In this week’s position the theme of “removing the defender” is illustrated. White employs this idea to win a pawn. With this hint in mind, please try to find white’s best move.
White’s rook on c1 has latent power along the “c” file. Black’s knight on c6 is in the white rook’s line of sight but is guarded by black’s b7 pawn.
White’s knight on c5 removes the defender on b7 by capturing black’s b7 pawn. This simultaneously exposes black’s c6 knight to white’s c1 rook. Black must capture white’s knight on b7 after it captures the pawn because the knight threatens black’s queen.
Hence, black’s rook on b8 takes the white knight after it captures the black b7 pawn. White’s c1 rook next takes the black knight on c6 (see next diagram).
Black has lost a pawn. Moreover, the loss is not compensated by some sort positional gain or counter-play. Thus, black is losing and, if black does not outplay white from here on out, black is lost.
The lesson this week is that pieces that nobly assume the role of defending other pieces — defenders of the realm, so to speak — are an inherent point of vulnerability in any position. Any review of a given position should account for such points.
Reach Eric Morrow at email@example.com or (505) 327-7121.