Sacrifice in the Sicilian
The following game illustrates both bad and good sacrifices in the Sicilian. NM Scott Massey, playing White, sacrifices his Bishop for two pawns with 10.Bxb5 axb5 11.Ndxb5, but it is clear that Black can refute the idea with best play. Finding best play for Black in such positions is quite a challenge, however, and Massey does his best to create problems for his opponent, until he finally gains more than enough compensation for the piece. Desperate to quell the attack, Black reduces the position to an ending with equal material, but Massey demonstrates that it is a win for White due to his better pieces and pawns. This was the top board game from our recent match with the West Orange Chess Club. The notes are based on analysis by Massey and FM Steve Stoyko, with a little bit of Fritz thrown in to complete the lines. --Michael Goeller
Scott Massey - Peter Radomskyj [B66]
Kenilworth CC at West Orange CC Team Match/West Orange, NJ USA 2006
A thematic but quite risky sacrifice that does not seem fully logical following Be2. However, White gets some pawns and lots of play for the piece and challenges Black to a difficult defensive task.
Scott pointed out the likely refutation of the sacrifice in the post-mortem: 11... Nb4! 12. Bxf6 (12. a3 Na2+!! 13. Nxa2 Bxb5) 12... gxf6 13. Nxd6+ Bxd6 14. Qxd6 Nxa2+ 15. Nxa2 Rxa2 16. Kb1 Ra7 and White's compensation is insufficient.
Scott had planned to play the much more incisive 14. Qb4! Qc7 15. Rxd7!! Kxd7 16. Rd1+ Kc8 but he could not find 17. Rd4! (the immediate 17. Nb5 Rxa2! did not look so good, and was the reason Scott rejected this line, though White is probably fine after 18. c3 Rxb2 19. Na7+! Qxa7 20. Qxc4+ Qc7 21. Qxc7+ Kxc7 22. Kxb2 Nxe4 23. Bf4+) 17... Na5 (17... Ne5 18. Nb5 Nc6 19. Nxc7 Nxb4 20. Nxa8 Nc6 21. Bxf6 gxf6 22. Rd6 Kb7 23. Rd7+ Kxa8 24. Rxf7) 18. Nb5 Qb6 19. Bf4 Rd8 20. Rxd8+ Qxd8 21. Qc5+ Kd7 22. Nc7 and White will emerge with at least an ending where he has three passed pawns for a piece, with Black's remaining Knights not well-suited to defense in these positions. The Queen at b4 would powerfully stop Black from castling while allowing the Rook and Knight a more active role in the attack.
Black's last best winning chance was 15... Qa5!! 16. Kb1 (16. Bxf6?? Qa3+ 17. Kb1 Qb2#)
(16. Qxc4 Qxg5+)
16... Na3+ 17. Kb2 Qxg5 18. e5 Nd5 (18... Nxc2!? 19. Kxc2 Nd5 20. Nxd5 exd5 21. Qxd5 Rxa2+ 22. Kb1 Ra7)
19. Nxd5 exd5 20. Qxd5
Planning the liquidation that follows, but this turns out not to be such a good thing for Black. Perhaps 16... Qa5 17. Qxa5 Rxa5 18. Be3 Nb5 19. Nxb5 Bxb5 20. a4 Bc6 21. Bb6 Ra8 22. f3 Nd7 23. Rd6!? unclear.
Going into the line, Peter might have misevaluated 21... Nxg5 22. h4! e5+ 23. Kxe5 Ne6 24. Kd6 and White's connected passed pawns will have an easy time making progress supported by White's powerful King.
Though material is equal, White's pieces and pawns are vastly superior to their counterparts. White now plays the ending very incisively, using the attacking potential of the opposite-colored Bishops to his advantage and creating threats on both wings to take home the full point.
27. a4! gets those doggies rolling.
Keeping an eye on the Bishop and inhibiting Black from advancing his pawns right away.
and Black resigned since White now has a mating attack developing.0-1
Game in PGN