A Positional Queen Sacrifice in Blitz

Sep 22, 2014, 11:19 AM |

Blitz games should never be taken seriously - even world class players tend to drop material every 5 moves - but sometimes certain fragments are worth thinking about for a bit longer than just a few minutes. 

Last week I played a blitz game online in which I suddenly got the possibility to sacrifice my queen against two pieces without a direct mating attack - in other words, a positional queen sacrifice. 

Whilst everybody knows the positional exchange sacrifice - vintage Petrosian and Topalov - sacrificing more than an exchange, let alone a queen, is actually not all that common in chess. 

Here's a classical example of a piece sacrifice early in the opening, by one of the all-time masters of positional sacsrifices - David Bronstein (1924-2006):

Positional rook and queen sacrifices are even rarer, of course, but Bronstein managed to discover an amazing one in the Saemisch Variation of the King's Indian Defence: 

The key theme here is domination over the black squares. Actually, this is a very common motif in games which feature a positional queen sacrifice. Here's an amazing example by the 13th World Champion: 

Great stuff, but I think I like the following game even better, by the legendary Rashid Nezhmetdinov, who was famous for his creative (queen) sacrifices: 

To be honest, all these brilliancies make me feel slightly stupid showing you my own little blitz game, but here goes anyway. We'll pick up the action after Black's 17th move.



After all these serious examples (well, kind of, anyway) of positional queen sacrifices, I can't help showing you what happened a few online games later. I was apparently still infected with the same virus when I realized my opening experiment had gone horribly wrong:

Ouch. If the queen moves, the knight on e5 is lost, and Qxd5 obviously fails to taking on c7. My hand hovered above the resign-button, but then I decided to just grab the dark squares, even if I got only one piece in return, instead of two...


This clearly came as a total shock to my opponent, who, instead of just taking on d6 (with check!), now started thinking for almost 45 seconds (an eternity in a 3 minute game!) and then played the equally astonishing

2.Qc3??! after which I quickly retreated my queen to b8 and even managed to win the game.

Of course, 2.Nxd6+ exd6 3.Qa4! should have given him a winning position, although it must be said that after the tenacious 3...Ke7! Black does, again, have a pretty tight grip on the centre and the dark squares and I wouldn't feel entirely comfortable as White either with a minute down on the clock.

So, next time you want to grab control over the dark squares, why not consider sacrificing your queen to obtain your goal? After all, you're in good company if you look at the examples from Bronstein, Kasparov and Nezhmetdinov (and in no-so-good company if you look at mine).

Enjoy the ride - even if it lasts only 3 minutes!