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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Passive Sacrifices.

Pin It Hermann --- Hussong ( Frankfurt 1930)

One of the biggest shocks that a sacrifices can give his opponent is to leave a piece en prise when the defender attacks it. I shall call that a

Black to Play

passive sacrifice Many of the most famous and inspiring combinations have a passive sacrifice in there somewhere.

In the following diagram Black has already sacrificed his queen, but his opponent returned it in order to construct a defence. The last two moves of the game, however, will stay in the mamory of the readers.

It is clear that the white king is in trouble. On the other hand, he has an extra piece and two pawns and meanwhile he is threatening the black rook on h2. Black sees that ...Nf4 will be mate as long as the white king cannot get h7, and if the black rook can clear the f4-square without allowing the white king to escape.

On that basis, Black's dicisive combination is easy to understand.

30 ...Kg8!! 31 Nxh2 Rf5!! 0-1

The first move is contrary to all of our chess playing instincts. If a piece as valuable as a rook is attacked, it must surely move. Black

allowed his imagination free rein as material is a very minor concern when mate is on the cards. Thanks to the threat of mate by 31...Rf6. White was obliged to stop and accept the sacrifice.
The second move is of a type that we have already seen. It is a silent square-clearance sacrifice which forces mate because it thretens both 32 ...Nf4# and 32 Hg5# By moving to that specific square, the rook prevents the escape of the white king to h5. After 32 exf5 Nf4# it is now the knight that covers the h5- sqaure, preventing the king's escape. Black has only one piece left, but is enought to give checkmate.