Counter-Acting Negative Momentum
A late night match. USA (White) vs Malaysia (Black). 10 minutes.
This is a recent game where the tempo shifted from losing a match to winning it. My Opponent, playing as Black, made excellent inroads with his Knight and Queen early in the game. At the mid-game, he stumbled and then failed to protect his King. At the end, I had pressed well enough to capitalize on reversing Malaysia's key moves.
This was not easy. I want to show a couple images of one turn of events at move 18.
After stripping away as many Pawns as I could I faced the possibility of sacrificing my Bishop and Rook to stall a fateful checkmate at move 18. The first image below shows the precarious spot that my Malaysian opponent put me into.
All my precious offense blowing up in my face! Ouch.
Figure A. Move 18 - Rg8! Black instinctively moves out of the way of my attacking black White Bishop and incidentally lines up half of a combination (Rook and Queen) for a possible checkmate.
Now what can I do? I spent a considerable amount of time puzzling out what I was going to do next. I foolishly tried to attack the Queen.
Figure B. My White Rook to Re1. A bad move to threaten Black's Queen - which will shortly have my poor Bishop on shanks and checkmate lined up by responding with Qg6.
This is pretty bad. I have Castled in front of two powerful vertically aligned enemy pieces and have extremely limited options to extricate myself from a checkmate. This could happen in as little as two moves.
After puzzling it out for a considerable amount of time I chose to check with Rxe7+. This would force Black to expose it's King to take my Rook. See the next image below.
Figure C. Black with Qg6 Black has taken the momentum and I need to sacrifice the Rook to stay out of checkmate.
Figure D. Black moves from a strong offensive style of play to a weak defensive position and then loses the match.
Is losing a Rook and a Bishop a wise exchange?
This only gains me a Bishop for my Rook and my Bishop - but also averts a certain checkmate. It also allowed me to re-assert control over a floundered and badly blundered up scenario.
I recovered by disrupting the threat of checkmate by pushing out one of my King's Castle Pawns. That stopped the Queen. Then, shifting out my Knight added offensive power. After wrestling for position - I successfully gained the center of the board. That allowed me to safely check Black's King with my Queen and Knight.
Checkmate came with 2.6 seconds left on the clock! It would have ended the same result even if I had much more time.
My desperate gambit to disrupt Black's earlier checkmate had depleted Black's ability to protect it's own King.