Zhigalko- Rosenbeiger, Khanty-Mansiysk 2010. White to play.
RB A memory is being jogged here. Last week our diagram, taken from a game featured in our book of the year, Attacking Manual 2 by Jacob Aagaard, showed how White, in one move, transformed his attacking chances by moving the queen from d1 to a4, with the idea of transferring it to h4 to make direct threats against the enemy king.
Here, we already have a heavy piece on a4, though it’s under attack and its transfer to the kingside is impeded by the white pawn on e4. So let’s take our courage in both hands and see what happens after 1 e5. If 1…Bxa4 2 exf6 exf6 3 Rxa4, White has won two minor pieces for a rook. And if 1…dxe5 2 Rh4 and White also has an attack.
DK 1 e5 â€“ that’s it. At a stroke Black’s position collapses. He resigned after 1â€¦dxe5 2 Rh4 Nh5 3 Rxh5 as 3â€¦gxh5 4 Qg5 will be mate. 2â€¦Nh5 was a horrible blunder (but these things often happen when a player is on the defensive). He should have tried 2â€¦Ne8, when White still needs to show finesse. First the easy bit: 3 Bxg7 Nxg7 4 Qh6 f6. It’s best not to take on h7 immediately (Aagaard warns us about unnecessary checks), but instead 5 Ne4! with ideas of Ng5, Nxc5, as well as d6, should spell the end for Black.
Ronan spotted the connection to last week’s position, but when I saw this game from the recent Olympiad there was another encounter that came into my mind, Almasi-Hickl, Germany 2002 â€“ one of my favourite attacking games â€“ which, coincidentally, is also discussed by Aagaard. Rook moves along a file are easily spotted, but these games suggest that lateral shifts are less obvious, especially when partially masked.
Pattern recognition is fundamental to expertise in chess. One of the strengths of Aagaard’s book is that he does a lot of the collating and ordering of these patterns for us.