Missed Tactical Chances II

By Davide Nastasio

In this second installment of Missed Tactics, we will see more positions, in which a 1300-1400 player missed the right move. As always, following the advice of great trainers like Dvoretsky and Yussupov, set the position on the board, and take 10 minutes to solve it. Don’t use an engine.   If you cannot solve it, just ask a stronger player, or bring it to the nearest chess club.




Here Black played 27…Bg7, which is a mistake.  Can you find the right move/idea for Black?

Let’s move on to the second position. Here we must train our visualization, the mind’s eye which we use during a game.




Black played the horrible blunder: Rxe5??
Can you spot the winning combination for White?

Our kaleidoscope of positions goes on and on, training our mind’s eye to visualize moves which often are not natural, but which are winning, as in the following example:




Black just played 16…fxe5, a big blunder.  Can you discover the winning move for White?

It is also true that with the new time controls amateurs have more difficulties in finding the ideas needed to win. Like in the following example, both players had just a few minutes to end the game.




Black just played Qh3, which is a blunder, and White played Rg3, which is another blunder. White’s idea was “If Black takes in H2, then I can give check in G7, and then take in H2 with the bishop.”  But in reality, White has a better move which wins, also if it is not a sacrifice. But one must become aware of the possibilities: when the pieces point at a certain square, we need to find a way to unleash them! At the end of this combination, White will find himself with one piece more. Susan Polgar often says that one must identify the pieces which are hanging (not protected) in a position, and find a way to attack them.

Some positions just arise from the opening, where one side missed a simple move which would give a small, but good material advantage, like a pawn. In the following position we see just that:




Here White just played Pd2-d4, which seems a good move because it opens the diagonal for the Bc1, but, like Miss Susan Polgar stresses in her lessons, we must always be aware of the enemy pieces which are not protected, and find a way to exploit such weakness.
Remember also that sometimes a pin is not a real pin….  Black to move: can you find a continuation which will give advantage to Black?

And finally the last position, also taken from a tournament game.




White is clearly winning.  There is no doubt about that. However, one can win fast, slowly, or not at all, as happened to White in the game, because he never found the right way to continue and close the deal.

In this position White continued with Re1, and missed a chance to win right away. By the way, when I saw the position I had my spider-chess sense tingling right away. And then after few seconds I saw the possible skewer.

Your turn: White to move, and win.



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