Chess history is replete with audacious game-ending combinations. With so many to choose from, it is an almost impossible task to rank them. Certain ones, though, stand out.
For example, there was 13-year-old Bobby Fischer’s “Game of the Century” played against a prominent master in 1956. The encounter contained a queen sacrifice and ended in a sixmove mating combination.
Then there was Paul Morphy, a 19th century superstar. One of his most outstanding games was contested while he was sitting in a private box in a Paris Opera House in 1858. Despite the distraction of the ongoing opera, he produced a masterpiece of great beauty and importance.
This “Opera House” game is used commonly today by chess instructors to illustrate the basic concepts of master play. The queen sacrifice to produce mate in the end is frosting on the cake. Take a look: [Paul Morphy - Duke Karl / Count Isouard] 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Bg4 4.dxe5 Bxf3 5.Qxf3 dxe5 6.Bc4 Nf6 7.Qb3 Qe7 8.Nc3 c6 9.Bg5 b5 10.Nxb5 cxb5 11.Bxb5+ Nbd7 12.0–0–0 Rd8 13.Rxd7 Rxd7 14.Rd1 Qe6 15.Bxd7+ Nxd7 16.Qb8+! Nxb8 17.Rd8 mate.
Current world champion Magnus Carlsen has provided us with many gems to enjoy. Just look at today's featured game played when he was just 12 years old. He capped things off in spectacular fashion with a queen sacrifice followed by mate.
Game of the week Magnus Carlsen - Hans Harestad XXV Politiken Cup Copenhagen, Denmark
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5(A) a6(B) 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0–0 b5 6.Bb3 Be7 7.Re1 d6 8.c3 0–0 9.h3 Na5 10.Bc2 c5 11.d4 Qc7 12.Nbd2(C) Nc6(D) 13.d5 Nd8 14.a4 Ra7 15.Nf1 g6(E) 16.Bh6 Re8 17.Ng3 Nd7 18.Nh2 f6 19.Be3 Nb6 20.axb5 axb5 21.Bd3 Bd7 22.Qd2 Nf7 23.Rxa7 Qxa7(F) 24.Qe2 Qa6 25.Ng4 Kg7 26.Bc1(G) Na4 27.Bc2 Ra8 28.Qe3 c4 29.Rf1 Nc5 30.Nh6(H) Ng5 31.f4 exf4 32.Qxf4 Bxh3?(I) 33.Qh4(J) Bd7 34.e5!(K) dxe5 35.Nh5+!(L) gxh5(M) 36.Qxg5+! fxg5 37.Rf7+ Kxh6 38.Rxh7 mate.
A) The Ruy Lopez or Spanish Game, one of history's oldest openings, still retains enormous popularity. B) The Morphy Variation. C) The Ruy is also one of the most thoroughly researched openings. All of the development moves up to here have been routinely played countless times. D) Inviting White's next space-gaining reply. 12...cxd4 and 12...Bd7 are most preferred. E) Somewhat weakening but intended to stop a knight from occupying f5. F) After this rook exchange, queenside activity is nullified, so Carlsen can turn his attention to attacking kingside.
G) To allow the queen to access e3, increasing the pressure on h6. H) To exchange the f7 knight so that the queen can occupy h6. I) Cute, but badly flawed. 32...Kxh6 33.h4 Nd3 34.hxg5+ fxg5 35.Qh4+ Kg7 36.Bxg5 only leaves White with a slight advantage.; Also, 32...Nd3 would slow White down. J) Certainly not 33.gxh3 33...Nxh3+ 34.Kg2 Nxf4+. K) This give-away unblocks the c2 Bishop. L) Beginning the final breakthrough. M) 35...Kxh6 36.Nxf6+ Kg7 37.Bxg5 with a mate threat [Qxh7, Qg8] 37...Bxf6 38.Bxf6+ Kg8 39.Bxg6 hxg6 40.Qh8+ Kf7 41.Qg7+ Ke8 42.Qe7 mate; Note that 35...Kh8 36.Bxg5 fxg5 37.Qg3 Bd6 38.Qxg5 leaves Black defenseless.
June 25, 2017 Position No. 4474: White Mates in Two.
Position No. 4473: 1.Re5! Hint: White mates next with: Bc3, Bb6, Qxd5, Qxe4 or Qe4.