, Muskogee, OK

December 19, 2013

Master proves again the pin can win

By Eric Morrow
Chess Corner

— The United States’ best chess player, Hikaru Nakamura, has been on a roll, as he has advanced to become the world’s third-ranked chess player. At the World Chess Team Championships, he took the silver medal for his individual performance and helped the United States place fourth in the world.  Moreover, he recently won the prestigious London Chess Classic.

This week’s position is from Nakamura’s game against Vladimir Kramnik at the London Chess Classic. Nakamura is white; Kramnik, black. Kramnik erred in time pressure and Nakamura pounced. Please try to find Nakamura’s move, which caused Kramnik to immediately resign.

Kramnik saw that his rook pins white’s knight. With the support of black’s king, black threatens to win white’s knight. The black king, however, has also walked into a pin.   

Nakamura pounced on this by moving his bishop to d8, pinning black’s rook.

Black cannot stop white from trading its bishop for black’s rook. This leaves white a knight ahead. In addition, the exchange will force the black king to e7 and further away from the pawns. In sum, black is lost.

The lesson this week is pin and win. Even at the highest levels, this simple motif is exemplified.