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Thursday, October 15, 2015

This was NOT a Queen Sacrifice...

… according to Bent Larsen. 

     In his book The Art of Sacrifice in Chess Rudolf Spielmann distinguished between real and sham sacrifices. A sham sacrifice leads to a forced and immediate benefit for the one making it, usually in the form of a quick checkmate or regaining the sacrificed material after a forced line. Since any amount of material can be sacrificed as long as checkmate will be achieved, the Q is not above being sacrificed as part of a combination. Possible reasons for a sham queen sacrifice include:
  • forced checkmate 
  • more than adequate material compensation 
  • clearing the way for a P's promotion 
  • subsequent capture of the opponent's Q that results a positional or material gain 
     Real sacrifices, according to Spielmann, are those where the compensation is not immediate, but more of a positional nature. Positional sacrifices of the Q almost always entail some partial material compensation. An opportunity may arise where a player trades off his Q for other pieces which may together be of equal or greater value than the Q. 
     Bent Larsen wrote that giving up the Q for a R and two minor pieces is sometimes called a "queen sacrifice", but since a Rook plus two minor pieces is more valuable than the Q, he said it should not be considered a sacrifice. 
     In this game white exchanges his Q for adequate material plus he got an overwhelming attack. We still like to call it a Q-sacrifice though, even if, technically when we apply Larsen's definition, it wasn't.

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