Test Yourself: Sinquefield Cup Tactics

After a thrilling round 1 of the 2015 Sinquefield Cup, we look forward to the next eight rounds of this young, but storied competition. Let's take a look at tactical highlights from previous years. Suggestion: Set up each position on a real board and test your tactical ability. Then, click on the solution and compare your guess to the Grandmaster's moves. Let us know how many you answered correctly in the comment section!

Tactic #1 Hikaru Nakamura vs. Levon Aronian (2013)

[fen]3r1rk1/5p2/6pp/1pN2n2/8/2P2P2/6PP/3RR1K1 w - - 0 1[/fen]

White to move.

How did U.S. Number 1, Nakamura, gain a significant advantage?

Show Solution

32. Nd7 Black cannot save the exchange. If 32...Re8 33. Nf6+

Tactic #2 Fabiano Caruana vs. Veselin Topalov (2014)

[fen]3r1kr1/1bq1bp2/p1n1p3/2p1P1p1/N1B3Qp/2B1R2P/PP3PP1/4R1K1 w - - 0 1[/fen]

White to move.

Last year, Fabiano Caruana achieved the unparalleled feat of seven consecutive victories against several of the top players in the world. This was the very first game of his streak. How did Caruana take advantage of the weaknesses on Black's kingside and begin his attack?

Show Solution

24. Bxe6! fxe6 25. Rf3+ Ke8 26. Qxe6 White has too many threats against the open Black monarch. 26...Rg7 27. Qh6 Nd4 28. e6 Now, White's dark-squared bishop also enters the attack. 28...Nxf3+ 29. gxf3 Bf8 30. Qh5+ Ke7 31. Bxg7 Black resigns.

Tactic #3 Fabiano Caruana vs. Maxime Vachier Lagrave (2014)

[fen]r3k2r/pp3ppp/4p2n/bN1pP3/1q2bPP1/2NB4/P4R1P/2R1Q1K1 w kq - 0 1[/fen]

White to move.

Black's position seems active, but his pieces are disorganized and his king is uncastled. How did Caruana secure his second victory in a row?

Show Solution

19. Rb1! Chasing Black's queen away so that the bishop on a5 is left undefended. 19...Qc5 If 19...Qe7 20. Bxe4 dxe4 21. Nd6+ gives White a significant advantage. 20. Nxe4! dxe4 If 20...Bxe1 21. Nxc5 Bxf2+ 22. Kxf2 and White's active minor pieces are much stronger than Black's undeveloped rooks. 21. Qxa5 0-0 If 21...exd3?? 22. Nc7+ wins. 22. Be2 and Caruana was later able to convert his material advantage into a win.

Tactic #4 Magnus Carlsen vs. Fabiano Caruana (2014)

[fen]K6R/1P4PP/2N2P2/1q6/4r3/p4pb1/kp1P2pp/6Q1 b - - 0 1[/fen]

Black to move.

How did Caruana reach victory despite Carlsen's menacing passed e-pawn?

Show Solution

1...Qh5+ 2. Nh2 If 2. Qh2 Qe8 attacks the e7 pawn and threatens ...Rh5

Follow Sinquefield Cup action live daily at 1:50 EST/12:50 CST on the Grand Chess Tour website.

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