by Tommaso Dorigo

My activity as a chessplayer has seen a steady decline in the past three years, due to overwhelming work obligations. To play in chess tournaments at a decent level, you not only need to be physically fit and well trained for the occasion, but also have your mind free from other thoughts. Alas, I have been failing miserably in the second and third of the above requirements. So I have essentially retired from competitive chess, and my only connection to the chess world is through the occasional 5-minute blitz game over the internet.

Recently a friend pointed me to a site, chess24.com, which has a rather nice interface. I soon started to play a few games per week there, realizing that my strength in quick games has not decreased that much. So I occasionally still play a decent game. That was e.g. the case this evening, when I was facing a French defense and I soon sacrificed a couple of queenside pawns in order to have the time to amass forces on the kingside for an attack.

My opponent grabbed the material and when I further sacrificed a bishop, and then a full rook, was kind enough to oblige and take them, allowing me a quick and pretty finish. In the position below I am white and am to move. What would you play ?

Tic-tac, the clock is ticking. As the display shows, I had fifty seconds to finish the game. Luckily I had seen the unorthodox solving move before sacrificing the material, and ended the thing in style.

Still not seeing it ? The move you are looking for is a very unconventional one. Also, don’t be lured by variations involving taking the bishop – the regained material will be of no use when black will mate you in g2 with his queen…

The solution is simple: 1. Nh8+! which takes away the escaping square f7. The king must now go to h8 (little changes if black first interposes the bishop in g5, of course), and 2.Qg7++ is mate. For once, a nice finish to a game not devoid of some classical beauty…