The exchange sacrifice … twice !
I know I have said this before, but I’ll repeat it once more.
I see quite a lot of lower rated players with a certain pattern regarding the exchange (rook vs. minor piece).
If they can choose in a position to win a piece (bishop or knight) OR to win the exchange, they instantly go grab the exchange.
I find that strange and also not logical at all.
Let’s look at a comparison between these two :
* Winning a minor piece is winning 3 points in general , and you win a full piece. Which also means that the player losing the piece will have to play with a whole piece down.
* Winning the exchange means winning only 2 points in general, and … your opponent with the exchange down still has a piece to play with.
Giving up the exchange by means of an exchange sacrifice either for positional or attacking reasons was quite often done years ago by various Russian chess grandmasters.
In dutch chess articles people talked about “The Russian Exchange”.
Sometimes it is also called a “Petrosian Exchange”.
Yes, it is true that a rook can be much more powerful than a bishop or knight, but this all depends on the position, and a position can change (from closed to open and open to closed position).
There are positions where a knight or bishop can be much more powerful than a rook.
Especially when you can get one pawn, or better two pawns with the exchange sacrifice, then the chess game can be really interesting with this rather unusual uneven material.
Here’s an example of a positional exchange sacrifice by the former World Champion chess Botvinnik, where he played 25… Rd4! :
And here’s a whole collection of exchange sacrifices by GMs from years ago :
This week I played on a chess server a blitz game where I could sacrifice the exchange even twice in one game !
Afterwards Crafty chess engine was not complaining too much about my play. Nice.