“You only live twice: Once when you are born; And once when you look death in the face”
― Ian Fleming, You Only Live Twice
Tata Steel GpB Wijk aan Zee 2016.1.23 GM Nisipeanu, LD–WGM Haast, Anne. Position after White’s 15th move (15.Nf3). The Romanian star had decided to play a syle of game very different from his usual solid brand, namely ‘speculative‘. He has sacrificed a pawn, hoping to catch his adversary–the lowest rated player in the tournament–in the complications. A risky strategy, as we shall see…
What Nisipeanu is hoping for is the natural 15…NxN+(?!) 16.QxN (see diagram)
Black must be careful, as 16…Ng6? allows 17.Bg5! embarrassing the Queen. Therefore, Black would have to play 16…Ne6 when 17.Bg5! would follow anyway (diagram)
After the forced 17…NxB 18.NxN (diagram)
Black must be very careful not to capture the Knight as 19.Qxf7+!! forces mate! Instead, forced would be 18…Be6 when 19.Rxe6! QxN! 20.Re2 followed by doubling Rooks on the e-file leads to approximately equal play.
GETTING BACK to the position after White’s 15th move (15.Nf3):
Black brilliantly refuted White’s speculative play with a series of stunning tactical shots…
The Knight can not be taken as after 16. gxh3(?) Bxf2+! 17. Nxf2 Qg3+ is curtains. But Nisipeanu had forseen this and had prepared the clever…
Now Black is virtually forced to exchange of f3…
Now Black seems to have problems saving is Knight…
17…Bg4! 18.Qg3 QxQ 19.PxQ
How does Black save his Knight?
Only now does the dust settle and it is clear that instead of White winning a piece (for several pawns), Black wins several pawns for nothing. The game continued 20. Bd2 Kh8! 21. Ng5 Nxg5 22. Bxg5 Be6 and Black had no problem winning. Nisipeanu resigned on the 34th move.
This was Anne’s first win of the tournament, and she won the next game also!
Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2016.1.26 CM Harding, Tim D–IM Esserman, Marc. Position before Black’s 23rd move. Both sides are centralized, but Black has the Bishop pair…
BLACK TO PLAY AND CRUSH!
Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival 2016.1.26 Harding, Tim D–Esserman, Marc: 23…Bxa2+! 24.Kxa2 Qa5+ 25.Kb1 Nxd3 0-1 The Rook is hanging on e1, while Black maintains a raging attack.