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April 19, 2013

Approaching storm — What is black’s best move?

— DIAGRAM 1

In this week’s position both sides exert pressure on the enemy king.   White’s pieces are gathering near black’s king like an approaching storm, while white’s king is vulnerable on its back rank. With this hint in mind please try to find black’s move.

It is tempting to diffuse the pressure on black’s king-side by capturing white’s knight with black’s bishop.    This move is good but not best.   Better is pressuring white on the back rank by moving the d8 rook to d1.   

This move ties down white’s f1 rook, as this rook and black’s rook on d1 stare each other down.   White’s rook cannot capture black’s d1 rook, or else black mates white after black’s queen first takes white’s rook on d1 and then white’s queen on f1.    In this way, white’s queen is tied down to the defense of its f1 rook.  

White can untether its queen by sliding its h3 rook over to f3.    Black can now safely win white’s b2 pawn by trading off pieces.   Black’s bishop takes white’s knight, and black trades rooks on f1.   This eliminates the pressure against black’s king and frees the black queen to go gobbling.

DIAGRAM 2

Instead of white supporting its f1 rook by sliding its other rook over white may maneuver its knight to f5.    The knight lands on a great square and threatens black’s bishop on e7.   Black then exploits white’s vulnerability on its back rank by moving its bishop to g5, attacking white’s queen.

DIAGRAM 3

The white queen cannot capture the bishop, or else black’s rook takes white’s f1 rook, mating white.   The queen is forced to retreat to f3.   Now black trades rooks on f1, which brings white’s queen to f1.  

DIAGRAM 4

Black next dislodges white’s bothersome knight by moving its g7 pawn to g6.    This is soon followed by moving the f8 rook to d8, threatening to move to d1 with the support of its queen and pin white’s queen.  

The lesson this week’s is pressure creates diamonds which can cut through any position. 

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