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Unguarded Guards
Compiled by SwitchingQuylthulg
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Pieces valiantly throwing themselves in harm's way in an attempt to defend their leader. As we see here, those attempts can be quite successful :)

There are quite a few reasons why this might be a good idea:

Perpetual-avoiding deflections are perhaps the most common type. Murey vs Chistiakov, 1969 gives us a simple example:


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45...Be8! 46. Qxe8+ Kh7 and as the queen no longer had access to f5, the perpetual was gone.

The most brilliant example of this undoubtedly comes from the end of Leopold Mitrofanov's famous 1967 study:


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Black is threatening perpetual, but White solves that problem in style with <7. Qg5!! Qxg5 8. Ka6> when ...Qe2+ is no longer available. After <8...Bxa7 9. c7> White threatens both 10. c8Q+ and 10. b7#, winning.

Defensive deflections or attractions, as seen in Y Porat vs Larsen, 1956


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If 15...Qf7 16.Bc4 and Black is in trouble despite being a piece and a pawn to the good. Thus <15...Be6!! 16. Qxe6+ Qf7> when 17. Bc4 was no longer deadly thanks to White's own queen being in the way.

A completely different example is seen in Taimanov vs Larsen, 1970


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23...Bg4!! Deflecting the queen away from threatening e5. White eventually wins after either 23...Kh8? 24. Qxe5+ or 23...Kf7? 24. Ng5+ Ke7 25. Qxe5. <24. Qxg4+ Kh8> and Black won.

Offensive deflections are rarer, as the move needs to serve a defensive idea (protecting the king) and an attacking idea at the same time. The attack need not be against the opposing king, though; a non-mating idea is seen in Kujoth vs J Fashingbauer, 1950


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13. Nc3!! The queen is deflected from its main task of defending against promotion, as if 13...Qxa7 14. Nxd5 wins.

Clearing lines for attacking pieces. In R Short vs Marshall, 1895 Black combined this with a nice deflection:


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18...Ne4!! Simultaneously threatening mate with ...Qe1# and luring the queen to a square where it can be attacked with tempo. Other moves do not win. <19. Qxe4+ f5> and White had to sacrifice his queen to prevent mate.

Clearing lines for defending pieces. Stahlberg vs Bronstein, 1955 is a good example:


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28...Bc5! Not 28...Kb8?? 29.Rd8+ and mate. Now the Rh8 protects Black's back rank. <29. Qxc5+ Kb8> and Black won.

Opening escape squares for the king. Witness Topalov vs Judit Polgar, 1996


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Of course not 47. Kf2?? Rf1#. Instead, after <47. Qc1! Rxc1+ 48. Kf2> Topalov's king was safe and he won the endgame thanks to the passed pawns.

Tempo-gaining attractions are quite typical, and often related to either a double attack or a promotion threat. V Sherbakov vs Vasiukov, 1955 provides a beautiful example of the former:


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White has just played 41. Bg4+, threatening not only the king but also Bxc8. After <41...Rf6!! 42. Rxf6+ Ke7>, however, the tables were turned, as Black had the <triple> threat of 43...Kxf6, 43...Bxg4 and 43...Re1+ mating. There followed <43. Kg1 Bxg4> and Black eventually won with his extra pawn.

The latter is nicely illustrated by E Berg vs McShane, 2002, where Black sacrificed a rook for a tempo:


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45...Rd3!! 46. Rxd3+ Ke4 and Black wins, as the pawn promotion cannot be stopped; even 47. Kf2 Kxd3 48. Ke1 f3 wins for Black.

Every so often, the idea is to release stalemate. In W Mazul vs R Przedmojski, 1990 we see this combined with avoiding perpetual:


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63...Rd2!! If 63...Kxb3?? 64. Qc3+! etc., and after 63...Kc5? 64. Qc3+ Kd6 65. Qf6+ White eventually forces either stalemate or perpetual. Now, however, he's just lost: <64. Qxd2+ Kxb3> and Black won easily.

Sometimes, paradoxically, the guarding piece is <safer> on the square it's moving to, as the attacker has no time to gobble it up. J Dukhin vs V Belov, 1996 is a case in point:


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27...Bc8! It may be moving to an unguarded square, but while it <is> lost after 27...Kf7? 28. Qxa7 Kxg8 29. Qxd7, it now lived after 28. Qxa7 Qxg8 29. Qxb6, and Black won.

And many more, each more beautiful than the other. In M Oren vs Boruch Israel Dyner, 1952, Black's queen was lured into a pin by an Unguarded Guard:


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24. Nb6!! All other moves lose; if 24. Nd4 Rxd4 and the discovered check will be deadly. Now, however, White wins: 24...Qxb6 25. Qd4+! (25. Nd4 also works now, thanks to the pin) Qxd4+ 26. Nxd4 Rxd4 27. Bxg4 and White remains a piece up.

