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Ok I'm sure there were many refutations to this sacrifice. But this is probably the first time I have found something like this, and considering my opponent was in time trouble it was probably best. What are your esteemed thoughts?
That was pretty nice. My only complaint with the sac was that there wasn't really any imperative for black to capture the rook on f6 immediately, or react to it at all. The rook on f6 looks dangerous, but wasn't threatening anything. Black should have taken the time to organize a defence or an escape route for his king, after which the idea of capturing white's f6 rook with the g pawn would actually become a serious threat for white, forcing him to move the rook once again.
Moreover, black should have taken the bishop after 20.Bxh6 with 20.gxh6. If white responds 21.Qxh6, black can respond 21.Qb6+ then 22.nxd5, which allows the black queen to help defend the vulnerable king (or the queens would be traded off, which would benefit the defender). In the end, black would have been able to recoverfrom the material deficit he suffered from the opening, though his position still looks worse.
I agree with everything you said, Kens_Mom. 23.Rf6 is undoubtedly objectively bad. But at this level one can almost guarantee it will be taken, and as far as I saw during the game this leads to a forced mate.I feel like it was some kind of major chess insight improvement to have spotted all this lol. But rest assured I would hesitate to play it against stronger opposition (although in fairness to my opponent, he was low on time.)
Do you have any thoughts on what would have actually been the most accurate 23rd move?
Maybe Rf2. The g1a7 diagnal can be used for some unexpected queen checks, so clog it up with the rook while moving it out of the attack of the e3 knight. The idea is that since you're already a piece up in material, the safest way to secure the win would be to prevent any counterplay. I can't tell if there is a better 23rd move that offers a faster win, but that would be how I would play in that situation.
Also, I apologize if I made it sound as though there was anything terrible about the rook sac. It sets up a nice trap using a piece that you were going to move regardless because it was under attack. Furthermore, you weren't taking unneccesary risks with the sac since accepting it would allow white to mate. Especially under livechess time controls, banking on such traps to work is not necessarily a bad way to play. There were definitely flaws made in the game, but I don't feel that 23.Rf6 was one of them.