A Chess board showing The Backstab move

c/o Max Vitek

In the final round of the 2015 edition of the Tata Steel Masters tournament in Wijk aan Zee, the French grandmaster Maxime Vachier-Lagrave played against Fabiano Caruana. After a very positional Najdorf Sicilian game, Vachier-Lagrave was in a position to win his last game and secure a second-place finish in the tournament (first place being Magnus Carlsen, of course). (Black to move.)

Last Week’s Solution: 

Qh8+!! Kxh8 2. Rxa1 Nd4 3. Bxe7 Re1 4. Bf6+!

Recognizing that his queen was hanging anyways, Bura sacrificed it to force black’s king onto a dark square. He then throws in another zwischenzug (in-between move) with Bxe7—threatening to win the exchange—before forking the king and knight with 4. Bf6+, winning the piece.

Max Vitek can be reached at mvitek@wesleyan.edu.

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