Chess: A nice sacrifice

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The Independent Culture
TEMPORARY sacrifices, where the sacrificer has a guaranteed return of investment with profit, are not, from a purist's perspective, truly sacrifices at all. The absence of risk, however, only mildly dilutes their entertainment value, especially when the piece not really sacrificed is a queen as in today's games, both from recent events.

The first is a speed game from the recent Monaco tournament. Yasser Seirawan is a specialist in the Caro- Kann Defence, but he still managed to make a huge oversight in one of its sharpest lines against John Nunn. Black's 11 . . . Nh6? and 12 . . . Nxd4?? must have been played expecting 14. Ke2 Nf5 when Black's attack is good value for the rook. Instead, 14. Qxf3] killed him. 15 . . . Ke7 16. Bg5 would be mate, so Black had to return the queen emerging a rook behind in an endgame. The last half-dozen moves were unnecessary, but it's hard to resign before move 20.

White: Nunn

Black: Seirawan

1 e4 c6 12 Nxg6 Nxd4 2 d5 d5 13 Nxh8 Nf3+ 3 e5 Bf5 14 Qxf3 gxf3 4 Nc3 e6 15 Bb5+ Qd7 5 g4 Bg6 16 Bxd7+ Kxd7 6 Nge2 c5 17 Bxh6 gxh6 7 h4 h5 18 Ng6 h5 8 Nf4 Nc6 19 Rh3 Bh6 9 Nxg6 fxg6 20 Rxf3 Rg8 10 Ne2 hxg4 21 Rf7+ 11 Nf4 Nh6

The second game comes from the current tournament in Reykjavik. Dharshan Kumaran, the runner-up in last year's British Championship, caused his Greek opponent great problems with the unusual 7 . . . Ng4]? a cheeky move carrying the threat of Qf6. White's reply seemed only to tangle his position, and he made things worse by going pawn-hunting with his queen, but his defeat only became certain when he allowed 22 . . . e3+. His reasoning must have been that after 23. Qf3 Black had to do something about his attacked queen, but with d5 and g2 prone to a knight fork, the logic fell apart. After the black pawn promotes, White must either let the new queen live or lose his own, remaining a piece behind in either case.

White: Skembris

Black: Kumaran

1 c4 e5 14 Qxc7 Bd7 2 Nc3 Nf6 15 Qc3 Qh5 3 Nf3 Nc6 16 Qe3 Nd5 4 g3 Bb4 17 Qf2 Nb4 5 Nd5 e4 18 0-0 Bxh3 6 Nxb4 Nxb4 19 a3 Bxg2 7 Nd4 Ng4 20 Kxg2 Nc2 8 f4 0-0 21 Rb1 Qd5 9 Nc2 Nxc2+ 22 b3 e3+ 10 Qxc2 d5 23 Qf3 exd2 11 cxd5 exd5 24 Qxd5 dxc1Q 12 Bg2 Re8 25 Rbxc1 Ne3+ 13 h3 Nf6 26 Kf3 Nxd5

and Black won comfortably.