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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Queen 'Sacrifice' in the Opening

Before playing over this recent Internet Blitz game (played at 5/3), you should be aware of the following ideas. After the moves 1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bg5 Nbd7 arriving at the following position:
I wonder how many players are aware that this position is not really so simple and that Black’s last move was actually a trap?  It appears that White can win a P because the f6N is pinned and Black’s d-Pawn is insufficiently protected. Thus:  5.cxd5 exd5 6.Nxd5
However by continuing 6… Nxd5 7.Bxd8 Bb4+ 8.Qd2 Bxd2+ 9.Kxd2 Kxd8 Black has won a piece.

It is also well known (at least I think it is) that Black can’t indefinitely copy White’s moves because sooner or later White will gain the advantage. For example, In the Four Knights Game:

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Bb5 Bb4 5.0–0 0–0 6.d3 d6 7.Bg5 Bg4 8.Nd5 Nd4

9.Nxb4 Nxb5 10.Nd5 Nd4 11.Qd2

Black cannot copy this move. 11...Qd7?? [11...Nxf3+ must be played. 12.gxf3 Bxf3 13.Bxf6 gxf6 14.Qe3] 12.Bxf6 Bxf3 13.Ne7+ Kh8 14.Bxg7+ Kxg7 15.Qg5+ Kh8 16.Qf6mate

So what does all this have to do with my game? Everything and nothing. After White played his 10.Nd5 for reasons I can’t really explain, it just didn’t look right. Somewhere in my subconscious I pulled up together the information in the first two examples and was able to apply them to the unique situation his 10th move presented. Score another one for pattern recognition!

Unfortunately the ‘long’ think at move 11 left me rather short of time as well as a pretty good time deficit. The result was my opponent complicated things as much as he could and I missed some better continuations, including a couple of mates, before finally finding a mate at move 49 with only seconds to spare.

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