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Zwischenzug: Equal or Stronger Threats (ESTs)
Compiled by notyetagm
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Wicked intermezzos.

Zwischenzug come about in two different ways:

1) The opponent moved and made a threat but you simply have a bigger threat available to you in the position, unrelated to any weakening that the opponent's last move created. See Wang Hao vs A Timofeev, 2007 in which White simply ignores the threat to his a5-queen by 25 ... b7-b6 and instead played the stronger <ZWISCHENZUG> 26 ♘d5x♘f6!, threatening 27 ♘x♖+ followed by 28 ♘x♕.

2) The opponent's last move created a weakness that did not previously exist which can now be exploited to create a stronger threat than whatever the opponent's last move threatened. See Emms vs Wells British Champ 1989 Plymouth in which the capture ♗f4x♗e5?? opened the f-file for the Black f6-queen to allow the winning <ZWISCHENZUG> ... ♕f6-f2+! instead of the obvious recapture on e5 which Wells actually played.

Event "BCF-ch 76th"
Site "Plymouth"
Date "1989.07.??"
Round "0"
White "Emms,John M"
Black "Wells,Peter K"
Result "1/2"
Eco "C95"
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Be7 6.Re1 b5 7.Bb3 d6 8.c3 0-0 9.h3 Nb8 10.d4 Nbd7 11.Nbd2 Bb7 12.Bc2 Re8 13.Nf1 Bf8 14.Ng3 g6 15.a4 c5 16.d5 c4 17.Bg5 h6 18.Be3 Nc5 19.Qc1 h5 20.Ng5 Bg7 21.axb5 axb5 22.Rxa8 Bxa8 23.f4 exf4 24.Bxf4 Nfd7 25.Qd1 Be5 26.Qd2 Qf6 27.Ne2 Nd3 28.Bxe5 Rxe5 29.Nf3 N7c5 30.Bxd3 Nxd3 31.Ra1 Re8 32.b4 Bb7 33.Ra7 Bc8 34.Ned4 Rxe4 35.Ra8 Re8 36.Nxb5 Nf4 37.Kh2 Bd7 38.Rxe8+ Bxe8 39.Na3 Bd7 40.Qd4 Qxd4 41.Nxd4 Nxd5 42.Nxc4 Nxc3 43.Nxd6 Kf8 44.Kg3 Ke7 45.Nc4 g5 1/2

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Ivanchuk vs Nisipeanu, 2007

Position after 22 ... ♗a6-c4! 0-1:


click for larger view

22 ... ♗a6-c4! 0-1 is just a stupendous <ZWISCHENZUG>.

The point is to force the White b3-queen (which has few <FLIGHT SQUARES>) onto the c-file at c2 or c3 so that the upcoming 23 ... ♗c4x♖f1 will come with a <GAIN OF TIME>, the unmasking of the Black c8-rook's attack on the White c2/c3-queen.

The difference between this <ZWISCHENZUG> and just grabbing the White f1-rook immediately with 22 ... ♗a6x♖f1 ? 22 ... ♗a6x♖f1 wins an exchange but Ivanchuk plays on. 22 ... ♗a6-c4! followed by 23 ... ♗c4x♖f1 wins a whole rook(!) and forced Ivanchuk's instant resignation.

The point of the <ZWISCHENZUG> 22 ... ♗a6-c4! is to force a <GAIN OF TIME>, turning the win of the exchange into the much greater win of a whole rook.

22 ... ♗a6-c4! is one of the very best <ZWISCHENZUG> that I have seen all year, right up there with Kramnik's ♖c1-c6! against Anand. And note that both of these great <ZWISCHENZUG> had the same purpose: to force the enemy queen onto a square or line so that an upcoming move would <GAIN TIME>. So both of these great <ZWISCHENZUG>, Nisipeanu's 22 ... ♗a6-c4! and Kramnik's ♖c1-c6!, are really all about <GAINING TIME (TEMPO)> so that a move can be made <FOR FREE>.

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Kramnik vs Aronian, 2007

White to play after 44 ... b5xc4+


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Here Kramnik (White) does -NOT- make the obvious <RECAPTURE> on the c4-square with 45 b3xc4?! as that would lose his White b2-pawn to 45 ... ♖b1xb2.

Instead, the tactically-alert Kramnik plays the stronger <ZWISCHENZUG> 45 ♔d3-c2!, <GAINING TIME> on the <UNDEFENDED> Black b1-rook to <DEFEND> his b2-pawn <WITH TEMPO> (for free).

Position after 45 ♔d3-c2! 1-0


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<<<The point of Kramnik's excellent play is that White will only <-NOW-> take back on c4 with 46 b3xc4 after having <-FIRST-> secured his b2-pawn.>>> That is, Kramnik saw the <UNDEFENDED> Black b1-rook near his White d3-king as an opportunity to <DEFEND> the White b2-pawn <WITH TEMPO> -BEFORE- recapturing the Black c4-pawn.

