Not long ago I wrote about an old episode of Blake’s 7 which featured a game of chess that ended in perpetual check following a double bishop sacrifice.
In an old Pergamon book, Master Chess: A course in 21 Lessons, Geoff Chandler gives a very simple example of the combination taken from Miles – Browne, Lucerne Olympiad 1982.
1. Bxh7+ Kxh7, 2. Qh5+ Kg8, 3. Bxg7 Kxg7, 4. Qg5+ Kh8, 5. Qf6+ Kg8, 6. Rc4
Chandler quoted Tartakower as to the circumstances required for the idea to work
“The defending king must be exposed and his pieces not readily available for defence. The attacker’s rook must serve a double purpose; to prevent the king’s escape to the other wing and to take part in the final assault without any loss of time.”
then went on to call such sequences, “a fairly rare occurrence in over-the-board play ….” (a phrase he may well have lifted from Tartakower and Du Mont’s classic book, 500 Master Games of Chess).
Fairly rare? I'll say. I first learned to play chess nearly 35 years ago and I've been playing club chess for more than two decades - but in all that time I’ve only twice played Bxh7+ immediately followed by Bxg7, and both of those were in casual blitz games.
As I mentioned before, one of those games was a draw against Justin. The other time was actually on the very first evening I ever came to Streatham & Brixton Chess Club. I don’t remember too much about the game other than it was a 3. … dxe4 French Defence and my opponent took both Bishops allowing me to mate him a couple of moves later.
So has anybody actually played this double sacrifice in a real game?