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Positional Sacrifices
Compiled by patzer2
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16. N5!!
Tal vs Larsen, 1965  
(B82) Sicilian, Scheveningen, 37 moves, 1-0

28. Rxc6!?
Morphy vs A Medina, 1862 
(000) Chess variants, 36 moves, 1-0

23...Rc6! sacrfices a pawn to immobilize the knight
V Nevednichy vs Korchnoi, 2004 
(C08) French, Tarrasch, Open, 4.ed ed, 61 moves, 0-1

23...Rxg3!
G Sagalchik vs Nakamura, 2003 
(C12) French, McCutcheon, 37 moves, 0-1

18. f4!? Qg2 19. Kd2 Qxf2 20. Rdg1! sacs pawn on f2 for attack
P H Nielsen vs Macieja, 2004 
(E39) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Pirc Variation, 41 moves, 1-0

15. b5!
Anand vs Adams, 2005 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 42 moves, 1-0

19. h5!
Short vs E Blank Goncalves, 2001 
(B07) Pirc, 28 moves, 1-0

29. e6! is an awe inspiring positional pawn sacrifice.
Karjakin vs Stellwagen, 2005 
(C11) French, 57 moves, 1-0

30. f4 ! forces a decisive exchange sacrifice
Dreev vs P Cramling, 2005 
(A57) Benko Gambit, 50 moves, 1-0

21...Nxg4!? sacs the exchange to isolate White's pawns
H Hamdouchi vs Dreev, 2005 
(B51) Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack, 34 moves, 0-1

32...Nb6! sacs the exchange for superior pawn structure
N Pert vs Dreev, 2005 
(D43) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 78 moves, 0-1

15. b5!!
H Wagner vs W Schoenmann, 1919  
(D08) Queen's Gambit Declined, Albin Counter Gambit, 25 moves, 1-0

17...0-0! is a novelty, sacrificing the exchange for position
Kasimdzhanov vs Kasparov, 2005 
(D47) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 36 moves, 0-1

42. Be4!
Panno vs E Eliskases, 1957 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 50 moves, 1-0

9...d4! gambits a pawn with decisive advantage
K Bunk vs M Kopylov, 2001 
(A43) Old Benoni, 17 moves, 0-1

20...Nh4!
K Bischoff vs Z Gyimesi, 2005 
(A22) English, 36 moves, 0-1

25. N3xf4! forces a decisive passed pawn
Blackburne vs J E Parry, 1911 
(B23) Sicilian, Closed, 39 moves, 1-0

13. 0-0!
Portisch vs Petrosian, 1967 
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 24 moves, 1-0

15. e6! gives White a strong attack with winning chances
M Judd vs Pillsbury, 1898 
(C45) Scotch Game, 34 moves, 0-1

34. c5!
Seirawan vs Z Kozul, 1991 
(E77) King's Indian, 42 moves, 1-0

9. e5! gambits a pawn for a strong attack
L Shamkovich vs V Zheliandinov, 1959  
(A66) Benoni, 20 moves, 1-0

12...h4!! sets up 14...Rh1!
Larsen vs Spassky, 1970 
(A01) Nimzovich-Larsen Attack, 17 moves, 0-1

12. Nxd5! takes the initiative but equalizes after 16...Bxf1
Ponomariov vs Topalov, 2005 
(E00) Queen's Pawn Game, 40 moves, 1-0

16. Nxb5!? is equal, but difficult for Black to defend
Reshevsky vs Najdorf, 1952 
(D45) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 30 moves, 1-0

11...Nxd5!? sacrifices the Queen for two pieces and a pawn
S Tsyndymeev vs K Kalashnikov, 2001 
(E70) King's Indian, 27 moves, 0-1

14. c4!
Geller vs Karpov, 1976 
(C16) French, Winawer, 42 moves, 1-0

12. Nh5!!
Onischuk vs Y Shulman, 2005 
(D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 31 moves, 1-0

8. Ne4!? sacs a piece for strong attack (no worse than equal)
Bronstein vs M20, 1963 
(C34) King's Gambit Accepted, 23 moves, 1-0

13. Nf5!! appears to be a forced win
E Tate vs T Braunlich, 2001 
(B87) Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5, 21 moves, 1-0

12...Bb7! appears to be a sound sac, with Black equal or better
Smyslov vs Gufeld, 1967 
(A15) English, 35 moves, 0-1

