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Tactical Patterns Everyone should Know. Sacrifice on the e6-square.

  • GM Gserper
  • | May 20, 2012

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.

Good luck!


  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago

    FM djano

  • 3 years ago


    TQ SIR...
  • 3 years ago


    nice Ivanchuk combination.

  • 3 years ago


    Very well done article. Loved Ivanchuk showing off his stuff (some people on this site talk a lot of trash about him these days, but his best games knock even top-level GMs off the board), and that was a great reminder to others.

    Appreciated how you escalated the material in the sacks, from minors to majors :)

    Keep up the great work!

  • 3 years ago


    Great article. Very useful for players who are good but afraid to do sacs. Hope more such articles come in future.

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago



  • 3 years ago


    Thank you for this tactical artical!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 3 years ago


    I love your articles on patterns!

    Please keep them coming; I'm learning loads

  • 3 years ago


    For the final game, why not 12. ... Bxg2 

  • 3 years ago


    @woolenorange: if 19..Qa5 (the only safe sqr for the queen) Bc4 looks to force a mate pretty quickly

  • 3 years ago


    why does portisch give up his queen?

  • 3 years ago


    Incredible...I wish I had the guts...or skill.

  • 3 years ago


    i Need to learn a lot more...

  • 3 years ago


    Worth looking into this.

  • 3 years ago


    This is simple awesome!!

  • 3 years ago


    TQ SIR...

  • 3 years ago


    Great stuff

  • 3 years ago


    Amazing! but I think the sacrifice of minor piece or even the rook and queen is a very dangerious try to beginers.

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