Chess

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The highest art of tactics is the ability to create cosmetic complications to disguise the strategic defects in your position. The idea is that if you can keep the game messy enough, your opponent will never have the chance to exploit your weaknesses.

In today's game from the Madrid tournament, Black's ramshackle opening left him with a difficult choice after 8.a4. He does not want to cede the a-file by playing Rb8; he cannot afford to lose control of c4 by playing ...b4; he doesn't want to play Bb7, which would let White play d4 without having to waste time with h3 to prevent Bg4; and finally, he does not really want to play Bg4, which results in the bishop being shunted offside to g6.

Choosing the least damaging option, Illescas then played with great energy to stop White taking a grip on the game. (At times it almost looked as though he was trying to create weaknesses on both wings in order to prevent White from concentrating his forces in a single direction.)

It all turned out well when he found 21...Bxe4! in the diagram position. After 22.dxe4 bxc4 23.Bxf4 cxb3 24.g5 bxc2 25.gxf6 exf4, White has no time for 26.Qxf4, which is met by 26...Qxf1+! 27.Kxf1 Ba3, while after 26.Rc1 g6 27.Rxc2, Black wins simply with Qa1+ and Qxf6.

White's position looked threatening later in the game, but with Qxf4 always strongly met by Qe2, she never quite had enough to save herself. 31...f3! sealed the victory with its threat of 32...Qf4+.

White: Judit Polgar

Black: Miguel Illescas

1 e4 e5 25 gxf6 exf4

2 Nf3 Nc6 26 Rc1 g6

3 Bb5 a6 27 Nf5 Rb8

4 Ba4 Nf6 28 Kh2 Qc4

5 0-0 Bc5 29 Nh6+ Kf8

6 c3 b5 30 e5 dxe5

7 Bc2 d6 31 Qc6 f3

8 a4 Bg4 32 Qxf3 Bd6

9 h3 Bh5 33 Kg2 Rc8

10 b4 Bb6 34 Kg1 e4

11 d3 0-0 35 Qe3 Qc5

12 axb5 axb5 36 Qd2 Qc7

13 Rxa8 Qxa8 37 Qd5 Qd7

14 Na3 Qa6 38 Kg2 Qe6

15 Bb3 Nd8 39 Qb7 Rc7

16 g4 Bg6 40 Qb2 Be5

17 Nh4 Ne6 41 Qb8+ Rc8

18 Nc2 c5 42 Qb4+ Bd6

19 c4 Nf4 43 Qb7 Rb8

20 bxc5 Bxc5 44 Qc6 Qxf6

21 Qf3 Bxe4 45 Ng4 Qf3+

22 dxe4 bxc4 46 Kg1 Qd1+

23 Bxf4 cxb3 47 Kg2 Rb1

24 g5 bxc2 48 Qc8+ Ke7

White resigns

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