An Amazing Queen Sacrifice

An Amazing Queen Sacrifice

27 | Amazing Games

There is no moment in chess that is more magical than the queen sacrifice, especially when it leads to checkmate.

Although it might seem that opportunities for such sacrifices occur more often in games among lower-ranked players because of their shortcomings in defense, effective sacrifices require a high degree of precision. So it is not a given that they will naturally arise in games among amateurs. And there are quite a few examples of “parting with the lady” in the annals of top-level chess.

The queen sacrifice we are about to see occurred in the Casino de Barcelona tournament in Spain, which ran from Oct. 18 2007 to Oct. 26 2007. It was won by Hikaru Nakamura of the United States, who uncorked a beautiful queen sacrifice in Round 2 against Michal Krasenkow of Poland.

This game is an example of chess played in the early 21st century between two world class grandmasters. It features a modern opening, head spinning tactical complications, and a stunning conclusion that would make any player proud.

At the time this game was played, Hikaru Nakamura, age 19, was ranked 61st in the world (FIDE rating 2648). Mikhail Krasenkow, age 43, was ranked 44th (2668).

Nakamura earned the master title from the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) at age 10 by achieving a 2200 USCF rating. He earned the GM titleat age 15. He won the 2005 U.S. Championship in December 2004 at age 17. Like many young players, he calculates complicated positions easily, has an aggressive no-holds-barred style, and is a phenomenal blitz player.

Krasenkow, born in Moscow, moved to Poland in 1992. He earned the IM title in 1988 and the GM title in 1989.

Nakamura played the Black pieces.

Here is the game with full annotations from Mark Weeks

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