Thursday, September 6, 2007

Out of the Blue

Early tactical shots usually don’t appear from nowhere. You lose short games because you are too greedy, too timid or because you let long-term plans take precedence over more mundane concerns. But occasionally it's only about tactical alertness and nothing else. I have always enjoyed this opening trap because there really is nothing to warn White except the hidden forking pattern.

Dobrovolsky - Hardicsay, Prievidza, 1978
1.e4 Nf6 2.e5 Nd5 3.c4 Nb6 4.c5 Nd5 5.Bc4 e6 6.Nc3 Nf4!?

This probably is more trappy than good.

7.Qg4? (Dia)

This move is White’s most popular reaction. And what could be more natural. White is far ahead in development and Black's only developed piece is under attack. Nevertheless it's a serious blunder as was first demonstrated in this game. It's generally considered that White gets more than enough for his pawn after 7.d4! Nxg2+ 8.Kf1 Nh4 and now either 9.Nf3 or 9.Ne4. That's not at all obvious but there are some nice games that seem to support the assumption. Maybe that will be the theme for another blog entry.


In 11 out of the 15 games I am aware of that have reached this position, Black has found (or known) this amazing resource. Now the fork on g2 and the hanging bishop on c4 ensure that Black will win at least a pawn.


8.Qg3 Nxg2+ 9.Qxg2 Qxc4 of Exposito Portillo-Torres Maesso, Dos Hermanas 2001 is no better. In Kristjansson-Westerinen, Reykjavik 1997 White preferred 8.Qxh4 Nxg2+ 9.Ke2 Nxh4 10.d4 and fought on in a long game but finally had to resign.

8...Nxg2+ 9.Kf1 h5 10.Qe2 Nf4 11.Qe4 Ng6 12.Qe2?

12.Qxh4 was sad but necessary.


Black picks up another pawn and White has had enough:


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