15. Nxb5!?
J Houska vs G Koskoska, 2005 
(B43) Sicilian, Kan, 5.Nc3, 27 moves, 1-0

16. Qxf5!! Nxa1 17. Nxf7! +-
Benko vs I A Horowitz, 1968 
(A12) English with b3, 20 moves, 1-0

47...Qc8! offers a pawn for decisive positional advantage
Naiditsch vs Kramnik, 2005 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 58 moves, 1/2-1/2

22. c6! is a pseudo-sac deflection for a winning attack.
C Bauer vs Nakamura, 2005 
(D47) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 41 moves, 1-0

18. Rxe4!? prepares 20. Rxe5!
Pelletier vs Nakamura, 2005 
(E97) King's Indian, 31 moves, 1-0

19...Rfe8! exchanges a piece for three pawns
Euwe vs Alekhine, 1937 
(D18) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, Dutch, 34 moves, 0-1

17. e6! wins after 17...Bxe6?! but is unclear after 17...gxf6!
Sax vs V Ciocaltea, 1974 
(C29) Vienna Gambit, 22 moves, 1-0

23. Bxd6!
Kiril D Georgiev vs Topalov, 1992 
(A57) Benko Gambit, 39 moves, 1-0

13...d5!
Bisguier vs Saidy, 1963 
(B59) Sicilian, Boleslavsky Variation, 7.Nb3, 28 moves, 0-1

11. Ng5!? Qxg5 12. Qf3! is an interesting positional sacrifice
P Ryan vs H Metschan, 1995 
(C80) Ruy Lopez, Open, 27 moves, 1-0

15. Na4!
Leitao vs Baburin, 1998 
(D27) Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical, 21 moves, 1-0

18. Bd3! gives the advantage after 18...fxe6 & wins otherwise
Kotronias vs R Djurhuus, 1995 
(B99) Sicilian, Najdorf, 7...Be7 Main line, 38 moves, 1-0

6. Ne5! Be6 7. Bxe6 fxe6 8. d4! +- gives White a won position
Castellvi vs Vinyoles, 1475 
(B01) Scandinavian, 21 moves, 1-0

15. Ng3!? 16. hxg3 -/+ gives Black a lasting advantage
J Boey vs Estrin, 1972 
(C82) Ruy Lopez, Open, 41 moves, 0-1

22. Rxa3!? =/+ stops black's attack & switches the initiative
A P Law vs Miles, 1981 
(C16) French, Winawer, 40 moves, 1-0

24. Rxe5+!
Tal vs B Malich, 1958 
(B67) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 8...Bd7, 27 moves, 1-0

18...Rxc6!
Radjabov vs Topalov, 2003 
(E00) Queen's Pawn Game, 61 moves, 0-1

23. Qd2!? offers strong winning chances with the draw in hand
Anand vs Adams, 2005 
(C92) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 32 moves, 1-0

20. Nb6!! Rb8 21. Nf5! Bc6 22. Qd4! +- wins positionally
Leko vs Topalov, 2005 
(B90) Sicilian, Najdorf, 40 moves, 0-1

19...Nde4!! is both a positional and tactical sacrifice
Hydra vs Ponomariov, 2005 
(C05) French, Tarrasch, 29 moves, 1-0

14. Re1!
Rublevsky vs Dreev, 2005 
(B30) Sicilian, 41 moves, 1-0

16. f4! offers up a piece for three pawns
McShane vs J Hall, 2005 
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 32 moves, 1-0

32...Rxd6!! sets a positional trap to prepare 37. Bh5!
Tal vs Z Szymczak, 1974 
(A15) English, 38 moves, 1-0

13...Ndxe5!
E Kengis vs R Djurhuus, 1991 
(C05) French, Tarrasch, 20 moves, 0-1

80. f4!!
Rossolimo vs G Wood, 1949 
(E90) King's Indian, 87 moves, 1-0

25. Nd5!!
E Tate vs D Gurevich, 1988 
(B89) Sicilian, 60 moves, 1-0

20...e5! and 21...f4! destroy White's pawn cover
Van Wely vs Topalov, 2006 
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 43 moves, 0-1

37. Rxd5!
L Day vs J Yoos, 1996 
(B23) Sicilian, Closed, 55 moves, 1-0

17. Rxd6!! is a strong positional exchange sacrifice
Anand vs Gelfand, 2006 
(B90) Sicilian, Najdorf, 66 moves, 1-0

24...Nc7!! gives Black a surprise crushing attack
Karjakin vs Anand, 2006 
(B90) Sicilian, Najdorf, 37 moves, 0-1

34. Rxg6! intends to mess up Black's pawn structure
A Korobov vs Miroshnichenko, 2004 
(E55) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System, Bronstein Variation, 47 moves, 1-0

