Reader Questions on Newsletter Chess Tactics

I got a couple of questions lately on some of the chess tactics in my newsletter e-mails, and thought I would answer some of them here, because chances are that other readers might have had similar questions.

Yesterday for Mother’s Day, I sent out a special newsletter that was written by Chess Mom, and active player, Anthea Carson.  You can read this newsletter here:

Here is the position:

Chess Tactic Anthea Carson - Katy Wise White to Move

Anthea Carson - Katy Wise White to Move

The answer given in the newsletter was:

   Black played the trappy 20…Bb7 on the previous move.  Black’s Bishop on b7 is undefended, and attacked by the knight on c5.  However taking the bishop right away would be a mistake, because of Rc1, which would pin the queen to the king.
   So instead of the immediate Nxb7, white plays the in between move 21. Qb3+, which gets the queen off the same file as the King, and after black gets out of check, can then take the bishop on b7.   

The question I received from one of my readers, Dave, was:

unless I’m just missing something obvious, her tactic doesn’t win the bishop. After it’s taken, since the queen’s not on the file in front of the queen any more, black just plays Q-B1+ and gets the knight for the bishop.

My Answer was:

After 21. Qb3+ black will most likely move their king to get out of check to either Kg7 or Kh8. So then white grabs the bishop with 22. Nxb7.

Then if Qc8+ like you mentioned, forking the king and knight on b7, then white can play 23. Qc3+! which then checks the black king and blocks the check from the black queen at the same time – removing the threat to the knight on b7. 

Black doesn’t have time to get out of check, and capture the knight on b7.

So a sample line might be:21.Qb3+ Kg7 22.Nxb7 Qc8+ 23.Qc3+ Kg8 24.Qxc8

Hope this helps!



I also received a very nice e-mail about this position:

Chess Tactic Double Chess Tactic
Black to Play

The answer given in the newsletter was:

   This game was a pretty good example of “Tactics Rule”.  Black played the dubious “Barnes Defense” 1. d4 f6, which is not to be recommended, but if you are know what you are doing, might be fun, because white might get overconfident.
   White’s previous move was 18. f4, which stops the mate, attacks the Queen, protects the Knight and loses.
   In this position 18…Qc5+ sets up a one-two punch.  Black checks the king, 19. Kh1 appears to put the king on a safe square, but 19…Qxg5 wins a piece because the f pawn is now pinned, because of the back rank mate threat which wasn’t there when the king was still on f1.
   If 20. fxg5 Rxf1 leads to mate 21. Rxf1 Rxf1#


Here is the question in it that I received

Hi Mr. Brennan,

I really enjoy your Tactics Time newsletter. I solve it every morning.

For this one, isn’t QxG5 a direct possibility? Or am I missing a continuation.

Thank you for teaching me so much about chess.


I responded:

Hi Saif!

Thanks for your nice e-mail!

Qxg5 right away doesn’t work here.

After fxg5 you would have a position where black has two rooks on the open f file, but the rook on f1 is defended twice (by the King on g1 and the rook on a1).

So the best black could do here would be an even trade, but he is already down a queen.

By playing the move Qc5+ first – black forces the king away from the g file, so now in the same above scenario, there is only one piece protecting the rook on f1, which is the rook on a1, since the king has moved.

The only other ways to get out of check after Qc5+ all lose material, because of the knight on g4. So after moving the king, THEN black plays the Qxg5 move, and then white cannot capture the queen because of the back rank threat.

So really it is kind of two tactics – one is deflecting the king to a bad square, then exploiting a pin on the f file.

Hope that helps!



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