Chess Tactics Question: Forcing Moves

Sometimes I get questions about tactics about other possible correct moves/answer to the problem.

I mostly try to pick tactics where there is only one correct move, but sometimes in a position there is more than one good move.

Often one more is clearly better than another move, because it is more forcing.  Chess players can get into trouble, when they assume a certain response from their opponent, but this response is not forced.  Many “in between moves” can be found when the responses aren’t forced, which can cause a tactical idea to backfire.

This position was played at the Denver Open in 2011, and was featured in Tactics Time Newsletter #27 entitled “Denver Open Champ”.

White is Robert Ramirez, who won the tournament, and black is Kurt Kondracki.

Try to figure out the correct move before reading the question below.

In the position it is white to play.

Here is the answer I gave in the newsletter:

   40. Rxg6!! got a double exclam from Fritz 12.
   White clears the way to protect his passed pawn on g7.
   If 40. …Qxg6 41. Rg3 Black Queen moves, and then White Queens a pawn with 42. g8=Q+

   This was a clever way for Robert to protect his passed pawn.

Here is the question I received:

Hi Tim,

Rxh5 would have been just as effective[?]

Thanks for your work

My response:

Well I think the problem is that after Rxh5, Black just grabs the dangerous passed pawn with Qxg7 :)  After Rxh5, black doesn’t have to play gxh5, which is what I imagine you were picturing. 
With Rxg6, white ensures that his pawn is going to queen.
Thanks for the email!

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