18. Nxb7!? +/= sacs two pieces for a Rook and a pawn
Korchnoi vs Suetin, 1967 
(D20) Queen's Gambit Accepted, 59 moves, 1-0

25. Nb6!? gives Black an advantage, but not enough for a win
Shabalov vs E Najer, 2006 
(B90) Sicilian, Najdorf, 71 moves, 1/2-1/2

14. Bf4!? gives winning chances and is at least equal
Naiditsch vs J Smeets, 2006 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 35 moves, 1-0

30...Bd6!?
Oll vs A Galliamova, 1989 
(C61) Ruy Lopez, Bird's Defense, 41 moves, 0-1

25. Rxd5! (real sac) and 28. Nd4! (pseudo sac)
Kamsky vs Wolff, 1991 
(A48) King's Indian, 35 moves, 1-0

24. gxh5!!
Capablanca vs Marshall, 1909 
(C62) Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense, 31 moves, 1-0

22. d5!
Unzicker vs Robatsch, 1961 
(B28) Sicilian, O'Kelly Variation, 39 moves, 1-0

23...f3! is a poisoned pawn offer, but still a great move
J Shahade vs M Ginsburg, 2003 
(B06) Robatsch, 32 moves, 0-1

27. Rxe6!
Topalov vs Kamsky, 2006 
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 42 moves, 1-0

12...d3! -/+ makes White's defensive task very difficult
K Tsarouhas vs Kotronias, 2005 
(A23) English, Bremen System, Keres Variation, 18 moves, 0-1

26...Bxe5!
A Dueckstein vs Petrosian, 1962 
(B18) Caro-Kann, Classical, 40 moves, 0-1

34...Nc2! sets up 35...Qxe5!! with a clear and strong advantage
Euwe vs Lasker, 1934 
(D52) Queen's Gambit Declined, 50 moves, 0-1

16. Rxg3! sacrfices the Rook on a8 for a winning attack
L Day vs J Berry, 1975 
(C34) King's Gambit Accepted, 20 moves, 1-0

12...Rhe8!!
P Zarnicki vs F Fiorito, 2000 
(B01) Scandinavian, 22 moves, 0-1

23. Bxd7!
Kamsky vs Lenderman, 2006 
(C91) Ruy Lopez, Closed, 37 moves, 1-0

9...Nxe5! wins if White accepts and equalizes if he declines
P McEvan vs G Kito, 1967 
(C34) King's Gambit Accepted, 16 moves, 0-1

24. c4!!
Nakamura vs J Sarkar, 2006 
(A45) Queen's Pawn Game, 32 moves, 1-0

10...f4!
C Desmarais vs L Seres, 2001 
(A00) Uncommon Opening, 19 moves, 0-1

30...Ng4!! is an amazingly strong and subtle sacrifice
L E Johannessen vs Carlsen, 2006 
(A58) Benko Gambit, 36 moves, 0-1

22. Re7+!!
Kramnik vs Kaidanov, 1993 
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 31 moves, 1-0

25. Nxf7! is a Tal-like sacrifice offering equality or more
Anand vs Ponomariov, 2002 
(D27) Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical, 46 moves, 1-0

16. a3!?
Barsov vs E Girard, 2002 
(A40) Queen's Pawn Game, 30 moves, 1-0

20. h4! offers up a pawn to drive away the Bishop
Ngoc Truongson Nguyen vs H Fidaeyee, 2005 
(D35) Queen's Gambit Declined, 41 moves, 1-0

14...Bxc4!! may only be worth equality, but it won this game
P K Wells vs Speelman, 2006 
(B06) Robatsch, 20 moves, 1-0

11...Qxe4!? = to =/+ is a true exchange sacrifice
Kasparov vs The World, 1999 
(B52) Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack, 62 moves, 1-0

15...Qxc3+!? is an interesting but perhaps not fully sound sac
Adianto vs N Mariano, 2005 
(A57) Benko Gambit, 34 moves, 0-1

36. Rxh4!
D Chuprov vs Epishin, 2005 
(B42) Sicilian, Kan, 55 moves, 1-0

7...f5!? sacrifices the exchange for an attacking initiative
Larry Evans vs Santasiere, 1946 
(C27) Vienna Game, 49 moves, 0-1

18. Rxe4!
Onischuk vs Browne, 2007 
(E15) Queen's Indian, 83 moves, 1-0

17. b4!! is a pawn sacrifice, yielding a decisive attack
Onischuk vs Shabalov, 2007 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 26 moves, 1-0

