mia analisi: Il
La lezione del GM Schwartzman: If you enjoyed the last Lesson, and also learned from it, than you should
have had no problems solving this nice puzzle coming from one of Alekhine's
games. Why? Because it is once again more a matter of correct calculation than
The position itself is fascinating. It is hard to imagine more pieces under attack than there already are. White's bishop on f6 is simply en prise as is the rook on c4, which also happens to be pinned, to no other than the undefended queen on e2. Black doesn't fare much better either. His queen on a6 is also undefended, the rook on c8 can be taken with check, and I won't even talk about the knight on a4.
But this is also a case where I have to introduce a novel element: laziness. I don't know about you, but let me talk about my own experience: sometimes, I am lazy... Or tired, if it sounds better. Anyway, what I am trying to say is that there are moments when I simply don't feel like immersing myself into a complicated for whatever reason... Mainly laziness, though. Unfortunately this is not a good thing!
You see, there are numerous moments where intuition alone is not sufficient. Of course, intuition is great, necessary, and the trademark of a Grandmaster, but that doesn't mean that you can survive on it alone. Concrete calculation still remains the decisive factor...
This position is a good example of such a situation. It would be very simple for white to just take the rook on c8 and after 1...Qc8 retreat with the bishop from f6. He would remain a pawn down, but the active deployment of the pieces should provide enough compensation. In other words, it would be an acceptable variation and choosing it would not take very much work. However, it would also mean missing out on a great opportunity to achieve victory!
The truth is that it is hard to look at the situation around the black king without noticing how week it is. Except for pawns, there are absolutely no other black pieces in the area. And for that matter, the black pieces which are on the board, are quite far from the place of the action.
White's situation, meanwhile, is not the same. His bishop on f6 is virtually next to the black king, and except for the rook on b1 all other pieces are close enough to be able to get to the king in seconds. And this is what constitutes the reason for which white should indeed take the time to calculate everything very carefully. So, here is the key point: I am not really saying that you should spent hours on every move trying to calculate everything - that would be impractical and impossible during the course of a tournament game. But what I am saying, is that when the position indicates it, that is when calculating is a good idea!
Getting back to our position at hand, the fact that so many of our pieces are attacked once again makes it a little easier on us, by not giving us too many options to look at. Actually, after you finish looking at 1.Bg7 which quickly demonstrates it is not working, there is really only one other alternative worth looking at, and that is bringing the queen closer to the action. There shouldn't be any doubt to the fact that 1.Qe5! is the most efficient way of doing it!
So, finding this move is definitely not difficult. It is not
subtle and not very hidden. The hard part is taking the time to calculate it,
despite the many pieces that we are giving away, with apparently not very many
concrete threats. So let's do it!
Black's simplest reply would be to take on c4. If he does it with the queen, after 2.Qg5, he will have to sacrifice serious material in order to avoid the checkmate that would follow after 2...g6 and 3.Qh6. Running with the king on the second move would allow an interesting line to happen: 2...Kf8 3.Qg7 Ke8 4.Qg8 Kd7 5.Ne5 Kc7 6.Qf7 followed by Nc4 and another great position for white.
Taking with the rook on c4 isn't much better either. What it does give black is the option to sacrifice his rook after 2.Qg5 with 2...Rg4. Still, after 3.Qg4 g6 4.Qa4 white is winning without problems.
What else does work for black on the first move? Not very much! Taking on f6 with 1...gf6 leads to certain death after 2.Rg4 with either 2...Kh8 3.Qf6 mate or 2...Kf8 3.Qd6 Ke8 4.Rg8 mate.
Black's choice in the game was more defensively oriented: 1...Rc5. White didn't have to do very much work to achieve the victory. After 2.Qg3! g6 3.Ra4 Alekhine had a piece up and no real problems.
The handshake didn't take very long to occur...
As you saw, the lines were not very hard to calculate and not even that complicated either. What looked initially like a really hard to grasp position, miraculously cleared up after doing just a few calculations. And to very good results, if I may add...