Sunday, April 7, 2013

Take a Shot at the King, Make Sure You Kill Him

In the series "Line of Duty" DCI Anthony Gates tells DS Steve Arnott of Anti-Corruption, "You take a shot at the king, make sure you kill him, son." Gates had been honored as the "Officer of the Year". In a moment of bravo, Chief Gates refers to himself as king of the cops. Arnott suspects Gates of corruption and tries to prove that Gates is dirty.

In real life, to shoot at the king is a terrible thing. Don't do it! However the game of chess has violent ideas. The ultimate goal in chess is the death of your opponent's king. Checkmate! To win in chess, you must go after the king. It is worth the risk of sacrifice, but how much should you risk? Think about it. If you can get the king, it is worth any sacrifice. But make sure you are likely to get the king before you plan to throw away too many valuable pieces. If you sacrifice too much and fail, you are doomed to lose.

When facing with my Latvian Gambit variation, my opponent Warren Curtis decided to go after my king. However, the timing of his aggressive action was unfortunate. White's Bc4 was under attack by my wing gambit pawn after 3...b5. White did not take my b-pawn, nor did he back off with the move 4.Bb3. Instead White boldly played 4.Nxe5 threatening my king along the h5-e8 diagonal. Sadly for Mr. Curtis, he could not win enough material to compensate for the loss of his bishop after me 4...bxc4. If White wants the Qh5+ threat, he should play 3.Nxe5, or retreat with 4.Bb3.

Curtis (1632) - Sawyer (2016), corr USCF 89N278, 04.03.1991 begins 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 f5 3.Bc4 b5 4.Nxe5?! [The most popular response is 4.Bb3 but White chooses to sacrifice a bishop to attack the Black king.] 4...bxc4 5.Qh5+ g6 6.Nxg6 Nf6 7.Qh4 [Not 7.Qxf5? d6-+] 7...Rg8 8.Nxf8 Rxf8 9.d3 fxe4 [9...cxd3 10.cxd3 Nc6=/+] 10.dxe4 d6 11.Nc3 Bb7 [11...Be6!?] 12.Bg5 Nbd7 13.Qf4 Qe7 14.0-0 0-0-0 15.Rfe1 [15.Qd2 Rg8-/+] 15...Rde8 [Even stronger is 15...Rg8! 16.Bxf6 Nxf6-/+] 16.f3 Qe6 17.Qe3 Kb8 18.Bxf6 Rxf6 19.a4 Rg8 20.Re2 Rh6 21.f4 [Or 21.g3 a6-+] 21...Rh3 22.g3 Qg4 [22...Nf6!-+] 23.Rg2 h5?! [This leaves Black vulnerable to a Nf2 fork. 23...Nf6!-+ ] 24.Rf1 [Black can swap into an ending with an extra bishop. White could defend better with 24.Nd1 Qg7 25.Nf2 Rh4=/+] 24...h4 25.f5 hxg3 26.Rxg3 Rxg3+ 27.Qxg3 Qxg3+ 28.hxg3 Rxg3+ 29.Kf2 Rg4 30.Ke3 Ne5 31.f6 Rg3+ 32.Kd2 Rg2+ 33.Ke3 Rg3+ 34.Kd2 Rf3 35.Rxf3 Nxf3+ 36.Ke3 Ne5 37.Kd4 Kc8 38.f7 Nxf7 39.Kxc4 Kd7 40.b4 Ke6 41.Nb5 Ba6 42.Kd4 Bxb5 0-1


You may also like: Caro-Kann (1.e4 c6) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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