\r\nWhite to play and win!
I couldn’t resist….1. Ng6+ Nxg6 2. Qxh7+ Kxh7 3. Rh5 mate or
1….Qxg6 2. Qxd8+ mate-in-1.
It is easy to lose faith here if you try to do the queen sacrifice
without first playing 1. Ng6+ since Black’s threats along the d-file
are a bit strong.
It is interesting to note that by the arrangement of pieces and
nature of the threats, this position arose possibly from a position
where Black’s King and Knight were on g8, and c6/d7. White’s
Knight was on d5. The position may have played 1…Ne5
attacking white’s Bishop on c4 2. Ne7 double check and
discovery 2….. Kh8 only move and then the solution above
continues play as 3.Ng6+ Nxg6 4. Qxh7+ Kxh7 5. Rh5 mate. If
the position I mention was correct, can White also win with 2.
Nf6+? The answer is yes, but Black can stop a quick mate by
responding to 2. Nf6 with 2…Kf8 but he will lose his queen upon
discovery by the move 3. Ne4+ Peace…
Yep 1.Ng6+! I thought this was cute because instinctively one would immediately look at 1.Qxh7+. Of coure 1.Rxe5 (threatening 2.Ng6#) doesn’t work because of 1…Qd1 MATE!
What I found most interesting about this position (besides the open lines) was the fact that white is virtually a piece up! The b7-bishop cannot help in the defense of the king. I remember interviewing GM Maurice Ashley and he said that FM Ronald Simpson taught him “sacrifice by verification.” This meant that if you were on the attack and one or more of your opponents pieces were completely out of play, you could conceivably sacrifice the same number of pieces to destroy the king’s cover. One brilliant game illustrating this is Corbin-Chubinsky.
Blacks rooks never moved. It is interesting how material balance doesn’t matter when you have certain attacking situations. Corbin is a attacking maniac anyway, but this game was special. Ashley pointed out in the interview that sometimes a player will sacrifice a pawn or piece and then waste the initiative in trying to get it back. Then why sack the piece in the first place?? 😕
Incidentally, this position is one of the “level 20” problems on CT-Art (levels go from 10 to 90). I wonder where this position first appeared, do you know what game it is from (if any)?
I don’t know the origin of the game, but it was in an old tactics book with hundreds of positions. Apparently it is a popular problem.