I am reading the book  “Combinations in the Middlegame” written by Igor Bondarevsky,  Soviet Grandmaster in both over-the-board and correspondence chess,  an International Arbiter, a trainer, and an author of chess books.  Bondarevsky shared the 1940 Soviet Championship title, and later coached World Champion Boris Spassky.  In the Chapter II: Combinational Ideas I found an interesting motif that I didn’t see ( and couldn’t find) anywhere else – seizing a point.

Sacrifice with this motif serves  purpose of, as the name says, seizing an important point, then having that point the active side plays some forced line(s).

The first example is from the game Razuvaev-Briem,  Puerto-Rico, 1971:

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25. Qg5 – this one move threat forces Black to block his King. 25.  … Rg8 26. Nd6!

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The queen is sacrificed to seize the decisive point. The knight creates the final threat, more exactly triple threat – mate on f7, Nxb7 and Nxc8, there is no defense.

Another example is from the game  Fisher-Sofrievsky, Scople, 1967:

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The positon of the Black king is weak, it gives an idea to find some tactics to use it.  15. Nd5!  The knight is sacrificed to get for the rook square d5. After 15.. exd5 16. Rxd5

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16. … Qa6 ( 16. … Qb4 17. a3 )  17. Rh5 White wins quickly.  

In the game Black didn’t accept the sacrifice, played 15. … Rfe8. Then followed 16.  Nxe7 Rxe7 17. Rxd6 and White got  easily won position.

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This Sunday I played in the local club,  my regular G/90.

The game had the final similar to the one that I had with the same opponent 3 months ago ( his rating at that time was about the same as mine, now 130 less),  the opening was the same. The coincidence looked funny, so I decided to showcase both.

I played White, Sicilian, Rossolimo variation.

First game:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. d3 d5 6. Nc3 Bg4 7. h3 Bh5 8. Bf4 e6 

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Crafty wants me to play 9. g4 here with 0.66, my move gets 0.5 less.

9. Qe2 d4 10. Nd1 Nf6 11. b3 c4 12. O-O c3 13. a4 Be7

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14. Kh2 O-O 15. Rg1 Bd6 16. Bxd6 Qxd6+ 17. Kh1 Nd7 18. g4 Bg6

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19. Nh4 e5 20. f3 Nc5 21. Nf2 Ne6 22. Nf5 Bxf5 23. gxf5 Nf4

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24. Qf1 f6 25. Ng4 Kh8 26. Kh2 c5 27. Qf2 a5 28. Rae1 Ra7 29. Qh4 Rb7 30. Nf2 c4 31. bxc4

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Crafty thinks, that I made a mistake and 31. dxc4 is much better  ( I agree ) – 31. dxc4 Qa3 32. Ra1 Qc5 33. Rad1 Ne2 34. Rg4 Kg8 35. Nd3 -with estimate  0.75.  I didn’t like 31. dxc4 d3, but White just plays 32. Nxd3 Nxd3 33. Rd1 Qa3 34. Rxd3 – 3.51.

31. bxc4 Rg8 32. Rg4

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I am clearly worse and trying this chance.  32. … Rb2  He doesn’t see it. 33. Qxh7+!  

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33. … Kxh7 34. Rh4+ 1-0 ( 34. … Nh5 Rxh5#).

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Second game:

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Bxc6 bxc6 5. d3 d5 6. Qe2 g6 7. O-O Bg7 8. Nbd2 e6

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9. Nb3 Qb6 10. Rb1 Ne7 11. Bg5 a5 12. c3 a4 13. Nbd2 Ba6 14. Rfc1 Ra7 15. b4! – one of the plans in this variation, here it has also tactical ground. My opponent spent quite some time here.

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15. … O-O 16. bxc5 Qa5 17. e5 Rc7 18. Be3 Nf5 19. c4 Rd8 20. Bg5 Rdd7 21. cxd5 Rxd5 22. Nc4 Bxc4 23. Rxc4 Rxc5

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Crafty says it’s a big mistake  because of 24. Rb8+ Bf8 25. Bd2! Qa7 26. Rxf8+ Kg7 27. Ra8 Qxa8 28. Rxc5 Qf8 29. Rc4 a3 30. Bg5 – score 4.85.

24. Rxc5 – I don’t see it too. 24. …Qxc5 25. Rb8+ Bf8 26. Qb2 h6 27. Bd2 – now I see it. He sees it too and again spends essentual time.

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27. Bd2 Qa7 28. g4 Ng7 29. Bxh6 Kh7??

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30. Rxf8 Kxh6??  31. Rh8# 1-0

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I think the time played it’s role (29minutes/19 minutes), still remembering the first game it all looks like some kind of blindness with regards to that specific vertical/type of mate,  chessloser used an interesting word – “chessblind” when he didn’t see the move.