Chess Corner: Never forget

The world’s top 12 chess players are in St. Louis this month for the Sinquefield Cup, which runs until Aug. 29. Three of the world’s top players are from the United States (F. Caruana, W.So, and H. Nakamura). Vishy Anand of India and the world champion prior to Magnus Carlsen’s ascension has taken an early lead.

Anand defeated Russia’s Ian Nepomniachtchi (“Nepo”) in the opening round, as all the other games in the first two rounds were drawn. This week’s position is from their game. Anand is black; Nepo, white. Two types of pawn moves are integral to black’s winning moves. With this hint in mind, please try to find black’s winning moves.

Even though Nepo is down a knight, the pressure on black’s b7 pawn gives Nepo good drawing chances. However, the pawn leap from b7 to b5, as played by Anand, checks white’s king and creates a discovered attack by black’s rook on white’s rook (see next diagram).

Chess Corner: Never forget

Nevertheless, another pawn move almost saves Nepo from the discovered attack. Namely, white’s a5 captures black’s b5 pawn with en passant. This places white’s a5 pawn on b6, defending the white rook. But now black’s knight takes white’s b6 pawn with check (see next diagram).

Chess Corner: Never forget

Black next wins white’s rook and the game.

The lesson this week is never forget your pawns.

Reach Eric Morrow at or (505) 327-7121.


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