Losing A Pawn Can Lose The Game

Losing A Pawn Can Lose The Game

spassky
Nov 24, 2009, 12:00 AM |
49 | For Beginners

As you might gather from the title of this article, some players do not seem to be aware that the loss of a single pawn in the opening, without obtaining any visible compensation for it, is enough to lose a chess game.  This probably stems from the fact, that when beginners play each other, the errors from both sides come fast and furious, making the outcome of the game seem almost random, and that certainly the loss of a mere pawn can have little bearing on the final result.  Of course, the player of the Black pieces in this game was no beginner and was well aware that he was losing, as he had a USCF rating of nearly 1600.  I chose this game, however, to illustrate the point because the postion after the loss of the pawn was very simple and the game is a good example of how White inexorably marches to a won endgame by trading pieces and limiting counterplay.

The point of this game is not that you should never sacrifice a pawn.  I have sacrificed whole pieces and won games easily.  It's just that you have to get something in return (like a mating attack) as compensation (as outlined in the notes to the game).  The point is that you can't lose material for nothing and expect to win.  Conversely, if you win material, even a lowly pawn, and incur no disadvatage for doing so, you can, with proper technique, fully expect to win the game.  So let's have a little respect for those pawns!

Visit the Maryland Chess Association website, http://mdchess.com/ .

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