I was checking Hikaru vs Caruana's round 6 game, these are the first moves:

[Event "London Chess Classic 2016"]
[Site "London"]
[Date "2016.12.15"]
[Round "6.3"]
[White "Caruana, Fabiano"]
[Black "Nakamura, Hikaru"]
[Result "1-0"]
[BlackElo "2779"]
[WhiteElo "2823"]
[LiveChessVersion "1.4.8"]
[ECO "B96"]
[FEN ""]

1. e4 c5 {[%clk 1:59:50]} 2. Nf3 {[%clk 1:59:52]} d6
{[%clk 1:59:45]} 3. d4 {[%clk 1:59:48]} cxd4 {[%clk 1:59:39]} 4. Nxd4
{[%clk 1:59:44]} Nf6 {[%clk 1:59:24]} 5. Nc3 {[%clk 1:59:39]} a6 {[%clk 1:59:19]}
6. Bg5 {[%clk 1:59:26]} e6 {[%clk 1:59:01]} 7. f4 {[%clk 1:59:15]} h6
{[%clk 1:58:56]} 8. Bh4 {[%clk 1:59:08]} Qb6 {[%clk 1:58:40]} 9. a3
{[%clk 1:58:15]} Be7 {[%clk 1:57:01]} 10. Bf2 {[%clk 1:57:06]} Qc7
{[%clk 1:56:55]} 11. Qf3 {[%clk 1:56:14]} Nbd7 {[%clk 1:55:27]} 12. O-O-O
{[%clk 1:55:28]} b5 {[%clk 1:55:14]} 13. g4

So I came up with the following variation:

13. ... O-O 14. g5 hxg5 15. fxg5 Ne5 16. gxf6 Nxf3 17. fxe7 Qxe7 18. Nxf3

Who is better after the queen sacrifice?

  • I believe it should be 15. .... Ne5 and 16.... Nxf3 and 18. Nxf3 ? Dec 16, 2016 at 20:00
  • Might be worth to point out that this is not about the queen sacrifice played by Caruana, but a queen sacrifice in some line you came up with. Dec 16, 2016 at 20:01
  • Black is going to take Nf3xd4 instead of Qxe7, then white only gets two pieces and is probably lost. Dec 16, 2016 at 20:57
  • 17. ... Nf3xd4 18. exf8=Q+ Kxf8 19. Rxd4 This line is forced because of check and white has three minor pieces and a rook while black has a queen and a minor piece. Am I missing something? @BlindKungFuMaster Dec 16, 2016 at 21:10
  • Ah, I missed that black castled. Started my variation with g5. Dec 16, 2016 at 22:06

1 Answer 1


How did you come up with this line?

Castling kingside on move 13 right into the attack, looks like suicide for black to me.

Also I don't see the point of white sacrificing the queen. Instead of giving black the dream square on e5, I'd first play h4 and only then g5, so that you can recapture on g5 with the h pawn.

Regarding your position at the end of your variation, it is probably just equal. Black does not have any particular weaknesses and also there does not seem to be any immediate threat of an attack on the black king anymore. Compare this with the queen sacrifice Caruana played in the game where he had only 2 pieces for the queen, but complete dominance on the light squares.

  • That is an interesting way of seeing it. I just really like queen sacs, specially when you get 3 minor pieces and a decent position. Alltough as you mention it, the knight on e5 is a monster, really good piece from white. I got this idea from Aman Hambleton's analysis at 11:20 Dec 16, 2016 at 20:23
  • Well, I am not an IM and did not run this through an engine, but I stick to my view. The attack looks very dangerous for black to me and the king would be much safer where it is. 13... g5 (fighting for the e5 square) what Nakamura played yesterday or 13... Bb7 (putting pressure on e4 and the long diagonal) what MVL played today (also unsuccessfully), make a lot more sense to me. Dec 16, 2016 at 20:42
  • I downloaded the PGN file (chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1849553) and uploaded it to lichess.org for analysis (en.lichess.org/paste). After the game continuation 13.g4 g5, the game is dead even. After 13. ... O-O 14.g5 hxg5 15.fxg5 Ne5 White has a small advantage. In your variation 16.gxf6 Nxf3 17.fxe7 Qxe7 18.Nxf3 the game is rated as dead even. Stockfish prefers not to sacrifice the queen 16.Qe2 Nfd7 17.Qh5 Rd8 18.Rg1 and white is better by ".8 pawn"
    – Rick G
    Dec 23, 2016 at 14:52
  • @RickG I would not go by computer evaluation here. Even if it says that objectively it is even, these are certainly one of the more interesting even positions and either side has many chances to go wrong. Also, there are positions which are even, but if played by humans, basically only one side can win will the other is fighting for a draw. Dec 23, 2016 at 15:50

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