Four Knights Italian | BEST BAD GAME!

Four Knights Italian | BEST BAD GAME!

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#italian #fourknights #doublecheck #queensacrifice #brilliant #promotetoknight 

This was a quick 10+5 game of rapid that I played on Lichess. A game that has one of the most interesting endings I've ever played. To summarise, this is my BEST, BAD game to date!

I had the black pieces and the game started normally enough - we played down a line of theory in the Four Knights Game: Italian Variation (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Nc3 Nxe4 5. Nxe4 d5 6. Bd3 dxe4 7. Bxe4).

On move 8, I decided to have a bit of fun, played (8... f5), basically a gambit, and the position then transformed down a line with some similarities to the Jaenisch Gambit, Exchange Variation.

Now, I had a headache (I suffer from occasional migraines) during the game and after (12. Nxc6), I played (12... Bb7) which straight up hung my queen! I saw it almost immediately and was kicking myself and wondering if I should resign. However, White didn't capture my queen! Perhaps they also didn't see it, but it might be the case that they were wary of an "oh no my queen" type trap! I had set up the position with some trappy possibilities - my light square bishop was staring down the long diagonal, and there was a potential rook to e8, pinning White's queen to her king.

In actuality, there was no trap, and it was just a headache-induced, and headache-inducing blunder! White instead played a seemingly conservative move (13. Ne5) - using their knight to capture a hanging pawn and then retreating. However, this was White blundering right back [-5.1], and I knew that I had a massive and fun advantage!

White had a fundamental weakness with their king stuck in the centre on the fully open e-file, controlled by my rook. On move 18, White managed to form a rook-queen battery on the g-file, a mate threat against my king.

However, it wasn't enough. On move 20 (20. Re1), there was a mating net [-M10] (which I couldn't see in game) and I wondered how to push ahead. I did see a winning line with (20... exf2). This would involve a series of trades and we would simplify into a winning endgame for Black. This was a prosaic and slightly boring option.

But I was also entranced with the move that I eventually played, a queen sacrifice with (20... Qxe1+)! White's king is forced to capture (21. Kxe1) and then after double-check with (21. exf2+), White's king has only three legal moves. I calculated that in two of the moves, it's almost immediate checkmate.  In the game, White played the intuitive looking (22. Kf1), which would block the promotion square for the pawn. Except, I now immediately had (21... Re1#), GG!

However, what if White found the one move that didn't immediately result in checkmate with (22. Kd2)? On analysis after the game, there is an extraordinary line! Firstly, there is (22. Bb4+), a brilliant move! Black's bishop gives check and is hanging. However, if White captures the bishop with their queen, it is deflected from the checkmate attack on the g-file, and Black can promote their f-pawn to a queen the next turn!

So, White's only option is to block the check with their pawn (23. c3). Black now has an absolutely gangster manoeuvre with (23... f1=N+)! Yes, the winning move is through underpromoting the f-pawn to a knight with check, and then no matter what White does, over the next couple of moves, we get a devastating family fork (26... Ne3+) and win White's queen the next turn! This transforms the game to an endgame where Black has three pieces (bishop, knight, and rook) to White's remaining rook. Brilliant!

The big takeaway from this game is to not resign after blundering a piece. No game was ever won by resigning, and sometimes, in the aftermath of a mistake arise brilliant lines and fun games!