The Blockade Sacrifice

The Blockade Sacrifice

Mar 17, 2017, 10:39 AM |

When chess sacrifices are brought up, most chess players think of tactical sacrifices where one side gets either dynamic compensation or temporary sacrifices where the side sacrificing wins material back or checkmates soon after.

There are also positional sacrifices, where one side sacrifices a pawn or more for positional factors.

One of these types of sacrifices is sacrificing for the blockade.

A pawn is blockaded when an opposing piece is in front of it, and the piece can't be chased away by other pawns. This renders the pawn immobile and often secures the opponent's piece an outpost. The best blockade is a knight - it doesn't lose any mobility having a pawn in front of it.

Sacrificing for the blockade often comes with other positional factors that would normally not be enough for the pawn but with the blockade, it is a good deal because the extra (blockaded) pawn isn't very useful.

  • If the extra pawn is blockaded, it can't be used to help win the game.
  • In spending some tempi to win the pawn, the side sacrificing can increase their piece activity or gain other positional advantages.
Some game examples: