Black to play
Karpov - Azmaiparashvili, USSR Championship 1983
Zurab Azmaiparashvili. Candidate for the Presidency of the European Chess Union; in the news a bit of late because the erstwhile ECF President wants to be his running mate; taker-backer of moves; one time second to the biggest of chess cheeses and, whatever else might be said about him, somebody who once knew his way around a chess board.
Today’s post combines Azmai, things that aren’t there and another trip to a 1980s Soviet Chess Championship. Back to Back in the USSR if you will.
I tried an ‘analyse from the screen rather than getting a proper set out’ experiment (see my post last week and the comments box from the week before) on Karpov - Azmaiparashvili. Result: I hated it. Whether my analysis was any worse than it would otherwise been I don’t know, but it certainly felt like I was having to work harder. Maintaining concentration was much more of a struggle than usual too.
Anyhoo, Why after Azmai’s 14 ... Rxc3 does Karpov respond with 15 Bxf6 rather than bagging the rook? Why, in other words, is the exchange sacrifice not there.
I came up with 14 ... Rxc3, 15 Qxc3 Nxe4, 16 Qe3 (I managed to notice that interposing 16 Bxe7 doesn’t work because 16 ... Nxc3, 17 Bxd8 Nxe2+ after which Black takes on d8 and ends up material ahead. Also that 16 Qd3 or 16 Qe1 are options since they both ensure that the the bishop is defended after 16 ... Nxg5, 17 Nxg5) 16 ... Nxg5, 17 Qxg5 (17 Nxg5 didn’t occur to me - although it doesn’t seem to work). Now the bishop on g4 is hanging so why not swap it for the knight (you often want to do that in this kind of position after all)? 17 ... Bxf3, 18 Bxf3 brings us here.
Black to play
Looking at this diagram it seems to me that something like ... f5 and ... e4 is going to open up a diagonal for what has become a monster bishop without an opponent and White’s going to struggle to prevent Black getting in along the a-file. Not to mention that the queen coming to a8 also puts a bundle of pressure on d5.
You’d had have to arrange for that to happen without dropping a the knight on e7, though, so perhaps ... Nf5 instead, offering the exchange of queens. Could be one of those positions when the side material down doesn’t mind swapping pieces.
Not that I could have worked out any of that from the first diagram. I can calculate four moves ahead without too much trouble - it’s exchanges after all - but the position in my mind’s eye when I get there is far too hazy to do allow me to make anything of it. It also stops me noticing things like the pawn on b5 being a little loose. The computer, I discovered prefers 17 ... Bd7 to chopping on f3, perhaps for this reason.
Whatevs. On the whole it seems to me that accepting the sacrifice leads to a pleasant game for Black. I’m sure Karpov would be overjoyed to know that his judgement has my backing on that.
2014 Exchange Sac count: 18