Monday, May 9, 2016

Four Rook Sacrifices in Dragon

The Sicilian Defence is known for its wild tactics. My APCT game vs Robert Sah was full with four thematic rook sacrifices in the 9.Bc4 Yugoslav Dragon variation. The first rook sacrifice was a positional Exchange sacrifice that both humans and chess engines routinely play on c3. Here it was 19...Rxc3 to open up a queenside attack on the king.

Often the battle leads to pawn assaults when the players castle opposite sides. Here Black sacrifices a piece to pick off some White pawns. With 21...Bxf3 the Black bishop forks both rooks. White wiggles and sacrifices one of them with 27.Rxg2.

The endgame becomes a pawn race. Black advances a pawn to f2. White sacrifices his rook for the pawn with 42.Rxf2+. The final position still has a rook on the board. However, White played 45.Kb5 and 46.a7. Black is forced to sacrifice his rook for the a-pawn, or he must allow White to queen that pawn.

Sawyer (2000) - Sah (1950), corr APCT 1979 begins 1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 g6 6.Be3 Bg7 7.f3 0-0 8.Qd2 Nc6 9.Bc4 Bd7 10.0-0-0 Qa5 11.Bb3 Rfc8 12.h4 Ne5 13.Kb1 Nc4 14.Bxc4 Rxc4 15.Nb3 Qd8 [15...Qc7 16.g4+/=] 16.Bh6 [16.e5 Ne8 17.exd6 Nxd6 18.Bd4+/-] 16...Qf8 [16...Bxh6 17.Qxh6+/=] 17.Bxg7 Qxg7 18.g4 Rac8 19.h5 [19.e5!?+/-] 19...Rxc3 20.bxc3 Bxg4 21.hxg6 Bxf3 22.gxh7+ [White eliminates the outside passed pawn, but he might have done better with 22.gxf7+ Qxf7 23.Rhg1+ Kh8 24.Rdf1=] 22...Kh8 23.Rdg1 Nxe4 24.Qd3? [This should not have worked well. Better is 24.Rxg7 Nxd2+ 25.Nxd2 Bxh1 26.Rxf7=] 24...Nxc3+ 25.Ka1 Bg2 26.Nd4 Ne2 27.Rxg2 Qxg2 28.Re1 Nxd4!? 29.Qxd4+ Qg7 [This leads to an unbalanced but drawn rook and pawn ending. Houdini gives 29...e5! 30.Qxd6 Re8-/+] 30.Qxg7+ Kxg7 31.Rxe7 Rf8 32.Rxb7 Kxh7 33.Rxa7 Kg6 34.Rd7 f5 35.Rxd6+ Kg5 36.Kb2 f4 37.a4 f3 38.Rd1 f2 39.Rf1 Kg4 40.a5 Kg3 41.Kb3 Kg2 42.Rxf2+ Kxf2 43.Kb4 Ke3 44.a6 Kd4 45.Kb5 Kd5 46.a7 Kd6 1/2-1/2

You may also like: King Pawn (1.e4 e5) and Queen Pawn (1.d4 d5)
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