You don’t have to take every juicy pawn or delectable piece your opponent offers you. The old adage “the best way to refute a sacrifice is to accept it” is only a guideline. Every gambit of your opponent needs to be examined fully, in both positional and tactical terms. Even if your opponent is wrong in giving up material you need to know how to refute his offer. If you can’t find the fly in his ointment don’t take the darned thing! Now I am afflicted with the curse of the pawn hunter myself, and this game is a great example.
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. cxd5 exd5 5. Bg5 Be7 6. Qc2 O-O 7. e3 a6 8. Bd3 Nbd7 9. Nge2 h6 10. Bh4 c6
- After 10…c6
We have a rather ordinary tabiya here from the Queen’s Gambit Exchange. This is the ideal piece placement for white and black hasn’t done anything wrong either. We’re still in book. The move a6 is strange here, but not wrong for black as he often plays later in response to white’s minority attack, securing himself an open rook file. Black doesn’t understand the basics of the position from here on out (he needs to play on the king side), but as it turns out my desire to gobble material undoes me anyways.
11. O-O b5 12. Bxf6 Nxf6 13. e4 Nxe4 14. Nxe4 dxe4 15. Bxe4 Kh8 16. Bxc6: Believe it or not I didn’t see that the knight could recapture. I planned to deflect the bishop and then play b4 where the c6 pawn would be permanently backward. This oversight gave black equality.
16…Ra7 17. Bf3 Bd6 18. d5 Qh4 19. Ng3 Bd7 20. Rfe1 f5 21. h3
f4 22. Ne4 Bf5 23. Qc6 Bb4 24. Re2 Rc8 25. Qb6 Rac7 26. Qxa6 Bxh3
After Black's 26th
27. gxh3?! Qxh3: I didn’t even consider letting the bishop sit there. As it turns out capturing was objectively the best, but I had no idea how to defend the position that emerged. So in effect I gambled that I could take the piece and survive. Notice how my greed is hurting me again and again. I displaced my queen earlier to nab a rook pawn. This allowed black major piece activity earlier and is the reason he’s still in the game. Now I decide to wing it.
28. Nc3 (28. Bg2 Rc1+ 29. Re1 Bxe1 30. Bxh3) 28… Bxc3 29. bxc3 Qxf3 30. Qxb5
Qg4+ 31. Kf1 f3 32. Re8+ Rxe8 33. Qxe8+ Kh7 34. Ke1 Qg1+ 35. Kd2 Qxa1 36. Qe4+
g6 37. Qxf3 Qxa2+ 38. Kc1 Rb7 39. Qe4 0-1