Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Back Rank Mate

The following game is one of the best illustrations of back rank mate threats there is. Torre waves his queen in Adam's face but he can't take it...

New Orleans, 1920
Philidor Defense

1. e4, e5
2. Nf3, d6
3. d4! .....

This move originated from Paul Morphy.

3. ..... exd4
4. Qxd4 .....

Although White is bringing his queen out early, in this position, as you shall see, Black has a hard time extinguishing the queen from the center.

4. ..... Nc6
5. Bb5, Bd7
6. Bxc6 .....

White opts to trade his bishop for a knight and retain the queen's strong position in the middle.

6. ..... Bxc6
7. Nc3, Nf6
8. 0-0, Be7
9. Nd5, Bxd5
10. exd5 .....

Opening the e-file. Since White has better development he will be able to capture and control the file first. This file is what will lead to Black's quick death.

10. ..... 0-0
11. Bg5, c6
12. c4, cxd5
13. cxd5, Re8

Black tries to control the e-file. The only problem is the awkward Bishop (the result of 2. d6 prevents  lack from ownership of the file quickly.

14. Rfe1, a5?

A weak unnecessary pawn move.

15. Re2 .....

Preparing to double on the open file.

15. ..... Rc8

Claiming the c-file. In this position, ownership of the e-file is more important.

16. Rae1, Qd7

Developing the queen to a more active square.

17. Bxf6 .....

Forcing the Black Bishop off the e-file so that White can take advantage of some back-rank threats.

17. ..... Bxf6
18. Qg5 !! .....

White plays to DEFLECT a defender from the bank rank.

18. ..... Qb5
19. Qc4 !!! .....

A beautiful move that dares the Black rook or queen to take the queen off course. Both moves would leave one less defender on the square e8, and would lead to checkmate in 2 starting with Rxe8.

It is a blunder for White to move 19. a4 at once because of 19.....Qxe2, 20. Rxe2 Rc1+ and White loses the game.

19. ..... Qd7
20. Qc7!!!, Qb5
21. a4!! .....

A tempo-gaining move.

21. ..... Qxa4


22. Re4!!, Qb5
23. Qxb7!!, Resigns

Now Black has nowhere safe to move his queen and protect the square e8. Faced with either losing his queen or Back Rank Mate, Black resigns.

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