17. Nd5!! offers the Knight to attack the weakend castled King
Sznapik vs O Foisor, 1982 
(B83) Sicilian, 22 moves, 1-0

20. Nd5!!
M V Ghinda vs C Partos, 1975 
(B60) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer, 27 moves, 1-0

27...f4!!
E Prandstetter vs Blatny, 1986 
(C89) Ruy Lopez, Marshall, 39 moves, 0-1

22. Rc6! +/-
Karpov vs Yusupov, 1989 
(A88) Dutch, Leningrad, Main Variation with c6, 42 moves, 1-0

10...e4!? may not be sound but it's is decisive here
R Fontaine vs M Vachier-Lagrave, 2007 
(A89) Dutch, Leningrad, Main Variation with Nc6, 39 moves, 0-1

26. Bxf5 +/- gains advantage due to a discovered check threat
Anand vs Bareev, 1993 
(C11) French, 31 moves, 1-0

20. Nd5!! +- is a positional attacking (sham) sacrifice
Tkachiev vs W Watson, 1993 
(B52) Sicilian, Canal-Sokolsky (Rossolimo) Attack, 25 moves, 1-0

15. axb4!
A Artidiello vs D Freeman, 2001 
(D10) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 23 moves, 1-0

14...Nxe5!? is a true exchange sacrifice for the initiative
A Medina Garcia vs Ulf Andersson, 1974 
(B25) Sicilian, Closed, 31 moves, 0-1

21...Nxh5! enables the 12-year-old Capa to beat the old Master
J Corzo vs Capablanca, 1901 
(C25) Vienna, 26 moves, 0-1

31. e4!!
M Janata vs H Lehmann, 1969 
(A09) Reti Opening, 44 moves, 1-0

13. f3!! and 15. Qd4!
L E Johannessen vs V Meijers, 2004 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 24 moves, 1-0

21. Rxf6!!
Zsuzsa Polgar vs Endrody, 1977 
(B08) Pirc, Classical, 25 moves, 1-0

31...Rxg5!! and 32...f4! demolish White's position
Tomashevsky vs Morozevich, 2007 
(A09) Reti Opening, 44 moves, 0-1

31...Bxf4!! is a strong positional sham sacrifice
Damljanovic vs E Romanov, 2007 
(A09) Reti Opening, 46 moves, 1-0

13. 0-0-0!?
A Minasian vs T Nalbandian, 2008 
(A01) Nimzovich-Larsen Attack, 42 moves, 1-0

21. Nxd5!! sets up 21...cxd5 22. Qf5!! +- even after 22...Kd8!?
B F Gibbons vs C Hansen, 1988 
(B53) Sicilian, 25 moves, 1-0

12. Nxf7!? sacrfices a Knight for a lasting initiative
Topalov vs Kramnik, 2008 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 45 moves, 1-0

20. Rxc5!! is a suprisingly strong exchange sacrifice
Spassky vs Fischer, 1992 
(D27) Queen's Gambit Accepted, Classical, 50 moves, 1-0

38, Bxf4! sets up 42. Nf5!!
Fischer vs Spassky, 1992 
(C95) Ruy Lopez, Closed, Breyer, 50 moves, 1-0

30. g6!! gives White a slight positional advantage
Timman vs Geller, 1983 
(D03) Torre Attack (Tartakower Variation), 34 moves, 1-0

20. Rxd5!! solves an insane Sunday puzzle
Karpov vs Quinteros, 1973 
(B97) Sicilian, Najdorf, 37 moves, 1-0

16...f5!!
Chiburdanidze vs E Torre, 1988 
(C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 19 moves, 0-1

17. Rxd5!! solves 03.30.08 Sunday puzzle
Nunn vs Fedorowicz, 1991 
(B62) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer, 24 moves, 1-0

28...Nf4+!
G Laco vs D Mione, 2000 
(A13) English, 40 moves, 0-1

36...Re3! gives White one chance to draw & otherwise wins
Aronian vs Topalov, 2008 
(E00) Queen's Pawn Game, 60 moves, 0-1

25. Nc3! is a "TN " which gives White an endgame initiative
Kramnik vs Aronian, 2008 
(D44) Queen's Gambit Declined Semi-Slav, 110 moves, 1-0

12...exf4! sacs the Rook for a strong attack
Harris vs Weeramantry, 1972 
(B09) Pirc, Austrian Attack, 23 moves, 0-1

13...Rxe3! eqaulizes only if White can find a difficult defense
J Szukszta vs Tal, 1956 
(E86) King's Indian, Samisch, Orthodox, 7.Nge2 c6, 20 moves, 0-1

25. Ndf5! gives White a strong and likely winning attack
Morozevich vs Movsesian, 2008 
(D15) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 37 moves, 1-0

