The Greek Gift!

Paulsen,L - Schwarz,A [C02] Leipzig m Leipzig, 1879

'The Greek Gift' sacrifice is a theme in chess that you can not simply afford to ignore. This involves the sacrifice of bishop at h7 (or h2 mirror) and follow it up with combinations of attack generated by queen and knight. Just be aware that there is only a hairline difference in positions or patterns where these types of attacks may succeed or fail.

15...Nfe7 16.Bxh7+
'The Greek Gift'


17.Ng5+ Kg6
[there is no going back! 17...Kg8 18.Qh5 Rfc8 19.Qxf7+ Kh8 20.Rc3 Nf5 21.Rh3+ Nh6 22.Rxh6+ gxh6 23.Qh7# see how the knight even while hanging supports the queen to deliver checkmate!]

threatening discovered check!

18...f5 19.Qg3 Qc8
The Greek Gift often works. The patterns that it works against any defence are so close to the ones that it fails against accurate defence. The fact that it often works is based on the restricted choice of moves for defender and psychological advantage! [19...f4 ]

20.Rc3 f4 21.Qg4 Nf5 22.Rh3 Rh8 23.Nxe6+
discovered check!

23...Kf7 24.Qxf5+
'the return gift'

24...Ke7 25.Qg5+
the knight has already done the damage

25...Kxe6 26.Qg6+ Ke7 27.Qxg7+ 1-0

Blackburne,J - Zukertort,J [D55] DSB-05.Kongress Frankfurt, 1887

Please click on moves and variations to see how knight combines with queen.

23.Nf3 Qd6 24.Bxh7+
'The Greek Gift', but the queen is on a dark square!

24...Kxh7 25.Ng5+
Black resigns as

[25...Kg8 26.Qxf7+ Kh8 27.Qh5+ Qh6 (27...Kg8 28.Qh7+ Kf8 29.Qh8+ Ke7 30.Qxg7# ) 28.Nf7+ Kg8 29.Nxh6+ ; 25...Kg6 26.h5+ Kh6 (26...Kxh5 27.g4+ Kh4 (27...Kh6 28.Nxf7+ Kh7 29.Nxd6 ; 27...Kg6 28.Qf5+ Kh6 29.Nxf7# ) 28.Nf3+ Kh3 29.Ne5 Qxe5 30.dxe5 Kh4 31.Kg2 d4 32.Rh1# ) 27.Nxf7+ Kh7 28.Nxd6 ]

26.Nxf7+ Kh7 27.Nxd6 1-0

Sepman,Y (2273) - Novitzkij,D (2328) [B13] Petroff mem op St Petersburg, 09.02.2000

Bh5 12.Bxh7+
The Greek Gift! It does not work in this case!

12...Kxh7 13.Ng5+ Kh6
supporting the bishop.

14.Qd3 g6 15.f3 Bf4 16.Nh3 g5
Now, it is White's turn to find accurate moves!

it is often difficult!

17...Bxg5 18.Nxg5 Kxg5 19.Qh7 Bg6 20.Qg7 Rh8 21.h4+ Rxh4 22.g3 Rh7 23.f4+ Kg4 24.Kg2
White is threatening checkmate in two moves! 25.Ne3+ Kh5 26.Rh1checkmate!

indirect exchange of queens. [24...Kh5 ]

25.gxf4 Rxg7 26.Kf2 Kf5 27.Ne3+ Kf6
It is not very often you see the king, driven in to the middle of the board, returning back victoriously! 0-1

Kosteniuk,A (2409) - Gouw,C [C11] Corus Reserve Group Wijk aan Zee, 25.01.2000

outpost right into the heart of the opponents position.

8...cxd4 9.Bd3
White has more urgent things to do!


[10.bxc3 Bxc3+ 11.Bd2 NOT 11...Bxa1 12.Bxh7+ The Greek Gift! 12...Kh8 (12...Kxh7 13.Ng5+ Kg8 14.Qh5 Re8 15.Qxf7+ Kh8 16.Qh5+ Kg8 17.Qh7+ Kf8 18.Qh8+ Ng8 19.Nh7+ Now you can see the two knights at work! F7 is too important an escape square for Black to lose to the knight at d6. Now the king has to leave the g7 pawn to the mercy of the opponents queen! 19...Ke7 20.Qxg7# No mercy!) 13.Ng5 g6 White wins. Please copy the following FEN position and play it over with the sparring parter: rnbq1r1k/1p2np1B/p2Np1p1/3pP1N1/7P/8/P2B1PP1/b2QK2R w K - 0 13]

10...Kh8 11.Kf1 cxb2 12.Bxb2
White is a pawn down, but has excellent compensation. It is Black's turn to find accurate defence!

It is difficult.

