Last week I asked you whether Chris Beaumont, later to become an IM, should have played Rxf5 in this position against Richmond & Twickenham Chess Club’s Michael Franklin.
The answer, as you might have guessed, is that he shouldn’t, but did.
The game continued:
29. Rxf5 Qxf5
30. Be6 Re8! (presumably the move White missed)
31. Bxf5 Rxe2
32. Bxg4 Rxa2
33. Na5 Rxa1!
The engines point out a rather attractive alternative win here: 33… Bh6!! 34. Bxf6+ Kg8 35. Ra1 Rxa1 36. Bxa1 Rb1 37. Bf6 Kf7 38. Bh8 Bd2 39. Nc6 Bc3 40. Bxc3 Nxc3. Black eventually forces the white bishop off the long diagonal so that he can play his knight to c3.
34. Rxa1 f5
35. Rc1 fxg4 and Michael’s extra pawns eventually proved decisive.
Congratulations to Roger Emerson and Bill Phillips, who analysed correctly as far as 32… Rxa2.
I’m sure more games, at least at club level, are lost by unsound sacrifices than are won by sound sacrifices. In the words of Amos Burn (allegedly), ‘he who combinates is lost’. Of course it’s also possible to win by playing unsound sacrifices, especially if your name’s Tal.