Thursday, 29 October 2015

The earliest Greek Gift

The 5th round of the 2015 ANU Chess Club's Spring Swiss saw a brevity in one of the games. White was checkmated on move 16 (unfortunately for him), but what gave the game a particular interest was that Black sacrificed his bishop on h2 as early as move 7. The sacrifice (known as the Greek Gift) was entirely sound, and after the game the winning player and myself went searching for games where the sacrifice occurred earlier.
Theoretically, the earliest it can occur (for Black) is on move 4, as White needs 4 moves to castle. However my attempts to construct a game where this happens (eg 1.e4 e6 2.Bc4 Bd6 3.Ne2 Nf6 4. O-O Bxh2+) just leads to White getting a better position, as White can defend by bringing the king to g3.
Our searching turned up lots of games where Bxh2+ was not a real sacrifice, as White has a bishop on g5. There were also games where Black sacrificed and lost, so we discarded those games as well. In the end we found one game where Black sac'ed on move 6, but that was about it. So the following game goes very close to equalling a record, missing out by 1 move.

Jochimsen,Erik - Litchfield,Fred [D00]
ANU Spring Swiss, 28.10.2015


Cobblet said...

Hi! Since you've previously represented PNG at Olympiads, maybe you know the answer to something I've wondered about: has PNG ever organized a national chess championship?

Shaun Press said...

Yes it has in the past, but not annually. Hopefully one will be organised early next year, fingers crossed.