Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Clearance Sacrifice

In a game of speed chess at, I used a clearance sacrifice to win material. A clearance sacrifice is a sacrifice which clears space. In this game, my sacrifice allowed my queen to control an important diagonal and capture my opponent's rook. My opponent was Mychessplay of India who played black. Here are the moves of the game along with my commentary:

1. e4 e5
2. Nf3 Nc6
3. Bb5 Bd6
4. 0-0 a6
5. Ba4 b5

I opt to keep my bishop.

6. Bb3 Nd4
7. Nxd4 exd4

I must make sure that black does not trap my bishop.

8. e5 Bxe5

I sacrifice my pawn. This is a clearance sacrifice because now my queen has access to the f3-a8 diagonal. I do not play Qf3 right away because then black can counter with Qf6 and my queen cannot capture the rook on a8. With the clearance sacrifice, my queen can control the f3-a8 diagonal on my next move.

9. Qf3 Nf6

Black's move prevents Qxf7#.

10. Qxa8 0-0
11. h3 c6

Black wants to trap my queen.

12. d3 Nh5

Now I can develop my dark-squared bishop.

13. a4 Qh4
14. Nd2 Qf4

Black threatens Qh2#.

15. Nf3 Qf6
16. Nxe5 Qxe5
17. Bd2 Qe2
18. Bb4 Re8
19. Rfe1 Qxe1+

Black must capture to avoid Rxe8#.

20. Rxe1 Rxe1+

Black resigns. On my next move I can play Bxe1. This leaves me one piece up. Even worse for black, I threaten to capture his bishop on c8 which cannot move because it is pinned. With the loss of his queen and pinned bishop, black realizes that his position is hopeless. For this reason he resigns. My clearance sacrifice on move 8, e5, is one of the key moments of the game.

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