Practical 5x5 positions

In this article we take a look at some practical 5x5 positions with white pieces on 27, 32 and 37 and black pieces on 16, 21 and 26:

diagram 1
diagram 2

Clearly this gives white a significant advantage, but in many situations black can make a draw by sacrificing one or more pieces.

Camara - Bah 2-0 (2009)
Camara - Bah 2-0 (2009)

A famous example is the position above. Here the strong player Souleymane Bah didn't find a draw with black, and several others before him didn't find it as well. 19-23? Normally this double sacrifice is enough for a draw. But in this particular case white can build a capture position for the black king. The proper defense was   18-22 58.28x17 21x12 59.27-22 16-21 60.32-28 and now the double sacrifice 12-18! 61.22x24 21-27 guarantees a draw.   55.28x19 18-22! 56.27x18 21-27 57.32x21 16x27 58.18-13 27-31 59.37-32 31-36 60.13-8! 26-31 61.8-2! 36-41 62.19-13 31-36 63.32-27 and black resigned.

Malafeevskyi - Reszka 2-0 (2007)
Malafeevskyi - Reszka 2-0 (2007)

And this is another position that every tournament player should know. Again black can make a draw, but it is easy to do it wrong. The first move is easy: 18-22! 56.28x17 21x12 57.32-28 12-18? This move looks very logical, since black will make a break through for only one piece. But in this particular case it is losing. Again black needs to make a double sacrifice to force a draw:   12-17 58.27-22 16-21 59.22x11 24-29!! 60.34x23 21-27 61.11-7 27-31! 62.37-32 31-36 etc.   58.37-32 16-21 59.27x16 26-31 60.16-11 31-36 61.11-7 36-41 62.7-1 18-22 63.28x17 41-47 Under normal circumstances the opposition 24, 34 would guarantee a draw for black. But white plays 64.1-6! and all of a sudden the black king has nowhere to go. The logical 47-42? is not possible due to the small combination 65.34-29 24x33 66.32-28 33x11 67.6x47 B+

Vadim Virny

Vadim Virny

Virny - Meurs 1-1 (2013)
Virny - Meurs 1-1 (2013)

In a blitz game during the SWMG 2013 in Beijing, the German grandmaster Virny had a big advantage against his Dutch colleague Meurs. 50.27-22! The black pieces on 16, 21 and 26 are isolated now, and it looks like black will have to sacrifice the piece on 13 to bring them into play. It was not possible to do this immediately: 13-18 51.22x13 21-27 52.32x21 16x27 53.13-9 27-31 54.9-4 31x33 55.4-15 W+ And so Meurs waited a move with   20-24 51.38-33 13-18? But even now this is losing. There was only one miraculous escape using   21-27 52.22x31 13-18 53.32-28 16-21 54.37-32 26x37 55.32x41 21-27 56.41-36 27-32 57.28x37 18-23 etc.   52.22x13 21-27 53.32x21 16x27 54.13-9 27-31 55.37-32 31-36 56.9-4 26-31 (and not   36-41? due to 57.33-29 24x33 58.32-28 33x22 59.4x47 W+)   57.4-18? The victory was within reach with   57.4-10! 31-37 58.32x41 36x47 59.10-15 47x29 60.35-30 24x35 61.15x33   24-30 58.35x24 31-37 59.32x41 36x47 and the players agreed to a draw.

© Wieger Wesselink http://10x10.org