Sacrificing Tactic in Chess: Guts for Glory

It is in a game of chess that we learn the value of sacrificing a little now to win a goal later. The loss of a major or minor piece does not always mean defeat in chess. Sacrificing in chess may mean the beginning of a glorious win. Here are some considerations.

We sacrifice for 3 main reasons: for escape, for an opening, and for a diversion. We do these things mostly for the sake of the king, sometimes for the queen, and other times for other pieces. We may even sacrifice a bishop or knight for a pawn. But we certainly cannot sacrifice a king in exchange for another piece—though it may be convenient to do so if the rules allow it.

When we are caught by a deadly double-check by the enemy often times we have no choice but to choose between the two double-checked pieces. Often, the enemy would target the king and a major piece for a double check to force us to waste a turn by just moving the king to safety. An escape is often a useless move. As much as possible we use our turn to strategize for a kill, not run away. So, in the above case, we're forced to sacrifice the other piece in favor of the king.

When the enemy camp is heavily defended and we want an opening we use a bit of sacrificing in chess. We charge a pawn or two to break through the defenses—either the pawns capture and get captured or just get captured. Either way, we breach the blockade. A good tactic here is to back up a sacrifice with a checking or capturing move. With checking, capturing the pawn would expose a major enemy piece to checking. With capturing, the enemy may take our pawn but allow us to neutralize a much higher enemy piece through the opening.

Sacrificing a minor piece creates a lot of diversion in chess. If we intend to convert or promote a pawn or two by a touch-down on the eighth row, at times we have to let the enemy take a bishop, knight, or even a rook—even all—while we busy ourselves making the touch-down to get a queen or two. We may also sacrifice at the king's area of the board while hatching a kill at the queen's area.

Sacrificing in chess is a strong strategy if it ultimately leads to a much strengthened position. Thus, it should be well planned.

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