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Anonymous asked in Games & RecreationBoard Games · 1 decade ago

Is the bishop sacrifice on f7 a mistake if you don't have a precise plan?

Question for chess enthusiasts.

I have a feeling the bishop sacrifice on f7 is a mistake - unless you have a very precise plan which leads to mate or material gain. Yet, some players continue to play it for the surprise effect and the positional leverage it can give you.

Now, I just let my mephisto computer play itself with tournament time controls and with white, the computer went ahead and played Bxh7+, with no clear plan and now, in the endgame, white is down a bishop. This computer program is evaluated as having an ELO over 2300.

Am I missing something here? Is this simply a mistake?


I made a mistake in the header. I mean Bxh7+ of course.

5 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    That's pretty vague. There's no such thing as a bishop sacrifice that's ''generally correct.'' Usually when you sac the bishop there's a queen on the d1-h5 diagonal, a knight on f3 and a pawn on e5 is nice too. (For example, take the French defense.) After the sacrifice you must have a follow up, like: 1.Bxh7+ Kxh7 2.Ng5+ Kg8 3.Qh5 with mate in a few moves. It takes longer if the king goes to g6 on move 2.

    Still, the sacrifice should be pretty straightforward. If the king can walk to e8 in a couple of moves without being mated I'd seriously doubt if the sac would be worth while.

    If it's true sacs on h7 are never seen in GM games that's because they're not very hard to see. Should a GM player play the French defense with black, (and particularly variations where white advances to e5) which is one of the most vulnerable to the sac, they will play f6 or f5 to prevent it. (And to open up the f-file) Still, I think there's a beautiful double bishop sacrifice in one of Laskers games VS Bauer. Of course this is not entirely the same... but it might be a nice example.

    That computer of yours...are you sure you changed the batteries in time. :)

  • 1 decade ago

    Never sacrifice any piece without a good plan. I did this many times only to find myself with less material than my opponent and ended up losing the game.

    However, there are many situations where a Bishop sacrifice at h7 comes in handy to rip the defense around the opposing King apart. Before doing so, however, you should try to calculate it through to make sure that you have enough other well-positioned pieces around to follow up with a deadly attack!

    "Some sacrifices are sound, the rest are mine."

    Mikhail Tal, the 8th chess world champion

  • 1 decade ago

    I find the Bishop sac more annoying then anything...It is not good play...

    But it's not as terrible as it seems. Bishop =3 for a Pawn= 1

    And the King is awkwardly placed not being able to castle. It's a classic material sac for position.

    I don't do it.

    GM's don't do it.

    Most books don't teach it.

    I've never heard of a computer doing it?

  • 1 decade ago

    anything is stupid if you dont have a plan, improv in chess doesnt really work

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago


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