Friday, March 23, 2007

Chess Column: Laurent

Albert Frank Headshot by Albert Frank

Michel Laurent
Michel Laurent

As in the two previous chess columns, I will try to show that's chess is an art form. This time I will show a beautiful combination played in Belgium in 2001 by Michel Laurent, a friend of mine.

Michel, who was playing black, had reached a superior position (first diagram below). The White King looks in danger, Black is already a pawn up. Black can win a second pawn on d4, or even a piece if he plays:

1. …Qf1+ 2. Qxf1…Nxe3+.
But all the elements are there for a mate — there is a forced mate in (maximum) 6 moves. Here it is: 1…Qf2+!! 2.Bxf2…Rxf2+ 3.Kh3…Rxh2+ 4.Kxg4—Nf6+! 5.Kf3—e4+ 6.Ke3 —Bh6 mate!

In the final position [second diagram], the three remaining black pieces (A rook, a bishop and a Knight) have a role in the mate, together with the pawn on e4. One could say that everything is perfectly harmonious, like in some paintings or music.

Initial Chess Position
Initial Position

Final Position
Final Position

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