Wednesday, March 01, 2006


My First Sac - from the Archives

Out of the archives….this game was played in Scotland. They have various chess leagues and teams of four play against each other. This was the 2nd round of a league tournament match against another city. The main significance of this game was that is was my first positional sacrifice. I think a player reaches another step in ability when he can really see the importance of the usefulness of pieces in a given position more so than the point value itself. These are my original annotations when I sent the game to my Dad.

1. e4 d6 2. d4 g6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Bg7 This is the Pirc defense. I knew I had a choice of f4, Nf3, & Bg5 5. Qd2 c6 I want to eventually play Bh6 and I was toying with castling queenside 6. Bc4 Nxe4 This is one of those opening novelties I didn't know. With 7. Nxe4 d5, black does fine. 7. Bxf7+ Kxf7 I got his king out and prevented castling for losing a bit of my center and my good bishop. It was quite fine by me. However, I think this novelty works better if he is already castled. 8. Nxe4 Qf8 I think he was trying to prevent Bh6, forcing the trade of his good bishop 9. Ne2 Nd7 I play Ne2 because 9. Nf3 Bg4 looked annoying and I also wanted to play f4 sometime soon. When someone's king is exposed, you want to "break things open" and attack. I still wasn't sure which way to castle, though. 10. O-O h6 After some thinking I went kingside because I thought it would take several moves to get my pawns moving on the kingside (I would have to move my bishop too) and I didn't like his bishop on g7. I'm still not sure which way would have been better, but probably queenside as other pieces were uncoordinated.

11. Be3 d5 I really needed to move the bishop anyway. I went to e3 because I wanted to cover the g1-a7 diagonal. Bf4 block the pawn and Bh4 leads g5, which is fine since he isn't castled. 12. N4g3 Nf6 The knight on g3 now covers e4 and supports f5. 13. f4 Bf5 14. Nxf5 gxf5 The bishop on f5 was too strong - it was supporting e4, and attacking down to c2. I had to trade and make a new plan. I guess if I had castled queenside, I could have played h3 and g4 to remove the bishop. Now my bishop is blocked in and I have to look for a way to get it to a better spot. 15. Ng3 Ne4 16. Qb4 Nd6 Now tne b7 pawn is also under attack. Taking the knight would have given him a protected passed pawn on the "4th rank" which would be quite powerful. He doesn't want to trade his better knight for my weaker one anyway 17. Rae1 h5 The rook on e1 covers a lot down the e file. I also looked at playing b3 with and eventual c4 to attack, but it looked slow and it didn't have a clear followup 18. Ne2 a5 Okay, so h4 and h3 are coming shortly. Also Ne4 is also coming soon. He'll want to bring his other rook onto g8 as well. I want to get my knight to e5 via c1 and d3. There, my knight will be equally as powerful. 19. Qd2 h4 Any other queen moves took the queen out of the game. I also had to watch Nc4 and Ne4 as Nc4 attack the e3 Bishop as well. Qd2 was a good central spot. 20. Nc1 Nc4 21. Qd3 Nd6 He attacked, but retreated without any benefit for either side. He certainly wasn't going to take my crap bishop. Btw, 22. Nxb2 Qxf5+ 22. Bd2 b5 I have to get the bishop to a better diagonal. Somehow the a3-f8 diagonal was my goal. With b5 he gets more space, but his a5 pawn now need protecting. The c6 pawn is also now weaker. With most pawn moves, you gain something, but give up something as well. 23. Qe3 Ne4 Qe3 threatens Qe6+ and give the spot of d3 for me. 24. Nd3 Rh6 Still continuing with my knight plan. I think with Rh6, he was trying to bring is Queen over to g8 or f8… or bring his other rook over eventually too 25. Ne5+ Bxe5 He is forced to take because the c6 pawn is hanging. 26. fxe5 Rh5 Okay, so I've gotten the f file open again. Rh5 is forced because of the dual attack on the f5 pawn by the rook and the black rook itself. 27. Rf3 e6 Although his rook is a weird spot on h6, it was safe from an reasonable attacks. 27. Qf3 Qh8 gains nothing while the d2 bishop is hanging. Rf3 prevents h3. 28. Qd3 Qe7 At this point, I realized I had no clear plan. I couldn't find an effective way to get my pieces moving. Pretty soon, he would regroup his pieces and they would start bearing down on my king. His knight was overwhelmingly better than my bishop and I would be completely defensive.

29. Rxe4 dxe4 The big sacrifice. This is the first time I've sacrified only for positional benefits. I noticed since his f pawn was pinned, I could get a knight and a pawn for the rook. I would break up his center and would be on the offensive. 30. Qxe4 Ra6 With black's a5 and c6 pawns hanging, both needed protecting. Now his rooks are completely uncoordinated and rather defensive. 31. Qe1 b4 I have to maintain the offensive and not let him have a chance to regroup. Now I attack a5. 31…a4 protects the pawn but allows Bb4 32. c3 Rb6 I maintain the pressure to attack the pawn and get an active bishop. 32…c5 may have been slightly better for him. 33. cxb4 axb4 34. Rb3 Qa7 I thought I would win a pawn, but nope… Now I have to watch my d4 pawn because it would be unprotected with check if his rook moves. 35. a3 bxa3 The best continuation. Black taking is forced 36. Rxa3 Ra6 37. Qe3 Rxa3 Qe3 protects d4 and the a3 Rook. After the rook trade, the new A pawn blocks the file 38. bxa3 Qa4 Black threatens Qd1+. 39. h3 Qd1+ I played h3 giving my king a space and preventing black playing h3. Now I can play h3 though. When his knight was around, playing h3 would have given him g3. 40. Kh2 Qf1 Black is eyeing f2 for g3, and/or f4. His queen getting to g3 was dangerous.

41. d5 cxd5 I was looking at some sort of way to attack, but still needed to cover f2 and f4. I also saw with my pawn on e5 and his on e6, it sorta boxed his king in, so I thought if I could check him on b7, that would be great. Then I saw that playing d5 allowed my queen to go to a7, plus another problem. What's another pawn sacrifice if i can get my queen back there. Another move for black, such as Qa6, allows me to play 42. d6 instead giving me a very powerful protected passed pawn. His queen would be stuck on the defensive for several moves, while is rook is out in limbo. Still in hindsight is was probably better. 42. Qa7+ Kg6 Any other king move for him is futile. At this point I didn't see a clear win, but I knew I would win the pawn back as well as secure a draw. However, with a draw, I knew we would lose the match as a team because the other 3 games were long finished. A win and we would advance 43. Qe7 Qe2 Now I threaten, Qxe7 or Qf7+. Threatened was also 44. Qf7+ Kh7 45. Qg7+ Kh8 46. Qxh5 since h6 is covered by my bishop 44. Qxe6+ Kh7 45. Qf7+ Kh8 Now I see an obvious draw, but I didn't see a win…. Until….. 46. Bc3 f4 Ut oh for black. 47. e6 is mate and his rook also needs protection. Black also has no checks. 47. e6+ Re5 48. Qf6+ Kg8 Simple move to win a rook 49. Bxe5 f3 Now I have mate on f7, g8 & h8! 50. Qg7#

1. e4 d6 2. d4 g6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Bg7 5. Qd2 c6 6. Bc4 Nxe4 7. Bxf7+ Kxf7 8. Nxe4 Qf8 9. Ne2 Nd7 10. O-O h6 11. Be3 d5 12. N4g3 Nf6 13. f4 Bf5 14. Nxf5 gxf5 15. Ng3 Ne4 16. Qb4 Nd6 17. Rae1 h5 18. Ne2 a5 19. Qd2 h4 20. Nc1 Nc4 21. Qd3 Nd6 22. Bd2 b5 23. Qe3 Ne4 24. Nd3 Rh6 25. Ne5+ Bxe5 26. fxe5 Rh5 27. Rf3 e6 28. Qd3 Qe7 29. Rxe4 dxe4 30. Qxe4 Ra6 31. Qe1 b4 32. c3 Rb6 33. cxb4 axb4 34. Rb3 Qa7 35. a3 bxa3 36. Rxa3 Ra6 37. Qe3 Rxa3 38. bxa3 Qa4 39. h3 Qd1+ 40. Kh2 Qf1 41. d5 cxd5 42. Qa7+ Kg6 43. Qe7 Qe2 44. Qxe6+ Kh7 45. Qf7+ Kh8 46. Bc3 f4 47. e6+ Re5 48. Qf6+ Kg8 49. Bxe5 f3 50. Qg7#

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