Monday, 16 April 2012

The suicide sac

While annotating games from the recently completed Doeberl Cup, I came across a bizarre opening choice from IM Praveen Kumar. Playing GM Attila Czebe the game began 1.d4 d6 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Nc3 Nbd7 4.e4 e5 5.Bc4 Be7. Now in this position there is a tempting, and yet bad, sacrifice 6.Bxf7+ I've seen this played in a couple of games, and it normally turns out badly for White. The main problem is that to justify the sac, White normally continues 6. ... Kxf7 7.Ng5+ Kg8 8.Ne6 Qe8 and to regain material 9.Nxc7 Qg6 10.Nxa8 needs to be played. The problem is that White then stands worse after Black gets the counter attack going with 10. ... Qxg2 So I wonder why an experienced IM would play such a committal line against a GM opponent, only to back out at move 10 (Kumar played 10.O-O instead of taking the rook, and went on to lose). (Note: In the 2002 Doeberl Cup I had a similar opening against Vladimir Smirnov which began 1.Nc3 d5 2.e4 dxe 3.Nxe4 Nd7 4.Bc4 Ngf6. I decided to not play the sacrifice on f7, as I didn't like the position after the black queen went to g6, but it turns out I probably should have played it, as after 5.Bxf7+ Kxf7 6.Ng5+ Kg8 7.Ne6 Qe8 8.Nxc7 Qg6 9.Nxa8 9. ... Qxg2 is a mistake as I have 10.Qf3 as an available defence)


Bill Forster said...

Happened across this this morning and immediately thought, "I've seen this whole thing recently". It was on the board next to me in the last round at Queenstown. Promising young Aussie Harry Press v veteran kiwi Bob Mitchell. Bob blitzed out almost the whole game with the utmost confidence, not really his normal chess persona. So clearly he knew at least as far as 9...Qg6 (not g3 as you have it incidentally). Just as in your featured game white tried to back out, this time with the rather odd 10.Kf1. I think white had used almost all his time up to here, making for a comical clock mismatch.

Shaun Press said...

I've fixed the type Bill. Of course I was aware of the game you mention, and it was one of the reasons why Praveen Kumar's choice of move stood out. In fact Bob mentioned to me after the game that he had known that this was bad for White for a number of years, and was happy to see it appear on his board!