Thursday, May 28, 2009

Double Bishop Sacrifices

Former world champion Emanuel Lasker made famous the double bishop sacrifice in the middlegame, as part of a mating attack.

Above is the position in Lasker-Bauer, Amsterdam 1889 after Black's 13th move. Lasker uncorked 14.Nh5 Nxh5 15.Bxh7+! Kxh7 16.Qxh5+ Kg8 17.Bxg7! Kxg7 18.Qg4+ Kh7 19.Rf3 e5 20.Rh3+ Qh6 21.Rxh6+ Kxh6 22.Qd7 Bf6 23.Qxb7, winning easily.

It is not often that a double bishop sac occurs in the endgame. This position was reached after 43.Rf2 in my game as Black against NM Mark Kernighan, at the Hamilton quads in May 2009.

Play continued 43...Bf5+ 44.Kd5 Bc8 45.Ke4 Bb7+ 46.Kd3 Kf5 47.Ra2 Be4+ 48.Kc4, arriving at this diagram.

Having chased White's king away from the queening squares, I now embarked upon a winning double bishop sacrifice with 48...Bxg2! 49.Rxg2 f3 50.Rc2 Bxh2! 51.Rxh2 g3.

With his king far away, White's rook cannot stop the double connected passed pawns on the sixth rank. One of them must queen, leading to a won queen vs.rook ending for Black. The game concluded abruptly after 52.Rh8 g2 53.Kd3 (53.Rg8 Ke4) g1=Q 54.Rf8+ Ke5 55.Rxf3 Qd1+ 56.Ke3 Qe1+ 57.Kd3 Qe4+ when White resigned.