How to solve tactics?
There was an interesting post on reddit with the following diagram:
Reddit user u/tomlit had been trying to solve this tactic and posted the following question:
I decided to answer this question and post my thoughts completely fresh as I had never seen this problem. This answer was well received with a lot of upvotes so I thought I’d make it “live longer” by adding it to my blog. Here is the answer:
Hi! I haven’t looked at any solution or any answer so I’ll just write what I would think.
First of I always start by counting material. This would be something one would be aware of during a real game but I do this to get up to speed with a real tournament game situation.
White has two pieces for a rook but black has 3 pawns for it. Also there is a ton of stuff hanging for white so it’s clear that we need to make something happen otherwise the material disadvantage will be a losing one.
Usually in situations like this you start looking at the forcing moves, check, captures, threats.
So first things that come to mind are (1)Qxh7, (2)Rxf7, (3)Bxg6 and such moves.
I’l start with (1) Qxh7 as it’s the most brute force and if it works look no further, if not we are quick to eliminate it. So 1.Qxh7 Kxh7 and now we need checks so 2.Rxf7+ …this actually looks tempting as if the king goes to h6 it’s looking like mate. So there is 1a) 2…Kh6 and 1b) 2…Kg8
1a) 2…Kh6 3.Be3+ (if now 3…g5 then 4.Rh7# is mate) so 3…Bg5 looks more problematic. We can capture the Queen but we’ve lost material and there is no mate. So I think we can eliminate (1) 1.Qxh7.(2) 1.Rxf7 seems like we can also eliminate after 1…Bxh4 when we don’t have any way that I can see to bring mayhem to the king. Both moves forcing, (1) a check and (2) a capture with a threat of mate on h7.
Now I would try (3) 1.Bxg6 which is a capture with a threat of Qxh7 and mate so it’s very forcing. Black must react, lets have a look at options: (3a): hxg6 (3b): fxg6 (3c): Bxf6 …there isn’t time for a quiet move so these seem like the options.3a: 1…hxg6 2.Rxg6+ (forcing move once again) now black must capture otherwise Qh8 is mate so 2…fxg6 and now the mate seems to be there. 3.Qh8+ (still looking at the most forcing) Kf7 4.Qg7+ Ke8 (only moves for black) 5.Qxg6+ Kf8 6.Bg7+ Kg8 and now a simple pattern 7.Bh6+ tricking the king to the corner 7…Kh8 8.Qg7# 3b: 1….fxg6 we still go 2.Rxg6+ the only difference here between this and (3a) is that now the king has more options f7 or f8 but in both cases we bring in the Queen with Qxh7+ og Qh6+ and a quick calculation confirms mate…actually lets confirm if 2…Kf7 then aha maybe 3.Rg7+ is stronger since now 3…Ke8 4.Qh5+ is mate on f7 and 3…Kf8 we have either 4.Qxh7 with mate on g8 next move or Qf2+ which is also quick mate . Here 2…hxg6 would have transposed to (3a).
This all looks very good and now we only need to check (3c)3c: 1…Bxf6 and aha I see a wonderful detail now which I didn’t notice right away. At first I was thinking there would be some Qxh7 and Bxf6 and there would be mate but then things get complicated because all of a sudden black has …Qd1+ and things are more complicated. So after 1…Bxf6 I will still go 2.Qxh7+ Kf8 but now I see that we have 3.Bxc5+ (forcing move!) and black gets mated. Any interposition with the Queen means Qxf7 is mate and interposing the bishop means the same mate though backrank mate works as well. Finally 3…Ke8 we just check on the backrank on g8 🙂
So it seems to me that 1.Bxg6 is working. In a tournament game since this is a matter of winning or losing I would probably double check all the lines and then play it out but Bxg6 definately looks like it is ending the game!