Smooth Criminal, Part Two.

  • GM Gserper
  • | Jun 3, 2012

In the first part of this article we examined positions where a passed pawn was sacrificed to vacate a square in the center for a Knight.  Today we'll analyze games where such a sacrifice clears files for an attack. Needless to say, the best target for an attack along the open files is a King.  The next short but very instructive game by Paul Morphy illustrates the point:

Fastforward 125 years, and GM Efim Geller beats the Soviet Champion GM Lev Psakhis in a style Morphy would be proud of!
And here is a beautiful 'twin' played by a very young Kasparov in one of his training games. (Please note that Kasparov played his game before Geller so he obviously couldn't know Geller's masterpiece.  From the other side, I really doubt that Geller knew a training game played by a 14 year-old boy...)
Even if your opponent's King has already left the center, a clearing pawn sacrifice is still a very dangerous weapon as the next game shows: 
Most of you, my dear readers, probably have noticed that in the last three games the passed pawn was also an isolated pawn. Such isolated pawns are especially prone to sacrificing themselves and therefore should be carefully watched!
to be continued....
Want to work on your tactics?? Do some *training* !!


  • 4 years ago



  • 4 years ago


    This beautiful article could be even better,if it considered more lines for the defender(s).


    For example,in the postion from Kasparov's game,after 1..d4! 2.exd4 Re8,

    The most greedy response is 3.d5?! which was not even considered in the notes.

    Then follows (in my humble,not computer-checked opinion) 3..Nf4+ 4.Be2 (if Ne2 then black takes the pawn and white's piece are all tied up which is a clear -+) 4..Qg5!! might be what 14 years old Kasparov planned. then if 5.dxc6? then 5..Qxg2 6.Rf1 Qg4 when there is no good defence to the threat Ng2# (if 7.Rd7 then 7..Rxe2+ 8.Nxe2 Re8 -+),or if (instead of 5.dxc6) 5.g3,then 5..Nxe2 6.Rxe2 (6.Nxe2 Bb5) 6..Rxe2 7.Nxe2 Bxd5 -+ (material is even but white's king is in the center,white pieces are inactive and black's pieces will get super active soon).

    Having seen all that,I wonder if i will ever be at 14-year-old kasparov's level.

  • 4 years ago


    As always, excellent information

  • 4 years ago


    "In the first part of this article we examined positions where a passed pawn was sacrificed"" - not true. In all of the examples in part one,not even one pawn was passed! Having said that,the first article was good and this one was one of the best ever. Beautiful and instructive positions in a puzzle format-could not ask for more!

    Keep it up master! :)

  • 4 years ago


    Nice puzzles.

  • 4 years ago


    nice article

  • 4 years ago


    NIce article!

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