Thursday 2 March 2017

Variation on a theme

Once you reach a certain level in chess, a number of tactical motif's become second nature. Smothered mates with Qg8+ are usually one of the first to be learned, while the Greek Gift (Bxh7+) also becomes part of the arsenal. Normally it is followed up with Ng5+, and usually this is almost all that everyone learns (until you reach 2000).
Occasionally I've seen games where the sacrifice is played, but Ng5 isn't the best follow up. Qd3+ is sometime the best choice, and one that is often preferred by analysis engines (depending upon the exact position of course).
Today's Women's World Championship game was an example of this, although to be completely accurate, Qd3 and Ng5 could have both been played (as long as the other one followed). For students of this sacrifice, it is worth noting it did not lead to an immediate mate (and White actually chose the wrong line), but it is worth studying, to get a feel for the kind of attack you can get against the exposed king. The follow up sacrifice on d5 was nice, and as Black could not afford to capture, her centre fell apart, giving White a good win.

Muzychuk,Anna - Tan,Zhongyi [C11]
FIDE WWCC 2017 Tehran, IRI (6.3), 01.03.2017

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