I was fresh off a victory over Howard, which is both nice and unusual - usually, I win against him two games out of five or six. He sounded a little congested; I suspect he had a head cold. Sam arrived at the club after Howard and I were several moves into our game, so I figured I could safely play the same opening against Sam that I had just played against Howard; namely, 1 d4 Nf6 2 c4 e6 3 a3 to prevent 4 Nc3 followed by 4 ... Bb4 pinning and exchanging knight for bishop. Black must find another way to win the initiative.
When I didn't recapture the knight, Howard jokingly asked if this was a bishop and knight gambit. I laughed and told him yeah, it's the bishop and knight gambit. After I had pawns at d4 and e5 I saw the bishop sacrifice but not a forced mate. What I did see was that Black's pieces were mostly queenside and mostly bad in the sense of having their routes of attack blocked by pawns. I figured I had a good chance to get my pieces near the enemy king before my opponent could muster protection for his king. Fortunately, this time it worked out well.