SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
The following game was played in the 2nd round of the European Club Championship in Plovdiv. It is one of yesterday’s best efforts. Enjoy!
POSITION AFTER BLACK’S 23rd MOVE
A topical variation of the Najdorf Sicilian (Bg5) has led to a thematic looking position that is very messy. Black has a beautiful Knight on e5 and more pawns in the centre. Even though White has a passed h-pawn, Black’s endgame chances are superior. In this kind of position timing is of utmost importance, and from White’s perspective it is imperative to gain some sort of initiative.
Curiously, White has a trick up his sleeve here. No doubt black was expecting White to either exchange Bishops on g5 or else retreat this Bishop to g3. Instead, White played:
24. Bxe5! dxe5
This exchange on e5 would not make sense if it were not for White’s next move:
What is surprising about this sacrifice is that it actually works, but the undefended state of the Rook on g8 is the culprit! The 2 Black Rooks and Bishop on g5 can not come to the defence of his majesty. Savchenko calculated everything very precisely, and as it will soon become obvious, Black must return his piece, leaving him 2 pawns down.
25… bxa6 26. Qxa6 Kc7
A weaker defence is 26… Kb8 27. Nb5! Bxb5 28. Qxb5 Kc8 29. Rg3 and the Rook comes in for the kill
27. Qa7 Kc8
Not really much better is 27… Kd6 as after 28. Qa3 Kc7 29. Qa5 Kd6 30. Qxd8 White wins a piece.
White threatens, amongst other things, 29. Na4. After the logical 28…Qc7 there would follow 29.Qa8ch Qb8 30.QxQch KxQ 31.Rxd7 White has an easy technical win. Black resigned rather than waste his time.