An Embarrassment of Riches

Round 3

When I showed this game to Pete and Alex (and Daniel and Sara saw it too), I said after move 8 that this looks like a practice-position.  Indeed, you could practice your tactics some here.  9.Bxh7+ wasn’t strictly necessary, as Alex showed 9.Ng5 is completely winning as well after 9….h6, 10.Qh5 or 9…BxN, 10.BxB, followed by 11.Qh5, and …g6 after trading the bishop is virtually a game-ending compromise of the dark-squares.

I guess my way of finishing the game was more picturesque, and perhaps more poignant, as we could find no refutation.   After 13…f6 instead of …g6, there would have followed 14.exf Nxf, 15.Ng5+ and 16.Nxe6 fork, and White’s attack will just go from there with continued success.  Naturally it was great that I got to spend forever on the clock before I played the Bxh7+ sac, but I imagine many strong players wouldn’t have required such time.  I told Alemayehu after the game that he shouldn’t have traded pawns on e5, as it opened up the position too much.

This wasn’t even my best sac of the night.  My best sac was when Daniel thought his sister Sara, who was playing against and lost to him, insisted she made a good move with d6.  Then I pointed out she should have traded pawn and knight on e5, and then played d6, and sacked the queen for mate, and he didn’t believe it and then got mated, and even Isaac got a chuckle out of it.


7 thoughts on “An Embarrassment of Riches

  1. 9. Bxh7? Kxh7 10. Ne4 Kg8 11. Nfg5 Bb7! 12. Qh5 Bxe4! stops mate, if 12. Nf6+ Bxf6 13. exf6 Nxf6 14. Rxf6 gxf6 15. Qg4 fxg5 16. Qxg5 draw

  2. The funny thing about this sac is that the Be2-d3-h7+ could have been played by me at a much more rapid time-control, and yet it seemed as though I had spent an hour on the Bxh7+ move – by this time, I had felt that Ng5 would have also been winning, but didn’t analyze it as concretely or as confidently as did Alex when he looked at my game.

    I did a lot of analysis which I realized would be meaningless, but the more I thought, the more I became convinced that I didn’t want to go with analysis, instead I wanted to go with a pure, speculative sac, based on the position where I have lots of forces, all of them, and he doesn’t have an active defense or use of all of his forces. 10…Kg8. Yes, his best defense is not an active defense, that is all I really needed to know/calculate. I just had to make sure that the position was more or less incalculable!

    I went with the least concrete continuation after all the time spent, which is counter-intuitive. After your line with 12…Bxe4, I would be drawn to 13.NxBe4, and if 13…Qb7, then possibly 14.Qh5-g4. Black has a whole sludge of pieces on the queenside that aren’t getting out, whereas my pieces are, and I even have that advance pawn to attack with.

  3. In the line 12. Bxh7 Kxh7 13. Ne4 Kg8 14. Nfg5 Bb7 or 14… Qb7 White plays 15. Qd3 and is better in the first case and winning in the second one.
    Computer prefers 12. Nb5 by the way, with following 13. d5 exd5 14. cxd5 with a win, but it is not very easy to find.
    12. Bxh7 is a move you kind of want to play looking at the position, move that really is difficult to defend against.

    I played on Monday with an expert, lost to him once in King’s gambit, he played it.
    This time I had White, he played Alekhine’s defense.
    I wanted to avoid theory and played 2. Nc3, then 2… d5 3. exd5 Nxd5 4. Bc4 followed.
    It was a pretty simple position, but he managed to get a better pawn structure and created a positional pressure. I could hold it, but played a couple of moves that were too aggressive, lost a pawn after each of them and eventually lost the game.
    He also played very fast, it became intimidating and influenced my play, as few times I tried to reply fast as well and didn’t make good moves.
    I had left 20 minutes and he spent 20 minutes (G90, 30′ increment), you see?
    It was a painful loss.

  4. I feel ya. Yeah, it’s a big time advantage, but at G/90 Inc/30 just accept it and don’t beat yourself up over, try as hard as you can not to. I played Shirley last night in some blitz games and won those, but still couldn’t pull it off at bullet, ran out of time. I want to get to the point where I can blitz wins.

    The biggest issue wasn’t your clock, it’s that when you play the game on your clock it feels like you are the one doing all of the heavy lifting, whereas the other player smacks down some defensive move and punches their clock quickly, and tries to drain all the chess-blood out of you that way. I did that to Mark in my Round 3 game last night, and Earl returned the favor back to me in my Round 4 game.

    Sorry to hear about your loss. I think the less challenging lines against Alekhine’s Defense are actually better for White and far more practical than say the four-pawns attack. It sounds as if you did the right thing, and then ran into problems later on against a strong player. It would be a game worth commenting on. 🙂

    I actually gave strong consideration to 12.Nb5, but that is far more precipitous, walking into Black’s camp, need to see everything, whereas the king-side attack could be played with little calculation, it’s true. 😉

    I don’t remember your King’s Gambit game as Black. I’m trying to brush up on it a little here and there before I try trotting it out again as White. 😀

  5. Sorry for the link, I had a problem with the post.
    Thanks for the consolation. 🙂
    I agree with your view on Alekhine’s Defense lines, I could play better and get a normal position. I also didn’t choose a right way of counterplay, sometimes you should just hold your ground and wait until the right moment comes.
    In that King’s Gambit game 4 years ago I played Nimzowitsch countergambit, unfortunately that freaking “chessflash” site died and you can’t see the game.
    I had an advantage after the opening, then screwed it up.

  6. No problem! 🙂

    Well you know that my issue is on defense, it’s rarely my offense that causes it; although that’s just a way I look at it, as someone could see it the other way around.

    The Alekhine exchange variation (you play c4 and then d4, …d6 exd6) is the best of the “exchange variations” in chess, IMHO, so you can try that next time, as basically you have poked his Nf6 from defending his kingside and don’t even have to exchange a pair of knights. 😉

    That was rotten what that ChessFlash site did in terms of deleting our games. I wonder where my games are from that long ago, probably on some computer drive somewhere, but never have time to round all of these games up. It would be nice, mainly for posterity.

    All losses feel bad, but I wonder if it feels worse because maybe you go home and Fritz shows you right away what you did wrong, or did you just know OTB?

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