Piece or Pawn?

This week we’ll be showcasing a couple games of rising Canadian IM Bindi Cheng. Recently, he’s been performing quite well in the international scene, with a plus score against titled players across the recent DC International and World Open.

  

B. Cheng (2406) – C. Mena (2252), World Open 2013

Here, Black just played 1. … Bd3, intending Be4, consolidating his position—how can White stop this?

Click below for a hint:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Notice the Black king’s lack of space.

Click below for the answer:

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2. Bxd5+! Qxd5 (The point being that 2. …Nxd5 uncovers the a3 Bishop, after which 3. Qh7 is mate.) 3. Bxe7 Black has no good way to counter the mating threat. Rxg6+ 4. Qxg6 1-0

 

B. Cheng (2406) – A. Shen (2286), World Open 2013

With the bishop pair and open lines against Black’s king thanks to the doubled a pawn, White’s advantage is not in question. How does he exploit the fragility of Black’s defense?

Click below for a hint:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

Try to create even more open lines for your pieces.

Click below for the answer:

Spoiler: Highlight to view

1. Nxc6! White’s light-squared monster is about to come alive. bxc6 2. Rxc6 forking the c8 bishop and the f6 knight—Black’s overloaded d8 rook has to keep d5 under check as Bxd5 would otherwise be mate. 2. … Re6 (2. … Ng8 3. Rxc8+ Rxc8 4. Bxd5+) 3. Rxe6 Bxe6 4. Be7 and White will emerge with a decisive advantage—the bishop pair and two extra pawns.

In the game, White played 1. Nf3, retaining a promising position.

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