Julian Way shows us some queen sacrifices

By Andrew Medworth
Tuesday 18 May, 2021

Following on from the success of his talk in February, FM Julian Way hosted us on Zoom this evening, and took us through a couple of classic games involving queen sacrifices, by the Russian Grandmaster Vadim Zvjaginsev.

The second of the games is very famous, the so-called “Pearl of Wijk aan Zee 1995”, but I wasn’t familiar with the first one, and it’s great too!

Julian went through these games in a very interactive style, inviting suggestions and comments from the audience throughout, and we all had a great time!

Julian encouraged us to consider what lessons we can learn about dynamic chess from games like these, and no doubt that is a question worth pondering, but of course such games can simply be enjoyed on a purely aesthetic level!

I include both games below, for those who weren’t able to attend, along with some brief comments as an indication of the kinds of lines and possibilities we looked at.

Thanks very much to Julian for coming to talk to us once again this evening!

[Event "Poikovsky Karpov"] [Date "2004.03.23"] [White "Malakhov, Vladimir"] [Black "Zvjaginsev, Vadim"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "E97"] 1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Be2 O-O 6. O-O e5 7. d4 Nc6 8. d5 Ne7 {A main-line King's Indian position, albeit via an unusual move order.} 9. Nd2 a5 10. a3 Bd7 11. b3 c6 12. Bb2 Qb6 13. dxc6 bxc6 14. Na4 Qc7 15. c5 d5 16. Nb6 Rad8 17. Bc3 Nxe4 18. Nxe4 dxe4 19. Bxa5 Nf5 20. Nc4 Qb8 21. Bxd8 Rxd8 22. b4 Be6 23. Qe1 Nd4 {A powerful knight, which seems at least the equal of the f1 rook for the time being!} 24. Na5 Qc8 25. Rd1 Bh6 26. Kh1 Bf4 {Storm clouds are starting to gather around the White king; White's continued queenside manoeuvring seems to be asking for trouble!} 27. a4 (27. g3 Bg5 28. h4 Bh6 $17 {is an instructive line: White's kingside pawns have been tempted forwards, leaving serious weaknesses in their wake. Black has excellent attacking chances.}) 27... Bd5 $1 28. Bc4 Nf3 $1 {Very nice - the knight cannot be taken! } (28... Qh3 $2 {doesn't work} 29. gxh3 $18 {and Black has no follow-up}) 29. Qe2 (29. gxf3 $2 Qh3 {is mate next move}) 29... Nxh2 30. Bxd5 cxd5 31. f3 Nxf1 32. Rxf1 e3 33. c6 d4 34. Rd1 Bg3 {Preventing g4 and establishing a powerul kingside clamp on the dark squares.} (34... Qf5 35. g4 {gives White some defensive chances, though Black is still completely winning after something like} Qf6 36. Kg1 Qh4 37. c7 Rc8 38. Rc1 d3 39. Qg2 e2 $19) 35. f4 e4 $1 { There was a pawn on offer, but rolling the central pawns is very powerful.} ( 35... exf4 $19 {is also very good for Black, it has to be said, but would we have got as good a finish as in the game?}) 36. Nb3 d3 37. Qxe3 Qg4 {With the White queen deflected from g4, her Black counterpart penetrates with decisive effect.} 38. Rb1 Qh4+ 39. Kg1 Qh2+ 40. Kf1 Qh1+ 41. Qg1 e3 $3 {This is forced mate, but whether this counts as a queen sacrifice we will leave to the philosophers - either way, it's a fantastic motif!} (41... Qxg1+ 42. Kxg1 e3 $19 {is also winning, but much less efficient.}) 42. Qxh1 e2+ 43. Kg1 d2 { Here White understandably resigned - White's queen is a fairly pitiful piece, and Black is about to gain a rather more effective one!} 0-1
[Event "Wijk aan Zee"] [Date "1995.01.??"] [White "Cifuentes Parada, Roberto"] [Black "Zvjaginsev, Vadim"] [Result "0-1"] [ECO "D45"] {This is a more famous example, which some of us had seen before - but there is certainly no harm in looking at it again!} 1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 d5 3. c4 Nf6 4. Nc3 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. Qc2 b6 7. Be2 Bb7 8. O-O Be7 9. Rd1 O-O 10. e4 dxe4 11. Nxe4 Qc7 12. Nc3 c5 13. d5 exd5 14. cxd5 a6 15. Nh4 g6 16. Bh6 Rfe8 17. Qd2 Bd6 18. g3 b5 19. Bf3 b4 20. Ne2 Ne4 21. Qc2 Ndf6 22. Ng2 Qd7 23. Ne3 Rad8 24. Bg2 $2 {A mistake, but we should be glad, as now the fireworks start!} Nxf2 $1 25. Kxf2 Rxe3 $1 26. Bxe3 Ng4+ 27. Kf3 Nxh2+ 28. Kf2 Ng4+ 29. Kf3 Qe6 $1 {A difficult move to spot - the d-pawn is pinned!} 30. Bf4 Re8 $1 (30... Bxd5+ $2 {is tempting, but would sell Black's position short} 31. Rxd5 Qxd5+ 32. Qe4 Qxe4+ 33. Kxe4 f5+ 34. Kf3 Be5 $17 {Black is still doing well, but the White king has survived.}) 31. Qc4 {Here it comes...} Qe3+ $3 32. Bxe3 Rxe3+ 33. Kxg4 Bc8+ 34. Kg5 h6+ $1 (34... Kg7 {would not be as strong: White avoids immediate mate} 35. Qg4 Re5+ 36. Kf4 Rxe2+ 37. Kf3 Bxg4+ 38. Kxg4 Rxg2 $19) 35. Kxh6 (35. Kf6 Be7#) (35. Kh4 Be7#) 35... Re5 {and White resigned as he cannot stop both . ..Rh5# and ...Bf8#. Wow!} 0-1