Parting With The Lady

At this point much of my interest in chess comes from what I call “Chess Oddities” or irregularities in the game (ie. glitches in the matrix). These gems are what makes chess interesting to me, it’s a big part of the reason I play. I’m always elated when I’m playing and I find some beautiful or exotic idea and reach some beautiful position where the art of the game can truly be appreciated. Today I will examine one such gem, “The Queen sacrifice”.

Combinations with a queen sacrifice are among the most striking and memorable …  –  Anatoly Karpov

Today we’re going to talk about one of my favorite chess topics: Parting with the lady (Queen sacrifices). Much has been written in chess literature about some of the games I’m going to be showing/examining, so I won’t be providing a ton of analysis in regards to the games themselves (unless they are my own). Think of this post as more of a highlight reel than anything else and just try and appreciate the beauty and risk involved in creating each one.

I was doing some research prior to writing this post and I came across something written by Rudolf Spielmann in regards to Queen sacrifices which I had not seen before (but quite liked). In his book, “The Art of Sacrifice in Chess” he distinguishes between “real” and “sham” queen sacrifices. A sham sacrifice is one where there is an immediate payout for the sacrificer (regaining the queen, mating the king etc). He defines a real sacrifice as one where the compensation is not immediate. The clearest example of a real sacrifice that I can think of is this game (and one of my favorites) from Rashid Gibiatovich Nezhmetdinov:

Now many of you are probably questioning the “correctness” of the sacrifice. Much research and analysis has been done on this game since it was played. According to much analysis (by strong engines) black should be slightly better after the astonishing 12. Qxf6!! Of course such decisions are not taken lightly and sitting at home with a computer running and proving that over-the-board (OTB) is another story entirely.

Of course there are other famous examples of real queen sacrifices (this one even includes another chess gem called a windmill which I write about in the future):

I also have an example of a real queen sacrifice from one of my games (I’ve removed my opponents name because I hope in similar situations someone would do me the same kindness):

There is of course a lot to be ridiculed about this game. I want to focus our attention on the queen sacrifice itself 21. bxa6!! is actually completely correct (and gives white an edge). My follow up was rather poor I got sidetracked and believed I could mate my opponent; instead of playing a7 and making a new queen which was my original plan.

The rest of the games I’ve given are more queen sacrifices I’ve made online in blitz as well as some queen sacs in the longer time controls. For the most part the queen sacrifices are all the “correct” choice in the given position. I’ve always found it interesting how when working together a few minor pieces can easily overwhelm a queen; when done correctly the pieces all react with perfect coordination and behave as a single fighting force on the enemy king. As I mentioned above the games themselves should not be gleaned for some eternal truth but rather should be enjoyed on the merit of the sacrifice and the power of the remaining pieces.

When sacrificing your queen it’s of the utmost importance that your king is safe and cannot be easily attacked. When the queen lacks targets she becomes fairly useless, and even gets in the way of the minor pieces:

Something else to keep in mind when sacrificing anything, it’s important to make sure that your pieces are coordinated well and can work together easily.

See how easily the rooks and bishop were able to attack the f7 square? My opponent even let me double up on the f-file with tempo.

Another example where I didn’t need to give up the queen, but what is life without a little risk?

Finally I would like to leave you with a game where there were 3 queens sacrificed in one game! I had not seen this game until today; I hope you enjoy:

Did I miss any games? What are some of your favorite Queen sacrifices?

  6 comments for “Parting With The Lady

  1. July 20, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Hello there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I will certainly digg it and for my part suggest to my friends. I’m sure they will be benefited from this web site.

    • August 29, 2013 at 6:35 am

      Nice site. Now you just have to keep it going. I like your analysis of the GM Short game. I pacitrularily like your position on move 18 and thought of the idea of Nb5 and a quick running of the A pawn however the more I looked the harder it is to defend against the kingside initiative. Kudos to you for your interesting verbal analysis of the game and in particular the Qf6 shot. Chess is so deep. Keep up the good work.

  2. August 13, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Hello just wanted to give you a quick heads up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

    • Josh
      August 14, 2013 at 8:53 am

      Which browsers are you using, and which page(s) are you referring to?

  3. August 26, 2013 at 9:05 pm

    You play to passive on the queen side, next time push all those pawns on the queen and get an acivte game, and get the rooks behind and your entire artillery.Know let forget about your lost and play better tomorrow.Make yourself happy so tomorrow you will play better.

  4. August 29, 2013 at 7:05 am

    Nice web site.I’m looking at puinttg one together as well, including chess stuff, though my games would not be too interesting. Nice game too. Hopefully you win the next GM simul. It’s crazy doing simuls. You have all the time in the world, at least early in the game, but when he arrives you need to move immediately. Sounds silly, but that sometimes caused me to blunder. And, later in the evening, when you need time, you don’t have nearly as much.

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