Los Angeles Times - - SUNDAY COMICS - Bill Corn­wall CCSKnight@Bell­

Chess his­tory is re­plete with au­da­cious game-end­ing com­bi­na­tions. With so many to choose from, it is an al­most im­pos­si­ble task to rank them. Cer­tain ones, though, stand out.

For ex­am­ple, there was 13-year-old Bobby Fis­cher’s “Game of the Cen­tury” played against a prom­i­nent mas­ter in 1956. The en­counter con­tained a queen sac­ri­fice and ended in a six­move mat­ing com­bi­na­tion.

Then there was Paul Mor­phy, a 19th cen­tury su­per­star. One of his most out­stand­ing games was con­tested while he was sit­ting in a pri­vate box in a Paris Opera House in 1858. De­spite the dis­trac­tion of the on­go­ing opera, he pro­duced a mas­ter­piece of great beauty and im­por­tance.

This “Opera House” game is used com­monly to­day by chess in­struc­tors to il­lus­trate the ba­sic con­cepts of mas­ter play. The queen sac­ri­fice to pro­duce mate in the end is frost­ing on the cake. Take a look: [Paul Mor­phy - Duke Karl / Count Isouard] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qb3 Qe7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Bg5 b5 10.Nxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.0–0–0 Rd8 13.Rxd7 Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qb8+! Nxb8 17.Rd8 mate.

Cur­rent world cham­pion Mag­nus Carlsen has pro­vided us with many gems to en­joy. Just look at to­day's fea­tured game played when he was just 12 years old. He capped things off in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion with a queen sac­ri­fice fol­lowed by mate.

Game of the week Mag­nus Carlsen - Hans Harestad XXV Poli­tiken Cup Copen­hagen, Den­mark

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5(A) a6(B) 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.Re1 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2(C) Nc6(D) 13.d5 Nd8 14.a4 Ra7 15.Nf1 g6(E) 16.Bh6 Re8 17.Ng3 Nd7 18.Nh2 f6 19.Be3 Nb6 20.axb5 axb5 21.Bd3 Bd7 22.Qd2 Nf7 23.Rxa7 Qxa7(F) 24.Qe2 Qa6 25.Ng4 Kg7 26.Bc1(G) Na4 27.Bc2 Ra8 28.Qe3 c4 29.Rf1 Nc5 30.Nh6(H) Ng5 31.f4 exf4 32.Qxf4 Bxh3?(I) 33.Qh4(J) Bd7 34.e5!(K) dxe5 35.Nh5+!(L) gxh5(M) 36.Qxg5+! fxg5 37.Rf7+ Kxh6 38.Rxh7 mate.

A) The Ruy Lopez or Span­ish Game, one of his­tory's old­est open­ings, still re­tains enor­mous pop­u­lar­ity. B) The Mor­phy Vari­a­tion. C) The Ruy is also one of the most thor­oughly re­searched open­ings. All of the de­vel­op­ment moves up to here have been rou­tinely played count­less times. D) Invit­ing White's next space-gain­ing re­ply. 12...cxd4 and 12...Bd7 are most pre­ferred. E) Some­what weak­en­ing but in­tended to stop a knight from oc­cu­py­ing f5. F) After this rook ex­change, queen­side ac­tiv­ity is nul­li­fied, so Carlsen can turn his at­ten­tion to at­tack­ing king­side.

G) To al­low the queen to ac­cess e3, in­creas­ing the pres­sure on h6. H) To ex­change the f7 knight so that the queen can oc­cupy h6. I) Cute, but badly flawed. 32...Kxh6 33.h4 Nd3 34.hxg5+ fxg5 35.Qh4+ Kg7 36.Bxg5 only leaves White with a slight ad­van­tage.; Also, 32...Nd3 would slow White down. J) Cer­tainly not 33.gxh3 33...Nxh3+ 34.Kg2 Nxf4+. K) This give-away un­blocks the c2 Bishop. L) Be­gin­ning the fi­nal break­through. M) 35...Kxh6 36.Nxf6+ Kg7 37.Bxg5 with a mate threat [Qxh7, Qg8] 37...Bxf6 38.Bxf6+ Kg8 39.Bxg6 hxg6 40.Qh8+ Kf7 41.Qg7+ Ke8 42.Qe7 mate; Note that 35...Kh8 36.Bxg5 fxg5 37.Qg3 Bd6 38.Qxg5 leaves Black de­fense­less.

June 25, 2017 Po­si­tion No. 4474: White Mates in Two.

Po­si­tion No. 4473: 1.Re5! Hint: White mates next with: Bc3, Bb6, Qxd5, Qxe4 or Qe4.

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