Chess Sacrifice as Chess Tactics identified sacrifice as a tactics to gain tempo. Gaining a tempo is an important chess tactics that provides you with an initiative (see Chess Sacrifice as a Chess Tactics: to seize initiative) whereby you take a lead forcing the opponent to passively follow what your moves dictate! You achieve a tempo by threatening to capture a piece, or to gain substantial material, or to deliver a check – any of which will need the opponent to attend to these immediate threats, shelving for the time being the plans he wanted to pursue. Diverting the opponent’s plan, you get enough time to continue with your attack to a successful end.
In our recent posting of some Chess Trivia on current list of Grandmasters, we referred to Andre Lilienthal, the oldest living Grandmaster at 98! While fervently wishing him to complete his century, we thought that the best tribute we could pay is to use one of his brilliant games against a player no less than the great Capablanca.
The game hardly needs any comment and we use it to show the use of sacrifice as a chess tactics to gain tempo and how a tempo can continue to be maintained.
You have already been introduced to Lilienthal (b. 1911), and Capablanca (1888-1942) certainly does not need it, and if we were to start on those lines, this article could never be completed within bounds of reasonable space and time!
This game was played at Hastings tournament in 1935. Seeing that it is a short game of 26 moves and because of the way the game was played, we are reproducing the full game here.
|20.||exf6||Qxc2||White gains tempo by capturing the Knight that was providing support to the Queen. Now White was threatening to capture the unsupported Black Queen. That the reverse was also true was the point on which White made his Queen sacrifice! If Black captured the f6 pawn with his Knight to support his Queen, White could initiate Queen exchange leaving Black with a Knight short!
|21.||fxg7||Rg8||White continued to maintain tempo by threatening to capture the Rook, in the process promoting his pawn to Queen and delivering check to Black King – all in one move! So Black had to guard against this threat.
|22.||Nd4||Qe4||White still maintains tempo by shifting focus to other end to threaten the Black Queen. But there was a deadlier threat of quick mate starting with 23. Rae1+. Black had to give up his Queen to meet the multiple threats!
|23.||Rae1||Nc5||23. … Qxe1 24. Rxe1+ Ne5 25. Rxe5+|
|26.||Rxe4+||Kd7||and Black resigned with this. White’s 27. Bf6 followed by 28. Nb5 would pose problems too much to handle for Black.|
It can be said that Lilienthal played a perfect game reminiscent of Capablanca in his prime!
Watch Actual Game