Friday, June 25, 2010

Sicilian Defense, French Variation

Moscow-Leningrad Match 1930
Sicilian Defense, French Variation

1. e4, c5
2. Nf3, e6
3. d4, cxd4
4. Nxd4, Nf6
5. Nd2 ....

The French Variation of the Sicilian Defense.  Instead of the normal 6. Nc3, White intends the keep open the b2-f6 diagonal for future attack.

5. .... d6
6. Bd3, Nc6
7. Nxc6, bxc6
8. 0-0, Be7
9. b3, 0-0
10. Bb2, Nd7
11. f4, Bf6
12. e5!, dxe5
13. Ne4, exf4
14. Nxf6, Nxf6
15. Rxf4 ....

By a series of moves, White managed to control the b2-f6 diagonal, which would be crucial to the outcome of the game.

15. .... Re8
16. Rxf6!! ....

 16. .... gxf6
17. Qg4+, Kf8

If Black chooses 17.... Kh8, then 18. Qh5!! and 19. Qxh7 mate.

18. Ba3+, Re7
19. Bxh7!!, Qb6+
20. Kh1, Ke8

Faced with a mating threat at g8, Black sought an escape square for his King.

21. Rd1, Resigns

The escape square is blocked!  There is no way Black could prevent the mating move 22. Qg8.  Superb play. This game is listed as one the best chess games of all time.

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