Can You Calculate Like Five-Time U.S. Champion Gata Kamsky?

Last weekend, Gata Kamsky became the only American in history to win the Cappelle la Grande Open, going undefeated the entire event and claiming clear first. This is a good month for Gata, as he was also just inducted, along with GM Maurice Ashley into the U.S. Chess Hall of Fame. Test your tactical skills with these puzzles from his journey to victory.

Tactic #1

GM Gata Kamsky vs. IM Renier Castellanos Rodriguez

Position after 36...a4

White to move.

Level: Easy

Show Solution
"Modern chess is too much concerned with things like pawn structure. Forget it. Checkmate ends the game." -Grandmaster Nigel Short

Show Solution

[pgn][White "Kamsky, Gata"]
[Black "Castellanos Rodriguez, R."]
[Result "1-0"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "2rn1nk1/5p2/1p2pPp1/3pP3/p2P4/P2B1NKP/1P1R1Q2/2q5 w - - 0 37"]
[PlyCount "11"]37. Qe3 {and Black resigned. The simple threat of Qh6 and Qg7# cannot be
prevented. If} Kh7 38. Qf4 Nd7 39. Qh4+ Kg8 40. Qh6 Nxf6 41. exf6 Qc7+ 42. Ne5
{and it's over.} 1-0[/pgn]

Tactic #2

GM Gata Kamsky vs. IM Lorin D' Costa

Position after 24...Rfc8

White to move.

Level: Intermediate

Show Solution

"No price is too great for the scalp of the enemy king."

-Alexander Koblentz

Show Solution

[pgn]
[White "Kamsky, Gata"]
[Black "D'Costa, Lorin"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r1r3k1/2q1bp1p/4b1pQ/p2pP3/P2B1R2/2PB4/6PP/5R1K w - - 0 25"]
[PlyCount "8"]25. Rxf7 $1 {Although this sacrifice comes to mind immediately, it takes 8
moves worth of precise calculation to be certain the idea works.} Bxf7 26. Rxf7
Kxf7 27. Qxh7+ Ke8 28. Qxg6+ Kf8 {Black's king is wide open, and there are
numerous ways to bring more white pieces into the attack. How should White
continue? (See Tactic #3)} *[/pgn]

Tactic #3

GM Gata Kamsky vs. IM Lorin D' Costa (Part II)

Position after 28...Kf8

White to move.

Level: Advanced

Show Solution

"When I teach young children to play chess, they will inevitably come forward with a single piece at a time... I then ask them what happens [in team sports] when the player with the ball tries to attack without the support of his teammates.

Usually, they say 'I will lose the ball' which is a great starting point for explaining why you need to include as many pieces in the attack as possible.

However, the last time I used this metaphor, the kid said, 'I score and we win,' shrugging his shoulders. Being unable to explain even the basics of chess theory to him, I took consolation in the fact that life as a top-flight footballer is probably not all bad..."

-Grandmaster Jacob Aagaard, Grandmaster Preparation: Attack and Defence

Show Solution

[pgn]
[White "Kamsky, Gata"]
[Black "D'Costa, Lorin"]
[Result "1-0"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r1r2k2/2q1b3/6Q1/p2pP3/P2B4/2PB4/6PP/7K w - - 0 29"]
[PlyCount "13"]29. Qh6+ $3 {With Black's g6-pawn out of the way, White's queen stands ideally
on h6, able to assist the attack on both wings.} Ke8 (29... Kg8 30. Bh7+ Kf7
31. Qg6+ Kf8 32. Qg8#) 30. Bb5+ $1 Qd7 (30... Kd8 31. Qh8+ Bf8 32. Qxf8#) (
30... Kf7 31. e6+ Kg8 32. Qg7#) 31. Qg6+ {Kamsky accurately ignores the chance
to capture Black's queen and goes after checkmate.} Kd8 (31... Kf8 32. e6 Qxe6
33. Qg7#) 32. Bb6+ {and Black resigned. If} Rc7 (32... Qc7 33. Qe8#) 33. Qg8+ Bf8
34. Qxf8+ Qe8 35. Qxe8# 1-0[/pgn]

Tactic #4

GM Nikola Djukic vs. GM Gata Kamsky

Position after 36. Qxf5

Black to move.

Level: Advanced

Show Solution
"It's always better to sacrifice your opponent's pieces." -Savielly Tartakover

Show Solution

[pgn]
[White "Djukic, Nikola"]
[Black "Kamsky, Gata"]
[Result "*"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "4r2k/1p3B1p/pq1p1nrR/5Q2/1pP2P2/8/PP5P/5R1K b - - 0 36"]
[PlyCount "7"]36... Qf2 $1 {A fantastic move, but even stronger was:} (36... Qc6+ $3 37. Bd5
Nxd5 38. Qxd5 (38. cxd5 Qc4 $1 39. Rd1 (39. Qh3 Qxd5+ 40. Qf3 Qxf3+ 41. Rxf3
Re1+) 39... Rxh6) 38... Rxh6 {with an extra rook.}) ({A mistake was} 36... Rxh6
$2 {when it's equal after} 37. Bxe8 {because} Nxe8 $4 {loses to} 38. Qf8#) 37.
Qxf6+ (37. Rxg6 Qxf1+ 38. Rg1 Qf3+ 39. Rg2 Re1#) (37. Rxf2 $4 Re1+) (37. Rd1
Qg2#) (37. Qh3 Rxh6 38. Rxf2 Rxh3) 37... Rxf6 38. Rxf2 Re1+ 39. Kg2 Rxh6 {and
Kamsky was ahead an exchange and went on to win.} * [/pgn]

Find more information on the official website. 

Comments

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Awesome article!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Nice tactics!!!

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

And Cannes games? No transmission? att Acyr (Brazil)

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

For tactic #3, doesn't just pushing the pawn to e6 work just as well?

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

[…] Gata Kamsky is a five-time U.S. Champion. In addition, he can boast a feat that no one else in the field can: He was a Candidate for the World Championship in 1996, the first American since Bobby Fischer. As a warm-up for this year’s US Championship, Kamsky recently won the Cappelle la Grande Open. […]

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