The Double Bishop Sacrifice
A few months after I started playing, my coach showed me an ultra-famous game.
I recall grinning from ear to ear, thinking that nothing quite so beautiful would ever see the light of day again. Although Lasker's double-bishop sacrifice is sickeningly well-known and no longer strikes me as particularly impressive, its aesthetic appeal is undeniable:
As a matter of fact, the double-bishop sacrifice is not actually so uncommon. It is a crucial attacking tool that every attacking player should take to heart.
As a case in point, we turn to a stunning display by Italian IM Fabio Bruno.
Take note: Bruno's opponent was a very competent player, doubtless familiar with Lasker-Bauer. He probably even saw the possibility of Bxh7+ and Bxg7, but decided that White did not have enough attacking horsepower to follow through. As you can see, the double-bishop sacrifice is not a freak occurrence: it is a full-fledged attacking weapon!
Furthermore, the DBS comes in many different forms. When the bishop cannot play a direct role in the attack, it can often be given up in order to eliminate a crucial defender, or to simply distract your opponent.
Technically, White sacrificed only one of his bishops, but that is beside the point. In all three games, the bishops were given up to weaken (or outright destroy) the monarch's defensive bastion, enabling the queen and rook to deliver the final blow.
No article on tactics is complete without exercises. As a warm-up, try to defeat legendary American grandmaster Walter Browne in the following position.
After having seen Lasker-Bauer and Bruno-Stull, this combination is nothing to write home about. However, it is quite noteworthy that a very strong player overlooked a double-bishop sacrifice in its purest form.
And now, ladies and gentleman, I invite you to reconstruct the most beautiful double-bishop sacrifice I have ever seen.
Viva the DBS!
RELATED STUDY MATERIAL
- Read GM Naroditsky's last article: The Discovered Check, Reloaded.
- Watch IM Keaton Kiewra's video: Fischer Blunders A Bishop -- Or Did He?
- Practice creating deadly bishops in the Chess Mentor.
- Practice your bishop tactics in the Tactics Trainer.
- Looking for articles with deeper analysis? Try our magazine:The Master's Bulletin.