Combo play important in forcing victories

Combo play important in forcing victories

Once the big pieces like the queen and rooks and the minor pieces like the bishops and knights have taken up strong positions, the pawns can pave the way by opening up files and diagonals for these pieces to infiltrate in a devastating manner.

In the game which follows, White’s pieces are strongly placed and it is the central pawns that prove to be a thorn in the flesh for Black. A strong pawn advance on the 19th turn, followed by a queen sacrifice decide things in White’s favour.

White: Alexander Onischuk (2625) – Black: Gerald Hertneck (2525)
Biel, 1997, French Defence
1.e4 e6

The French Defence

2.d4 d5 3.Nd2 Nf6 4.e5 Ne4 5.Nxe4 dxe4 6.Bc4 c5 7.d5 Qb6
Black plays a new move here. This is a familiar position and there are many options available for Black here like 7...exd5 8.Qxd5 Qxd5 9.Bxd5 Nc6 10.Bxe4 Nxe5 11.Bf4 Nc6 12.Nf3 or 7...Nd7 8.dxe6 fxe6 9.Nh3

Basically he wants to prevent 8. ..Qb4+   8...Nd7

If 8...e3  9.fxe3 exd5 10.Bxd5 Be7 11.Nf3 0–0 12.0–0 Rd8 13.c4 Nc6 14.b3, it is White who gets advantage  9.f4

A strong pawn advance on the King side!

Dilemma for Black! He has to be ready to be saddled with a vulnerable pawn on e4 or he has to let White develop another piece. If (9...exf3  10.Nxf3 exd5 11.Qxd5 Qe6 12.Bf4 (12.Qxe6+ fxe6 13.0–0 Nb6 14.Bd3) 12...Qxd5 13.Bxd5 Nb6 14.Be4

Targetting Black’s weak King side and especially the pawn on f7
10. ..Qg6 11.Ne2

A good move! Aiming for the g3 square

If 11...Nb6 12.Bb5+ Bd7 13.Bxd7+ Nxd7 14.Ng And if  11...Qxg2 12.Qxf7+ Kd8 13.Rg1 Qxh2 14.Be3 with White in a better position

 12.Ng3 Bh4
If 12...f5 13.e6 Nb6 14.Bb5+ Kf8 15.Qxf5+ Qxf5 16.Nxf5 Bxe6 17.Ng3 and White continues to be better

13.0–0 Bxg3 14.hxg3 0–0 15.f5
Another strong advance!

15. ..Qxg3
Black decides to go for the pawn but there is nothing better either here. If 15...Qc6 16.e6 Qxd5 17.Bxd5 Nf6 18.exf7+ Kh8 19.Be6 b6 and White is still very strong
16.Bf4 Qg4 17.e6

Another very strong pawn push in the centre which leaves Black in a dangerous position with threats swarming around his King.

Not exactly the right move but at this point there is’nt any good defence for Black. Though he can try out 17...Nb6 18.exf7+ Kh8 19.Qxc5 Bxf5 20.Bd6 (20.Bd6 Nxc4 21.Bxf8), there is no respite as White is clearly winning 18.fxe6

All of White’s pieces, the queen, bishop, rook and knight are gunning for the King who looks precariously placed18. ..Nb6

Sacrificing the queen to drag the king into a checkmating net
19. ..Nxd5 20.exf8Q+ Kxf8 21.Bd6+ Ke8
The king is forced out of his shelter as no pieces are able to come to his defence , the sequence of moves, forced
22.Bb5+ Bd7
If 22. ..Kd8 then 23.Rf8 checkmate.
23.Rf8 checkmate.

White to play and win
1.h6+ Kg8 2.Qf6 and Black cannot avert the checkmate Qg7.