Savouring a rare treat on the board

Chess Checks

However there are also certain instances when the position on the board is so rare that it almost looks unbelievable. In the game which follows, there are plenty of sacrifices by White but what is striking is the position which arises after the 24th move by Black with so many passed pawns gracing the board.

White: Victor Mikhalevski (2516) – Black: Arkady Rabinovich (2413)
Lost Boys, Antwerp
1999 Slav Defence
1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 e6 4.g3 dxc4 5.Bg2 b5 6.0–0 Nd7 7.a4 Bb7 8.Nc3 a6
This is not played often
9.Ne5 Ne7 10.Nxf7
White makes a new move here and the game deviates rather early from the then known opening theory. It is surprising to see a sacrifice so early in the game.
If  10.axb5 Nxe5 11.dxe5 axb5 12.Nxb5 cxb5 13.Qxd8+ Kxd8 14.Rxa8+ Bxa8 15.Bxa8 Kc7  
10...Kxf7. Black decides to accept  the sacrifice  
11.Ne4 A good move! White has sacrificed a piece but is ahead in development.
11...Kg8. Black is worried about the exposed King and decides to first try and take him out of the line of attack.
If 11...Nf5 12.Ng5+ Ke7 13.e4 h6  14.exf5 hxg5 15.Bxg5+ Nf6 16.Re1
And if 11...Ng6 12.Ng5+ Ke7 13.Bh3. And if  11...Nd5 12.Ng5+ Ke7 13.e4 N5f6  
12.Ng5. It is virtually impossible for Black to defend the e6 pawn.
If 12.Bh3 Nf5 13.Ng5
12...Nf6. It must have been difficult for Black to choose between 12...Nb6 and 12...Nf5
13.axb5. A good move to disturb Black’s pawns on the queen side. If 13.Bh3 Bc8  
13...Bc8. Black could have offered better resistance with 13...Qb6.
14.Bh3 Bc8 15.Rxa6 Rxa6 16.bxa6.
Black however cannot play 13...axb5 as he loses after 14.Bh3 Bc8 15.Rxa8  
14.bxc6 Ra7 15.Ra4. White is now winning three pawns for the sacrificed knight.
If 15.d5 exd5 (15...Nexd5 16.e4) 16.e4 h6 17.Be3 Ra8 18.exd5
15...h6 16.Nh3 g5 17.Rxc4 Rh7 18.e4 a5 19.Re1 Ba6 20.Rc3 Nc8 21.Qb3
White has a strong grip on the centre now 

If 21...Qe8 22.e5 Nd5 23.Bxd5 exd5 24.Qxd5+  
22.Qxe6+ Kh8. Perhaps better would be  22...Rhf7 23.e5 Bxc3 24.bxc3 Rae7 25.c7 Qxc7 26.Qxa6 Qxc3 27.Rf1
23.Nxg5. Making things more interesting with a second knight sacrifice and an exchange sacrifice at the same time. However this time the sacrifice is based more on calculation than intuition.
23...Bxc3. Black goes on to accept the rook sacrifice for his bishop.
If 23...hxg5 24.Bxg5 Be7 25.c7 Qxd4 26.Bf1 Qd6
24.bxc3. White has so many choices at his disposal!
If 24.Nxh7 Bxd4 (24...Bxe1 25.Qxf6+ Qxf6 26.Nxf6) 25.Nxf6 Qxf6 26.Qxf6+ Bxf6 27.e5
24...Rhg7. If 24...hxg5 25.Bxg5 Raf7 26.e5. And if 24...Qe7 25.Ba3 Qxe6 26.Nxe6
Diagram 1
One of those rare positions in a chess game where there are as many as six passed pawns, five for White and one for Black!
25.Qh3 Rg6. If 25...Ng4. 26.Bf3 (26.Ne6 Qf6) 26...Rxg5 27.Bxg5 Qxg5 28.Bxg4
26.Ne6 Qe8 27.Nf4 Rgg7 28.Qxh6+ Nh7 29.e5
White is totally in the driver’s seat
29...Ne7 30.Be4 Bc4 31.Nh5 Rg6 32.Qxh7+ Kxh7 33.Nf6+ Kh8 34.Nxe8  Rg8 35.Nf6 1–0
Diagram 2
White to play and win
1.Rh8+ Bxh8
2.Qxh8 checkmate.

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