Topic 6 (Advanced) - Sacrifices
- featuring strategic advice from RogueDragon!
- Sacrifices are inherently insecure. Do not blame me if you lose a game or two (you certainly won’t lose any more beyond that; this is quality stuff!) because you were trying out a sacrifice as detailed in this topic.
- In addition to my own, this topic will feature the (more advanced) strategies of RogueDragon. Do not blame me if you lose a game or two (or 1000) (joking of course...) because you were following Rogue’s advice. Blame RogueDragon.
- This is a joke of course: feel free to blame me for all your losses, even those that have no direct connection to any strategies contained in this guide. Blaming others makes you feel better about yourself.
Anyways... it is with great pleasure that I bring you:
Sacrifice #1 (The pawn sacrifice)
This is a pretty simple one. White sacrifices his pawn because he sees that he’ll then be able to promote another pawn:
Sacrifice #2 (The rook sacrifice)
This is the most common sacrifice I’ve seen, I personally do not consider it to really be a sacrifice:
Now that black has taken the rook with his knight, several good things happen for white:
White gets a protected passed pawn. The pawn in yellow has no enemy pawns between it and promotion. Advantage white. (This is often enough to justify the rook sacrifice by itself. But look! In this position, there is more!)
By following the indicated moves and making yet another rook sacrifice, white creates a second passed pawn:
The white bishop move blocks the black rook from protecting the black bishop:
White wins easily, and it involved two rook sacrifices! Don’t be afraid to sac those rooks!
Sacrifice #3 (The feint)
This is pretty common too. I call it the feint because it isn’t really a sacrifice. White recovers the pawn immediately.
This pawn move undermines the defense of the f pawn. 2 positions can result:
This creates a passed pawn for white and doubled pawns for black that can be easily captured.
The alternative is that black declines the "sacrifice" and loses all three pawns:
White takes both pawns at the same time, which captures all three black pawns after the trade.
Sacrifice #4 (The knight/bishop sac for two pawns)
by RogueDragon (British (mis)spellings corrected by Devilant of course ;) )
Eldariel v RogueDragon (From an actual game!)
This arose from a game played recently between Eldariel (White) and myself, Rogue Dragon (Black). Black clearly has the material advantage, but his pieces are poorly placed and the doubled central pawn is a real hindrance attacking the queenside pawns. However, white’s position is even worse – clearly Re3 would be a killer blow allowing the pawns to advance further if white did not have his rooks positioned as they are. The kingside play for white’s rook is somewhat restricted by it needing to fulfill a defensive role.
So, how to break through and win the game for black? In the game, I played the following:
1...Nxc5 and a5
This move is devastating and effectively wins the game for black. Perhaps the best counter for white would be 2. bxa5 and Kb4...
...after which I had intended 2...Na6 and Kd6, with the idea that white must immediately exchange on d4 whilst black captures the last remaining pawn and is left with a bishop, knight and two pawns versus a lone rook - a good prospect for the endgame.
However, what Eldariel actually played was 2. bxc5 thus releasing two passed pawns on the queenside, effectively sealing his fate:
To this I immediately replied with 2...b4 and Bb5:
Sensing the importance of the c3 square, where the white king could hope to support a capture in the centre, I advanced the b-pawn in order to protect this. The bishop serves a triple purpose, to attack d3 to try and undermine the rook positioned there, as well as guarding against a pawn advance to c6 and a king advance to a4. From this position the game is effectively won, as all black has to do is move his king round to capture the last remaining white pawn (as shown on the diagram), whilst white can only counter with his kingside rook - and to a limited extent too.
If Eldariel had advanced this rook after my king moved, I had intended to play 3...Bc4 sacrificing the a-pawn but either the b pawn or the d-pawn must promote unless white returns to the defensive. If white had gone all out attack, using both rooks to support the passed pawn, a rook or bishop sacrifice would have eliminated the danger whilst my own pawns promoted. (Diagram coming soon (maybe))
Actually, he did not do this and I was able to capture the c-pawn unopposed, leaving two supported passed pawns on the queenside, backed up by a bishop and king, which ultimately trapped Eldariel on his own back rank:
So, what have we learned from the above? When I first sacrificed the knight, several players generally of lower rating, yellows and oranges, responded to this with remarks like "?" and "wtf" believing I had been so stupid not to have seen that the pawn was protected. However, as most players should be able to see from this illustration, the knight sacrifice was clearly intentional and effectively won the game for me. A loss of a knight for a pawn was more than offset by the two passed pawns and maneuverability (wow the Brits spell that one weirdly) of my bishop that I gained from it. The point is that it is sometimes worth making a sacrifice to gain positional advantage or make a passed pawn. If you see a sacrifice that looks effective, go for it!
- Special thanks to RogueDragon for writing sacrifice #4!
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