It is a very common situation: the opening is almost over but your opponent's King is still in the center. One more move and the King castling will mark the official end of the opening, but sometimes one move in chess is an eternity and what looks like a sure thing never actually happens.
In last week's column (http://www.chess.com/article/view/twins) we discussed this exact situation and analyzed the games where players sacrificed their Queens to clear the 'e' file and start a decisive attack against the Black King. Today we are going to discuss a typical and very common pattern that has the goal of clearing the 'e' file by sacrificing a piece on the 'e6' square.
The only requirement of this pattern is you need to have a Rook or the Queen on the 'e' file so after the clearing sacrifice on the 'e6' square your opponent's King starts feeling the heat right away.
When you sacrifice a Knight or a Bishop then as a rule you don't even need to calculate a lot, since you immediately get two pawns and an attack for the sacrificed piece. Since a Knight or a Bishop sac is by far the most common kind of sacrifice on the 'e6' square, you can find literally hundreds of such games. Here is one of them from the classical heritage of the Soviet Chess School:
When you sacrifice a Rook on the 'e6' square, it usually requires more calculations; but as Michail Tal admitted in his annotations, in the following game he just listened to his intuition...
This game has a cute 'twin' played in the US Championship 10 years ago:
As I mentioned before, there are hundreds of games that feature a sacrifice on the 'e6' square, but the next one is truly unique. I don't recall many games where White sacrifices his Queen on 'e6' just to clear the 'e' file and prevent Black from castling. The next amazing game is brought to you by the genius of GM Ivanchuk. Enjoy!
I hope you will add your own sacrifices to this collection.