Upping the ante

Upping the ante

CM juniortay
Jul 31, 2016, 2:14 AM |

The recently concluded World U16 Olympiad (Slovakia) saw Lee Jun Wei of Singapore taking the Board 4 gold medal with a perfect 7/7 score.  He began his campaign in that tourney with a huge hack, beating the Hungarian U16 champion, FM Levente Marosi (2316). He started off with the seemingly insipid Rubinstein French, raised the stakes  with an audacious pawn sacrifice and finally netted a piece following a ferocious kingside attack.

An impressively conducted attack indeed, upping the ante in the opening by compromising the kingside pawn structure, sacrificing a pawn, leaving the king in the centre and playing on the long diagonals and g-file. However, I had this nagging feeling that I have seen this sort of attack before. Yes, it looked like some of the Classical Burn (1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nc3 Nf6 4 Bg5 de Nxe4) lines that Morozevich had dabbled with in the past but that's not it...

Jun Wei in a training match with FM Andrey Terekhov

Finally, I realised where I had seen this motif - GM Pal Benko's Winning with Chess Psychology - David Mc Kay (1991).  Benko had partied the night before, didn't catch any sleep before the game, and made the same type of gamble as Jun Wei...and it paid off too!