qxd5 30.Ba5 Qb5 31.Ra8+ Qb8 32.Rxb8+

Kxb8 33.Rb1+ Kc8 34.Rb7 d5 35.Rxe7 Re8 36.Rxg7 Re1+ 37.Nf1 Rb1

38.Rc7+ Kb8 39.Rf7 Re8 40.Rxf6 Ra1 41.Bd2 d4 42.Rf7 {and white wins easily.}

) 28.Rxb6+ Kc7 29.Rb7+ Kd8 30.Nc4 Ke8 31.Re1 )

24.Bd5+ c6 25.Bxc6+

{?} {Slightly inaccurate. Better was bxc6+.} ( 25.bxc6+ Kb8 26.Ra8+

Kc7 27.Ra7+ Kd8 28.Rd7+ Ke8 29.Ra1 Bd8 30.Ra8 Qxf2+ 31.Kxf2 b5

32.Raxd8# )

Kc8 26.Ra8+ Kc7 27.Ra7+ Kc8 28.g3 {Again a slight inaccuracy.}

( 28.Nc4 d5 29.Nxb6+ Kd8 30.Nxd5 Qxh2+ 31.Kxh2 Bd6+ 32.e5 Bf5

33.Ra8+ Bc8 34.Ba5+ Bc7 35.Bxc7# )

Qg4 29.Rfa1 Kd8 30.Bd4 {and black resigned as there is no way to stop mate.}


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