SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
POSITION BEFORE BLACK’S 34th MOVE:
im Panjwani, Raja
From a youth tournament in Colombia 2004. (Today Raja is an IM–soon to be GM–, while Uribe is a GM). White is a pawn up but Black has built up considerable firepower around the White Monarch. Raja now initiates a brutal sequence of moves that brings White to his knees:
34… Bxh3! 35. gxh3 Qxh3
Black threatens mate in 2 starting with …Rxf1+!
The White King has been shorn of its pawn cover. Insufficient now are both 36. Rc2 Rh4! 37. Nxg3 Rf3! or 36. Rd2 Rh4! 37. Nxg3 Rf3! So White’s next move is the only reasonable try…
White’s Queen defend the 2nd rank. Now …Rh4 will be met by 37.Qg2
An energetic continuation of the attack!
Clearly White can not take this with the Queen as …Rxf1+! mates once more
37. Nxe3 Bd4!
Another surprising move with a deadly threat: forced mate starting with …BxN+
If now 38.Rc3 then 38…Rf2! either mates or wins the house! That leaves only the text move:
So far White has not had a breather, all of moves more or less forced. White was now braced for 38…Rf2, when 39.QxR PxQ+ 40.Kxf2 gives White hopes of drawing. Black’s next move must have come as a real SHOCKER!
There is no rest for White! It is forced mate in 3 moves: 39.RxR BxN+ 40.Rf2 g2! and mate next
White finally had had enough and threw in the towel. A rare and beautiful attacking sequence by Raja!
The concluding Rook sacrifice on the first rank (combined with a Bishop on d4) is a motif that was also seen in the famous masterpiece Robert Byrne vs Bobby Fischer from the US Championship in 1963, though Byrne resigned before Fischer could actually play it!
Black mates starting with 23…Re1+!! (24.RxR BxN 25.Re3 BxN 26.QxB Qg2++)
Fischer wrote in his famous 60 Memorable Games that he was bitterly disappointed that Byrne did not let him make these moves over the board!
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS