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is chess in the Olympics

  There is currently no chess in the Olympiad. The Chess Olympiad is a chess competition officially organized by FIDE since 1927 and takes place in even-numbered years. Before World War II the event was occasionally held every year. There was also an unofficial Chess Olympiad series that ended in 1976. Although chess is covered in the sports sections of many newspapers around the world, it is not one of the recognized sports in the Olympic Games. However, FIDE is now a member of the International Olympic Committee and follows its rules. This means that chess could one day become an Olympic event, although most knowledgeable observers say this is unlikely. The World Chess Championship is a competition held annually by the international chess organization FIDE to determine the World Champion of chess. Both men and women are eligible to participate in this championship. The World Champion does not have to be the player with the highest Elo rating: the 2006-2007 World Champion, Vladimir Kr

5 Traps in the Sicilian Dragon

The Sicilian Dragon variation is one of the more popular and formidable opening systems in the Sicilian Defense. The main feature of this opening is that Black would fianchetto his dark-square bishop in order to keep an eye on the d4 and e5 squares, and somewhere down the line, the bishop will even be watching b2.

Once the position opens up later on in the game, the bishop would become a monster on that diagonal and would most likely contribute and support Black’s fight for the center. However, in the meantime, Black would be spending some tempo in order to prepare that and White will have fluid and quick development of his pieces.

White would want to launch his attack before Black even gets to establish his setup so there are cases when White blasts through the center when he is able to support his pawns with his pieces. If Black neglects this, he would be in serious trouble. The following games would show us a few tactical combinations and traps in the Sicilian Dragon.

Bardi – Gacsalyi, 1980

Out of all these five games, this will be the only one where Black comes out with an advantage over White. Perhaps, it is due to White’s impatience that this happens. He brings out his queen out to attack Black’s rook but that can easily be defended with f6.

Then he comes swinging with Bf4 which doesn’t really do anything except keep an eye on the b8 square. But the rook won’t be making use of that square any time soon. Furthermore, this move exposes White to a fork with e5. This is a simple miscalculation from White.

Though he thinks he could get away with it by capturing e5 hoping that Black would recapture with his pawn so that White can win the queen. But White’s arrogance blinded him to Black’s response that crushes this idea. With Qa5+, not only does Black win a piece but he also wins the game.

White can continue the game but losing a piece early on in the game would make it very difficult for him to keep up. The material advantage would eventually give White better options and a simple position to play.

Cotta – Camara, Rio de Janeiro, 1965

We see how the Sicilian Dragon can transform into a sharp, tactical position with just one move or in this case, an inaccurate move can turn the tables in an instant. Things went downhill for Black in move 9 when he failed to see the tactical combination that is made possible by his lack of development.

There are several layers of tactics in White’s move Nxc6. First, it’s a discovered attack wherein the queen is in the direct line of sight of White’s bishop. If the queen were to take the bishop though, it would lead to mate with the knight supporting the White queen on d8. But if the queen takes the knight, the knight acts as a decoy luring the queen to the c6 square followed by Bb5, winning the queen.

The only other defense that Black has at his disposal would simply be to lose the piece and move his queen away but with all of White’s pieces actively coordinating, it would not be long before White explodes on Black’s position and takes the win by force.

Palmer – Abbou, Chess Olympiad (Women), 1990

Things were going well in this game for Black, while White had a slight advantage, but it was the move Kf8 which brought the house toppling down for Black. It may seem harmless at first glance but with the king leaving the queen’s side, this move allows for an incredibly vicious tactic.

This reminds of the game between Bobby Fischer and Samuel Reshevsky wherein the motif is somewhat similar. White sacrificed a piece on the e6 square in order to weaken the position and exploit the vulnerabilities of his pieces. In this case, it’s a direct material gain for White. She should have simply blocked the check with the knight and it would have been fine.

Korchnoi – Spassky, Leningrad, 1948

Here’s a match between two legendary chess masters, Viktor Korchnoi and Boris Spassky. You might think that this is a game where such tactics and traps would rarely be seen if at all but in his rush to reach an endgame, the young Spassky neglected to develop his pieces and paid the price.

Spassky’s mistake, Qg4 might have been done too soon since his queen is only protected by the knight whereas the knight has no protection at all. Thus, by attacking the knight, a diversion tactic which tries to remove the defender, he undermines the queen’s protection and would have to lose castling rights to survive.

Having no other good solution, Spassky resigned. He could have continued playing with Kd8 but White has enough of an advantage to still have a comfortable position and be better in the endgame.

Rahn – Rellstab, 1941

This is a longer game compared to the rest however, Black was already in a worse position starting from move 7. When he moves his knight to g4, it could already be considered a hanging piece because only the bishop is protecting it. Therefore, if you are able to remove the bishop from the defense of the knight, then you are able to win the piece. And White was able to do just that.

From that point on, White was better throughout the game. Black wasn’t able to defend the position and after exchanging a pair of bishops and rooks in the last few moves of the game, Black had enough and resigned.

Struggle for development in a sharp line

A key takeaway that we have observed from these games is that Black becomes worse when he fails to develop his pieces properly. On the other hand, this is White’s opening strategy in this line. Once he is able to develop enough pieces while Black lags behind, he can launch an outright attack and if Black doesn’t defend with precision, he won’t stand a chance.


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