Lure of pawn sacrifice could spell trouble

Chess Checks

Lure of pawn sacrifice could spell trouble

Active pieces are able to combine and steer a chess game towards a winning position. For that it is important to control the centre and not get lured or distracted by pawn sacrifices which push the piece virtually out of the game. Extra pawns do not always mean the road to victory but well placed pieces do pave the path to victory.

In the game which follows, Black queen is lured to the side of the board and in grabbing a pawn, is cut off from the proceedings. Black has two extra pawns but is forced to watch helplessly as White’s active pieces steal victory.
White: Vasilios Kotronias (2539) – Black: Zlatko Ilincic (2554)

Yerevan, 2000
Sicilian Defence
1.e4 c5
The Sicilian Defence
2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4
A bold move by White. Other choices were 7.Be2 of 7.Qf3
7. ...Qb6 8.Qd2
White can think about 8.Nb3
8. ..Qxb2
Black decides to take the offered pawn
9.Nb3 Qa3 10.Bxf6 gxf6
Black is also let with a ruptured King-side now
11.Be2 h5 12.0–0 Nd7 13.f5
Till now though the moves were not the most popular ones, the players were still following  previously played games but here White plays a new move. In one of the previous games White continued 13.Kh1 b6. 14.Qd4 Nc5
Not exactly the best continuation as Black had stronger moves in either 13...Be7 or 13. ..b5
Getting out of the open diagonal
14. ..Bd7
With both undeveloped bishops, Black decides  to move out the light square bishop but better appears 14...Be7 15.Nb1
15.Rab1 b5
He could have castled here 15...0–0–0 16.fxe6 fxe6 17.Rxf6
16.fxe6 fxe6 17.e5
A neat move as it opens the centre and also finds an anchoring square for the knight on e4.
If 17.Rxf6 Be7 18.Rh6 0–0–0
This is inviting trouble as White’s attack can gain momentum. Black can still castle on the queen-side.
If 17...f5 18.exd6 Nxb3 19.Qg5 fxe5 18.Rxf8+ Rxf8 19.Bxh5+ Ke7 20.Qg5+ And if 17...0–0–0 18.exf6 with White easily in the driver’s seat
18.Nxc5 Bxc5
The other Bishop also moves out of the original square! If 18...Qxc5 19.Ne4 Qd4 20.Nxf6+
A strong move! If 19.Rxf6 Bd4 20.Ne4
If 19...0–0–0 20.Rb3
20.Rb3 Qxa2
Black decides to capture the pawn, aware that his queen will be out of play. However things are already difficult for him
21.Nxf6+ Bxf6 22.Rxf6 Rc8 23.Bd1
Playing cautiously. Worth a look is 23.Rf7 Bc6 (23. ..Kxf7 24.Qxd7+ Kf6  25.Rf6+ with checkmate to follow) 24. ..Bc6  25.Rbf3 Qa1+  26.Rf1 And if 23.Qg5 Qxc2 24.Bxh5+ Rxh5 25.Qxh5+ Ke7
A position where Black has two extra pawns but his queen is totally cut off from the game.
Diagram 1
Stronger finish is 24.Qg5
24...Rg8 25.Qd6 Kd8 26.Rg3
If 26.Rf7 Rc7 27.Rg3
26...Re8 27.Rg7 Rc7 28.Rff7 and Black resigned
Diagram 2
White to play and checkmate
1.Qxh7+ Kf8 2.d6 and Black cannot prevent checkmate.

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