Chess Sacrifice as a Chess Tactics: gaining space for attack

Filed under Attacking tactics, Chess lessons, Chess tactics
Tagged as , ,

Making out a chess game as a war on the chessboard, can you first tell why in these days of missiles, artillery, aerial attacks and so on, the infantry still holds such an important position in any army? The rockets and gun-shells can annihilate but they cannot win territory, for that you need the infantry who go forward and occupy vacated space. Moreover, when the enemy retreats preparing for a defensive strategy, the heavy armaments have to move forward to keep the enemy in range and so they need advancing space controlled by your infantry. Of course the infantry in turn needs the support of all the heavy firepower, otherwise they become just fodders for enemy cannons.

To draw a simile, the pawns are the infantry which go forward to occupy and control more space on the chessboard. They need support of the other pieces for doing this and the space gained in turn helps the pieces to go in for the killing attack on the opponent King’s position.

I hope I have been able to convey the importance of space in launching chess attacks. The plan to gain space is an important chess strategy and the way you move your pawns and supporting pieces constitute the chess tactics to realize that aim.

You will find all the brilliant tactical masters in chess like Frank Marshall, Mikhail Tal and Rashid Nezhmetdinov tried to create more space for their pieces. They would unhesitatingly sacrifice one or more pieces just to create that space for their other pieces.

The masters who have been successful against these attacking players knew about this tactics. To prevent such attacks, they adopted the strategy of denying that space and used a tactical play aimed at closing the positions through blocked pawns and pieces. They would go through many maneuverings and positional play to frustrate the attacking players, induce them to overreach and then take opportunity of the mistakes to gain the upper hand.

All this was to make you aware of the chess strategies you need to follow for offensive and defensive play. If you are bent on the attack, you must be prepared to use sacrifices to break open the positions. This was one of the uses of sacrifice as discussed in Chess Sacrifices as Chess Tactics.

After all that talk, let us see practical example of how sacrifices are used as chess tactics to create space and how that is utilized to launch successful attacks.

In the Chukaev-Tal game at the 1956 tournament at Tbilisi from which the following position has been taken after 13 moves, you will agree that White was really ‘asking for it’ by his inopportune castling! Nonetheless, it is worth noting how Black immediately swooped in to take advantage of it.

sacrifice to gain space

14. f3 Nb4   Black decided to sacrifice the Bishop to get more space on the Q-side for his attacking chances


White was probably more concerned with the two Black Bishops controlling the diagonals to his King’s castle. If White could anticipate the problems going to be created by Black’s Knight move and tried to prevent it by 14. a3, it would be met by 14. … Qb3 with the idea of moving the Queen to a2 for checkmate at b1.
If White tried 15. Bd3 then 15. … Bxd3 16. Qxd3 Qxb2#
Other alternatives:
15. f3 Qa2 16. fxe4 Qa1+ 17. Kc2 Qxb2+ 18. Kd3 Qb3+ 19. Qc3 Qxc3#
15. Rde1 Qa2 16. Bd3 Bxd3 17. Qxd3 Bxb2+ 18. Kd1 Bxa3 and Black is two pawns up.

Let us see how Black created the space and utilized it for launching his attack.

15. fxe4 Nxa2+  
16. Kb1 Nc3+  
17. Kc1 Nxe4  
18. Qc2 Nxg5  
19. Nf3 Nxf3  
20. Bxf3 a5  
21. Rd3 a4  
22. Re1 Qb4  
23. Re7 Rfe8  
24. Rxe8+ Rxe8  
25. Kb1 b5  
26. Ra3 Re1+  
27. Ka2 Qxa3+   The last surprise!
28. Resigns   If 28. Kxa3 or bxa3 then 28. … Ra1#


The other notable point is the Black QN’s journey along a6-b4-a2-c3-e4-g5-f3 on successive moves and is a classic example of a Knight maneuver that helped to create space for Black’s Q-side attack.

A typical attacking game from Tal.



  1. Jhon says:

    To attack successfully space is very important.

  2. ChessMaster says:


    No doubt about it!


  1. Just Chess » Blog Archive » Chess Sacrifice as a Chess Tactics: gaining space for attack |
  2. Shape of things to come in the world of chess? |