Crushing queen sacrifices

by Albert Silver
7/25/2015 – .... or not. That is the question asked of the reader here. Normally, positions like these come with the prelude "White to play and win", and the answer is the timeless queen sac. Not so here. Here you are told up front that White plays Qxg6, and now must work out the consequences. Is it winning? Losing? Neither? How many of the position's secrets can you uncover?

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The consequences of our actions

Obviously White can retreat the queen to d1 here, and it must be evaluated,
but the crux of the question is what happens after the attractive-looking Qxg6?
See if you can work out the consequences.


If you would like to learn more about tactics and great quizzes,
be sure to check out Magic of Chess Tactics vol.2:

Magic of Chess Tactics 2

It’s all about tactical explosive stuff. In lively opening, middlegame and endgame discussions Bremen chess trainer and analyst FM Claus Dieter Meyer again has put under the microscope a comprehensive collection of topical and timeless games/fragments, a great deal taken from German Bundesliga praxis, and in doing so has filtered out many motifs/themes and brought attacking techniques and transformations in focus. In the big database enclosed are the complete analysis including about 400 training questions plus a number of photos, partly taken on the spots of the encounters. On video, Hamburg grandmaster Dr. Karsten Müller has outlined corner points of Meyer’s work and created 14 tests plus 10 interactive test sets completed with own examples. In this way attacking techniques (for instance with material/positional unbalances) and transformations (especially the right/wrong exchange) may be studied first and for deepening practised directly afterwards on the basis of concrete exercises.

• Video running time: 6 h (English) 
• 112 games with training excercises 
• 10 interactive games with video feedback
• Database with pictures and 238 games with exercises 
• Including CB 12 Reader

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Born in the US, he grew up in Paris, France, where he completed his Baccalaureat, and after college moved to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He had a peak rating of 2240 FIDE, and was a key designer of Chess Assistant 6. In 2010 he joined the ChessBase family as an editor and writer at ChessBase News. He is also a passionate photographer with work appearing in numerous publications.
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supreme77 supreme77 7/31/2015 11:19
After Qxg6 follow will happend: 1 Qxg6 hxg6 2 Rh3+ Kg8 3 Nxe7++ Game over sir!
JohnTVian JohnTVian 7/26/2015 11:07

I'm understanding perfectly what you are saying. We can always hope that our human component will error, but what if he doesn't? It's clear that black has many possible blunders here to worry about; however, white has to worry as well because if black doesn't blunder then Rg1 could cost white the game. I'm aware that we, as humans fall short of out calculating a machine. But it is possible for us to draw a game with one.
ivan3ivanovich ivan3ivanovich 7/26/2015 08:43
White doesn't have to play Kg2 and accept the perpetual he can play Rg1 instead and keep the attack going. Black will have to play extremely accurate to survive.

The object isn't to outplay an engine on infinite analysis it's to put enough pressure on a human opponent that he'll make mistakes. White is in the driving seat in this regard.
JohnTVian JohnTVian 7/26/2015 07:44
I'm finding 21...exf3 to be equalizing for black. I could be wrong so let me see what the engines say. Stockfish vs Stockfish say, from the position

the game is played out like this

1. Qxg6 hxg6 2. Nxe7 Rf3 3. Nxg6+ Kh7 4. gxf3 Qg5+ 5. Kh1 Qxg6 6. fxe4 Qh6 7. Kg2 Qg6+ 8. Kh1 Qh6 9. Kg2 Qg6+ 10. Kh1 and drawn by repetition. Guess I was wrong. Qg5+ was the key to drawing and not exf3. If anyone wishes to argue that it's not a draw, then please show me the games where you are beating Stockfish...
ivan3ivanovich ivan3ivanovich 7/26/2015 06:12
21.Nxe5? dxe5 22.h4? Qf5 all you've managed is to give black two more pawns than with the Nxg6+ variation, 23.Be6 Qxe6 24.gxf3 exf3 threatening mate 25. Rxf3 Qd5 and another pawn or two goes...
billbrock billbrock 7/26/2015 05:14
19...Rf3 20.Nxc6 Qg5 21.Nxe5!? with the idea 21...dxe5 22.h4!? (I wanted to play 22.Rxe4 followed by 23.g3, but 22...Rf4 refutes)
JohnTVian JohnTVian 7/26/2015 04:59
All magic is nothing more than an illusion and just like magic, white's winning position, after Qxg6 hxg6, Nxe7 is an illusion. Black can answer ...Rf3, Nxg6+ Kh7, gxf3 exf3 and black has evened the score. If both sides play their men right, the game should be a draw...
LAMIB LAMIB 7/26/2015 07:28
If 20. Nxc6 then 20. .. Qg5 and Black doesn't have to lose the Rook. Clearly 20. Nxg6 is better to get full material equality of a Rook, Bishop and a pawn vs the Queen. After 20. Nxg6+ it is not possible to reply 20. .. Qg5 as the King is under check.
BeachBum2 BeachBum2 7/26/2015 06:46
if 20 Nxg6
20... Qg5
Samuel Le Samuel Le 7/26/2015 01:14
After 19... Rf3 White can plan Nxc6 attacking the queen instead of Nxg6, and ending up a piece up compared to the answer given.