Dispersing a storm cloud over my king

GM dretch
Feb 7, 2012, 3:33 PM |

I'm going to blog about something today, so I thought it would be interesting to examine an entertaining position from an old game that I played.

With White I reached the following position:
















Whoa! This cloud over my king is becoming pretty ominous. There no time for castling since I would lose material. Black had just played ...Bg7-d4 (which was not nearly as strong as saccing the exchange with Rxe3, by the way). I continued with the only move that doesn't result in immediate disaster:

1. Qxd4!   Now black has two reasonable recaptures. My opponent chose the one that is objectively worse but much more interesting: 1...Bxf3!?

If you want a real challenge, try analyzing this position before you read on. Probably I still wouldn't be able to find the solution if I didn't know the answer already.










I recall it took me at least 10 minutes to think of a reasonable "candidate move"--that is, a first move to begin analysis with. I was pretty relieved just to find something that didn't lose.

2. Bf1?!

My silicon friend told me later that the best choice was 2. Be2!! With the following forced line: 2...Rxd4 3. Bxf4 Bxg2 4. Be5! (not 4. Rc8+? Kh7 5. Be5 Nd7 6. Rxa8 Nxe5 7. Rg1 Nf3+ 8 Bxf3 Bxf3 and White is mated, ouch!) Nd7 5. Bxd4 Bxh1 6.f3 Bg2 7. Rc7 and White should win due to his passed pawn, rook on the 7th, and bishop pair.

After 2...Rxd4 3. Bxf4 Bg4 4. Bxh6 Rxd5= the game was shortly drawn. Both a hair-raising escape and a missed opportunity in one position.