Posts Tagged ‘fork trick’

More Fighting Chess from the 2016 Chess Olympiad

September 6, 2016

Today’s featured game from the 2016 Chess Olympiad includes an attack straight out of a chess hustler’s playbook which leads to a victory in just 27 moves. Hats off to Bader Al-Hajiri (Kuwait) and Rodwell Makoto (Zimbabwe) for playing such an entertaining game. Enjoy…


[Event “Chess Olympiad”]
[Site “Baku, Azerbaijan”]
[Date “2016.9.5”]
[Round “4”]
[White “Al-Hajiri, Bader”]
[Black “Makoto, Rodwell”]
[Result “0-1”]
[Eco “C48”]
[Annotator “Chris Torres”]


1.e4 e5

2.Nf3 Nc6

3.Nc3 Nf6

4.Bb5 Bc5



Position after 5. Nxe5

Position after 5. Nxe5


5… O-O {!?}

( 5…Nxe5 6.d4 {The Fork Trick} Bd6 7.f4 (7.dxe5 Bxe5 8.Be3 c6 9.Be2 O-O) 8.  Nc6 8.e5 {The Fork Trick: Part Two} O-O 9.exd6 Re8+
{And oddly enough, black is fine.} )

( 5…Bxf2+ {?!} 6.Kxf2 Nxe5 7.d4 Ng6 ( 7…Nfg4+ 8.Ke1 c6 9.dxe5 d6 10.Be2 Nxe5 11.Bf4
{and white is winning.} ) ( 7…Neg4+ 8.Kg1 c6 9.Be2 d5 10.exd5
O-O 11.dxc6 bxc6 12.h3 Nh6 13.g4 {I’d be happy to play as white from here.}) 8.e5 c6 9.exf6 {!} Qxf6+ 10.Qf3 Qxf3+ 11.gxf3 cxb5 12.Re1+
Kd8 13.Nxb5 {and white is better.} )


( 6.O-O Nxe5 7.d4 Bd6 8.f4 Nc6 9.e5 Bb4 10.exf6 Qxf6 11.Nd5 Qxd4+ 12.Be3 Qxd1 13.Raxd1
Bd6 14.f5 f6 15.Bf4 Ne5 16.Bxe5 fxe5 17.f6 c6 18.Ne7+ Bxe7 19.fxe7
Re8 20.Bc4+ d5 21.Rxd5 cxd5 22.Bxd5+ Be6 23.Bxe6+ Kh8 24.Rf7
h5 25.Kf2 Kh7 {…1-0, Kulaots Kaido (EST) 2581 – Roiz Michael (ISR) 2652 , Plovdiv 3/22/2012 Ch Europe})

( 6.Bxc6 dxc6 7.Nf3 Nxe4 8.Nxe4 Re8 9.d3 f5 10.O-O fxe4 11.dxe4
Bg4 12.Qe2 )

6… Nd4

7.Nxd4 ( 7.Be2 Nxe2 8.Qxe2 d5 9.d3 Bb4 10.e5
Re8 11.O-O Bg4 {Looks like a fun position for both colors.} )

7… Bxd4

8.Ne2 {?} {Bader Ali-Hajiri is asking for trouble with this move. Better was:}
( 8.O-O Re8 9.Be2 Bxc3 10.dxc3 Nxe4 )


Position after 8. Ne2

Position after 8. Ne2


8… Bxf2+ {!} {Rodwell Makoto responds with fire.}

9.Kxf2 Nxe4+

10.Ke1 Qf6 {Attacks like these are usually reserved for the street chess hustlers. I’m taking notes.}

11.Rf1 Qh4+

12.Ng3 Re8 {Threatening a discovered check with Nc3 which wins the queen.}


Position after 12... Re8

Position after 12… Re8


13.Be2 Nxg3 {Not sure I agree with voluntarily trading pieces here. Black is attacking and
therefor should be looking to bring in more force not remove it.}

14.hxg3 Qxg3+

15.Rf2 {Bader Al-Hajiri has done a fine job weathering Rodwell Makoto’s creative attack.}

15… d5

16.Kf1 {?} {Unpinning the rook and bishop by stepping aside is tempting but now when
black’s queen moves to h2 white will be in serious trouble. Much better was:}
( 16.d4 Qh2 17.Bf4 Qg1+ 18.Rf1 Qxg2 19.Rf2 Qg1+ 20.Rf1 Qg2 {draw by repetition.})


Position after 16. Kf1

Position after 16. Kf1


16… Qh2 {!}

17.Rf3 Bg4 ( 17…d4 18.d3 Bg4 19.c3
Re6 20.Bf4 Qh1+ 21.Kf2 Rxe2+ 22.Qxe2 Qxa1 {is another way to go about the attack.})

18.a4 {?} {Trying to make up for his earlier mistakes, Beder Al-Hajiri will try to get
both of his rooks unified in the third rank. This is a very unusual plan and unfortunately, for Al-Hajiri, not very effective.}

( 18.Re3 {Exchanging the queens and freeing the pieces was a much better plan for white.}
Qh1+ 19.Kf2 Qxd1 20.Bxd1 Bxd1 21.d4 c6 22.c3 f6 23.Bd2 )

18… Re6

19.Raa3 {Bader Al-Hajiri has accomplished his goal behind playing 18. a4.}


Position after 19. Raa3

Position after 19. Raa3


19… d4 {!} {With one pawn push, Rodwell Makoto takes away his opponent’s chances of placing
a rook into the open e-file. This is a crushing blow to white.}

20.Rh3 {Bader Al-Hajiri tries to resurrect some purpose for his rooks being in the third rank.}

20… Rf6+

21.Rhf3 ( 21.Raf3 Bxh3 22.gxh3 Rg6 23.Ke1 Re8 {is even worse for black.})

21… Re8 {Rodwell Makoto has four pieces left and they are all involved in the attack on Bader Al-Hajiri’s king.}

22.Kf2 Qh4+

23.Kg1 Rfe6

24.g3 Qh5

25.Bf1 {?} {Its impossible to defend against such force with such a disorganized position. However, Rfe3 was the more accurate choice.} ( 25.Rfe3 Bxe2 26.Qxe2 Qxe2 27.Rxe2 Rxe2 28.Rf3 )


Position after 25. Bf1

Position after 25. Bf1


25… Re1{!} {Just crushing.}

26.Rae3 R8xe3

27.Rxe3 Rxe3 {and Bader Al-Hajiri resigns as his queen is trapped.}


Final Position

Final Position

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

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