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Friday, March 1, 2013

Kottnauer vs. Kotov - Classic Bishop Sacrifice

This sacrifice is always fascinating, but the question is always, “Is it sound?”  Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn’t.  The basic conditions for the sacrifice to work were given in Vladimir Vukovic’s The Art of Attack in Chess.  This classic work is still an excellent treatise on tactics, but because Vukovic didn’t have chess engines to help him, the book necessarily contains a lot of tactical errors in the analysis, but it is still a valuable learning resource.  The problem is that even with the guidelines Vukovic lays down to help determine if the sacrifice is correct, you cannot rely on them 100% because the positions can get very complicated and even if the ‘rules’ say the sacrifice is good, there may still be a hidden resource for the defender.
The following short, sharp encounter between Kottnauer and Kotov played in the Prague vs. Moscow match in 1946 is a good example.

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