The most difficult decisions a chess player must face on the board is positional sacrifices. Modern Chess players do not hesitate to sacrifice in order to start an attack the king or a combination to win the material back.
Important positional sacrifices tips
These kind of sacrifices involve a compensation that might not come in the near future an harder to make as outcome is unclear. Here are some tips:
- Be practical. If the sacrifice looks interesting and seems like it gives problems to your opponent it is the best time to sacrifice. It will be very tough to defend even the sacrifice is not completely sound.
- Do not hold on material tight. Pieces may be an important factor in determining who is in a better position. The activity of the pieces is more important. What matters is not how many pieces you have but how many pieces are playing active.
- Try out new things. If an idea looks interesting then go for it! Great Grandmaster Ivanchuk always looks for new ideas in his games. He does play great game even though he ends up in time trouble.
Potential reasons for positional sacrifices
Which type of compensation is a positional sacrifice made? In the interest of space, we will focus on the following sampling of potential reasons:
- Piece placement: Frequently, a pawn or even more should be sacrificed to disrupt your opponent’s piece coordination, or to secure good squares for your own pieces.
- A space advantage: It is easy to underestimate the importance of maneuvering space for your pieces (and a lack of it for your opponent), but most players hate dealing with a cramped position.
- A particularly important piece trade: For instance, you might sacrifice a pawn or exchange to eliminate a strong bishop, or to transpose into a favorable endgame.
- Destruction of pawn structure: The only way to uncover the flaws in your opponent’s position is to induce a weakness in his or her pawn structure.