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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Queen Pseudosacrifices Are Fun...

...even if they are not necessary to win the game. This game was fun to play. As for the opening, even though the line I selected holds no real danger for black, it's what I always play because there's not much theory on it and it does not lead to the kind of game black is expecting when he plays the Alekhine. Technically though I don't think my 28th move was a real sacrifice because I ended up getting a R, B and N for the Q.  Besides that, according to Stockfish 6 I was up by over 16 Pawns and the evaluation dropped to 8 Pawns after the "sacrifice" so technically it was not the best move.  Maybe not, but it was fun.

In Chess: Skills, Tactics, Techniques by Jonathan Arnott, he wrote, "A sacrifice involves giving up material in order to receive other benefits. If you give up your R knowing that you are going to win your opponent's Q two moves later, then it s part of a tactic - not much of a sacrifice if you are actually winning material." He points out that it is really a pseudosacrifice...it looks like a sacrifice but actually it is just part of winning material.  He points out it's quite common at the club level, so in his book, he elected to ignore those kinds of moves. Thinking about it, he's right.  When we average players make what we like to call a sacrifice, it usually isn't...it's what I did here; I traded my Q for a bunch of pieces.
     A real sacrifice is when a player gives up material because it helps his position. Sacrifices can be made for many reasons: prevent castling, destroy a P-formation, remove a dangerous piece, create an outpost, create a passed P, remove protection from the K, exchange into a drawn (or won) ending, launch an attack, etc. Arnott makes an important observation many players forget: Players can see a sacrifice that does not give sufficient compensation for the material given up and it's easy to forget that if you don't get enough compensation in return, your sacrifice should result in losing the game.

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