What better way to spend your Sunday than relaxing with some chess tactics? Malcolm Pein presents instructive examples of removing the guard in today’s Daily Telegraph column.

Malcolm Pein on…Removing the Guard

Removing the guard is an important tactical theme. There’s no better guard to remove than the knight in front of a castled king that is defending h2 or h7.

There are many lines in the Morra Gambit and Queen’s Gambit Accepted where after White castles short, black puts his queen on c7, plays Nf6-g4 and follows up with Nc6-d4. If the white queen is on e2 or c2, it’s a decisive blow.

H. Lieb – L. Sapi
Berliner Sommer 1987
1.d4 d5 2.c4 dxc4 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 c5 5.e3 e6 6.Bxc4 Nc6 7.0–0 a6 8.a4 Be7 9.Qe2 0–0 10.Rd1 Qc7 11.dxc5? Bxc5 12.e4? Ng4 13.Rf1

Removing the Guard

13…Nd4 14.Nxd4 Qxh2# 0–1

A. S. Perona – H. A. Hidalgo
Pref Open 1992
1.e4 c5 2.Nc3 d6 3.Bc4 Nf6 4.d3 e6 5.Bg5 Be7 6.Nf3 0–0 7.a3 Nc6 8.Ba2 h6 9.Bd2 d5 10.0–0 dxe4 11.dxe4 Qc7 12.Qe2 Rd8 13.Rad1 Nd4 14.Qd3 Ng4 15.g3

Test Your Strength

Black to Play and Remove the Guard

White spots the main threat but Black still wins material, how?

A more sophisticated version:

S. Volkov – D. Makhnev
Pavlodar Open, Lichess 2020
Nimzo-Indian Saemisch
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.f3 Nh5!? (There are seven other decent moves of which 4…d5 and 4…c5 5.d5 b5 are the most popular) 5.Nh3 (Countering the threat of Qh4+ g3 Nxg3) 5…f5 6.e4 0–0 7.Be2 fxe4 8.0–0! exf3 9.Bxf3 Nf6 10.Ng5 Be7 (10…h6!) 11.Be3 Nc6 12.Qd3 d5 13.Nxd5!! (If 13…exd5 14.Bxd5+ Nxd5 15.Qxh7# or 13…exd5 14.Bxd5+ Kh8 15.Rxf6)

S. Volkov – D. Makhnev
13…h6 1–0

Highlight the space below this line to reveal the answer.

15…c4! 16.Bxc4 Nxf3+ 17.Qxf3 Ne5 18.Qf4 Bg5 19.Nb5 0–1

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