Sunday, February 8, 2009

A non-routine Bishop sacrifice on h6

In yesterday's post I looked at a "routine Bishop sacrifice on h6." Today's post looks at a less than routine Bishop sacrifice on h6. Almost ten years ago Macon Shibut, editor of Virginia Chess, published an article on the BDG that won a Chess Journalist of America award.The following excerpt is from that article, "What's the Deal with the BDG?," which originally appeared in Virginia Chess, Number 3, 1999, and was republished with permission of the editor and author, Macon Shibut. "My overall assessment is that the Blackmar-Diemer is: a useful situational weapon -- perhaps too speculative as the centerpiece of one's repertoire, but White does get an active, attacking game and definite practical compensation. And an unprepared Black may easily get fried. My observation of the Gemeinde's general level notwithstanding, there are some wonderful players who specialize in this gambit and they've produced some truly remarkable games and analyses. Charles Diebert (2315) - John Burke (2185) US Amateur Team Midwest 1987 Blackmar-Diemer Gambit, Euwe Defense 1 d4 Nf6 2 Nc3 d5 3 e4 dxe4 4 f3 exf3 5 Nxf3 e6 6 Bg5 Be7 7 Bd3 Nbd7 (7...0-0 8 0-0 Nc6 9 Qe1 Nd5 10 Bxh7+ Kxh7 11 Qh4+ Kg6 12 Bxe7 Qxe7 13 Qg4+ Kh6 14 Qh3+ Kg6 15 Nh4+ 1-0 Purser-Casteel, corr 1982, was another typical BDG denouement) 8 0-0 h6!? 9 Bf4 c6 10 Kh1 0-0 11 Qd2 Re8 12 Bxh6
This may look premature to the uninitiated, but on Planet Diemer such sacrifices are routine. White's immediate threats don't amount to much, but his initiative proves to have surprising endurance. 12...gxh6 13 Qxh6 Bf8 14 Qh4 Bg7 15 Ne5
(Calmly wheeling pieces into assault position. Yes, this is the BDG way: first sacrifice, then prepare the attack. At any rate, White didn't have to fear defense by exchange here: if 15...Nxe5 16 dxe5 Nd7 the end would have been 17 Qh7+ Kf8 18 Rxf7+ Kxf7 19 Bg6+ Kf8 20 Rf1+) 15...Qe7 16 Rf3 Nf8 17 Rh3
(Menacing for sure, but note: for the present at least, there is no threat.) 17...c5 18 Rf1 cxd4 19 Rff3!
White's exaggerated nonchalance is delightful. Material be damned, he's got a plan and he's sticking to it. The fact that Black ultimately fails to stem the attack despite his two extra pieces and a half dozen moves to brace himself creates the impression that the whole thing may well have been sound! 19...dxc3 20 Rfg3
(At last a threat! . Qh8 mate. And it draws blood.) 20...Ng6 21 Bxg6 Qd6 22 Bd3 Kf8 23 Qg5
Now if 23...cxb2 24 Qxg7+ Ke7 25 Qxf7+ Kd8 26 Qxf6+ Kc7 27 Rh7+ Kb8 (or 27...Bd7 28 Rxd7+ Qxd7 29 Nxd7 b1Q+ 30 Bf1 Kxd7 31 Rg7+ Kc6 32 Qc3+ winning) 28 Nc6+! bxc6 (28...Qxc6 29 Qe5+) 29 Qxb2+ [Diebert] Great stuff! 23...Ng4 24 Ng6+!
24...fxg6 25 Rf3+ Bf6 26 Rxf6+ Ke7 27 Rh7+ Kd8 28 Rf8+ 1-0
Who wouldn't want to play such a masterpiece?