Bishop vs. Osbourne

Position from Bishop-Osbourne, Rathmines Team Tournament 2008

This position comes from the first round of the team tournament. Peter Bishop (white) is playing James Osbourne (black) and is already a piece up. However, rather than drag it into a long end-game, Peter went looking for a swift win. The game proceeded…

27. Nc6 Qxb2?? 28. Ne7+ Kh8 29. Rxf8#.

Clearly, playing Qxb2 was a major mistake. But was there anything else in it for black? An alternative might have been 27…Rxc6 28. Bxf6? Rxc8 29. Bb2 and white should win, but it will take a while longer. An immediate improvement is to see that the bishop can be taken with check, so after 27. Nc6 Rxc6 then 28. Rxf8+ Kxf8 29. Qb8+ Ke7 30. Qxb4+ Rac5 31. Bxf6+ gxf6 and white wins even more convincingly. (All analysis provided by Peter).

However, in the original diagram, I spotted the very strong 27. Nxe6!. (I think that Nf5 achieves something similar – exposure of the queen to an attack by the bishop and making a triple-attack on g7). Now black is faced with loss of the queen, and/or mate on g7. Hence, 27… Qxe6?? (or Qxf5) would lead to an immediate 28. Qxg7#. Best, but still losing, is probably 29. fxe6 (or exf5 after Nf5) 30. Bxf6 Rb7 31. Rf1 or Rd1 etc, with an overwhelming attack.

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