Games: Chess

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Would you sacrifice a piece with 1.Bxh6 in this position? After 1...gxh6 2.Qxh6, it looks as though White will be able to draw whenever he likes with Bh7+, then retreating the bishop with a discovered check when the king moves to h8; but with no reinforcements ready to join the attack, it looks as though a draw is all White can attain.

The position comes from a second-round game in the world championship between Sokolov (White) and Epishin. Sokolov did sacrifice, having spotted an unlikely addition to his attack in the shape of the pawn on f2. After 30.f4, the plan of f5, f6 and Qg7 mate is not easily met, though 30...f6 31.Bd3+ Kg8 32.Qxf6 might have let Black put up more resistance than in the game. Perhaps he thought that 33...Qa1+ would give a draw, missing 34.Kf2 Qd4+ 35.Kg3 Qe5+ 36.Kh3 leading to an easily won endgame for White.

White: Ivan Sokolov

Black: Vladimir Epishin

1 d4 Nf6 20 Be3 a6

2 c4 e6 21 Ba4 Qd8

3 Nc3 Bb4 22 Bb3 Na7

4 e3 c5 23 Rc5 Be6

5 Ne2 cxd4 24 Qh5 Rxc5

6 exd4 0-0 25 dxc5 Nc6

7 a3 Be7 26 Bc2 h6

8 Nf4 d5 27 Bxh6 gxh6

9 cxd5 Nxd5 28 Qxh6 Qd7

10 Ncxd5 exd5 29 Bh7+ Kh8

11 Bd3 Bg5 30 f4 d4

12 0-0 Nc6 31 f5 d3

13 Re1 Qd6 32 fxe6 Qd4+

14 Ne6 Bxe6 33 Kf1 Qa1+

15 Bxg5 Qd7 34 Kf2 Ne5

16 Rc1 Rfe8 35 Bxd3+ Kg8

17 Bb5 Bf5 36 Bh7+ Kh8

18 Rxe8 Rxe8 37 Bg6+ resigns

19 b4 Rc8

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