13.Ng5 fxg5 14.Qh5 Ng8 15.Bxg8+ Kxg8 16.hxg5
escape square f7 is not available

16...Rxf2+ 17.Kxf2 1-0

Beekhuis,M - Sparenberg,E [C17] NED-ch U16 Leiden, 04.05.1999

14.Bd3 The prior knowledge of 'The Greek Gift' would have certainly helped to initiate a search for defensive moves! But....

Attacking the rook instead..

15.Bxh7+ Kxh7 16.Ng5+ Kg8 17.Qh5 Qxc2
Guards h7 square

18.Rh3 Ng6
guards h8 square but casts shadow on Black queen's rays on h7.

19.Qh7# 1-0

Bauer,T (2400) - Prokupek,V [C42] Klatovy op-B Klatovy, 1999

Black is already a piece up!

8.Nxd3 Bxh2+
The Greek Gift!

9.Kxh2 Ng4+ 10.Kg1
[10.Kg3 Nc6 (10...Qg5 usual response involving discovered check 11.f4 Qg6 12.f5 Bxf5 13.Nf4 Qd6 14.d4 g5 wins; 10...Qd6+ 11.f4 (11.Nf4 g5 ) 11...Nc6 12.Nc3 (12.Nf2 h5 13.d4 (13.Rh1 g5 ) 13...h4+ wins; 12.Re4 Bf5 wins) 12...Nd4 13.Re5 f5 14.Rd5 Qg6 15.Rxd4 Ne3+ 16.Kf2 Nxd1+ ) 11.Nc3 Qd6+ 12.f4 (12.Nf4 g5 ) 12...Nd4 13.Re4 Qg6 14.Rxd4 Ne3+ 15.Kf2 Nxd1+ 16.Nxd1 wins]

10...Qh4 11.Kf1 Bf5 12.Re2 Qh1# 0-1

Fritz,A - Mason,J [C13] DSB-03.Kongress Nuremberg, 1883

5...0-0 6.Bd3 b6 7.h4 another important technique; while the knight's landing square g5 is well guarded, this move threatens to open up the rook file!

7...Bb7 8.e5 Be7 9.Bxh7+
The Greek Gift!

9...Kxh7 10.Ng5+ Kg6
[If 10...Kg8 11.Qh5 Bxg5 12.hxg5 f5 13.g6 clamps the king right down! 13...Qh4 14.Rxh4 c5 15.Qh7# ; How about.. 10...Kh6 11.Qd2 threatens a discovered check to win the Black queen! 11...Qc8 leaves White to find accurate attacking moves!]

White is not in a hurry! [11.Qd3+ Always check the checking moves! 11...f5 12.exf6+ Kxf6 13.Qf3+ Kg6 14.h5+ Kh6 (14...Kxg5 15.Qg3+ Kf5 16.Qg6+ Kf4 17.Ne2# ) 15.Qd3 Rf5 (15...Kxg5 16.Qg6+ Kf4 17.Ne2# ; 15...Bxg5 16.Qg6# ) 16.Nxe6 Rf6 (16...Qe8 17.Qxf5 wins) 17.Nxd8 ]

[11...Kh6 forces White to think long and hard! 12.Qd2 notice the discovered check threatens to swollow the queen! 12...Qd7 13.Qd3 threatens checkmate! 13...f5 14.exf6 Bb4+ 15.c3 gxf6 16.Nf4 wins eventually!]

12.hxg5 f5 13.gxf6 Rh8 14.Nf4+ Kf7 15.Qg4 Rxh1+ 16.Kd2 gxf6 17.Qg6+ Ke7 18.Qg7+ Ke8 19.Qg8+ Ke7 20.Qxe6+ Kf8 21.Rxh1 Bc8
Black resigned as

22.Rh8+ Kg7 23.Rh7+ Kxh7 24.Qf7+ Kh8 25.Ng6# 1-0

Schlechter,C - Wolf,H [D40] Ostende Ostende, 1905

14.Bg5 0-0 15.e5 Nd5 16.Nxd5 exd5 17.Bxe7 Nxe7 18.Bxh7+ The Greek Gift!

18...Kxh7 19.Ng5+ Kg6
[NOT 19...Kg8 20.Qh5 Rc8 21.Re1 Qb6 22.Qxf7+ Kh8 23.e6 Qa7 24.Qh5+ Kg8 25.Qh7+ Kf8 26.Qh8+ Ng8 27.Nh7+ Ke7 28.Qxg7+ wins; NOT 19...Kh6 20.Qg4 Ng6 21.f4 Qc8 22.f5 (22.Nxf7+ as the rook is tied down in defence of queen) 22...Qc6 23.Rf3 Nf4 24.Qxf4 wins]

usual response involving discovered check

20...f5 21.exf6

21...gxf6 22.Ne6+ Kf7 23.Qg7+ Kxe6 24.Re1+ Kf5 25.Qh7+ Kg5 26.Rxe7 Rg8 27.Re3 b4 28.Rg3+ Qxg3 29.Qxg8+ 1-0

All games on this page as PGN here

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