This is a chess game with the most beautiful move I ever almost got to play.
Slater – MacHolmes, Metrowest Chess Club 1997
1.d4 d5 2.e4 dxe4 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.f3 exf3 5.Nxf3 Bg4 6.Qd3 Bxf3 7.Qxf3 c6 8.Be3 Nd5 9.Bc4 e6 10.0-0 Qd7 11.Bg5 Nxc3 12.bxc3 Ba3 13.d5 cxd5 14.Bxd5
White has sacrificed a pawn in the Blackmar Diemer gambit. Being a pawn down gives a sense of urgency – if White doesn’t cause some mayhem Black will simply secure his king, trade pieces and win the endgame with his extra pawn – and 13.d5 makes sense as an attempt to blow up the position before Black can get safely tucked away by castling.
However, as I contemplated the d5 pawn push, the contination that concerned me was 13.d5 cxd5 14.Bxd5 Nc6. Instead of capturing the bishop (which as you will see in the game continuation costs Black his queen), it seemed logical that Black would try this move, developing the knight and blocking White’s attack on the b7 square. Then Black would be ready to castle kingside.
I furrowed my brow – this was back when I could calculate – and found the answer: 15.Bxc6+ bxc6 16.Rad1 Qc7 17.Be7!! The bishop is cast into thin air, sacrificed on an empty square where Black has three possible ways to capture it – all of which lose. Obviously …Kx7 or …Bxe7 allow Qxf7 checkmate. That leaves 17…Qxe7 18.Qxc6+ Kf8 19.Qxa8+ Qe8 20.Rd8 and White mops up. 17.Be7 also prevents castling (which is the reason I found it) and leaves Black pretty much stuck with something like 17…Rf8 18.Bxa3 and a relatively trivial win for White.
In real life Black ruined my combination by capturing the bishop on d5: 14…exd5 15.Rae1+ Kf8 16.Be7+ Qxe7 17.Rxe7 Kxe7 18.Qxd5 1-0
Wish I’d gotten to play Be7 – the kind of move that brings you to play silly gambits in the first place.