113 ( +1 | -1 ) pawn sacrifice in the pirc defense.board #816347
Here is a great game where I played a pawn sacrifice in order to open up the h-file against black's king. The original idea is from a Kkalifman game which he won against Adams in 1997.
The game played as follows. 1.e4 d6 2.d4 Nf6 3.Nc3 g6 4.Be3 Bg7 5.Nf3 0-0 6.Qd2 Bg4?! 7.Ng5! Nc6 8.d5 Nb8 9.f3 Bd7 10.h4 h5 11.g4! -Khalifman offers a pawn in order to tear open the vulnerable h-file. In the actual game Adams declined the pawn with 11.c6 and lost anyway after 12.gxh5 Nxh5 13.0-0-0 Qa5 with Adams playing for a desperate counterattack.
my opponent decided to eat the pawn and test my skill at proving the price of the pawn.
It is basically a positional sacrifice so finding a hard, concrete justification is difficult, but as far as I can see there is no way black can stop the penetration down the h-file after 11....hxg4? without back the pawn and then some.
I would appreciate if someone would be willing to do some analysis and on our game, and decide if there was really anything better black could have played.
In my analysis after 11.g4! white is much better if not actually winning.
47 ( +1 | -1 ) ...8. ... Nb8 was a mistake. He should have moved c6 since move 4. Also, I'm surprised he was hesitant in moving 14. ... hxg4, or even 15. ... hxg4. You wouldn't have gotten the free pawn if he did either of those, and it would have made the g4 offer a little more questionable. The mistake I saw him make was just not expanding his Queen's side.
That's all I could see in the game, though. I'm sure someone else could probably give a better analysis than I give.
53 ( +1 | -1 ) Analysis5... 0-0 is a mistake; better is 5... c6 or 5... a6. 5... Ng4!? or 6... Ng4 are also better. 8... Nb8 is unpleasant, but 8... Ne5 just loses and after 8... Nb4 9. f3 Bd7 10. Nd1!? Na6 11. h4 White gets a strong attack.
After 11... hxg4 I prefer the immediate 12. h5 Nxh5 13. fxg4 Bxg4 14. Be2 Bxe2 15. Qxe2 intending Rxh5, but 12. Be2 should also lead to an advantage. 14... hxg4 simply had to be played; White's e2-bishop interferes with his development (Qh2, etc.) and allowing its exchange is fatal. As the sacrifice is largely positional, there's probably no concrete refutation of 14... hxg4 since Black has too many options, but White has a large advantage IMO.
168 ( +1 | -1 ) In my opinion, if we talk about absolute, such gambit cannot be justified. Let’s say, from 300 variant possibilities, only 1 variant works for black. In time-limited games, this is a win for white because finding that 1 variant is almost impossible (that’s what gambit is all about, isn’t it?). In a tournament, white may have also prepared his homework doing a research on this gambit, so make black in an even worse situation.
But whatever replies your opponent had took, I don’t think he could win against you. He is just a perfect opponent for you to play a gambit with.
In a glance, I can’t agree that after 11. g4 white is winning. Well, frankly, I think white has been winning long before the 11th move. This is almost as logical as my assumption that white should have win, especially in such passive defense.
The problem or the question is, how good or how much effort required from black to defend the position. And this is what black should have thought of after accepting the gambit: 1) Is it possible to also attack white King? Who is closer to the grave? (remember that black has extra pawn for counter gambit) 2) OK, everyone knows that the gambit was for white to open a file to attack the king. To defend this, black should as fast as possible evacuate his heavy pieces to the king-side (black heavy pieces are indeed isolated).
But 12. c6???? As we can see, there was no continuation to this “plan”, which by itself justifies the question marks. At a glance (no calculation at all here), I think this is possible: 12. … gxf 13. Bxf Bg4!
11... c6 looks entirely unconvincing to me. 12. gxh5 Nxh5 13. O-O-O Qa5 14. Bd4 Bxd4 15. Qxd4 b5 16. Kb1 b4 17. Ne2 and Black doesn't have enough force to break through on the queenside while White is preparing to challenge the f5-knight with Nf4.
