Sacrificing for Long-term Strategical Advantage

Sacrificing for Long-term Strategical Advantage‎

WIM energia
17 | Middlegame

Many of you have requested before that I put the text of the whole game here. The reason why I prefer fragments instead of full games is that by putting the whole game one can get distracted by other parts less relevant to the given topic. I mean if I write about a bishop versus knight position that arises after move 30, I would like to concentrate on that position and place the reader’s attention on it. I am sure that the game development prior to that could have been very instructive and feature many relevant topics but I prefer to talk about one topic at a time.

Here, I put three fully annotated games because today’s topic I cannot separate into game fragments. It has to do with the strategic ideas that the opponents set from the beginning of the game and follow up deep into the middle game. We will see how the sides are not afraid to sacrifice material but consider positional plusses. This sounds vague but I think the games will shed more light on it.

The first example features domination on the d-file. From the opening white seized control of the file. He gave up some material but never left the d-file. Pawn d7 prevented natural development for black. He had to give up a pawn to untie his pieces. As a result Black’s king became weakened. White had no problems transferring his pieces from the d-file to attack the king. Pay attention to exchanges, how white traded all the black defenders but always had attackers remaining.

 The play in the next game revolved around control of the e4 square. After black decided to fix the central pawn structure it was clear that white needs to break through with e4, otherwise black would be too comfortable with having a space advantage. It looked like white was very close to achieving the break but black found an amazing exchange that kept him in control over the e4 square and maintained the space advantage.


In the previous two examples, the exchange sacrifice gave the sacrificing side an advantage because there were a lot of plusses to collect after, for example space advantage, control of important squares, domination. The next example is a counterexample to the previous ones. Here, by giving up an exchange black did not get space or important squares; he still had to deal with passive pieces.

The article had three examples of positional exchanges. Two of the examples featured one side giving up an exchange but in return getting a long term advantage. The third example was about the case when one does not get anything after the sacrifice. Comparing these examples one can see that sacrificing is good when after it your pieces are free to maneuver while the opponent has a hard time coordinating his pieces. It is advantageous to sacrifice material when you get key central squares in return or a space advantage and opponent cannot untie easily. The last example shows that when your pieces are not developed or are placed badly, then a sacrifice would not favor you.

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