by Oliver Reeh
12/30/2016 – Tactics can seem deceptively simple, particularly when seeing an engine analysing grandmaster games. Strange, however, how difficult it is to find the right move and to calculate variations properly when playing yourself. It is easier if you solve tactical puzzles regularly. In the ChessBase Magazine and his tactics column Oliver Reeh helps you to do so.

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Oliver Reeh in ChessBase Magazine

Do you like these lessons? There are plenty more by tactic expert Oliver Reeh in ChessBase Magazine, where you will also find openings articles and surveys, endgames, and of course annotations by the world's top grandmasters.

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ChessBase Magazine #175 (December/January)

The editor’s top ten:

1. Mini repertoire against the King's Indian: Vladimir Kramnik annotates his surprise coup (with 6.b3) against Daniele Vocaturo
2. A big point for the USA: Olympiad winner Wesley So analyses his victory over Ian Nepomniachtchi.
3. Trends in the Benko Gambit: why does Black often delay the capture on a6? How should White react? GM Stohl brings you up to date!
4. "Move by Move": together with Simon Williams find out how the young Dutch player Benjamin Bok outplayed top GM Nakamura (interactive video)
5. "Premature Resignation": find out together with Oliver Reeh why in Amonatov-Hansen a last check of the position could have paid dividends.
6. 8 out of 10 and gold on board 1: Daniel King demonstrates one of Baadur Jobava's brilliancies from Baku (video).
7. The positional queen sacrifice: strategy expert Mihail Marin reveals why the sacrifice of the strongest piece is often the best practical solution.
8. Marches with kings: David Navara again discovers a fantastic king march – this time from g1 to h7 – and wins!
9. The Slav with 4.g3: let GM Vidit Santosh Gujrathi explain why big names like Gelfand and Grischuk play this side variation (video).
10. Hypermodern manoeuvre: let Pavel Eljanov show you how to optimise one’s piece play these days: Eljanov - Shirov


Recommendations for your repertoire

Postny: English A33 (recommendation for Black)
1.c4 c5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nc6 5.Nc3 e6 6.a3 Bc5 7.Nb3 Bb6


Instead of allowing Hedgehog positions with 7...Be7 8.e4, moving the bishop to b6 leads to quite different types of position (since 8.e4 0-0 9.Be2 can be met with 9...d5!). Evgeny Postny sees Black as having equalised and thinks that 6.a3 will perhaps disappear from practice.

Iotov: Alekhine Defence B02 (of interest for White and Black)
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.c5 Nd5


The Chase Variation is actually considered harmless. But in his article Valentin Iotov shows that with 5.Nc3 e6 6.d4 White can bring about extremely sharp positions. Both sides have the option of leaving the path which transposes to the Alapin Variation (Sicilian).

Krasenkow: Modern Defence B06 (recommendation for Black)
1.e4 g6 2.d4 Bg7 3.Nc3 c6 4.Bc4 d6


At the heart of Michal Krasenkow’s article there is the continuation 5.Qf3 e6. After it play is of a very forcing character. Black needs to know what he is doing, but if he does he has no difficulties in achieving a level game.

Szabo: Sicilian Defence B76 (recommendation for White)
1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.g4 Nxd4 10.Bxd4 Be6


By first playing 9...Nxd4 Black avoids the 9...Be6 10.Nxe6 variation. On the other hand, in the position in the diagram White must not castle long but can play more flexibly. But according to Krisztian Szabo’s analyses, it is not clear whether 9...Nxd4 is better than the alternative.

Neven: French Defence C11 (recommendation for Black)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e5 Nfd7 5.f4 c5 6.Nf3 Be7 7.Be3 0-0


By choosing this move order Black delays Nb8-c6 and is planning 8...b6 on his next move. Then he no longer has to fear d4xc5 and moreover has ...Ba6 up his sleeve. Knut Neven analyses the variation and also presents ideas for Black after the aggressive 9.h4.

Kosintseva: French Defence C17 (recommendation for White)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.Bd2


So far the Bogoljubow move 5.Bd2 has been considered really harmless, but the new trend is towards 5...Ne7 6.a3! As Nadezhda Kosintseva convincingly points out, White then has very good chances of an opening advantage.

Papp: French Defence C18 (recommendation for White)
1.e4 e6 2.d4 d5 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.e5 c5 5.a3 Bxc3+ 6.bxc3 Qa5 7.Bd2 Qa4 8.Qg4


Petra Papp has an aggressive plan against the popular variation with 6...Qa5: 8.Qg4 and after Black has protected the g7-pawn the queen does not return to d1 and the c2-pawn is not defended. Black appears to have problems here.

Sumets: Slav Defence D16 (recommendation for Black)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 e6 6.e3 c5 7.Bxc4 Nc6 8.0-0 cxd4 9.exd4 Be7 10.Qe2 0-0 11.Rd1


The variation with 5...e6 and a subsequent c6-c5 should not be under-estimated. Black may well lose a tempo, but a4 is not necessarily useful. Andrey Sumets cannot see any opening advantage for White.

Ris: Queen’s Gambit Accepted D27 (recommendation for White)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.e3 e6 5.Bxc4 c5 6.0-0 a6 7.Nc3 b5 8.Be2


Putting the bishop on e2 has, above all in the lines with d4xc5 and an early exchange of queens, the advantage that pressure is being exerted on the a6-b5 pawn chain. Robert Ris is very optimistic for White, though he admits that Black gains equality with precise play.

Marin: Slav Schlechter Variation D94 (recommendation for Black)
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.e3 g6 5.Nf3 Bg7 6.Be2 0-0 7.0-0 a6


With 7...a6 Black prepares an immediate ...b5, but also ...dxc4 followed by ...b5. Mihail Marin then examines several continuations for White, none of which, however, is suitable for offering White an opening advantage.

Kuzmin: King's Indian Fianchetto E62 (recommendation for Black)
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nf3 Bg7 4.g3 0-0 5.Bg2 d6 6.0-0 Nc6 7.Nc3 e5 8.d5 Nb8


This variation was previously played with 8...Ne7, but as Alexey Kuzmin explains in his article, c5 is the ideal square for this knight and it is better reached via b8. Surprisingly, White then has hardly any chance of an opening advantage.

ChessBase Magazine #175 (December/January)

Oliver Reeh has been working for ChessBase for many years as a translator and presenter of the internet show TV ChessBase, and he also looks after the tactics column in ChessBase Magazine, for which he has also been responsible as editor-in-chief since 2019. The International Master has contributed to the CB "MasterClass" series and is the author of the DVDs "Strike like the World Champions" and "Master Class Tactics - Train your combination skills!" Volumes 1 & 2. Oliver Reeh lives in Hamburg.


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