The Secret Weapon Of Super Grandmasters, Part 2

The Secret Weapon Of Super Grandmasters, Part 2

| 11 | Tactics

In the first part of this article,  we discussed how Alexey Shirov discovered a beautiful idea during a postmortem analysis of his game vs. GM Azmaiparashvili.

Unexpectedly, he got a chance to use a similar idea in the last round of the same tournament!  Thanks to this win he qualified to his first Interzonal tournament.

Six months later in the Interzonal tournament, Shirov found himself in the familiar "must win" situation again, this time against GM Joel Lautier.

It is not every day you can see a double exchange sacrifice in one game, but winning two desisive games in two major tournaments with a double exchnage sac is really something extraordinary!

The second part of the game is really beautiful and also it is a textbook example of an attack against an exposed king. Finish the game like GM Shirov!

This brilliant game together with the games we analyzed in the first part of this article help us to find some common patterns.

When you do a double exchange sacrifice, usually you want to have as a compensation the following three factors:

  • vulnerable opponent king
  • a bunch of passed pawns
  • two bishops

It is great when you have all three components, but in many cases just two or even one of them should be enough. Let's look at the different cases.

A vulnerable king and a bunch of passed pawns:

A vulnerable king and a pair of bishops:

A bunch of passed pawns and a pair of bishops:

Just a vulnerable king:

Just a bunch of passed pawns:

As you could see, super GMs use a double exchange sacrifice relatively frequently.

Then why club players practically never use such an attractive attacking tool in their games? In my opinion, the main reason is that it is not easy to correctly evaluate the positional compensation you get for such a significant material investment.

It is one thing to sacrifice a lot of material when a checkmate is in sight and it is totally different if all you get is just a strong initiative!

I hope this article will help our readers to borrow this dangerous weapon from the super grandmaster arsenal!


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