Friday, February 6, 2009

A routine Bishop sacrifice on h6

In a BDG that showed up in TWIC recently White missed a fairly routine Bishop sac on an imprudently advanced h-pawn.

The game went 1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 exf3 5. Nxf3 c6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. Bg5 O-O 9. Qe1 b5 10. Bd3 Nbd7 11. Qh4 h6?

  After 11...h6?

Here White played 12. Bxf6 and the game was drawn after sixty moves. You can clip the PGN at the end of this post and play through the game if you'd like. But the point is that this position cried out for the Bishop sac on the h-pawn. After 12.Bxh6 Black's best defense is probably 12...g6, giving up the exchange, although White may find something better than that. But if Black accepts the sac?

12.Bxh6 gxh6 13.Qxh6

 After 13.Qxh6

 This is one of those positions where you don't have to calculate every possibility. If you play the BDG you've seen it or a close relative dozens of times. As long as White has the bishop on d3, the knight that can go to g5 and the rook on the half open f-file that can sac on f6 or double with the rook from a1 or get to the g or h- files, a successful Black defense is highly unlikely.

13...Re8 Not the best, but often tried. 14. Ng5 Nf8  (This doubles the guard on h7, opening a line to White's d-pawn while still guarding against an immediate sac on f6. (14... Bf8?? 15. Bh7+ Kh8 16. Nxf7# happens now and then in blitz.) 15. Ne2 and 16. Rf4

 After 15.Ne2

13...e5 14. Ng5 Qb6 15. Bh7+ (Gaining a tempo to get the Bishop in position to remove the Knight on d7) Kh8 16. Bf5+ Kg8 17. Bxd7 Qxd4+ 18. Kh1 Qxd7 19. Rxf6

After 19.Rxf6

13...Qb6 14.Ng5 Qxd4+ 15.Kh1 and Black has no good continuation.

After 15.Kh1

It's been said before: in a gambit you have to tolerate a little uncertainty. But in this position it's very little.
Here's the full game:

[Event "ch-Nassau"]
[Site "Mineola USA"]
[Date "2008.12.08"]
[Round "8"]
[White "Mennella, James"]
[Black "Kan, Andrew"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]

1. d4 d5 2. e4 dxe4 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. f3 exf3 5. Nxf3 c6 6. Bc4 e6 7. O-O Be7 8. Bg5 O-O 9. Qe1 b5 10. Bd3 Nbd7 11. Qh4 h6 12. Bxf6 Nxf6 13. Ne5 Bb7 14. Rad1 b4 15. Ne2 Qc7 16. Rde1 c5 17. c3 bxc3 18. bxc3 Qd6 19. Rb1 Rab8 20. Qf4 Qd5 21. Qg3 Ne4 22. Bxe4 Qxe4 23. Nd7 Bh4 24. Qh3 Qxe2 25. Nxf8 Kxf8 26. Rxb7 Rxb7 27. Qxh4 Qe3+ 28. Kh1 Re7 29. dxc5 Qxc5 30. Qg3 Qc4 31. Rb1 Rb7 32. Qd6+ Kg8 33. Rc1 Qxa2 34. Qd8+ Kh7 35. Qd3+ g6 36. h4 Qf2 37. Qe4 Rb2 38. h5 Qf5 39. hxg6+ Qxg6 40. Qf3 a5 41. Rf1 Rb1 42. Rxb1 Qxb1+ 43. Kh2 Qb8+ 44. Kh1 Qa7 45. Qe4+ Kg7 46. Qe5+ Kg8 47. Qg3+ Kh7 48. Qd3+ Kg7 49. Qg3+ Kf8 50. Qd6+ Ke8 51. Qc6+ Qd7 52. Qa8+ Qd8 53. Qc6+ Kf8 54. c4 Qd1+ 55. Kh2 a4 56. c5 Qd4 57. Qa8+ Kg7 58. c6 Qh4+ 59. Kg1 Qe1+ 60. Kh2 Qh4+ 1/2-1/2