Chess Puzzle of the Week (104): Solution

A few days ago British Chess News published my latest book review, of Mastering Positional Sacrifices by Merijn van Delft (highly recommended in what has been an exceptional year for chess books).

This position is one of the exercises at the end of the book.

Dautov correctly played 15. Nxb5!, giving him a big advantage and, eventually the full point (Dautov – Hector Gothenburg 2005).

Van Delft comments:

“The correct way to sacrifice the piece, as White remains with a strong bishop pair.

“Almost everyone I tested this position with went for 15. Bxb5 cxb5 16. Nxb5, but here Black has 16… Kd8 17. Nxa7 Kc7 and the position is highly unclear.”

The game continued 15… cxb5 16. Bxb5 Ne4 (“Now 16… Kd8 is refuted by 17. Bc6 Rc8 18. b5 with total domination.”) 17. Bc6 Rc8 18. b5 when Black’s desperate try Nexc5 didn’t work, and Nxd2 would have lost to Rxa7.

Which move did you choose?