ChessBase Magazine

Invasion on the back rank

by Oliver Reeh

All combinations

The key phrase is "back rank"! Don't you sometimes feel a certain sense of triumph when you manage to plant a piece on your opponent's 1st (8th) rank? Preferably with checkmate, of course!

fen:3k3r/2r2p1p/3bpp2/qB1b4/Pp6/1n2BN2/1P2QPPP/3RR1K1 w - - 0 1;

In Salimova,N - Muzychuk,A White finished after 22.Rxd5! exd5 and ...

Magnus Carlsen, winner of the FIDE World Cup 2023, is a rare guest in my tactics section.

fen:5k1r/p1Br1pb1/6q1/1pp2Npp/3n4/P2Q3P/1P3PP1/3RR2K w - - 0 1;

About the White mate in Carlsen,M - Pantsulaia,L I almost wrote 'Truly world champion-like!' out of sheer habit. For some time now the correct phrase would have been 'Truly ex-world champion-like!', but that somehow sounds strange.

fen:r5k1/2p2pp1/p5p1/np3q2/P2P4/2P4P/5PP1/R1B1Q1K1 w - - 0 1;

In Zhang,J - Bivol,A the black knight paved the way for the queen,

fen:r1b2rk1/pp2bppp/1qp3n1/7P/4pP2/2N3Q1/PPP1B1P1/R1B1K2R w KQ - 0 1;

also in Lagarde,M - Praggnanandhaa R. In the second case, however, it's not about winning immediately, but about long-term compensation based on deep positional assessment - a terrific performance by 'Pragg' and my first favourite, presented in the first interactive Fritztrainer format:

"Pragg's Powerplay" is the title of this video - which knight move will you start with?

The next two cases see the White queen as the sole entertainer, so to speak!

fen:8/5Q1k/2pp2p1/2n1p1q1/3nP3/1P1PN1P1/6K1/8 b - - 0 1;

In Wang,H - Svane,R Black should have aceepted perpetual check with 40...Kh8, but after 40...Kh6?? (okay, it was blitz) on the other hand ...

fen:1Q6/6p1/1p3Npk/5p2/4p3/P2nP1Pq/1P3P2/6K1 w - - 0 1;

In Injac,T - Sovetbekova,N Black has to to counter the threat of Qh8+, but 41...Kg5?? was the absolute wrong way to go.

"Tandem vs. tandem" - have you mastered the
coordination of queen and knight to perfection?

In between, a brief excursion into a classic chess topic: What do the following two positions have in common? White has the move in each case.

fen:r1b2rk1/2q2ppp/p2p4/N2Pn3/1P3p1b/3B4/2PBQ1PP/4RR1K w - - 0 1;

Tan,Z - Ryjanova,J

fen:r2q1rk1/5ppp/4b3/1pb1P3/3p4/6R1/P1BN1PPP/1R1Q2K1 w - - 0 1;

Gurel,E - Ivic,V.

Right, it's Bxh7+ in each case! In the first case it's only about winning a pawn, but I have a great deal of respect for how White achieves (mating) success in the second diagram!

Two examples deserve special mention:

fen:4rk2/5ppQ/rq5p/8/3N4/6P1/1P3P1P/R1B2K2 w - - 0 1;

Firstly, the winning continuation of Vachier-Lagrave,M - Sindarov,J. Incidentally, the side to move is ... Black!

fen:2k1r3/Qpp1qp2/2b5/3p4/3P2p1/2PNPPK1/P5P1/7R w - - 0 1;

The other was the game Smirin,I - Shevchenko,K, in which 22...gxf3! has to be calculated to win. In the final position six moves later, Black has a rook up - and instead of giving a final discovered check, White preferred to throw in the towel!

Finally, my favourites number 3 and 4.

fen:2r1r1k1/1R4bp/p1p1bpp1/2B5/3PN1qP/6Q1/P3RPP1/6K1 w - - 0 1;

Supported by the strong Rb7, White in Zhu,J - Francisco Guecamburu,C launched a skilful 'Invasion':

How did White continue the invasion into the opponent's camp?

fen:r3r3/pbqnbpkp/2pp1npN/1p4B1/4P2Q/P1N3P1/1PP2PBP/R3R1K1 w - - 0 1;

Eline Roebers in action! If you assume that the young Dutch talent in Roebers,E - Mona,K moved a rook here, you'd be right.

But which one? The whole thing ended
spectacularly ... See 'Combination with a run-up'.

As always, I hope you have lots of fun with the tasks!