Chess Checks

En passant provides a surprise twist

En passant’ is a French term but used as a rule in chess where if one player’s pawn is on the fifth rank and his opponent moves any of the adjacent pawns by two squares, the first player has the choice of capturing this pawn.

At times some beginners may not be aware of this rule but the game which follows has an interesting twist.

White makes a big blunder and allows Black to capture his pawn (En passant) and his whole game crumbles. Without this blunder White did have chances of salvaging a draw.

White: Sergey Volkov (2605) – Black: Alexander Khalifman (2645)
Samara, 1998

Benko Gambit
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 c5 3.d5 b5
The former world champion plays the volatile Benko Gambit where Black sacrifices a pawn in the Opening stages for active play

4.cxb5 a6 5.f3 axb5 6.e4 Qa5+ 7.Bd2 b4 8.Na3 e6. The usual continuation is 8... 9.Nc4 Qc7
9.Nc4 Qc7. He wants to dislodge  the knight on c4. If 10...exd5 11.exd5 Bd6
11.Nh3. If 11.Ne3  11...Bxf1 12.Kxf1 Qe5
11...Bxc4 12.Bxc4 Bd6 13.Qb3

White played a novelty here. He is hinting that he may castle on the queenside.
13...exd5. If 13...Bxh2 14.f4 Nxe4 15.Rxh2 Nxg5 16.Nxg5 Qxf4 17.Nf3
14.exd5. If 14.Bxd5 Nxd5 15.Qxd5 Ra5
14...Be5 15.0–0–0 0–0
If 15...Bxh2 16.f4 Qd6 17.Rde1+ Kd8 18.Rxh2+–; 15...d6 16.f4 Bd4 17.Rhe1+
16.Rhe1 d6 17.Rxe5
This tempting exchange sacrifice does not appear too sound. If 17.f4 Bd4 18.Ng1 (18.Qg3 Nbd7  19.Bh6 Nh5 20.Qg5 Nb6) 18...Nfd7  19.Nf3 Bf6
17...dxe5 18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.d6
If 19.f4 Qd6 And if 19.Nf2 f5 20.g4 Qe7
19...Qd7 20.f4.
20...Nc6. Better appears 20...Qg4 21.Bb5 exf4 22.Qd5 Ra7 23.d7 Rd8 24.Re1 Raxd7 25.Bxd7 Qxd7

21.Qg3+ Kh8 22.Qh4 Qf5
If 22...Kg7 23.Rd3.
23.g4 Qg6. If 23...Qe4 24.Qxf6+ Kg8 25.Bxf7+ Rxf7 26.Qxf7+ Kxf7 27.Ng5+
24.f5. If 24.Bd3 Qg7 25.Be4 Ra6.

24...Qg7 25.Nf2. If 25.g5 Nd4 26.gxf6 Qg2 27.Rxd4 28.Bxa2 cxd4 29.d7
25...Qg5+. Black was in time pressure and hence decided to exchange  queens. If 25...Nd4 26.Kb1 b3 27.Bxb3
26.Qxg5 fxg5 27.Rd5
If 27.Ne4 Nd4 28.Nxg5 Ra7 29.Ne4
27...Na5 28.Be2. If 28.Bb5 Nb7 29.Bc6 Ra7 30.Bxb7 Rxb7 31.Ne4
28...Nb7 29.Kb1 Ra5
30.Ne4. A good square to occupy
30. ..f6

Diagram 1
31.a4. A horrifying blunder. It would appear that White just forgot about the 'en passant' rule. He could have held on for a draw with 31.Bc4 Rd8 32.d7 Kg7
31...bxa3 32.bxa3 Rxa3

White’s King is out in the open and things look bleak for White now.
33.d7 Kg7 34.Bd1
If 34.Nxc5 Nxc5 35.d8Q Rxd8 36.Rxd8 Rh3. 34...Kf7 35.Kb2
If 35.Nxc5 Nxc5 36.d8Q Rxd8 37.Rxd8 Rd3
35...Re3. If 35...Raa8 Ra5  36.Bb3 Ke7
36.Nxc5 Nxc5 37.d8Q
If 37.Rxc5 37...Ke7 38.Rc8 Rd8
37...Rxd8 38.Rxd8 Rd3
If 38...Ke7 39.Rc8 Nd3+ 40.Kc2
39.Rxd3. If 39.Rc8 Rxd1 40.Rxc5 Rd2+ 41.Kc3 Rxh2
39...Nxd3+ 40.Kc3 Nf2 41.Bf3 Ke7 42.Kc4 Kd6 43.Be2 h6
White is in Zugzwang and has to give up a second pawn
44.h3 Nxh3 45.Bd1 Nf2
If 45...Nf4 46.Bf3
46.Be2 Ne4
If 46...Ne4 47.Kd3 Ng3 (47...Ng3  48.Bf3 h5 49.gxh5 (49.Ke3 e4) 49...Nxf5)
0–1

Diagram 2
White to play and checkmate in two moves
1.Qb8+ Kxb8 2.Rxd8 checkmate.

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