Former Bunratty winner Wesley So has been involved in a lovely tactic which will appear in many textbooks and tactics puzzle sites to come.
It’s come in the controversial – and top-of-the-table – clash between Armenia and the United States, with Aronian left out of the match against the country he defected from last year. So So is up to board 2, playing as white against Hrant Melkumyan GM, rated 2634. Black looks to have won a piece, but what did white see in this position?
A quick recap of the Irish teams to fill a bit of space before the answer – Conor Murphy is on a superb 5/5 and is well in with a shout of a GM norm; in fact, he’s also currently in the Gold Medal position for Board 2. Both sides are on four match wins from six games, which means they’re up against it today, facing Egypt and Italy respectively, but they’re playing well enough to be in with a chance of a result. On the Women’s team, Lara is on 3/5, with her only two losses being against 2300-rated WIMs. A 50% score from at least 7 games will give her the WCM title, while a 65% score from at least 9 games will give her the WFM title.
So – to So. He stunned his opponent with 1. Rxe4!, the point being that after 1…dxe4 2. Qxf7+!! Kxf7 3. Bc4+ Kf6 4. Nxe4+ Kf5 5. g4+! Kxe4 6. Re1+ Kf3 7. Re3# (or 7. Bd5#) – saccing a queen, rook and knight for mate. Black spent 20 minutes considering his reply, with commentators Leko and Svidler suggesting his position was so bad even if he declined the sac that he might resign. He instead played 1…Nf8, but he’s completely lost after lots of move, the strongest being 2. Rf4.