18...Bg4!
Anderssen vs Bird, 1878 
(C54) Giuoco Piano, 27 moves, 0-1

18...Ne4!
R Short vs Marshall, 1895 
(C51) Evans Gambit, 22 moves, 0-1

21...Be6!
G Nyholm vs Alekhine, 1912 
(C21) Center Game, 25 moves, 0-1

21...Bg5!
C Jaffe vs Solomon Rubinstein, 1913 
(C01) French, Exchange, 42 moves, 0-1

31...Ng6!
K Richter vs Bogoljubov, 1928
(C84) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 77 moves, 0-1

39...Ne7!
Opocensky vs J Rejfir, 1930
(E21) Nimzo-Indian, Three Knights, 61 moves, 0-1

32. Ne5!
P Rethy vs E Gereben, 1934
(A06) Reti Opening, 58 moves, 1-0

32. Bc1!
Keres vs Bogoljubov, 1936 
(A14) English, 39 moves, 1-0

26...Bc5!!
Henning vs K Junge, 1940 
(D00) Queen's Pawn Game, 29 moves, 0-1

13. Nc3!!
Kujoth vs J Fashingbauer, 1950 
(B20) Sicilian, 28 moves, 1-0

21...Nb4!
Y Gusev vs Spassky, 1951 
(A00) Uncommon Opening, 24 moves, 0-1

24. Nb6!!
M Oren vs Boruch Israel Dyner, 1952 
(E60) King's Indian Defense, 24 moves, 1-0

22. Be3!
L T Da Silva vs M M de Ley, 1952
(C57) Two Knights, 25 moves, 1-0

41...Rf6!!
V Sherbakov vs Vasiukov, 1955
(A64) Benoni, Fianchetto, 11...Re8, 58 moves, 0-1

49...Be7!
R A Redolfi vs Pelikan, 1955 
(B22) Sicilian, Alapin, 55 moves, 0-1

28...Bc5!
Stahlberg vs Bronstein, 1955 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 42 moves, 0-1

15...Be6!
Y Porat vs Larsen, 1956 
(A04) Reti Opening, 33 moves, 0-1

33. Nc1!
J Trmal vs Opocensky, 1962
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 54 moves, 1-0

43...Nd7!
Averbakh vs C B van den Berg, 1963
(E12) Queen's Indian, 56 moves, 0-1

18. Be3
J Aijala vs P Maattanen, 1967 
(B09) Pirc, Austrian Attack, 21 moves, 1-0

45...Be8!
Murey vs Chistiakov, 1969 
(B17) Caro-Kann, Steinitz Variation, 48 moves, 0-1

23...Bg4!
Taimanov vs Larsen, 1970 
(E39) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Pirc Variation, 34 moves, 0-1

32. Ne1
G Botterill vs Short, 1978
(A10) English, 51 moves, 1-0

59. Nd3!
Korchnoi vs Karpov, 1978 
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 60 moves, 1-0

86. Qh3!
G Moehring vs J Kaikamdzozov, 1978 
(A56) Benoni Defense, 91 moves, 1-0

29...Ne8!
V Raicevic vs Seirawan, 1980 
(A12) English with b3, 36 moves, 0-1

49...Nd7!
J Gralka vs Plachetka, 1979
(D38) Queen's Gambit Declined, Ragozin Variation, 58 moves, 0-1

28. Nd6! (but the rest of the game is a mess...)
J Boudy Bueno vs Szabo, 1979 
(B56) Sicilian, 75 moves, 1-0

21. Bc4!!
A Muir vs W Watson, 1979
(E83) King's Indian, Samisch, 24 moves, 1-0

22. Na4!
Tarjan vs L Gutman, 1981 
(B81) Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack, 22 moves, 1-0

34. Re1!
Ljubojevic vs Timman, 1985 
(B81) Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack, 34 moves, 1-0

22...Bh4!?
J Nogueiras vs Granda Zuniga, 1987
(B83) Sicilian, 42 moves, 0-1

40. Bd1!
A Pieniazek vs D Norwood, 1987
(A77) Benoni, Classical, 9...Re8, 10.Nd2, 62 moves, 1-0

37. Be1!
G Pieterse vs G Timmerman, 1987
(A88) Dutch, Leningrad, Main Variation with c6, 40 moves, 1-0

23...Bc8!
P Velikov vs I D Dorfman, 1989 
(A04) Reti Opening, 32 moves, 0-1

63...Rd2!
W Mazul vs R Przedmojski, 1990
(C55) Two Knights Defense, 70 moves, 0-1

47. Be1!
Browne vs R Marquez, 1991
(A57) Benko Gambit, 51 moves, 1-0

47...Bh5+!
A Kakageldyev vs I Rogers, 1992
(A40) Queen's Pawn Game, 53 moves, 0-1

37...Bd8
B Finegold vs R Har-Zvi, 1992
(E97) King's Indian, 40 moves, 0-1

56...Rb8!
Illescas Cordoba vs Judit Polgar, 1994
(A48) King's Indian, 85 moves, 0-1

