SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The classic Bishop sacrifice is about as old as the game itself. The basic idea is direct attack: White (or Black) sacrifices a Bishop on h7(or h2) to draw the enemy King forward, and then pursues the attack with his Queen and Knight. Ofcourse, there is a wide spectrum of variations on the theme and often the situation is not clear cut at all. Every chess player has some experience with the CBS.
It is rare, however, that the classic Bishop sacrifice occur in a game between 2 top grandmasters. Witness the following game between Boris Spassky and Efim Geller which took place in their 1965 Candidates matches.
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 19th MOVE
No doubt Black had only considered White’s attack after 20.Qd3 (20…g6! is good enough). Geller’s sense of danger must have failed him at this point. Curiously, Geller was a wonderful tactician himself and had won numerous brilliancy prizes for his attacking skills. But to be fair, here the situation does not seem to be promising for the classic Bishop sacrifice because of the presence of the White pawn on g5.
Spassky, however, saw further than his longtime colleague, fellow team mate and life-time adversary.
20.Bxh7ch! Kxh7 21.g6ch!!
This intermediate move is what Geller overlooked! Now the White Knight can come into play via g5 and we have exactly the classic Bishop sacrifice. Play continued:
21…Kg8 (21…fg5 22.Ng5ch is the same thing) 22.Ng5! fg5 23.Qf3!
Now if 23…Qd7 simply 24.e6 wins. Black also loses his Queen after 23…Be7: 24.Qf7ch and 25.Ne6. Therefore Geller decided to sacrifice his Queen by taking the Knight on g5, but he could not stave off defeat.
Geller had only a slight material deficit (2 Knights and 2 Pawns for the Queen) but his Knights have no real play and his Kingside is a serious cause of worry. Spassky won without trouble.
About the Sacking the Citadel:
The History, Theory and Practice of the Classic Bishop Sacrifice
Four hundred years ago, an Italian chess master, Gioachino Greco, discovered an extraordinary bishop sacrifice on h7 that often leads to checkmate or a significant material advantage. More amazing still, he recorded the idea! This book chronicles the history of that idea, what many have come to call the Classic Bishop sacrifice, from its discovery and formative years through its remarkably complex uses in modern chess. During the past century, several annotators have attempted to explain the circumstances under which the sacrifice works, and when it doesnt. Edwards reviews their efforts and, in a spectacular ninth chapter, provides a modern classification. His taxonomy of the sacrifice is comprehensive and full of pleasant surprises for beginners and even accomplished masters. This book represents a thematic approach to chess tactics and strategy. Careful readers will suddenly discover that they are able, quickly and accurately, to see 5-10 moves or more ahead in these lines. Here you …
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SPRAGGETT ON CHESS