I have a perfect example of a zwischenzug which refers to an intermediate move, in German. Basically, instead of playing an expected move, you first play an unexpected one.
White to play
So, now what? The expected move would be recapturing the knight with bxc6. But White has a crushing zwischenzug. Do you see it?
1. Ra6!! and the Black Queen has no place to go. 1-0.
Try to look for these intermediate moves in your games. Don't just play expected moves.
It's always fun to play hard and hold International Masters to draws, even if it's just in online play on ICC. I can't think of better practice than playing against FIDE titled players. Sadly, this is also why I don't make it down to the club that often.
A. Black to play
IM Maltan Hiram vs NCM Vas Sladek
22. ...Rb8 (and Black will get his pawn back)
23. Ra1 h6! (Don't rush, especially against IMs. 23. ...Qxb5?? 24.Qxb5 Rxb5 25. Ra8+ and Black will get mated on the back rank. Always give your King room to move.)
24. c4 dxc4
25. Bxc4 Qxb2
26. Qxb2 Rxb2 and draw agreed 1/2-1/2
B. Black to play
IM Jose Luis Vilela vs. NCM Vas Sladek
58. ...Nf5+ 59. Kf2 Ne7 Draw agreed.
C. White to play
NCM Vas Sladek vs. IM Jose Luis Vilela
29. Be2+ Kb6 30. Bd1 and draw agreed. Black can't really afford to give up the a pawn.
White to move
1. Kf3 and White just makes it to h1 where he stops the h pawn from queening. Black stalemated the White King in the game. Draw.
White to play
1. f4! wins by keeping the Black King away from e5. This was a bullet game and with a few seconds left White played 1. Kg6? and soon there weren't any pawns on the board. Draw?!
Don't neglect endgame study. It will get you lots of points in the future.
My friend FM Cecil Moncur is the first FIDE Master in the Bahamas and plays on their Olympiad team. We played a 15 10 four game match on ICC. I was still pumped after drawing IM Ray Kaufman in the rapid league quarterfinal and won the match 4-0.
To avoid depression bishops require open diagonals but here all of Black's pieces are dominated by the White rook; another example of rooks on the seventh rank. It was easy to find the winning plan: Nb5 and Nd6 since the bishop isn't going anywhere.
Take good care of your bishops!
Play in the Vancouver rapid chess league quarterfinal required a different mind set because losers get eliminated. So, in round one I took advantage of the White pieces while my teammates suffered with Blacks. We took the lead 2-1 after the first round......
On board 3 I took on an expert Lex Lawless and at the end we reached this position. I had just played 1. gxf5 forcing the Queen off. Where would you put the Queen? Lex actually ran out of time here and lost.
Black to play
1. ...Qxf7 2. Rxf7 is still winning for White
1. ...Qh5 2. Rh7+ Kg8 3. Reg7+ Kf8 4. f6 +- and mate on h8 next, if Qg4+ 5. Kh1 Qd1+ 6. Qf1 +-
1. ...Qxd6 2.f6 +-
NOTE: the doubled rooks on the seventh rank totally dominated Black's position, his rook a8 never moved!
Always try to double your rooks on the seventh or, if playing Black, on the second rank.
Black's last move was c5 but it was too late to free his pieces.
This was a fun way to start the quarterfinal.
It's extremely satisfying to hold a draw against an experienced international master. It's like an early birthday gift to myself.
When I lost my last remaining pawn on the b file, I knew that the best I could do was draw. Luckily I remembered the correct set-up: The White King is in front of the e pawn and the White rook is behind it, far enough to avoid getting molested by the enemy King. Make note of this set-up, so you too can hold the draw against FIDE IMs. Below is the final position; White to play. IM Kaufman offered a draw.....
1. Rf8+ and if the Black King stays by the pawn we keep on checking; if the Black King walks, we attack the e-pawn again. Black can't make progress here. Note that the White rook is far away to avoid any King attacks.
Pins are great to have but if you find your pieces pinned, try to break the pin quickly. If you don't, you could end up like my opponent, with a pin from hell that can't be broken. Usually this leads to disaster.
White to move
Note that Black has no way to break the pin on his f8 Bishop. So, we continue with 1. c5 Ra6 and 2. Bd6 wins!
If you find your pieces pinned, try to correct the situation quickly. Unpin!
White to move
I played a two-move combination here thanks to my tactics training; I saw it immediately. Do you?
1. Nxc7 (drawing the Black Queen in) Qxc7 2. Be8! (Double attack on the Queen and the knight on g6). Black sacrificed his Queen on c1 2. ...Qxc1 3. Rxc1 Rfxe8 and surprisingly White had a lot of work to do. I won the game but it was technically difficult.
Let's take a look at some easy tactics from my online games. Practicing tactics is critical if you hope to become a strong player.
1. Black to move
2. White to move
3. Black to move
1. 1. ...Nxd4! and Black wins a huge central pawn, 2. Qxd5? loses to Bc5
2. 1. Qxc6!+ Kb8 2.Qxb7 mate
3. Here Black played 1. ...Bd7? and eventually lost. 1. ...0-0-0!+ wins the rook on b7 because it's check.
NCM Vas Sladek
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