37. Bc5!
A Nickel vs G Binder, 1994
(D47) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 48 moves, 1-0

24. Bg6!
Lautier vs I E Morovic-Fernandez, 1994
(D49) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, Meran, 32 moves, 1-0

39. Be1!
Van Wely vs Tiviakov, 1994
(E12) Queen's Indian, 51 moves, 1-0

47. Qc1!
Topalov vs Judit Polgar, 1996 
(B48) Sicilian, Taimanov Variation, 60 moves, 1-0

31...Nd8!
V S Spasov vs Svidler, 1996
(B31) Sicilian, Rossolimo Variation, 40 moves, 0-1

40. Bd4!
A Kovacevic vs V Iordachescu, 1997
(B06) Robatsch, 82 moves, 1-0

40...Be8!
Tiviakov vs V Yemelin, 1998
(B46) Sicilian, Taimanov Variation, 53 moves, 0-1

39. Bf1!
A Loginov vs G Shmallko, 1999
(D30) Queen's Gambit Declined, 59 moves, 1-0

62...Nd3!
N Borge vs E Mortensen, 1999
(B47) Sicilian, Taimanov (Bastrikov) Variation, 62 moves, 0-1

28...Ne4!
M B Oratovsky vs D Tyomkin, 2000
(B62) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer, 37 moves, 0-1

46. Bd2!
Smirin vs G Rechlis, 2001
(B39) Sicilian, Accelerated Fianchetto, Breyer Variation, 47 moves, 1-0

30...Bh5!
I Trimbashevskij vs V Eryomenko, 2001
(A10) English, 66 moves, 0-1

36...Bd8!
PARSOS vs GOLIATH, 2001
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 42 moves, 0-1

47. Bd1!
J F Pierrot vs F Pedro, 2001
(C78) Ruy Lopez, 47 moves, 1-0

45. Rd1!
H Kotz vs K Opl, 2001
(C91) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 46 moves, 1-0

46. Rf3!
J Norri vs G Borgo, 2001 
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 55 moves, 1-0

29...Bf8!
L Danek vs J Neumann, 2002
(B33) Sicilian, 41 moves, 0-1

44...Rd3!!
E Berg vs McShane, 2002
(B33) Sicilian, 50 moves, 0-1

38...Be8!
Y Vovk vs A Grekh, 2002
(B42) Sicilian, Kan, 46 moves, 0-1

24. Bb5!
S Azarov vs R P Sharma, 2002
(B76) Sicilian, Dragon, Yugoslav Attack, 60 moves, 1-0

31...Bh5!
B Gershenov vs Furman, 2003 
(E32) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 35 moves, 0-1

38. Bd3!
S Bromberger vs A Kosten, 2003
(B96) Sicilian, Najdorf, 42 moves, 1-0

28. Bg5!
Pelletier vs A Deviatkin, 2003 
(D18) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch, 29 moves, 1-0

33...Bd8!!
V Malinin vs H Knoll, 2004
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 36 moves, 0-1

28. Bh5!
R Hermansen vs E Tate, 2004
(B33) Sicilian, 34 moves, 1-0

36. Rd3!
S Solovjov vs A Lugovoi, 2004 
(B89) Sicilian, 40 moves, 1-0

20...Bg5!
C Maier vs Nalbandian, 2005
(B02) Alekhine's Defense, 58 moves, 0-1

29. Bg5!
M Vachier-Lagrave vs N Dzagnidze, 2005 
(B12) Caro-Kann Defense, 72 moves, 1-0

21. Be3!
K Szczepkowska-Horowska vs N Umudova, 2005
(B18) Caro-Kann, Classical, 25 moves, 1-0

71. Nc3!
D Bocharov vs T Abergel, 2007
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 71 moves, 1-0

24. Be3!!
J Stopa vs D Kuljasevic, 2007 
(A60) Benoni Defense, 28 moves, 1/2-1/2

32. Bh3!
C Bates vs P Navarro Torres, 2008
(A56) Benoni Defense, 34 moves, 1-0

54. Bc4!
M Vachier-Lagrave vs A Brkic, 2008 
(B90) Sicilian, Najdorf, 57 moves, 1-0

65. Be4!
G Livshits vs J Gonzalez Garcia, 2008
(B58) Sicilian, 71 moves, 1-0

59...Bg3!
A Zatonskih vs Akobian, 2009
(A41) Queen's Pawn Game (with ...d6), 64 moves, 0-1

36...Nd7!
P Karma vs M Gagunashvili, 2010
(B07) Pirc, 56 moves, 0-1

Happens twice (!!), with 42...Bg5! and 47...Rf7!
Ehlvest vs Stripunsky, 2010 
(A06) Reti Opening, 62 moves, 0-1

65...Rf6!
Margareth Olde vs A N Al-Ali, 2016
(A37) English, Symmetrical, 67 moves, 0-1

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