My Personal Mona Lisa

My Personal Mona Lisa

| 36 | Tactics

Just like any chess player, I have my own personal Mona Lisa. Since you my dear readers asked about this game in your comments to the previous article, it is probably a good opportunity to show it now.

I knew that I was going to play a special game right when I woke up that morning and I couldn't wait the minute the game began...  This phrase is the ideal start for the story about the game of your life except it is not true.  The reality was just the opposite.  The tournament was not going very well for me and to tell you the truth I couldn't wait till it was over.  I don't remember anything special about the morning before the game and I guess I was just happy that it was one day closer to the end of the tournament.  I couldn't expect that in a matter of hours I was going to play the game of my life. ( This is another proof of the wisdom of Forrest Gump's mother and her immortal "Life is like a box of chocolates... you never know what you're gonna get.” )  In this truly unique game I managed to sacrifice all my pieces (except the King of course)! I doubt there is any other game in chess history where one player sacrificed his every piece! Let's see how it happened.

(Just like in most of my articles I give you a chance to test your attacking skills, so the games are given as a Quiz.  Please remember that you can always replay the whole game from the first move if you click "Solution" and then "Move list".)

After Black played his last move 15...Nf8, I realized that if my opponent gets time to finish his set up by Ne6 and 0-0, then after Nd4 or Nhf4 he will get a big advantage since he completely dominates on the dark squares. But his King is still in the center, so does he really have the luxury to delay castling?


White has started an attack but there is no obvious way to continue it now.  Meanwhile, Black still wants to play Ne6 and 0-0...
White's attack becomes very dangerous but Black has just trapped the Be3.  What is the most energetic way to continue the attack?
This beautiful checkmate didn't actually happen in the game as my opponent -then an IM and a future Grandmaster saw it and played 24...Nd7!  I immediately realized that if Black is allowed to play 25...0-0, then White's attack disappears instantly. So, what should White do?
The target (Black King) is very close, but what is the best way to deliver the final blow?
Black managed to survive to the endgame and White still must play very energetically to prove his advantage....
GM Yasser Seirawan nicely summarized this game: "Can you imagine a game in which you sacrifice ... all of your pieces? Toss in the promotion of two pawns as well and you have a game to last!"
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