Saturday 16 June 2007

Take My Rooks

Take My Rooks is the title of one of the more enjoyable chess books in my collection. It was written by Yasser Seirawan and Nikolay Minev and dealt with double rook sacrifices. One of the games that appeared in the introduction to the book was the celebrated (at least by some) game Steel v Amateur, Calcutta, 1886.
In fact this wasn't my first sighting of this game as it had appeared in "Opening Traps", and excellent column written by Don Keast for Chess in Australia in the 1970's. But I had mislaid my copy of the magazine and had to wait until "Take my Rooks" before discovering it again.
Here is the game, with the notes I produced for it for the December 1999 issue of Australian Chess Forum.

Steel - Amateur [C25]
Calcutta, 1886

1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 exf4 4.d4 Qh4+ 5.Ke2 d5 6.exd5 Bg4+ 7.Nf3 0-0-0 [7...Bxf3+ 8.gxf3 Nce7³] 8.dxc6 Bc5 9.cxb7+!? [9.Qe1 is considered to be better] 9...Kb8 10.Nb5 Nf6 [10...Bxf3+ 11.gxf3 Nf6 (Lasker-Shipley 1893) Black hopes that the exposed position of the White king provides compensation for the sacrificed material] 11.c3 [The incredibley brave 11.Kd3 forces Black to decide where his pieces should go. Possibly best (but by no means definitely) is 11...Qh5 12.c3 Ne4! 13.Qe2 Qg6 14.Qxe4 Bf5 15.Qxf5 Qxf5+ 16.Kd2±] 11...Rhe8+ Still theory, although not when this game was played. 12.Kd3 Bf5+ 13.Kc4 Be6+ 14.Kxc5 White has grabbed two pieces but his King is very exposed. Black now tries to trap the errant monarch. 14...a5! 15.Nxc7! [15.Nxh4 Ne4+ 16.Kc6 Bd5#] 15...Qh5+(D)
[16.d5 is equally wild but ultimately better for Black 16...Kxc7 17.Bxf4+ Kxb7 18.Qb3+ Ka8 19.c4 Bxd5 20.Ng5 (20.Ne5 Rxe5! 21.Bxe5 Qxe5 22.cxd5 Ne4+ 23.Kc6 Qe8+ 24.Kb6 Rb8+ 25.Kxa5 Qd8+ 26.Ka4 Nc5+ 27.Ka3 Qa5+ 28.Qa4 Qxa4#) 20...Qg4! (20...Ne4+ 21.Kb6 Rb8+ 22.Bxb8 Rxb8+ 23.Kc7 Rb7+ (23...Rxb3?? is a huge mistake 24.axb3 and nothing can prevent the mate!) 24.Qxb7+ Bxb7 25.Nxe4 Bxe4 and Black must be better based on his lead in development.; 21.Qg3 Qf5!-+] 16...Nd7+ [16...Qxd1? 17.Nc6+ Kxc7 (17...Kxb7? 18.Nxd8+ Rxd8 19.Ba6+ Kxc7 20.Bxf4+ Kd7 21.Rhxd1+-) 18.Bxf4+ Kxb7 19.Nxa5+ Ka8 20.Rxd1+-] 17.Kb5 Qxd1 18.Bxf4?? [Obviously keen to sacrifice more material White overlooks a simpler winning line. 18.Nxd7+ Ka7 (18...Rxd7 19.Bxf4 Qxa1 20.Kb6! forces mate; 18...Kxb7 19.Nc5+ Ka7 20.Nxe8 Rxe8 21.Kxa5+-) 19.Nc5 Re7 20.Kc6 Rxc7+ 21.Kxc7 Rb8+-] 18...Qxa1 19.Ka6! with the threat of mate 19...Nxe5 20.Nxe8 f6 [Black misses 20...Rd5 21.Bxe5+ Rxe5 22.dxe5 Qxb2-+] 21.dxe5 f5 22.Be3! Rxe8 [22...Qxf1+? 23.Rxf1 Bc4+ 24.Kb6 Rxe8 (24...Bxf1 25.e6!) 25.Bc5!+-] 23.Bb5 Qxh1 [23...Qxb2! forces White to take the draw 24.Ba7+ (24.Bc5 Rc8!) 24...Kc7 25.Bb6+ Kb8] 24.Ba7+ Kc7 25.Bc5 Rd8?? [Missing the last chance to draw with the amazing 25...Rc8!! 26.Bb6+ (26.Ka7?? Kd8-+) 26...Kb8 27.Ba7+=] 26.Ka7 and mate is forced 1-0

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