“A sacrifice is best refuted by accepting it”
I have been talking about the importance of knowing patterns and combinations in rapid play many times. This past week at the club we witnessed another game where this knowledge (or lack of) made the difference. It is not like we did not learn the Greek gift sacrifice. What is probably missing for both players is more practice in solving puzzles from this category. Here is how the sacrifice happened and what was the result. Do you agree with it?
If you want to use this as a training opportunity, I have linked below my other articles on the subject:
They should be helpful in coming up with the right answer. Once you have made your decision, continue with your reading.
What has helped me over the years is remembering the 6 conditions necessary for the sacrifice to work. There are some particular positional considerations when one or two conditions can be compensated. However, for the vast majority of situations, these conditions provide an accurate answer to the question “Sac, or no sac?”. Let’s see how they work here:
#1. Pawns in front of the King side castle are not moved => Yes, the condition is met
#2. The h2/ h7-pawn is defended only by the King and cannot be defended by any other piece in a move => Yes, the condition is met
#3. There is an advanced pawn on e5/ e4 => No, the condition is not met
#4. The g5/ g4-square is not defended => Yes, the condition is met
#5. A rook can come into the attack very fast; example: Re1-e3-h3/ Re8-e6-h6 => while this is possible, in this situation the manoeuver takes too long
#6. The combo 1ueen + knight supported by the other bishop can attack the castle position directly => Yes, the condition is met
We have a 4-yes versus 2-no count that should make both players spend some time to understand the position. Neither did it, which is not a very good sign. Hopefully they analyzed the game post-mortem to learn from it.
I will end this article with providing the correct moves that should have been played by either. After all the discussion and pondering, we need to produce this for the training opportunity to be worth anything: