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Etienne Mensch vs Joseph G Gallagher
French League Top 16 (2005), Port Barcares FRA, rd 9, May-05
King's Indian Defense: Saemisch Variation. Normal Defense (E81)  ·  0-1



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Kibitzer's Corner
Mar-17-06  notyetagm: Why can't Black mate with 31 ... ♕d1+! 32 ♖xd1 ♖xd1#, exploiting the <x-ray> of the d1-mating focal point?

Nice tactic with 19 ... ♘xd5!, utilizing the <pin> of the White e4-pawn to the e-file, the point being 20 exd5 ♖xe3! 21 ♕xe3 ♗d4 pinning and winning the White queen.

Mar-17-06  notyetagm: 30 ♖b6? allows Black to win immediately with 30 ... ♖a1!. Here Black uses the tactical motif that <when the king is trapped on the back rank, one heavy piece back rank defender cannot keep out two enemy heavy piece attackers>.

Here the White king is trapped on the back rank. The White f1-rook is the only defender of the weak back rank. Black has two heavy piece attackers on the back rank square a1, the a8-rook and the d4-queen. <The f1-rook, the sole defender of the back rank, cannot keep the a8-rook and d4-queen attackers out of the a1-square, hence 30 ... ♖a1!.>

After 30 ... ♖a1! White is lost since he cannot deal with the simultaneous threats to his undefended f1-rook and his weak back rank:

31 ♖c1 ♕d1+! 32 ♖xd1 ♖xd1#
31 ♖xa1 ♕xa1+ 32 ♕c1 ♕xc1#
31 ♖g1 ♖xg1#
31 h3 ♖xf1+

Mar-17-06  notyetagm: Here is another example of the tactical motif underpinning 30 ... ♖a1!, the idea that <when the king is trapped on the back rank, one heavy piece back rank defender cannot keep out two enemy heavy piece attackers>.

From the game Ivanchuk vs Bruzon, 2nd Samba Cup 2005, White had just played 27 ♘f3-h4?. This blunder allowed Black to play the unusual winning tactical shot 27 ... ♕c6-c1!!, again based on the theme of one heavy piece back rank defender (White e1-rook) not being able to keep two enemy heavy piece attackers (Black c6-queen, c8-rook) out of the back rank c1-square.

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The main point is that 28 ♖xc1 ♖xc1+ 29 ♕f1 ♗h2+! 30 ♔xh2 ♖xf1 wins the exchange, leaving Black two exchanges (♖♖ vs ♘♘) ahead.

Mar-17-06  notyetagm: In the final position White resigns because of another back rank tactical motif. This motif occurs when the king is trapped on his first rank and his queen is lined up with him on the first rank.

<The idea is that if an enemy rook has support to land on this rank, it creates the double threat of mating the king on the back rank and pinning/forking the queen to the king>. The defender will find it almost impossible to adequately meet both of these threats.

In this game after 32 ... ♖a8, this Black rook has the support of the Black d4-queen to take the a1-square, threatening to both pin the White c1-queen to the White h1-king and mate the White king on the back rank.

If White tries to meet this pinning threat, say by moving his queen from the back rank, then 33 ... ♖a1+ is mating.

If White tries to meet the mate threat, say by making luft for his king with 33 h3, then Black carries out his pinning threat with 33 ... ♖a1, winning the queen.

White has no adequate way of meeting both the pinning and mating threats along his first rank and so resigns.

A very nasty tactical motif when it occurs.

Mar-17-06  notyetagm: Continuing the <supported rook> tactic from my previous post.

I first saw this tactical idea in Seirawan vs Timman, 1990. Seirawan's 26 ♕xd6! is this same supported rook motif in a combinational setting.

In the Gallagher game here, 32 ... ♖a8 is the same threat but it is hard to call it a combination of any kind; here it is just a threat that cannot be parried.

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