Monday 26 May 2014

The wrong kind of brilliancy

During the so called "Romantic" period of chess history, players would sacrifice at the drop of the hat, while refusing or defending to hard against such attacks was considered bad form. This led to a number of well known games where the loser seemed helpless against the onslaught of enemy pieces.
However it is possible to take things too far, as the following game demonstrates. It is a fairly well known brilliancy where Jean Rousseau plays the obligatory series of sacrifices, and even allows his opponent an extra queen. At the end Black resigns, as he cannot avoid mate or, and I repeat or, the loss of both queens. But losing the two queens is exactly what Black needed to do. In doing so he avoids mate, and as White has sacrificed plenty of material, Black has more than enough pieces to win the game. Curiously, White did miss an earlier winning line, with 11.f4!, when Black cannot survive the opening of the f file. But it is beating 2 queens that gets games published, so we are left with an unsound brilliancy.

Rousseau,Jean Jacques - Prins Conti [C53]
France France, 1801

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