Strategic Sacrifices

Last week, we analysed dynamic sacrifices, where the goal is to gain time, a lead in development, and/or an attack on the king. Below, we explore strategic sacrifices, where the compensation is often far less obvious.

How can black sacrifice material to dominate the light squares?

Van Vliet – Nimzowitsch, Ostend 1907

Van Vliet had the chance to play a powerful strategic sacrifice against Nimzowitsch at Ostend 1907, sacrificing a pawn to dominate the central dark squares.

John – Nimzowitsch, Hamburg 1910

Nimzowitsch got the chance to show off his own mastery of strategic sacrifices in his victory over John at Hamburg 1910.

Bogoljubow – Tartakower, New York 1924

Bogoljubow sacrificed a pawn to establish a rook on the 7th rank to defeat Tartakower at New York 1924.

The lesson is clear: material is just one type of advantage. You should actively search for ways to trade it for others, such as control of a weak colour complex, or establishing a rook on the 7th rank. Even if there is no immediate tactical justification, long-term strategic factors may provide enough compensation for the material invested.

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