Combination checkmate, the ultimate delight

Combination checkmate, the ultimate delight

King hunt is always the most interesting part of any chess games and gets the audience rivetted to the board. Sometimes, it is just mere technique to drag the King into a checkmating net with a forced series of moves when it involves a single rook or a queen. However, when more pieces combine in the checkmating operation, it is a delight to watch.

In the game which follows, the position is almost equal right till the end, but a mistake by White allows Black to launch an attack and a combination which culminates with a startling queen sacrifice.
White: Alexander Krayz (2440) – Black: Leonid Gofshtein (2540)
Tel Aviv, 1996

Sicilian Defence
1. e4 c5. The Sicilian Defence.
2. Nf3 e6, 3. c4 Nc6, 4. Nc3 Nf6, 5. d4 cxd4, 6. Nxd4 Bb4, 7. Nxc6. If 7. f3 d5, 8. cxd5 exd5, 9. Bg5 Qa5, 10. Nxc6 bxc6, 11. Bxf6 gxf6.
7. ... bxc6. If 7. ... dxc6. 8. Qxd8+ Kxd8, 9. Bd2 e5, 10. f3.
8. Bd3. If 8. Qf3 Qa5, 9. Bd2 d5, 10. exd5 cxd5, 11. cxd5 0–0.
8. ... e5, 9. 0–0 Bc5. Difficult to understand why Black made this move, when he had other better options in hand. He could have taken control of the open file with 8. ... Rb8 or simply castled.
10. Bg5. If 10. Rb1 d6, 11. b4 Bb6, 12. a4 0–0, 13. h3 a5, 14. b5 Bd4 leading to an unclear position and if 10. Qe2 d6, 11. Be3 Bg4, 12. f3 Bxe3+, 13. Qxe3 Be6, 14. Rfd1 Qb6, 15. c5.
10. ... h6, 11. Bh4 d6. Black played a new move here. If 11. ... 0–0, 12. a3 (12.Qd2) 12. ... a5, 13. Qd2 d6, 14. Kh1 Be6, 15. f4 exf4,  16. Rxf4 g5.
12. Kh1 Be6, 13. Qa4. The Black King has still not castled and White is in search of any possibility to attack the King. If 13. Qd2 g5, 14. Bg3 Nh5.
13. ... g5, 14. Bg3 Rb8, 15. Nd5. If 15. Qxc6+ Bd7, 16. Qa6 Rxb2, 17. Rab1 Rb6.
15. ... 0–0. Black finally decides to castle.
16. Qxc6 Bxd5, 17. cxd5 Rb6, 18. Qa4 Rxb2, 19. Rab1 Qb6. Black does not rightly want to give up the control of the file.
20. Rxb2 Qxb2, 21. Rb1 Qc3. Forcing the White queen to retreat as the Black Queen has infiltrated his territory and can cause problems.
22. Qd1. If 22. Qc2 Qd4.
22. ... Qd4, 23. Qf3 Kg7, 24. h4. Perhaps 24. h3 would have been a better option.
24. ... Nh5. A good move!
25. hxg5. Difficult to understand why White decided to open up this file as this would only benefit Black as his rook can quickly seize control of the file. If 25. Qxh5 Qxd3, 26. b7  and if 26. Re1 Qxe4, 27. hxg5 hxg5, 28. Qxg5+ Qg6, 29. Qxg6+ Kxg6.
25. ... hxg5, 26. Qg4. White could have taken time off to move his King away from the dangerous looking and open ‘h’ file and played 26. Kg1 White could also have tried to get counter play with 26. Rb7 or played the defensive 26. Bh2.
26. ... Kh6. This is more or less forced as the crucial pawn on g5 has to be protected.
27. Qf3. If 27. Be2 Nxg3+, 28. fxg3 Rh8, 29. Qh3+ Kg7, 30. Bh5 Qxe4.
27. ... g4. Black is on the aggressive now!
28. Qxg4. If 28. Qe2 Nxg3+, 29. fxg3 Kg5!, 30. Qd2+ Kg6 with a win for Black.
28. ... Qxd3, 29. Rd1.

Diagram 1

29. ... Nxg3+.
The start of the combination.
30. fxg3 Qxd1+. A spectacular queen sacrifice!
31. Qxd1 Kg5. A good move for If 31. ... Rh8, 32. Qg4.
 After the text move White resigned a checkmate cannot be averted after 32. Rh8.

Diagram 2
White to play and trap the queen
1. Rb5 Qa3, 2. Rc3 Nb6, 3. Rxb6 and White wins.

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