11 April 2014

One Strong Move

But, is it the strongest?

In the game of chess, players seek to create problems for their opponents to solve. When the opponent falters, and advantage is gained. Often this advantage may be converted into victory.

This position arose from a line in the Smith-Morra Gambit in which White offers an additional pawn in the manner of the Danish Gambit. The first time that I remember playing it was during some chess in the bowling alley. We were bowling and making our moves on the chessboard while the other was knocking down pins. This gambit line never worked against Kevin Baker a second time and it has failed against many internet opponents. Sometimes it succeeds, though.

White to move
After 19...Rfd8
I played 20.Bxg7!

Clearly, my opponent's 20...Kxg7 represents a failure to solve the problem that I set. 20...f5 is the obvious effort to refute White's plans. Then, one of the minor pieces is lost. After 20...f5, does White have compensation for the minor piece and two pawns?

Was 20.Nxh6 the correct move for White? Did White have some other way of applying pressure to Black's position?

There is no time to waste.


  1. I disagree with your assessment of there being no time to waste. It's a pawn sac line, yes, but keep adding pressure, don't attack into Black's extra-pawn side of the board like that I should think.

    Instead of Bxg7, try Qd4, and now ...f5 can be met by Nxh6 (the Qh8+ looks devastating), and if instead Black plays a Nf6, then you can trade down on f6 before putting a Rc7, looks fully worth the pawn invested in the position, and White's real strength is queenside. Black's "weak" kingside is not so weak if you have no true way to get at it. in the game he should have played the ...f5 move and then I like Black's position.

  2. Your piece sac for two pawns is fine, I am just saying why resolve Black's task so early.

    Another cute aspect of Qd4...Nf6 is that you don't have to take on f6 either as the Ng4 is not hanging because of mate on g7, which gives you that extra tempo to either create luft for your king or put a rook on c7, or whatever else there is.