When you’re having a bad streak, you really appreciate the few wins you have. Right before I went to Moscow, I played in a rapid tournament at my club in Oslo. In retrospect, one can easily conclude it didn’t do miracles for my performance in Moscow, but just playing some good games is more often than not a good idea! I felt really cheeky in the following position, and convinced my gut to play for glory. As it turns out: When I got home the computer padded me on the back, saying my play was brilliant!
Black has neglected his development of the kingside, so even after retreating with the knight, white should be better. However, I decided to be frisky and sacrifice my knight for a killer f3-b7-diagonal. 15.c4! cxb5 If black doesn’t take the knight, his queen will be mighty uncomfortable after c5 by white. 16.c5! The queen remains the target! Now black has to make a choice between two devils. 16…Qa6 17. axb5 Qxb5 18.Rxa7 Rd7 Taking the d-pawn would cause black more trouble than good, for instance 18…Rxd3 19.Qe2! with a lethal pin. I was actually insecure whether I had enough for my piece here, but in hindsight, the sorrow sight of the black kingside makes white’s sacrifice more than sufficient. After some minutes thought, I came up with the following solution: 19.Qa1! g6 What else? Black has to get the pieces out! 20.Ra5! Qxb4 The alternative 20…Qxd3 would allow the sweet mate starting with 21.Ra8+ Kc7 22.Qa5+. 21.Rb1 – White will keep his attack while winning black’s queen. The game ended soon thereafter.