When to Sacrifice Pieces in Chess

When to Sacrifice Pieces in Chess

FM Gertsog

When to sacrifice pieces in chess?

When to sacrifice pieces. Good question! And usually a strong player (Master or Candidate Master knows the answer). However, for many club players the answer is not clear. That’s why I decided to discover the cases when a piece sacrifice makes sense.

I divided the cases when to sacrifice a piece into 4 groups and I’m going to illustrate it with a few game examples.

Would you like to know what these groups are? And be able to understand when the position requires a sacrifice? If yes, watch this video to the very end, implement these ideas into your games and win more games!

Ok, this is FM Viktor Neustroev and “When to sacrifice a piece in chess”!

There are 2 types of sacrifices: Tactical Sacrifice and Positional Sacrifice (or Strategical Sacrifice)
Of course, Tactical Sacrifice is more popular! It usually happens in sharp positions. And there are 3 groups of tactical sacrifices. Most of my students are club players and usually don’t recommend them to sacrifice the material in case if there is nothing concrete and they can’t gain the material back or checkmate.
And the main difference between Tactical Sacrifice and Positional Sacrifice is that in case of the positional sacrifice there is no forced line that leads to your advantage. It’s easy to calculate material on the board, but it’s really difficult to get a feeling that you have a positional advantage.

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Group 1. Gain Material

Sacrifice if it will win you material. It’s very often when you sacrifice a piece, but can gain a piece back and also get some other extra material or just weaken enemy position. But before you make a sacrifice, calculate all the lines properly and be sure that you won’t miss anything.

Group 2. Mating Attack

Sacrifice a piece or any other material if you see that you can checkmate after that! After the checkmate the game is over and who cares how much material left on the board!

Group 3. Strong Attack & Initiative

Sacrifice a piece when you have a strong attack on the enemy king and can dominate in the game for at least 7-10 moves. Why I said “7-10 moves”? Because it’s enough for your opponent to make a mistake. It’s always difficult to defend the position rather than to attack.

I’ll show you an example and then I think you’ll understand more about this group of sacrifices.

And finally Group 4. Positional Sacrifice

You may sacrifice a piece if you think then your position becomes better. Sounds weird? Right! How can the position become better if you just lose the material? But it can!

For example, you sacrifice a piece for 1 or 2 pawns that are quite dangerous and are likely to create real problems for your position. Or you can sacrifice a piece for a few pawns to make a break out with your pawns and then promote them. Or you can sacrifice a piece to make your other pieces better what can later provide you with more possibilities!

But the most popular positional sacrifice is a Positional Exchange Sacrifice. When your bishop or knight becomes better than the enemy rook!

In this video you learned how when to sacrifice pieces. Thank you for watching and make sure to like this video, subscribe to my channel and share it with your friends - chess players.

Now you may implement these ideas into your games, sacrifice more pieces, make your games even more beautiful and full of nice combinations! And, of course, fully enjoy such games!

If you know any other cases when it makes sense to sacrifice the material, please, share it into the comment section below the video. You can also leave the link to your game there.

Best Regards,
FM Victor Neustroev