45 ♔d3-c2! is a simply excellent <ZWISCHENZUG> (<IN-BETWEEN MOVE>) that forced Aronian's (Black's) instant resignation.

24 - Ng2xRe1!, 27 - Bc8-h3!, 29 - Bh3xBf1! all hang Black queen
Gelfand vs Nakamura, 2010 
(E97) King's Indian, 33 moves, 0-1

34 RxR not 34 ... BxR but 34 ... Bd4+! zwischenschach for mate
Filippov vs B Savchenko, 2005 
(A15) English, 35 moves, 0-1

23 ... BxN 24 QxQ not 24 ... pxQ but 24 ... Bc4+! 25 ... pxQ
Bacrot vs Delchev, 2005 
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 23 moves, 0-1

Not 36 ... PxR? but first 36 ... Bd4+! 37 Kg1 then 37 ... pxR!
Razuvaev vs Topalov, 1992 
(A87) Dutch, Leningrad, Main Variation, 47 moves, 0-1

Not 40 QxQ pxQ? , 40 ... d1=Q+! zwischenschach and 41 ... pxQ
Sadvakasov vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2006 
(B42) Sicilian, Kan, 38 moves, 0-1

26 ... Bf6? not 27 Qe3? but 27 Qxf7+! zwischenschach
Euwe vs Smyslov, 1948 
(D99) Grunfeld Defense, Smyslov, 42 moves, 1-0

33 BxN? not 33 ... pxB but 33 ... Bf2! setting up a Greco mate
Nimzowitsch vs Capablanca, 1911 
(C00) French Defense, 33 moves, 0-1

not 41 ... QxR but 41 ... c1=Q+! 42 RxQ and then 42 ... QxR+
B Predojevic vs Carlsen, 2006 
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 40 moves, 0-1

46 ... Bxh4?? not 47 pxB pxB but 47 Bxc5! Qh6 and now 48 pxB
Adams vs Kramnik, 2000 
(B31) Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation, 50 moves, 1-0

23 Nc6! White ignores threat of 23 ... PxB, makes bigger threat
Aronian vs Carlsen, 2006 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 74 moves, 1-0

22 ... NxBg2? and now not 23 Kxg2? but 23 Rd6!, winning
Petrosian vs N Sorokin, 1944 
(D33) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 23 moves, 1-0

21 Nxe5?? not 21 ... dxe5? but 21 ... Qg5!, the Nf4-Qg5 trick
Dolmatov vs Yusupov, 1982 
(C50) Giuoco Piano, 21 moves, 0-1

27 h5!!
Kasparov vs Kramnik, 1994 
(B33) Sicilian, 36 moves, 1-0

Not 28 Nc6xQb4? but first 28 Rd8+! Ne8 and -then- 29 Nc6xQb4
Kramnik vs Kasparov, 2001 
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 36 moves, 1-0

22 ... Rd3! in-between move destroys White's kingside pawns
Hampyuk vs Karpov, 1965 
(C92) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 28 moves, 0-1

Not 31 Nd2xQf3? but 31 d6xBe7+ -first- and -then- 32 Nd2xQf3
Alekhine vs Keres, 1935 
(C79) Ruy Lopez, Steinitz Defense Deferred, 37 moves, 1-0

After 32 Qe3xQg5 not 32 ... h6xQg5? but 32 ... Rf3xRf2!
Stahlberg vs Alekhine, 1930 
(E23) Nimzo-Indian, Spielmann, 31 moves, 0-1

Not 41 Bb5xBc4?! but -first- 41 Bf2-b6+! and -then- 42 Bb5xBc4
Tiviakov vs Stellwagen, 2006 
(B22) Sicilian, Alapin, 41 moves, 1-0

53 ... BxBf3 not 54 g2xf3? but first 54 Qe3-e5+! then 56 g2xf3
Geller vs Fischer, 1965 
(E80) King's Indian, Samisch Variation, 57 moves, 1-0

25 - b7-b6 threatens White a5-queen but 27 Nd5xNf6! is a bigger
Wang Hao vs A Timofeev, 2007 
(B30) Sicilian, 31 moves, 1-0

Not obvious recapture 39 Qc5xRd6?! but 39 f4xe5! winning piece
Wang Hao vs Deepan Chakkravarthy J, 2007 
(D43) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 39 moves, 1-0

Not obvious recapture 21 ... gxf6?! but 21 .. cxb4!, 22 ... PxQ
J B Campos-Moreno vs Adams, 2001 
(E21) Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights, 29 moves, 0-1

41 Bb5-d3+! in-between check saves b5-bishop with gain of time
Kasparov vs Judit Polgar, 1997 
(B47) Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation, 41 moves, 1-0

33 - Be5-h2+! in-between check saves e5-bishop with tempo
E Cosma vs Y Kryvoruchko, 2006
(A43) Old Benoni, 33 moves, 0-1

