Don't miss those vital tactical shots

Chess Checks

Certain positions in a game of chess offer some tricky possibilities from which a person can wriggle out of a difficult position or get a winning position from a benign appearing one.

These moves are not the obvious looking ones and many a time, are discarded without giving a moment’s thought. However these moves suddenly appear to come out of nowhere and are termed as tactical shots.

In the game which follows, Black misses one such fine tactical shot by which he could have tried to initiate quite a few exchanges to let the fizz go out of the position. However after missing this tactical shot, it is downhill all the way for Black.

White:  Suat Atalik (2549) –  Black: Kamil Miton (2443)
Stratton Mountain, 2000
Benko Gambit
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5
The Benko Gambit where Black sacrifices a pawn rather early in the game to get some sharp play
4.cxb5
White unhesitatingly grabs the pawn
4. .. a6 5.bxa6 g6 6.Nc3 Bxa6 7.e4 Bxf1 8.Kxf1 . White has to forego castling
8. ..d6 9.Nf3 Nbd7 10.g3 Bg7 11.Kg2. Resorting to artificial castling manoeuvre
11. .. 0–0 12.Re1 Ng4
Generally black tries to seize initiative on the queen side with 12. ..Qa5 or 12. ..Qb6
13.Nd2 Nge5 14.Qe2 Nb6 15.f4 Ned7 16.a4!? Ra7. White should have given a thought to 16...Ra5
17.a5 Na8. If 17...Qa818.Qb5 Rb8 19.axb6 Rxa1 20.Qxd7 Bxc3
18.Nc4 Nc7 19.e5
White decides to be aggressive. If 19.Bd2 Ra6  20.Na4 e6 21.Ncb6 exd5 22.exd5 
19...dxe5. Black makes a new move. If 19...Qa8 20.Qe4 Ra6
20.fxe5 Qa8 21.Qe4
If 21.Qf3 e6 22.d6 Nd5
21...e6 22.dxe6. If 22.d6 Nd5
22...Nxe6. If 22...fxe6 23.Qxa8 Rfxa8 24.Bf4 Nd5 25.Rad1 is better for White
23.Nb5 Ra6. If 23...Rb7 24.Ncd6 Rbb8 25.Qxa8 Rxa8 26.Nc4 Rfb8 27.Nba3
24.Qxa8 Rfxa8 25.Bd2
If 25.Re4 Rb8 26.Nba3 Rb3 27.Bd2 And if 25.Bf4 Rb8 26.Nba3
25...Rb8 26.Nba3 Nd4 27.Rad1 Re6 28.Bf4
If 28.Bc3 Bxe5 (28...Nxe5 29.Nxe5 Rxe5 30.Rxe5 Bxe5 31.Nc4) 29.b4
28...Rb4 29.g4 h6 30.Bg3 Nb8
Black seems to have solved his problems
31.Re3 Nbc6 32.Be1
Diagram 1
32. ..Rb8. Here Black missed a tactical shot with 32...Nc2  33.Bxb4 Nxe3+ 34.Nxe3 cxb4 35.Nac4 Bxe5 (35...Nxe5 36.Nxe5 Rxe5 37.Nc4 Re2+ 38.Kf3 Rc2 39.a6) 36.b3 (36.Nxe5 Rxe5 And if 36.a6 Bxb2) 36...Bc3 37.Rd3 which would have forced the exchange of pieces
33.Bc3 Bxe5
If 33...Rbe8 34.b4 cxb4 35.Bxd4 bxa3 36.Rxa3 Rd8 37.Rad3
34.Nxe5 Nxe5 35.Rde1Rbe8
If 35...Nxg4 36.Rxe6 fxe6 37.Nc4 Kf7
36.Nb5. If 36.b4 cxb4 37.Bxd4 Nd3 38.Rxd3 (38.Rxe6 Nxe1+ 39.Rxe1 Rxe1) 38...Rxe1 39.Nc4 R1e2+ 40.Kg3 Rd8
36...Nxb5. If 36...Nc2 37.Nc7 R8e7 38.Nxe6 Nxg4 39.Re4 Nxe1+ 40.Rxe1
37.Rxe5 Nxc3 38.Rxe6 fxe6 39.bxc3 Kf7 40.a6 Ra8 41.Ra1 Ra7 42.Kf3 Ke7 43.Ke4 Kd6 44.c4
If 44.h4 Kc6 45.Ke5 Kb5 46.Kxe6 Kc4 47.Ra3
44...e5 45.h4 Ke6 46.h5 gxh5 47.gxh5 Kd6 48.Kf5
If 48.Rg1 Re7 49.a7 Rxa7 50.Rg6+ Kc7 51.Rg7+ Kb6 52.Rxa7 Kxa7 53.Kxe5
48...Rf7+ 49.Kg6 Ra7 50.Kxh6 e4 51.Kg6 e3
If 51...Ke5 52.h6 e3 53.h7 Ra8 54.a7 e2 55.Kg7 Rxa7+ 56.Rxa7
52.Kf6
If 52.h6 Ke5 53.h7 Ra8 54.a7 Kd4 55.Kg7
52...e2 53.Re1 Rxa6 54.Rxe2 Ra1 55.Re6+ Kd7 56.Re5 1–0.


Black to play and win
1.   ..QxNf3 and it is all over for White as 2.gxf3 Rg6 checkmate.

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