Tactics from the Isle of Man

The top 3 Americans, Fabiano Caruana, Wesley So, and Hikaru Nakamura, all competed in this year's Isle of Man International Open. The event, held from October 1-9, was sponsored by chess.com and coincided with National Chess Day on October 8, 2016. Can you solve tactics from some of our big three's most exciting games?
Hikaru Nakamura. Photo: Isle of Man International Hikaru Nakamura. Photo: Chess.com Isle of Man International

Tactic #1

Hikaru Nakamura vs. Sabino Brunello

White to move.

Level: Warm-Up

Show Solution
[pgn][Event "Isle of Man Open"]
[Site "Douglas ENG"]
[Date "2016.10.07"]
[Round "7.7"]
[White "Hikaru Nakamura"]
[Black "Sabino Brunello"]
[Result "1-0"]
[ECO "E34"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "3Bk3/p2n4/Pp1Kn3/1P2p3/6P1/8/8/3B4 w - - 0 52"]
[PlyCount "9"]
[EventDate "2016.10.01"]52. Bxb6 $1 {and Black resigned. If} Nxb6 (52... axb6 53. a7) 53. Kxe6 {with a
completely winning endgame:} e4 (53... Nd7 54. g5) 54. Ke5 e3 55. Kd4 Kd7 56.
Kxe3 1-0[/pgn]

Wesley So finished in 4th place with an undefeated score. His victory with the black pieces against Grandmaster Granda Zuniga was his quickest win in the tournament.

Tactic #2

Julio Ernesto Granda Zuniga vs. Wesley So

Black to move.

Level: Intermediate

Show Solution
[pgn][Event "Isle of Man Open"]
[Site "Douglas ENG"]
[Date "2016.10.03"]
[Round "4.3"]
[White "Julio Ernesto Granda Zuniga"]
[Black "Wesley So"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "A29"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "r1b2bk1/1pR2p1p/1n6/8/4BPpN/p2P2P1/r1N2P1P/1R4K1 b - - 0 24"]
[PlyCount "9"]
[EventDate "2016.10.01"]24... Bd6 {attacking the white rook, which is tied down to the defense of the
knight on c2.} 25. Rc3 Na4 26. Rc4 Be6 {The rook has run out of safe squares
on the c-file; White is losing material.} 27. Nxa3 (27. Rd4 Bc5) 27... Rxa3 28.
Rc2 Nc5 0-1[/pgn]
Fabiano Caruana vs. Hou Yifan. Photo: Isle of Man International Fabiano Caruana vs. Hou Yifan. Photo: Chess.com Isle of Man International

Caruana had the most impressive result, tying for 1st place with Pavel Eljanov (finishing 2nd by tiebreaks). This tournament performance gained him 10 FIDE rating points, bringing his live rating to 2823---within 30 points of Magnus Carlsen.

Tactic #3

Hou Yifan vs. Caruana Fabiano

Hou just blundered with 28. Qg4? What clever combination did the US Champion use to defeat the reigning Women's World Champion?
Black to move.

Level: Advanced

Show Solution

[pgn][Event "Isle of Man Open"]
[Site "Douglas ENG"]
[Date "2016.10.06"]
[Round "6.2"]
[White "Yifan Hou"]
[Black "Fabiano Caruana"]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C50"]
[SetUp "1"]
[FEN "4q1k1/2p3p1/3p3p/p2Pr1n1/P1P3Q1/7P/4R1p1/4R1K1 b - - 0 28"]
[PlyCount "23"]
[EventDate "2016.10.01"]28... Rxe2 (28... Nxh3+ {is also possible, but allows White some counterplay:}
29. Qxh3 Rxe2 30. Rxe2 Qxe2 31. Qc8+ Kf7 (31... Kh7 32. Qf5+ g6 33. Qf7+) 32.
Qxc7+ Qe7 33. Qxa5) 29. Rxe2 Qxe2 $1 30. Qxe2 Nxh3+ {and Caruana re-gains his
queen plus two extra pawns.} 31. Kh2 (31. Kxg2 Nf4+) 31... g1=Q+ 32. Kxh3 {and
Caruana soon converted his two extra pawns into a victory:} Kh7 33. Qd2 h5 34.
Qxa5 Qh1+ 35. Kg3 h4+ 36. Kf4 Qh2+ 37. Kf5 Qe5+ 38. Kg4 Qg3+ 39. Kf5 h3 0-1[/pgn]

For more information, visit the Chess.com Isle of Man International Website.


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[…] reports on Millionaire Chess, the Washington Chess Congress, the IOM Chess International and our ongoing coverage of other events over National Chess Day […]

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[…] more on events held over National Chess day in our reports on Millionaire Chess, the Isle of Man International, the Washington Chess Congress and the Midwest […]

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