Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Not All Hanging Pieces are Free


A hanging rook looked very enticing, but hold your horses. Look around, spend a second or two, it may have been left there for a reason. Not all that glitters is gold.

Black's last move captured a knight on f6 with 25...Qf6. Although material was even, Black's pieces were more actively positioned. White's bishop on b1 and the rook on a1 needed to join the game. Black's queen on f6 threatened to capture the rook on a1.

White moved 26.Nc4, a dangerous move that initially looked like a blunder. If greed overcame Black, he would have lost. If 26...Qa1, then 27.Bh7+ and the queen is lost due to a discovered attack. In a 5-min blitz game, one could easily go for it.  

I decided to exchange rooks on the D file and keep the initiative with an attack on the White queen. So, 26...Rd1 27.Qd1 Rd8, and still eyeing the prize. 

White played 28.Qe2?, losing sight of the trap he laid for Black. To maintain the trap and keep his rook on a1 protected, he must keep his queen on the first rank. With his last move, Black was able to capture the rook without the threat of a discovered check on h7 by the bishop. Black responded with 28...Qa1 for the win.


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