One the reasons, no, the main reason chess players study tactics is to enable them to use the tactics against their opponents at the board. Just as important, but seldom talked about, is that we study tactics to avoid having our opponent use them against us.
Sometimes it is to no avail, due to time trouble or just trying to find something, anything to stay in the fight.
The following two positions are from a game I won – barely – and as will be shown I should have lost. The game was played in round 3 of Dayton Chess Club’s #44 Next To Last 2011 Quick , game in 25 minutes, time delay of 5 seconds.
I was in dire straits through much of the game so I did something I seldom do afterwards. I went over the game and critiqued my moves and those of my opponent, Andre Jaworowski.
I chose a poor plan and Andre properly punished me for such a poor plan. The following position is after white played 31: Bd3
Black to move.
The following week, I wanted to show Andre the position because he should have won the game directly here with 31. … Qxg3 and if 32. hxg3, then 32. Rh6 mate. Pretty neat and something I wanted to make sure I didn’t give Andre an opportunity to do again.
Imagine my chagrin when Andre set up an earlier position after the moves 25. Bxf8 Bxf2+ 26. Nxf2 Qxf2+ 27. Kh1 with black to move. Andre already in time trouble, played 27. … Rxf8. Instead he had an absolutely killer move. Do you see it?
Black to move.
Do you see it yet? Andre set it up at the Dayton Chess Club and told me a killer move was there, but I didn’t see it.
Okay, the move is 27. … Qxd4!! where not only is white’s Rook on a1 threatened, but if the Rook moves a mate in three (3) ensues. 28. R moves, Nf2+ 29. Kg1 Nh3 dble+ 30. Kh1 Qg1 mate.
So I tip my imaginary hat to Andre while telling myself I will never (NEVER) let him have this opportunity to do this again.