This is one of the wildest games I have seen in a while. Of course that is not unexpected when the opening choice is the King’s Gambit! Nowadays, not many have the courage to experiment and take the risk that comes with this once popular choice of opening.
GM Ivan Ivanisevic (2630) – IM Tania Sachdev (2391) [C25]
73rd Tata Steel (Group C) Wijk aan Zee NED (1), 15.01.2011
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.f4 exf4 4.Nf3 g5 5.h4
The gambit variation, starting with 5.d4 g4 and 6.Bc4 would be at least as risky as the game move.
5…g4 6.Ng5 d6 7.d4 h6 8.Nxf7 It seems brave, although at this point there was no choice as the Knight was already trapped. Naturally, White did not blunder, but is following a theoretical line.
8…Kxf7 9.Bc4+ Kg7 10.Bxf4 Nf6 Another idea was tried in the Forster – Z. Almasi, Horgen1996 game 10…Be7 11. Qd2 Bf6 12. Ne2 Qe8 13. O-O Bxh4 14. Ng3 Nf615. Rae1 Nh5 16. Qc3 Rf8 17. Nxh5+ Qxh5 18. g3 Be7 19. e5 dxe5 20. Bxe5+ Nxe521. Rxf8 Kxf8 22. Rxe5 Qg6 23. Qe3 Bg5 24. Qa3+ Qd6 25. Qd3 Bd7 26. c3 Kg7 0–1
11.0–0 Be7 12.Qd2 There were two other interesting options instead. The Bosboom – Dautov, 1991 game continued with 12…Rh7 13. Rae1 Kh8 14. Nd5 Ng815. h5 Bg5 16. Ne3 Bd7 17. Bd3 Rg7 18. c3 Bxf4 19. Rxf4 Qg5 20. Ref1 Qxh5 21.Nf5 Bxf5 22. Rxf5 Qh4 23. Qf4 Nce7 24. g3 Qh3 25. Rb5 Rf8 26. Qe3 Rf3 0–1.
While the Brenke – Halasz 1990 game, followed with Nh5 13. Be3 Bf6 14. Nd5 Bxh415. e5 Be6 16. Nf6 Bxc4 17. Nxh5+ Kg6 18. Nf4+ Kh7 19. c3 Qe8 20. Qc2+ Kg7 21.Qf5 Bg5 22. d5 Bxf1 23. Ne6+ Kg8 24. Bxg5 Bd3 25. Qxd3 Nxe5 26. Qf5 hxg5 27.Re1 Qh5 28. Nxg5 Qh2+ 0–1. I have looked briefly at the alternative, 13.Bxh6+ Rxh6 14.Rf7+ Kg6 15.Raf1, but it seems that after 15… Ne5! 16.dxe5 dxe5 17.Qe3 Bxh4 Black is fine.
12...Na5?! 13.Bd3 Nc6 White had the option to repeat moves with 14.Bc4. As we have seen above, Black had probably better options on move 12.
14.Nd5! A good choice as Ivanisevic was ready to fight!
14...Nxd4 Interestingly Black’s position is quite challenging and it is certainly not easy to find good choices at the board with limited time. After 14...Nh5, White has a nice combination with 15.Bxh6+! Rxh6 16.Rf7+! Kxf7 17.Qxh6 with a very strong attack. For example 17…Nf6 18.Nxf6 Bxf6 19.Qh7+ Ke6 20.d5+ Ke5 21.dxc6 bxc6 22.Qh5+ Kf4 23.e5!; Or after 14...Nxd5 15.exd5 Nxd4, White simply wins the Knight back after 16.Be3 c5 17.c3, while still maintaining the initiative.
15.Nxe7 Qxe7 16.e5! A very elegant move to open up the light squared Bishop’s diagonal. That becomes especially important if we compare the immediate Bishop sacrifice (16.Bxh6+? Rxh6 17. Qg5+ and now 17…Rg6 is the refutation) with the game continuation.
16…Nd5 If now, 16...dxe5 17.Bxh6+! Rxh6? 18.Qg5+ Kf7 19.Qxh6 and White wins. Also after 17...Kf7 18.Bg5 Nf3+ 19.gxf3 g3 20.Rfe1 White would be better.
17.exd6 cxd6 18.Bc4 Qe4 White played the game very well so far but did not find the difficult prophylactic move here which would have given him a clear advantage. After the direct 19.Rae1, Black escapes thanks to the tactical opportunity with 19….Nf3+ 20.Rxf3 Qxc4.
However, after the quiet and unexpected 19.b3! Black has trouble to find sufficient defense against the upcoming threat of 20. Rae1. For example if: 19…Nxc2 ( or 19...Nxf4 20.Rxf4) 20.Bxd5 Qd4+ 21.Qxd4+ Nxd4 22.Bxd6.
19.Bd3?! This is an inaccuracy. The Bishop belongs on c4 to put pressure on the d5 Knight.
19…Qe7 20.Rae1 Qxh4 21.Re4? This is another move in the wrong direction. Better was 21.Bc4 Nf3+ 22.gxf3 Nxf4 23.Qxf4 Bf5 24.Re2.
21...Nf5 22.Rc4 b5?! Better was 22...Rf8 23.Bxf5 Rxf5.
23.Bxf5 Bxf5 24.Qxd5 bxc4 25.Bxd6! Better than 25.Qxf5 Rhf8 26.Qd7+ Kg6 (but not 26...Rf7? 27.Be5+) 27.Qxd6+ Qf6]
25...Rhf8 After all the fireworks, the game could have ended in a peaceful way after 26.Bxf8+ Rxf8 27.Rxf5 Rxf5 28.Qxf5 Qe1+ 29.Kh2 Qh4+ and draw by repetition of moves. However, White pushed just a bit too far.
26.Be5+? After this last mistake it is game over. Despite of the Black King’s risky position the material advantage prevails.
26...Kg6 27.Qc6+ Kh5 28.Bf4 Qf6 29.Bd6 Rad8 30.Rd1 Rfe8 0–1