Inspiration #4: Exchange Sacs in the Ukrainian Championship

Inspiration #4: Exchange Sacs in the Ukrainian Championship

NM SamCopeland
Nov 25, 2014, 9:25 AM |

The final Carlsen - Anand game must be considered one of the most interesting World Championship watch games for many reasons. Anand's b5!! was fascinating and seemed to offer him chances to pressure. However, it seems clear that the exchange sac with Rb4? was just too much. While Anand clearly had compensation, it was probably not full compensation, and it only took some small errors for Carlsen's pieces to come fully to life. It is easy to understand Anand's decision. He needed a win, and thus he sought to complicate the game. I strongly doubt that Anand would have played Rb4 under any non-match circumstances.

While the World Championship watch was underway, so was the Ukrainian Championship. I have a fondness for the Ukrainian chess tradition. Ivanchuk is probably my favorite player playing today, and I am also inclined to root for Ponomariov. I think Ponomariov's chess story in which he claimed the FIDE World Championship title at 18 before semi-retiring to pursue a degree in law is fascinating. Now he is back, and he is playing at the highest level.

This year's Ukrainian Championship saw Kuzubov and Eljanov each score 7.5/11 to finish in first. I believe Kuzubov was declared the winner on tiebreaks. There were several moments and combinations that I really liked from this year's Ukrainian championship. Firstly, there were two straightforward, but nice exchange sacs that I thought were worth sharing. These sacs, unlike Anand's, came in positions of clear positional superiority. Both sacs eliminated key defending pieces and allowed domination by the remaining White pieces.

Ivanchuk - Bogdanovich

Zubarev - Kuzubov

Also, here are two nice combinations from the tournament. In the first, Black walks seemingly unawares into a fairly simple opening trap while the second is a much more complex tactical denoument which is given as a problem. It is interesting to note that Bogdanovich (who finished with 3.5/11 in a tie for last place) is sadly the loser in three of these four games. Rather a bad tournament for Bogdanovich, but at least the games were interesting.

Ponomariov - Bogdanovich

Bogdanovich - Kovchan