Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Double Bishop Sacrifice III

Recently (first here then here) I’ve been looking at double bishop sacrifices.

In many of the examples I’ve found the combination runs something like

1. Bxh7+ 2. Qh5+ 3. Bxg7 4. Q (g-file somewhere with check) 5. R (to third or fourth rank ready to swing over to the h-file).

It’s not always like that though. Take a look at Alekhine- Drewitt from 85 years ago.

Black resigned because after 22. … Kxg7, 23. Qg4 mates in short order.

But what happens if instead Black tries to hang on with 22… f6?


Adam Raoof said...

I would have made Alekhine play on; 23.Bh6 Qh7 24.Qh5 Bf8 25.Qg4+ Kf7 26.Bxf8 Qg6 27.Qxg6+ Kxg6 28.Rh6+ Kf7 29.Bc5 is the best I can find...

ejh said...

Won't 23 Qg4 bring home the breakfast? There'll be a capture with check on e6 and then the queen will be won, and I'd say Black won't have enough material for it.

ejh said...

Having now checked with a computer I find that the answer (to me, at least) is "very much not, no".

Jonathan B said...

Hi Adam,

Welcome to our Blog.

Yes I think you're right.

Apparently Alekhine's own notes only mention 25. ... Kh8 which is much less tenacious than your ... Kf7.

I (or more accurately Fritz) can't improve on your suggestion either. White ends up a piece up but Black has a pawn for it - and a pair of connected passed pawns on the Q-Side.

I certainly wouldn't resign this in a club game. Perhaps Drewitt just trusted Alekhine that this position is lost?

Jonathan B said...


Fritz 8, after a few minutes to think about it, "depth = 18/18" whatever that means, suggests the position after 29. Bc5 is

+- with White 1.83 pawns ahead.

and expects

29. ... Kg7, 30. Rh3 a5, 31. Rg3+ Kf7, 32. e4 b5

ejh said...

It wouldn't actually matter if you resigned it against Alekhine, he'd still have written it up in his Best Games as if you had.

Jonathan B said...

Good point Justin :-)

Second PS:

I forgot to mention in the main post that the end of Alekhine-Drewitt reinforces my opinion that in the Double Bishop Sacrifice it's often harder to work out a clear win when Black declines the second bishop.

E.g. see my second post in the series.