Dynamic and Positional Pawn Sacrifice

The seminar Chess 431 – Dynamic and Positional Pawn Sacrifice was concluded this Sunday on one of the best chess sites.
Among the examples that were covered was the following masterpiece by Veselin Topalov:
Topalov,Veselin (2812) - Wang Yue (2738)
Sofia MTel Masters 5th Sofia (4), 16.05.2009
[Rogozenco. D, Topalov V.]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.Nxc4 Nb6 8.Ne5 a5 9.f3 Nfd7 10.e4 Nxe5 11.dxe5 [11.exf5 offers prospects of a slight advantage (Huebner,R): 11...Nec4 (11...Ned7) 12.Qb3 Nd6 13.Bd3 g6 14.g4 Bg7 15.Be3 Nd7 16.0–0–0 Qb6 17.Qxb6 Nxb6= Ѕ-Ѕ Carlsen,M (2770)-Wang Yue (2738)/Leon 2009 (47)]

11...Qxd1+ 12.Kxd1 Be6 13.Kc2 f6 [13...Bc4 14.Bxc4 (14.Be3 Bxf1 15.Rhxf1 is slightly better for White.) 14...Nxc4 15.e6 fxe6 16.b3 Nd6 17.e5 Nf7 18.Re1 gave good compensation to White in Berczes,D (2232)-Carlsen,M (2250)/Heraklio 2002]


14...Nd7 An over-the-board novelty according to Topalov. Previously: [14...fxe5 was played, for example- 15.b4 Nc4 16.bxa5 (16.Bxc4 Bxc4 17.bxa5 0–0–0 18.Rd1 Rxd1 19.Nxd1 e6 20.Ne3 Ba6 21.Ng4 Bd6 22.Bb2 Rd8 23.Rd1 h5 24.Nxe5 Bxe5 25.Bxe5 Rxd1 26.Kxd1 g6= Ѕ-Ѕ Vallejo Pons,F (2629)-Kasparov,G (2847)/Linares 2003 (41)) 16...Nxa5 17.Be3 Bc4 18.Bb6 Bxf1 19.Rhxf1 Nc4 20.Kd3 and White was slightly better in Berkes,F (2614)-Kiss,P (2394)/Hungary 2005]

15.b4! [15.exf6?! exf6 would be better for Black only.]

15...Nxe5 [15...axb4 16.Rxb4 0–0–0 17.Be3 Nxe5 18.a5 would give strong initiative to White.]

16.bxa5 Bc8 [16...0–0–0? 17.a6+–]


The positional sacrifice disconnects the black pawns and creates plenty of weaknesses in the opponent's camp which can be used by the White pieces.]

[17.Bd2 Rxa5 18.Nd5 Rc5+ (18...Rxa4 19.Nb6) 19.Nc3]

17...bxa6 18.a5 [Black's queenside is very weak, he has problems completing his development and finding any activity. Therefore White's compensation for the pawn is more than enough and secures him better prospects.]

18...Nd7 [18...Be6 19.Rb6 Bc4 20.Bf4 Bxf1 21.Rxf1 Nc4 22.Rxc6 Nxa5 23.Rc7

23...e5 24.Bd2±]

19.Na4 e5 [19...Rb8 20.Rxb8 Nxb8 21.Nb6 Bb7 22.Bc4 e5 23.Be3±]

20.Bc4 [20.Be3!?]

20...Bc5 [White's compensation is more than obvious in case of-20...Bd6 21.Be3 Ke7 22.Rhd1]

21.Rd1 [A good alternative was 21.Nxc5 Nxc5 22.Rb6]

21...Bd4 22.Ba3 c5 23.Rb3 h5

[23...Ke7 24.Rxd4! exd4 25.Nxc5 Nxc5 26.Bxc5+]

24.Rdb1 Ke7?! 25.Bd5 [25.Nc3]

25...Ra7 26.Rb6! Topalov could not stand the temptation to sacrifice further the exchange!

26...Rc7? [The decisive mistake.]

[Necessary was 26...Nxb6 27.axb6 Rd7 and White has nothing forced. After 28.Bxc5+ (28.b7 Bxb7 29.Bxb7 Rb8 30.Nxc5 Rc7!; 28.Nxc5 Rxd5! 29.exd5 Bxc5 30.Bxc5+ Kf7! Topalov) 28...Bxc5 29.Nxc5 Rxd5! 30.exd5 Bf5+ 31.Ne4 Rb8 Black retains good chances of escaping with a draw. (31...Bxe4+ 32.fxe4 Rb8! (32...Kd6 33.Kb3+–) 33.Kd3 Kd6 34.Kc4 h4 is better for White, but there is no obvious win for him (Topalov).) ]

27.Re6+ Kd8 28.Nb6+– Nxb6 [28...Ra7 29.Kd3!? (29.Rd6 Topalov) 29...Bb7 30.Kc4+–]

29.axb6 Rb7

30.Rd6+! Ke7 31.Rc6 Rd7 32.Re6+ Kf7 33.b7


I would like to thank to all the participants who took part in this event and to wish them many successful pawn sacrifices, both positional and dynamic!
Those of you who have missed the chance to take part in the seminar still have a chance to purchase it. Just go on the left side of the blog and choose the paypal button under the Chess.com seminar sign.
I will send you the link with the videos and the pgn files once that you are ready.
Best regards!


The True Value of Pieces

My new DVD was released the last week. Here is the short description by chessbase:
Queen against two rooks or three minor pieces, as well as a rook plus pawn vs two minor pieces - these are typical constellations where the material is unbalanced. In our first steps in chess we are taught about the nominal value of the pieces. The queen is equal to nine pawns; a rook to five, a minor piece is worth three pawns. This is a common sense solution aimed at teaching the beginner a system of values so that he or she does not trade a more valuable piece for a less good one. Later however, situations occur in games in which one side can trade two minor pieces (six pawns) for a rook and a pawn (also six pawns). Theoretically speaking, this should result in an equal position, but in reality one of the two sides will profit from the exchange. There are many cases of material imbalance in chess. In his new DVD GM Dejan Bojkov of Bulgaria makes an attempt to systematise the most important ones and gives valuable advice on how to handle the resulting positions. He also explains the hidden factors behind the imbalances, explanations which will guide you through the art of exchanging pieces.
And a fragment: