Creepy Crawlies (2)

This week’s “creeping move” is the example quoted by Kotov, in his classic instructional book “Think Like a Grandmaster”. It is taken from game 7 of Boris Spassky’s 1968 Candidates Final match against Viktor Korchnoi.

In the position after 25…Nc7, it is clear that Black’s position is creaking very badly. White’s pieces are all much more active than their black counterparts and the weak pawns on a6 and c5 are almost dropping off. Almost, but not quite – Black has just managed to keep everything defended, and is clinging on with his fingertips. So, how exactly do we bring our boot down on his fingers?

The obvious move is 26.Nd5, but then there follows 25…Qe6, and Black is still hanging on. Spassky finds an elegant solution, in the “creeping move” 26.Qb6! This lovely little sideways step has the point of putting the queen on a square, where she will be defended by the knight after Nd5. Now 27.Nd5 is a real threat, since then 27…Qe6 will be met simply by 28.Bxc5, winning a vital pawn.

Black has no defence to this simple little shift and his position soon collapses.

Steve Giddins