Material for Initiative

Material for Initiative‎

GM thamizhan
9 | Opening Theory

One of the most difficult things in a game could be just being under enormous attack right from the opening. We will have to end up spending so much time and energy in defending accurately and by the time we reach a safe and comfortable position, if at all that happens, we do not have enough energy left for the rest of the game, increasing chances for other mistakes. This is a common problem in particular against well prepared opponents.


Today we will discuss the pawn sacrifice variation in the French Tarrasch where white sacrifices a pawn as early as the 9th move for a dangerous initiative. A few weeks back we studied something similar in the Queen's Indian defense where white sacrifices a pawn with an early d5. Though that position is very different from the one we are going to study today, the practical implications are very similar.


Black obviously has other options instead of taking the pawn, but this is for all those greedy chess players just like me (Magesh) who want to grab all the material that comes their way first before considering anything else. We will discuss black's other options in the coming week.




The real idea behind the pawn sacrifice is that white manages to develop all his pieces including his rooks into play quickly whereas black struggles to create space. Passive defense is just not enough in such positions, one should play very actively and also be ready to return the material to gain back the initiative at times.


Our next game is one that happened very recently in the Ordix Open. This is a good example to show how a few extra moves for white can simply seal black's fate.





These games do have many errors in them,but these errors are quite natural in the given situation. On the other hand such initiative-driven positions force your opponents to make “unforced errors.” Our last game today is an example of how black can survive some of these attacks and come out successfully.




Not exactly what you would call precise games, but like we mentioned earlier it is part of the game to make mistakes and such mistakes are more common in complex positions. The final verdict is, if you are defending against such initiative, first try to be prepared before the game; if you did not have a chance to do that, just take your time and look for the best defense at the board. Taking more time will be necessary in such cases as a minor slip would mean the end.

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