Tuesday, February 24, 2015
A spectacular game
This is one of my three favorite games that I have played. The others are K.Thompson-Rhine, 1992 and Rhine-Sprenkle, 1981. This is the only one of the three that isn't published in Chess Informant I should've submitted this one too, but I got lazy. It's a beautiful game, primarily because of my opponent's efforts - he sacrificed, or offered to sacrifice, a pawn, knight, bishop, rook, and queen - literally every kind of piece except his king. The cold, dispassionate engine (Houdini 3) tells me that had I played slightly differently (23.Qc2!), I would have had a large advantage. But as "Kinghunt" once observed on chessgames.com, "This is a King's Indian Defence - Black is always objectively lost until suddenly Black wins." Or draws, in this case. Up through 15.c5, the game was all book. My opponent's 15...c6!? was a novelty. I was quite happy after 23.Qb3, thinking that I was a pawn up for little compensation. I could meet 23...f3 with 24.g3 Qh3 25.Bf1. Boerkoel's 23...Ne3!! came as a huge shock. The main points are that Black threatens to win with both 24....Nxg2 25.Kxg2 f3+ and 24...f3 25.g3 Qh3 26.Bf1 Nxf1, and if White plays 24.fxe3, 24...fxe3 threatens 25...Qxh2#, 25...Qxe4, and 25...f2+. The subtle 23.Qc2! would have avoided this shot; since it would have guarded my knight, I could have met 23...Ne3?? with simply 24.fxe3 fxe3 25.g3 and wins. I still thought I was winning after 26.Kxf2. After 26...Bxg3+!, the light finally dawned: I had to allow perpetual check.