Not 23 Qd3xBd2? but -first- 23 Nd5xNf6+! and -then- 24 Qd3xBd2
Kasparov vs Kramnik, 1994 
(D19) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch, 86 moves, 1-0

45 ... Ra7xRb7 not 46 a6xb7?? first 46 Ra5xRc5+! then 47 a6xb7
Kramnik vs Topalov, 2006 
(D47) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 45 moves, 1-0

31 ... Ng6xBe7 and now not 32 d6xe7?! but stronger 32 Bb5-d7!!
Aronian vs Anand, 2007 
(D23) Queen's Gambit Accepted, 48 moves, 1-0

19 Rc1-c6! forces the Black d6-queen to d7 before playing Rc8+
Kramnik vs Anand, 2007 
(A15) English, 21 moves, 1-0

22 .. Ba6-c4! forces White queen to c-file before 23 .. Bc4xRf1
Ivanchuk vs Nisipeanu, 2007 
(E11) Bogo-Indian Defense, 22 moves, 0-1

30 Re1xQe6 not 30 - Bc4xRe6?? first 30 - Rd8xRd1+ then 31 - BxR
M Pavlovic vs Carlsen, 2004 
(B31) Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation, 33 moves, 0-1

44 - Qd5xQd4 not 45 c3xQd4? first 45 Rb1,f2xb2+! then 47 c3xQd4
Le Quang Liem vs I Nepomniachtchi, 2008 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 68 moves, 0-1

Not 19 Rd1xQe1?! first 19 Ne6xBc5+ and only -then- 20 Rd1xQe1
Ivanchuk vs Karjakin, 2008 
(B87) Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5, 49 moves, 1-0

24 Bd2xNc3 not 24 - d4xBc3?! but stronger 24 - e5-e4! pawn fork
Van Wely vs Carlsen, 2008 
(E36) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 26 moves, 0-1

Not 25 f5xNg6 but first 25 e5xf6! and only then 26 f5xNg6
Anand vs M Gurevich, 1990 
(C02) French, Advance, 38 moves, 1-0

16 Bd2xNb4?! Rc8-c1+! exploits c1-square left behind by bishop
S Rosenthal vs De Vere, 1867 
(C00) French Defense, 32 moves, 0-1

25 Bc2-d1!! incredible zwischenzug based on exposed h5-queen
Keres vs Gilg, 1937 
(A52) Budapest Gambit, 32 moves, 1-0

16 d4xe5!, 17 e5xf6!, 18 Bc3-e5! one zwischenzug after another
Stein vs Golombek, 1968 
(B10) Caro-Kann, 18 moves, 1-0

18 Ne5xNd7!! Capablanca ignores the threat of PxQ, plays NxN!!
Capablanca vs B H Villegas, 1914 
(D04) Queen's Pawn Game, 34 moves, 1-0

18 ... b6-b5? threatens White a4-queen, 19 d5xc6! bigger threat
Eljanov vs Kamsky, 2008 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 53 moves, 1-0

18 f3-f4! ignores attack on undef h1-rook, attacks e5-queen
Z Bayaraa vs M Esserman, 2008 
(B95) Sicilian, Najdorf, 6...e6, 48 moves, 0-1

13 ... Bb4xNc3 not 14 b2xBc3?! but much stronger 14 Be3-c5!
Karjakin vs Stellwagen, 2009 
(B48) Sicilian, Taimanov Variation, 52 moves, 1-0

13 ... Ne4xc3! wins a pawn, not 13 ... Qd8xBe7?! 14 Qe2xNe4
Y Erturan vs I Nyzhnyk, 2009 
(D03) Torre Attack (Tartakower Variation), 30 moves, 0-1

Nyback plays one fine zwischenzug after another versus Carlsen
T Nyback vs Carlsen, 2008 
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 39 moves, 1-0

Not 37 ... Bb7xBc6?! first 37 ... Be7-c5+! then 38 ... Bb7xBc6
Carlsen vs Aronian, 2009 
(C84) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 98 moves, 0-1

Not 27 ... Rd8xNd5?! first 27 ... e3-e2! *then* 28 ... Rd8xNd5
J Schulten vs Morphy, 1857 
(C33) King's Gambit Accepted, 28 moves, 0-1

11 ... QxQ not 12 pxQ but 12 pxBg7! a promotion zwischenzug
M Stangl vs Azmaiparashvili, 1994 
(B08) Pirc, Classical, 18 moves, 1-0

44 ... b5xc4+ not 45 b3xc4?! but first 45 Kd3-c2! then 46 b3xc4
Kramnik vs Aronian, 2007 
(C89) Ruy Lopez, Marshall, 45 moves, 1-0

3 ... Qc7xQg3 24 Re4xNd4!! leaves Black g3-queen trapped
Fischer vs S Schweber, 1970 
(C18) French, Winawer, 47 moves, 1-0

A Ushenina vs A Stefanova, 2012 
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 37 moves, 1-0

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