Friday, 12 August 2011

3 pawns for the piece - sometimes to soon!

In the 1979/80 Australian Championship, Ian Rogers was running away with the tournament, scoring 9 points in the first 10 rounds, and leading the field by 2 points. But in round 11 he met Pat Halpin's Ponziani Opening with a very early piece sacrifice. Although he got full value for it, with 3 pawns in return, it turns out that this reward came too early for it to be of any use. In his notes to the game Rogers notes "Three pawns are not sufficient compensation for a piece in the opening or middlegame unless other factors, such as pawn promotion possibilities, are present". After the early threats to the White king petered out, the extra piece helped White launch the decisive counter attack.
Nonetheless this line has been repeated many times since 1980 and it hasn't always favoured White. One option for Black is to decline the immeadiate recapture of the pawn on move 7, and instead try 7 . ... Bb6 with threats of Nf2 keeping White on the back foot just a little longer.

Halpin,Patrick (2010) - Rogers,Ian (2160) [C44]
AUS-ch Adelaide (11.1), 08.01.1980

1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.c3 Nf6 4.d4 Nxe4 5.d5 Bc5 6.dxc6 Bxf2+ 7.Ke2 (D) 
7. ... bxc6 8.Nbd2 Ba6+ 9.c4 f5 10.Qa4 Bb7 11.Nxe4 fxe4 12.c5 exf3+ 13.Kxf2 fxg2 14.Kxg2 0-0 15.Rg1 d5 16.Kh1 Kh8 17.Bg5 Qe8 18.Qh4 Bc8 19.Re1 Rb8 20.Qg3 Rb4 21.Rxe5 Qf7 22.Re7 Qh5 23.Bf4 Qg6 24.Be5 Rg4 25.Rxg7 Qe4+ 26.Bg2 Rxg3 27.Bxe4 1-0 


Anonymous said...

Recently I saw this game for the first time in "Australian Chess -Into the Eighties". A great book which I suppose you all have allready(!)

Off topic: A book I bought VERY secondhanded in a shop in Bendigo...


Henrik Mortensen

Shaun Press said...

Yes. This is where I found the game, and Ian's comments to it. My copy is also second hand, but still in pretty good condition.