Two Essential Kingside Tactical Maneuvers Involving Rooks that You Should Know

A game in the last rated tournament I took part in reminded me of –what I think are– two essential kingside tactical maneuvers. These two beautiful examples appeared in different issues of New In Chess. They were not related but I think the similarities speak for themselves.

Kramnik-Anand, Nice Rapid, 2008. Position after 42.bxc6

This position appeared in NIC, 2017 (3). Black rooks are connected and pointing to the castled king, nevertheless it seems as if the bishop on g2 defends against all threats. If for example 42…Rh1+ then just 43.Bxh1 Qh2+ and the king escapes via f1.

“I was very happy. Now I could execute my idea”, wrote Vishy in that issue. Can you find the amazing move that gave the ex World Champion the full point? Spoiler around the corner.

42…Qf3!! threatening both …gxf3, …Rh1# and …Rh1+, Qxh1#. Big Vlad continued with 43.cxb7+ but after …Kf5 he had nothing better but to resign as there are no more checks and White is unable to stop the mate. Pure style by Anand.

Anton-Soysal, Skopje, 2019. Position after 24.Qa5

This is the second one. In the game Black opted for 24…Nxd3, but Jan Timman (NIC, 2019, 3) chose this position to show a great maneuver to have in mind when attacking the kingside by a semi-open line: 24…Rxh3!! Now after 25.Bxh3 Rh8 Black has a decisive attack.

If White tries to save the bishop with 26.Bg2 then 26…Nf3+!! 27.Bxf3 Qf4!! threatening both …Qh2# and also …Qxf3 following mate on h1. A missed opportunity by David Anton but surely not for us to learn this terrific motif.

As you can see these two examples are similar: rooks pointing the kingside by an open or semi-open file, the queen hovering the enemy king and the most important detail, a piece on f3 preventing the king to free himself.

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