Chess Puzzle of the Week (105): Solution

There was a discussion about a particular opening variation on Twitter the other day: Black plays Qe7 and Bb6 in the Giuoco Piano. This reminded me that, many years ago, I’d played a thematic game on the white side of that line, so I decided to dig it out.

This was R James – L Szeri Richmond 2 v Willesden (London League) 1978. I was, uncharacteristically, you might think, tempted to sacrifice: 15. Nxg5 hxg5 16. Bxg5 with ideas of Qf3 and Ne3-d5 to follow, and I later won the game. But we both missed 16… Qf8 breaking the pin because of 17. Bxf6 Qh6+ 18. Ne3 Qxf6 19. Nd5 Qh6+ 20. Kb1 Kd8, when White probably doesn’t have enough compensation.

So, to answer last week’s question, I should have just continued quietly with 15. Bg3, with a clear advantage.

Congratulations to everyone who spotted the Qf8 defence and, as a result, chose Bg3.

Chess Puzzle of the Week (105)

A similar question to last week.

It often happens that you play Bg5 to pin an enemy knight on f6. Your opponent, not liking the pin, tries to drive it back with h6 and g5. You then have a choice: do you prefer a quiet retreat to g3 or do you boldly sacrifice a piece for two pawns? And, if so, do you sacrifice your bishop or your knight?

In this game White, having played a thematic pawn sacrifice (d6) in the opening, is now faced with precisely this decision.

What would you advise?