A sacrificial attack

Here’s one of my finest attacking games. I’m playing Black against FM Ben Dean-Kawamura (2413 FIDE).

[Event "Rochester Round Robin"]
[Site "Rochester, NY"]
[Date "2010.05.20"]
[Round "5"]
[White "Ben Dean-Kawamura"]
[Black "Aaron Demby Jones"]
[Result "0-1"]
[WhiteELO "2413"]
[BlackELO "2104"]

1.e4 e5 2.f4 d5 3.exd5 exf4
{A simple line that attempts to neutralize White's gambit rather than
refute it.}
4.Nf3 Nf6 5.Be2 $6
{A rare and seemingly passive continuation. More common are }
( 5.c4 )
( 5.Bb5+ )
( 5.Bc4 )
( 5.Nc3 )
5...Nxd5 6.c4
{The point of White's previous play. White wants to drive the knight
away from the defense of the pawn on f4.}
6...Nb4
{With the threat of Nb4-d3+.}
7.d4
{White protects d3 and threatens the pawn on f4.}
7...Bf5
{Now there is a new threat, Nb4-c2+.}
8.Na3
{Forced. Now White is finally ready to capture the pawn on f4, barring
any new threats.}
8...Bd6 $6
( 8...g5 {was sharper and stronger:} 9.h4 g4 10.Ne5 f3 $1 11.gxf3 g3
$1 {and Black is better. After the game continuation, White can regain
his pawn. I spent some time choosing between Bf8-e7 and Bf8-d6 and
eventually decided that provoking c4-c5 was actually advantageous to
Black because of the weakening of the d5 square.
} )
9.c5
{White must capture f4, otherwise he risks standing worse.}
9...Be7 10.Qb3
{The beginning of a tactical excursion that ultimately ends up
favoring Black. White tries to take advantage of the fact that his
pawn on c5 has cut the line of communication between the bishop on e7
and the knight on b4.}
10...N8c6
{After a lengthy think. Certainly Nb8-c6 is the most natural move, but
I feared the continuation 11.Bc4, with the dual threats of 12.Bxf7+
and 12.d5. However, I eventually foresaw a satisfactory counterattack.
See the game!}
11.Bc4 $2
{Superficially strong, but in fact, the losing move!}
11...Nxd4 $1
{Black strikes immediately in the center. The first minor piece is
sacrificed!}
12.Qxb4
{12. Nxd4 Qxd4 13. Qxb4 is even worse than the game continuation. 12.
Bxf7+ Kf8 also fails to help White. His bishop must stay on c4 to
control the light squares around his king.}
( 12.Nxd4 Qxd4 13.Qxb4 {is even worse than the game continuation.}
( 13.Bxf7+ Kf8 {is worse still! White needs his light-squared
bishop to defend the area around his king.} )
)
12...Nxf3+
{The second minor piece eliminates a key defender.}
13.gxf3 Bh4+
{The point of Black's play. Now White's king finds himself stuck in
the center with lots of open lines...}
14.Kf1 $2
( 14.Ke2 Qg5 {with the threat of Qg5-g2+ is very strong for Black, but
White is still fighting. The game continuation is basically mate for
Black!} )
14...Qd1+ $6
{This leads to the flashiest mate, but not the simplest.}
( 14...Bd3+ {arrives at similar positions to the game but without
White having a bishop on c4!} )
15.Kg2 Bh3+
{The bishops now insist that the White king makes a journey to greet
his Black counterpart.}
16.Kxh3 Qxf3+ 17.Kxh4
{Black has lost all his minor pieces, but his rooks are itching to
leap into action.}
17...g5+ $1 18.Kxg5 Rg8+ 19.Kf5
{If 19. Kh4 Qg4#. Or 19. Kh6 Qh3#. 19. Kf6 is similar to the game
continuation.}
( 19.Kh4
( 19.Kh6 Qh3# )
19...Qg4# )
( 19.Kf6 {is similar to the game.} )
19...O-O-O $1
{A momentary lull in the attack. By tucking the king away from
nuisance checks and activating the final piece, Black shuts the door
on the White king's escape plan. Even with a free move and three extra
minor pieces, White is helpless to prevent mate. The hard part was
foreseeing this a bunch of moves ago!}
( 19...Qg4+ 20.Ke4 {and White might slip away with Ke4-d3-c2 if Black
isn't careful!} )
20.Qc3 $6
( 20.Bxf7 {would have forced Black to find some nice maneuvers to reel
in the full point:} 20...Qg4+ 21.Ke4 Qg2+ 22.Kf5 Qg5+ 23.Ke4 Qe7+ {and
Black crashes through. The nicest 'fantasy' variation might go} 24.Kf3
Rd3+ 25.Kf2 Rg2+ 26.Kxg2 Qe2+ 27.Kg1 Rd1+ 28.Qe1 Rxe1# )
20...Qg4+ 21.Ke4 Rge8+ 22.Qe5
{Hoping for Re8xe5+, which isn't actually so clear. However...}
22...f5#
{...this move is a reasonably strong alternative! A nerve-wracking
game, but well worth it.}
0-1



My video commentary of this game can be found over at chessvideos.tv under the handle Laurent.

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