Tag Archives: Mezentsev

Knight Sacrifices on d4

The Tata Steel tournament is more than halfway through, and currently Anand and Nakamura share first place in the A group with 5.5/8. One of Anand’s wins earlier in the event caught my eye, and I thought I’d show a couple connections I made in m head when I saw that game.

(FEN: rn3rk1/ppq2ppp/4b3/nBP1p3/1Q2P3/P1P1BP2/4N1PP/R4RK1 w - - 0 16)

In the above position (from a 4.f3 Nimzo), Anand uncorked 16.Nd4!!, sacrificing a knight for a powerful phalanx of central pawns. After 16…exd4 17.cxd4 Nbc6 18.Qc3, Wang Hao tried to stop the march of the pawns with 18…Ne7. After 19.Rfd1, Black played 19…Rad8. The main point behind 19.Rfd1, as Anand said himself, was to draw a rook to d8, thereby taking that square away from the queen.

With d8 occupied, the transfer of the bishop to g3 becomes that much more powerful, and so 20.Bf2 not only reintroduces d5 as a threat (because after Black takes, White will still have the advantage of the two bishops), but threatens Bg3 to hit the queen that defends the Na5. White is already much better and Anand went on to win in smooth fashion.

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