Recognising the Patterns : Challenge # 15

Today the pattern I am going to discuss is very familiar to us; we’ve seen the same thing many times while learning importance of development in the opening:

Legal’s Mate

Based on the captioned theme, try to solve following problems:

Tony Ladd against Joseph Lonsdale in 1993: White to move.

Q: Here Tony played d4. What did he miss?
A: He had two ways to get a winning position:

Option 1

9. Nxf6+ gxf6 10. Nxe5 fxe5

The queen can’t be taken because of 10…Bxd1 11. Bxf7+ followed by Bh6 is mate.

11. Qxg4

This is a winning position for White.

Option 2

9. Nxe5 dxe5

Again the queen can’t be taken due to 10…Bxd1 11. Nxf6 Kf8 (of course not 11…gxf6 which leads to checkmate) 12. Ned7+ Qxd7 13. Nxd7+ followed by Nxc5 wins a piece and a pawn.

10. Nxf6+ gxf6 11. Qxg4

This is a better position for White.

Bernhard Horwitz against Bledow in 1837: White to move

Q: Can White take on e4?
A: No, White can’t take on e4 as the game soon demonstrated.

12. Nxe4?? Nxe4

Now White’s extra piece will fall but White was completely unaware about the pattern and played as follows:

13. Bxe7 Bxf2+ 14. Kf1 Ng3#

The following position has been taken from the ‘Art of Checkmate’ by Renaud & Kahn.
White to Move

Q: Can White play Nxe5 using the same pattern?
A:: The problem with 9.Nxe5 is as follows:

9. Nxe5

If 9…Qxe5 then 10. Rd8# or if 9..Bxe2 then 10. Rd8+ Qxd8 11. Bxf7#. Unfortunately Black has a better move:

9…Bb4+! 10. c3 Bxe2

This wins the rook.

11. Bxf7+ Kf8 12. Rd8+ Qxd8

Ashvin Chauhan