Gambling on an exchange sacrifice

CM juniortay
Dec 13, 2014, 1:01 AM |

My guess is most of those watching the London Chess Classic would focus on the 2700s-2800s heavyweights duking out in the Premier section.

However, I also find the Gawain Jones vs  Edouard Romain 6-game match very interesting, and am rooting for the former. Not only is he one of my favourite players, my editor IM Richard Palliser is seconding him too. So far, Jones has adopted the interesting strategy of playing the Dragon with Black and the reversed Dragon with White (he usually plays 1.e4 straight up) and holds a 2-1 lead after 3 games (Gawain eventually won the match 4-2).

The FIDE open is also very exciting and I was particularly attracted to the Rd 2 game between FM Michal Paterek and  GM Vladislav Tkachev. Now, one problem for the top seeded Tkachiev is that he outrated Paterek by 300+ points. A loss would pull his ELO down by 9 points and a draw, about 4 points. So how much risk should he assume in playing for a win with Black against a solid opponent? Let's watch!

So there you have it. Big risks and one point to send Vlad the Exchange-Sacrificer to round 3 with full points.

On the local scene, I had also witnessed a similar sacrifice pulled off by my good pal, FM Mark Ong Chong Ghee. When I asked him about his motivation in playing the sacrifice, his answer was "Half the time, my brain is wired like that". Hence these sort of moves are natural to him. However, he added that had he seen the natural (and safer) continuations first, he would have played them, saving himself a lot of stress and time. 

This game also helped Mark to eliminate a clear rival for the Championships (Kashtanov actually quit the tourney in disgust after this game) and Mark eventually tied for 1st in the event.

For more on these ...Rxe3 (or Rxe6) intuitive exchange sacrifices, you can also read GM Serper's excellent articles - Part 1 and Part 2.