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A Real Sacrifice

Peric, Slavisa (2345) - Schipkov, Boris (2355) [D17]
Kecskemet 1992

Notes by Boris Schipkov

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6
The Slav Defence.
3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Nh4
A rare variation. I have not encountered the line before.

I have played the Slav Defence for a win, therefore I had to choose the text. After 6...Bc8 White could continue 7. Nf3 and if I play again my favourite 7...Bf5! then 8. Nh4, a draw by repetition.
7. Nxf5 exf5 8. e3 Bb4! 9. Bxc4 O-O 10. O-O Nbd7 11. h3!?
The alternatives are 11. Qc2 and 11. f3.

Before the game I thought the variation 6. Nh4 was harmless. Now I think that this variation is mostly harmless. 11...Nb6!? and 11...g6!? are better.
12. Qf3!
White intends to storm the kingside with g2-g4. This is Alekhine's plan, Alekhine, A - Stoltz, G, Bled 1931.
Or 12...Nb6 13. Bb3 g6 14. g4 Nbd5!? 15. Nxd5?! cxd5 16. gxf5 Kh8 (16...Rc8) 17. Bc2 Qe7, with counterplay in Kharlov, A - Deviatkin, A, Aeroflot Open, Moscow 2004. Better is 15. gxf5!? Nxc3 16. bxc3 Bxc3 17. Rb1 Qe7 18. Rd1, with a small edge to White.
13. g4! fxg4 14. hxg4 h5
Or 14...c5 15. Bb5!? Nb6 16. dxc5 Bxc5 17. e4, with a small edge to White. 14...Qe7!? is interesting.
15. gxh5 Nxh5

16. Qg2!
Again the best move! White threatens Qxg6+. Also possible is 16. e4!? Qh4?! (16...c5!?) 17. Kg2 Qf6, and White has some advantage, Morozevich, A - Chadaev, N, World Blitz Chess Championship, Astana 2012.
16...Kg7 17. e4!
Worse is 17. Ne2 Nb6 18. Bd3 f5, with equality.
If 17...Nb6 then 18. Bb3 Qxd4 19. Be3 Qe5 20. f4 Qc7 21. Rad1! Nd7 22. Bd4+ Kh7 (22...f6 23. Ne2) 23. f5, and White attacks.
18. Ne2
18. Rd1!? and 18. Bg5!? deserve attention.

A risky continuation. I played the move after long reflection. Frequently in the Slav Defence after 17 moves I had a small or slight advantage. And when I played 11...a5 I thought that after 14...h5 my counterplay on the kingside was sufficient. But here I saw White had the better position, my counterplay was insufficient. White intended Bg5, Rad1, followed by f2-f4-f5 to crush my bastions. Of course, with 18...Nb6 I could have tried to equalize gradually and made a draw after a stubborn defence. But like a real hero, a great warrior I preferred to attack and to fight furiously for a victory. Especially I did not like White's strong pawn centre. And I decided to sacrifice a knight to change a structure of the position, to change the flow of the fight. It was a good idea from psychological point of view, such strategy can be effective only against human beings.
19. e5!
19. f4! is also strong.
This is a real sacrifice: I take only two pawns for the piece. However I annihilate the pawn centre and now have chances to attack on the kingside.
20. dxe5
It is interesting that Slavisa Peric played these 20 moves like computer. Almost all of these 20 moves are identical to first lines of the best chess programs, and the best chess engines not in 1990s, but in 2010s. Slavisa played the opening 20 moves at a level of about 3000 Elo points! Since all moves are logical this is a result of excellent home preparation.

21. Qe4
Better is 21. Ra3! Qh4 22. f4, and White can defend his flank with Rh3.
21...Qd6!? 22. f4 Bf6 is playable.
22. Kg2 Nf6! 23. Qd4?
The text is also logical, but a mistake. Correct is 23. Qf3! Rh4 24. b3 Be5 25. Bg5 Rh2+ 26. Kg1 Rh5 27. Bxf6+ Bxf6 28. Rad1 Qc7 29. Ng3, with an advantage to White.
I love the smell of chocolates and cakes in the evening. They smell like victory.

An awesome move! Black threatens not only to mate after ...Qh3+ and ...Qf3, but also to play ...c6-c5!, followed by ...Qg4+ with a powerful attack.
24. Ng3
Here 24. Ra3 is hopeless, Black wins with 24...c5! 25. Qc3 Qg4+ 26. Ng3 Rh5 27. Rh1 Qh3+ 28. Kf3 Rah8 (28...Re8) 29. Qc2 Rf5+ 30. Ke2 Rxf2+ 31. Kxf2 Bxg3+ 32. Rxg3 Qxh1.
25. Kf3 Rh4!

26. Bf4
Black quickly wins and after 26. Qc3 Qg4+ 27. Kg2 Rah8! 28. Qd3 (28. Be2 Qh3+ 29. Kf3 Bxg3 30. fxg3 Qg4+) 28...Nd7 29. Bf4 Qh3+ 30. Kf3 Rxf4+ 31. Kxf4 Qh6+ 32. Ke4 (32. Kf3 Ne5+) 32... Nc5+. I played against Slavisa Peric in 1991 and 1992. Slavisa Peric played against an American entrepreneur, co-founder of Soletron A.J. Steigman in 2005, Philadelphia, World open, a draw. In 2012 A.J. Steigman challenged co-founder of PayPal, one of Facebook's first investors Peter Thiel to a million dollars chess match. It's a small world!
White resigned. 0-1


Peric, Slavisa (2345) - Schipkov, Boris (2355) [D17]
Kecskemet 1992

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Nh4 e6 7. Nxf5 exf5 8. e3 Bb4 9. Bxc4 O-O 10. O-O Nbd7 11. h3 a5 12. Qf3 g6 13. g4 fxg4 14. hxg4 h5 15. gxh5 Nxh5 16. Qg2 Kg7 17. e4 Rh8 18. Ne2 Bd6 19. e5 Nxe5 20. dxe5 Bxe5 21. Qe4 Bh2+ 22. Kg2 Nf6 23. Qd4 Qc8 24. Ng3 Qh3+ 25. Kf3 Rh4 26. Bf4 g5 0-1


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