18 moves into the game C. Ward-A. Ledger, British Championship 1993, I had still not castled and indeed, in the above diagram I had little intention of doing so. Instead, I was concentrating all of my efforts on an attack down the h-file before my opponent could cause me severe problems on the queenside. However, even if I could ‘beam’ my queen up and then down onto h7, it was clear that wouldn’t be mate, as Black’s dark-squared bishop controlled the vital-square h8 and the king had an escape route on f8.
Therefore I knew I had to exchange off that key defender and 19 Bh6! stood out a mile. Should Black swap off on h6 then my queen would swoop and mate would soon occur on h8. Instead, Black wisely avoided the trade with 19…Bh8, but up my sleeve I had the neat (if I say so myself!) tactical resource 20 Bf8! as shown in the diagram below.
Just as you, the reader, will hopefully finish this book content that you have added some tactical themes and cool checkmates to your armoury of ideas, I too had previously seen this concept on more than one occasion.
So yes, I had originally gotten this plan from somewhere else, but I still needed to analyse key variations. First up 20...Rxf8 21Qh6 would have forced mate on either h7 or h8 as Black doesn’t have time to move both his bishop and his rook. As 20…Kxf8 21 Rxh8+! Kg7 22Qh6 mate was fairly conclusive, Black had to come up with something else; the game ended through 20…f5 21 Rxh8+! Kf7 (or 21…Kxh8 22 Qh6+ Kg8 23 Qg7 mate) 22 Bxe7 Kxe7 23 Qg5+ Kd7 24 Rh7+ Kc6 25 Qf6+ Kd5 26 Qf7+ Kc6 27 Qd7 mate.
4) 1.Rd8+ Bxd8 2.Qf7#