11... c5 doesn't look too promising either. 12. gxh5 Nxh5 13. O-O-O b5 14. Kb1 b4 15. Ne2 a5 16. Nf4 and White crashes through first.
11... hxg4 is unclear, to say the least. Best is probably indeed 12. h5 Nxh5 13. fxg4 Bxg4 14. Be2 Bxe2 15. Qxe2 but then Black has 15... Nd7. Now 16. Rxh5 gxh5 17. Qxh5 Nf6 18. Qh2 and 16. O-O-O Ndf6 lead to very sharp games where Black has his material but will be forced to defend accurately for a long time to come. I don't think Black is busted outright here, although in practice it's always more unpleasant to defend than to attack so White probably has an advantage. 11... hxg4 12. h5 gxh5 13. fxg4 Bxg4 14. Be2 Bxe2 15. Qxe2 looks poor for Black.
11... Bxg4 12. fxg4 Nxg4 13. Bd4 Bxd4 14. Qxd4 c5 15. Qd2 Nd7 16. O-O-O is another sharp continuation where Black offloads a bit of material to grab a share of the initiative. 11... Bxg4 12. fxg4 Nxg4 13. O-O-O Nxe3 14. Qxe3 Nd7 is also interesting, although I think White would be better off exchanging dark-squared bishops.
11... Nxg4 12. fxg4 Bxg4 13. Be2 Bxe2 14. Qxe2 just looks bad for Black.
27 ( +1 | -1 ) Correction"11... c6 looks entirely unconvincing to me. 12. gxh5 Nxh5 13. O-O-O Qa5 14. Bd4 Bxd4 15. Qxd4 b5 16. Kb1 b4 17. Ne2 and Black doesn't have enough force to break through on the queenside while White is preparing to challenge the f5-knight with Nf4. "
...White is preparing to challenge Black's h5-knight, of course.
55 ( +1 | -1 ) Relatively best on 11... c6 12. gxh5 Nxh5 13. 0-0-0 Qa5 14. Bd4 is 14... Bh6 15. f4 c5 16. Be3 Bg7, although Khalifman-Adams saw caldazar's line when Khalifman racked up a quick kill.
11... Bxg4 is a standard idea, but Black is so far behind in development that I have serious doubts that it can work here.
After 11... hxg4 12. Be2 c6 is 'relatively' best; 12... gxf3? 13. Bxf3 Bg4 14. Bxg4 Nxg4 15. h5 gxh5 16. Rxh5 (all forced) is similar to the game, but Black has even lost a tempo on the game since his pawn is still on c7.
157 ( +1 | -1 ) Excellent Analysis by Atrifix."After 11... hxg4 I prefer the immediate 12. h5 Nxh5 13. fxg4 Bxg4 14. Be2 Bxe2 15. Qxe2 intending Rxh5, but 12. Be2 should also lead to an advantage. 14... hxg4 simply had to be played; White's e2-bishop interferes with his development (Qh2, etc.) and allowing its exchange is fatal. As the sacrifice is largely positional, there's probably no concrete refutation of 14... hxg4 since Black has too many options, but White has a large advantage IMO."
I couldn't agree more. I looked over my game and looked at 14...hxg4 and suddenly my bishop looked bad sitting on e2 blocking the queen's path to h2. I lose a tempo if I move the bishop and give black some extra time to defend/ counterplay.
During the game I didn't even consider 14...hxg4 seriously since it completely opens the h-file so early, but in fact it looks to me like black's best defense. After this move although white has a nice initiative, I would say he is no longer winning, and simply has compensation for the pawn maybe with a slight advantage. It will take more time to attack the h-file and simultaneously try to beat off black's counterplay.
Thanks for the analysis everyone, and atrifix I am very impressed...I would guess you are a masterclass player (2200+ elo) by some of your excellent analysis I have seen in the chess forums, not to mention your GK record. I would pick you and nottop as the most underrated players according to Gameknot ratings.