22. d5!! solves a Sunday puzzle
Wojtkiewicz vs R Kuczynski, 1990 
(D11) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 25 moves, 1-0

25. Rxe4! appears to set up decisive threats
Sasikiran vs D Rombaldoni, 2006 
(E36) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 28 moves, 1-0

29. Nf4! sacrifices the exchange for a King side attack
Portisch vs Ivkov, 1973 
(D78) Neo-Grunfeld, 6.O-O c6, 37 moves, 1-0

22...0-0-0! gives up the Knight for attacking development
Sax vs Larsen, 1972 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 40 moves, 0-1

13...Ne4+! and 14...f5! offers the Knight for a strong attack
F Vallejo Pons vs Leko, 2006 
(E32) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, 40 moves, 0-1

14. 0-0! sets up 15. Qd3! to sac the exchange for an attack
Onischuk vs Romanishin, 2003 
(E34) Nimzo-Indian, Classical, Noa Variation, 29 moves, 1-0

19. Rxd8! is a deep exchange sac offering a lasting initiative
A Lukin vs G Timoshchenko, 1979 
(B85) Sicilian, Scheveningen, Classical, 28 moves, 1-0

25. Rxf4!? yields an exciting exchange of sacs and counter sacs
Short vs Seirawan, 1986 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 33 moves, 1/2-1/2

15. Qc4!? prepares to sac the exchange for a promising attack
G Camacho Penate vs A Hernandez, 1994 
(B86) Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin Attack, 28 moves, 1-0

17...Rxc5!?
J Manion vs Akopian, 1994 
(E94) King's Indian, Orthodox, 41 moves, 0-1

15. Rd1!
C Lip vs N Mills, 2001 
(C43) Petrov, Modern Attack, 26 moves, 1-0

31...Bd7! -+ sacs the rook to win or draw (if White can find)
Burn vs Marshall, 1906 
(D02) Queen's Pawn Game, 40 moves, 0-1

19. d5!!
Alekhine vs Golombek, 1938 
(E20) Nimzo-Indian, 31 moves, 1-0

22. d5!
Dreev vs A Stefanova, 2008 
(D12) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 40 moves, 1-0

34. Ra7! sacs a pawn to trap the Queen or win a Q&P ending
E Walther vs Tal, 1966 
(B64) Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 37 moves, 0-1

12. g4!? appears to be a novel opening gambit
I Sokolov vs T Middelburg, 2009 
(D17) Queen's Gambit Declined Slav, 33 moves, 1-0

16. Qf3!! offers up a Rook for a decisive attack
Shaked vs M Morgan, 1993 
(B33) Sicilian, 26 moves, 1-0

34. Re5! sacrfices the exchange for connected passers
Aronian vs Leko, 2009 
(E55) Nimzo-Indian, 4.e3, Gligoric System, Bronstein Variation, 54 moves, 1-0

18...d5!
A Frhat vs A Surjadnji, 2001 
(B44) Sicilian, 26 moves, 0-1

27. Bf6+!! uses discovered check for a winning exchange sac
Ding Liren vs Ni Hua, 2009 
(D85) Grunfeld, 35 moves, 1-0

14. f4! sham pawn sac gives White a lasting advantage
Zsofia Polgar vs Larsen, 1995 
(B56) Sicilian, 25 moves, 1-0

33...a5! turns the game in Black's favor
E Sedina vs M Hoffmann, 2010 
(B27) Sicilian, 47 moves, 0-1

13...Nxd5!! sacs Queen for even material but stronger position
La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834 
(D20) Queen's Gambit Accepted, 36 moves, 0-1

20...Rxc3! is a thematic exchange sacrifice in the Sicilian
Mamedyarov vs Gelfand, 2011 
(B87) Sicilian, Fischer-Sozin with ...a6 and ...b5, 39 moves, 0-1

19. Re5!! offers the Rook up as a poisoned piece with advantage
S Ovsejevitsch vs A Goloshchapov, 1997 
(D31) Queen's Gambit Declined, 44 moves, 1/2-1/2

38. Rc1!! sacs a pawn to press with the g-Pawn passer
Ponomariov vs Nakamura, 2011 
(E97) King's Indian, 65 moves, 1-0

16. b4!! Qxb4 17. a5! +/- to +-
Korchnoi vs Balashov, 1971 
(E80) King's Indian, Samisch Variation, 22 moves, 1-0

15...Ne5! attacks the uncastled King
W So vs Aronian, 2015 
(E20) Nimzo-Indian, 28 moves, 0-1

149 games

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