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How far can you see??

I came across this position in my database when I was searching for whites 12th move alternative in the line 1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. h4 h6 7. Nf3 Nd7 8. h5 Bh7 9. Bd3 Bxd3 10. Qxd3 e6 11. Bf4 Qa5+. I have played 12.Bd2 against Josh Rofrano in a tournament which is the main line and ended up losing the game (not due to the 12th move :) ). But I found 12.Nd2 has been played and only by this strong player Hector. After several moves in a game played in 2005 between Hector and Iordachescu (both players above 2500 level), Black out smarted himself by playing ...Nxb4? here trying to win back the pawn. Of course he has a tactic in mind, but unfortunately he did not see far enough. Can you spot the tactic and also see one move further ?


  1. something on the lines of 1. ..Nxb4 2. Nf5 Bf6 3. Qd6 .. ?

    ought to set up a board and check. :)

    - Vaibhav

  2. the tactic is btw 1. Nxb4 2. axb4 Red8

    and now 3. Qg4 Rxd1 4.Qxd1 Rxc4 and a black is a pawn up having successfully turned the tables around, if it only wasn't for the 2. Nf5.

  3. Your tactic is correct, but not the refutation. if after Nxb4 Nf5, the simply ...Bf6 attacking the queen and black is better. The real refutation lies at the end of the tactic you gave.

  4. Oh and yes if you continue 1. ..Nxb4 2. Nf5 Bf6 3. Qd6. but at the end of line whites rook on c2 also hangs.

  5. something like ...Nxb4 Nf5 Bf6 Qd6 Qxd6 Ncxd6 Nxc2 Nxc8 Rxc8 and black is piece up.

  6. Harish,

    This is my two cents worth of analysis... (maybe worth less haha)

    To start things off - the tactic black is seeking is 1... Nxb4(?) 2. axb4 Rd8 hitting the queen, rook ...etc.

    But can white play 3. Qg4 Rxd1+ 4. Qxd1 Rxc4 and the key to the position is black's queen. You win the aggressive rook through pin. Note that you cannot pin on d3 (At first I had wanted to do this) because the pin is broken by Qa1+. Knowing this, the only logical move I could find was Qf1, protecting against check.

    Hard to see for sure as it takes some time. One just needs to slow down and visualize the simple captures and sense the pattern at the end of the line. Verbalizing the features of the position also helped me. The "essence" of the tactic was a simple pin.



  7. I was also thinking on the same thing the other day. But then, after 5. Qf1 Rc6 we have a (=/+)ish looking position on the board with black bishop ready to snipe the b pawn at its will.

    5. Qe2 looked better to me compared to Qf1 which makes Rc6 unplayable as bishop is hanging on e7. ( 5. ..Rc6 6. Qxe7 Rxc2 7. Qe8+ Kh7 8. Qe4+). But the Qa1+ acts as a spoilsport.

    I duno.. I cannot see a definite win here for white as of now. Maybe my unwillingness to setup a board and then try this over, is costing me of those winning moves. :(

    @Harish.. hehe.. I accept Qd6 was an oversight. 3. ..Rde8 still spells doom and has worsened effects than in the earlier case.

  8. oww shucks! saw it! 5. Qf1 Rc6 6. pawn move! the end.

  9. Right. I forgot to include the little fork at the end.

  10. Indeed Qf1 and the fork is the farthest that must be seen.

  11. Yes a beautiful thing, to allow your opponent to do what they want to do and then...opps!!! or put another way "threat counter threat" threat greater threat!!! ab Rfd8 Qa1 RxR+ QxR RxNc4 Qf1! Rc6 and b5 wins material!!!

    Barry Davis