Greco's Sacrifice in the age of computers (or "Why won't my computer just let me win?")

Dec 1, 2008, 12:00 AM |
6 | Tactics

The diagram to the left represents a classic bishop sacrifice sometimes called the greek gift. The theme varies but usually it involves a bishop sac and a queen and knight attack against the castled king. I am taking this example from Vuković 's excellent book "The Art of Attack in Chess" and I recommend it to anyone who hasn't read it. This sacrifice is an excellent learning tool and I have won a few games with it. To be certain Vuković givesvariations for the defender which all lead to his downfall. (2. ...bxg5 3. hxg5+ kg6 4. Qh5+ kf5 5. Qh3+ kg6 6. Qh7# and 2. ...kg6 3. h5+ Nxe6+ (takes queen) (3. ...kf4 g4#))








The problem occurs when I try it against my "helpless" computer opponent.

 Computers won't simply let you win after the bishop snags the pawn on h7. Consider the next diagram. The computer doesn't take the sacrifice and fights it out. The easy win that I was hoping for turns into a longer struggle and against a computer opponent rated (at least) a thousand points over me -a probable loss.





So where does that leave us? I'm not going to throw out Vuković's book. Against a computer... if it doesn't take my generous offer of a bishop -then take the pawn and run.