To Accept a Sacrifice

Initial Position

D. Dimitrijevic (2019) - A. Campos (1862), BC Senior Chess Championship 2013 White just played the stunning 1. Rg6, adding another attacker to the h6 square. Is it safe to accept this sacrifice or is the rook off limits? Click below to see the answer:

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In fact, Black should decline the sacrifice, though he must still defend against the threat of 2. Bxh6. Any non-forcing move loses immediately to 2. Bxh6 gxh6 3. Qe3!, where the numerous threats against h6 and f6 decide the game. In the game, Black played the correct 1. … b5, and achieved a favourable position after 2. Nxd6 Nxd6. But what would have happened had he greedily taken the rook? After 1. … fxg6 2. hxg6+ Kh8, White wins with the beautiful quiet move 3. Qd2!, exploiting the Black king’s vulnerable situation on the h file (3. Bxh6 followed by 4. Qe3 also works). The threat is 4. Bxh6, leading to an eventual mate; Black can only delay his demise. Let’s look at a few reasonable defences: 3. ... Bf8, 3. ... h5 and 3. ... Nh7. Click below to reveal the refutations to these moves:
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If 3. … Bf8, defending h6 and hitting the queen, 4. Nxe5! and there is no reasonable defence against mate on f7.

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If 3. … h5, not allowing the sacrifice on h6, 4. Bg5! with the unstoppable threat of 5. Bxf6 and 6. Qh6#.

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If 3. … Nh7, the computer’s “best defence,” White still cleans up nicely with 4. Bxh6 gxh6 5.Qxh6, and the threats are too numerous for Black to walk away from.

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