Chess Notes

Weekly chess column

The game today is a reminder that no matter how much mayhem and chaos there is in this world, the game of chess has its own madness. Here, for example, is a game from Indonesia: Thanh Trang Hoang, White, a female Hungarian Grandmaster born in Hanoi, vs. Oliver Barbosa, a Filipino Grandmaster, Black, a contest that completely violates the rules of caution. Black airily gives up a queen for a bishop on the 12th move. How does it come out?  We shall see.


2013 Indonesia Open

Thanh Trang Hoang, (2495)
— Oliver Barbosa,


1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Qc2 dxc4 5.Qxc4 By transposition, we have reached the Mannheim variation of the Queen’s Gambit accepted. 5…Bg4 6.Nc3 Nbd7 7.e4 Bxf3 8.gxf3 e5 9.dxe5 Nxe5 Black hopes to contain White’s center with piece play. Let see how that works out. 10.Qe2 Bc5 11.Bd2 Nh5 12.f4 QxB+!? (Diagram) An amazing move and one that almost seems forced as both Black’s knights are under attack. For his queen, Black gets two minor pieces, two pawns and endless fun, more or less, harassing White’s king but is it really enough. We will see. Also amazing is that this sacrifice is not new and has actually been played twice before. The best game is Israel Caspi vs Evgeny Postny, from 2011, which was drawn after many complications: 1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Qc2 dxc4 5. Qxc4 Bg4 6. Nc3Nbd7 7. e4 Bxf3 8. gxf3 e5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Qe2 Bc5 11. Bd2Nh5 12. f4 Qxd2+ 13. Kxd2 Nxf4 14. Qd1 O-O-O+ 15. Nd5 Nxd516. Kc1 Nf4 17. Qc2 Bxf2 18. Kb1 Bb6 19. a3 Rd6 20. Ka2 Rhd821. Rb1 g5 22. Qb3 Rd2 23. Bh3+ Kc7 24. Bf5 h5 25. Rbd1 R8d326. Rxd2 Rxb3 27. Kxb3 Be3 28. Rdd1 g4 29. Rhe1 Bc5 30. Rf1 Ng2… 1/2-1/2 in 41 moves. 13.Kxd2 Of course not 13.QxQ due to Nf3+ but now White’s king goes for a walk. 13...Nxf4 14.Qd1 0–0–0+ 15.Nd5 more or less forced. The other game I’ve found with this sacrifice, Verhoeven vs. Lemmers, 2012, went 15.Kc2, by giving back the queen, White hoped being up an exchange for a pawn would be enough but it wasn’t. White lost in 38 moves. 15.cxd5 16.Qc1 dxe4+ 17.Kc2 Ned3 18.BxN NxB 19.Qg5 Rd5?!  A little bit too daring. By giving up the g-pawn, Black gives the White queen many more targets and squares to use. Better was 19...g6 with a slight advantage to White, at least according to the “Silicon Monster”. 20.Qxg7 Bd4 21.Qxf7 Rc5+ 22.Kd2 Kb8 23.Qe7 Be5 24.Rhe1 Bf4+ 25.Re3 More or less forced as 25.Ke2 Rc2+ with 26.Kd1+ leads to mate after Rd2++ and 26.Kf1 Rc2+ 27.Kf1 Rxf2+ 28.Kg1 Rg8+ 29.Kh1 Rxh2++. Also, 25.Kd1 leads to Black’s advantage after 25…Rhc8 with ideas of Rc2 and Rd2 mate. 25…Bg5 Avoiding simplifications and with hope of getting a rook to d8 26.Qxe4 Nxf2 27.Qb4 Rf5 28.Rae1 Re8? Maybe the final mistake as White can now get his king to safety and force winning exchanges. Much better was 28…Rc8, keeping White’s king in the center and avoiding exchanging rooks. 29.Qd6+ Ka8 30.Kc2 BxR 31.RxB Now, Black has back rank issues. 31…Rc8+ 32.Rc3 Rff8 33.RxR+ RxR+ 34.Kb1 Ne4 35.Qd7 Kb8 36.a3 Black won’t be able to hold this endgame, not with pawns on sides of the board and his knight off sides. h6 37.Qe6 Nd2+ 38.Ka2 Rc6 39.Qe8+ Kc7 40.Qf7+ Kc8 41.Qf5+ Kc7 42.Qa5+ There goes the knight and the game; 1–0 An amazing and difficult game for both sides.