I am a chess beginner and I find queen sacrifices are the most shocking moves I have ever seen.

Please, can you provide me with some shocking examples of queen sacrifices. It need not be a big list, a handful would work just fine.

  • 8
    This kind of request for a "big list" doesn't really work well on Stack Exchange. See this post on meta. Mar 7, 2016 at 19:54
  • It need not be a big list, just a handful of examples would work just fine. :J
    – pbu
    Mar 7, 2016 at 20:38
  • 7
    Sure but when everybody adds their own favourites, which are just as valid as answers as everybody else's, then the list gets long automatically. Mar 7, 2016 at 21:20
  • 1
    You might be best off running a search through a library of recorded games and examining all those that contain instances of * Q**!!*, * Q**!*, * Q**!?*, * Q**?!*, * Q**?*, and * Q**??*, especially in conjunction with ⌓ (where * represents some appropriate wildcard function for the opponent's preceding of following move). Nov 8, 2022 at 18:54

10 Answers 10


My favourite is this one, it has a nice anecdote attached to it, too. Supposedly, in the situation shown on the board, due to his overwhelming advantage, the white player has kindly asked his rival on which square he would like to receive the checkmate. The black player responded:

g1 (as this he thought least likely within the foreseeable future)

[White "Edward Lasker"]
[Black "George Alan Thomas"]
[FEN "rn3rk1/pbppq1pp/1p2pb2/4N2Q/3PN3/3B4/PPP2PPP/R3K2R w KQ - 0 1"]

1. Qxh7+ Kxh7 2. Nxf6++ Kh6 3. Neg4+ Kg5 4. h4+ Kf4 5. g3+ Kf3 6. Be2+ Kg2 7. Rh2+ Kg1 8. Kd2# {Some sources say 8. 0-0-0#} 1-0

Another shocking queen sacrifice comes from this game, which is by some called the most beautiful in the history of chess. The result of the sacrifice is an instant resignation.

[Event "18th DSB Kongress"]
[Site "Breslau GER"]
[Date "1912.07.20"]
[EventDate "1912.07.15"]
[Round "6"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Stefan Levitsky"]
[Black "Frank James Marshall"]
[fen "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nc3 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.exd5 exd5 6.Be2 Nf6 7.O-O Be7 8.Bg5 O-O 9.dxc5 Be6 10.Nd4 Bxc5 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Bg4 Qd6 13.Bh3 Rae8 14.Qd2 Bb4 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 16.Rad1 Qc5 17.Qe2 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Qxc3 19.Rxd5 Nd4 20.Qh5 Ref8 21.Re5 Rh6 22.Qg5 Rxh3 23.Rc5 Qg3 0-1

Fischer's "Game of Century" - played by him when he was only 13 years old!

[Event "Third Rosenwald Trophy"]
[Site "New York, NY USA"]
[Date "1956.10.17"]
[EventDate "1956.10.07"]
[Round "8"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Donald Byrne"]
[Black "Robert James Fischer"]
[fen "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. d4 O-O 5. Bf4 d5 6. Qb3 dxc4 7. Qxc4 c6 8. e4 Nbd7 9. Rd1 Nb6 10. Qc5 Bg4 11. Bg5 Na4 12. Qa3 Nxc3 13. bxc3 Nxe4 14. Bxe7 Qb6 15. Bc4 Nxc3 16. Bc5 Rfe8+ 17. Kf1 Be6 18. Bxb6 Bxc4+ 19. Kg1 Ne2+ 20. Kf1 Nxd4+ 21. Kg1 Ne2+ 22. Kf1 Nc3+ 23. Kg1 axb6 24. Qb4 Ra4 25. Qxb6 Nxd1 26. h3 Rxa2 27. Kh2 Nxf2 28. Re1 Rxe1 29. Qd8+ Bf8 30. Nxe1 Bd5 31. Nf3 Ne4 32. Qb8 b5 33. h4 h5 34. Ne5 Kg7 35. Kg1 Bc5+ 36. Kf1 Ng3+ 37. Ke1 Bb4+ 38. Kd1 Bb3+ 39. Kc1 Ne2+ 40. Kb1 Nc3+ 41. Kc1 Rc2# 0-1

The "Swindle of the Century" game. Perhaps not very spectacular, but how shocking it must have been to the black player!

[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[White "Larry Melvyn Evans"]
[Black "Samuel Reshevsky"]
[fen "2Q5/5Rpk/8/1p2p1qp/1P2Pn2/4rPPP/7K/8 w - - 0 1"]

1. h4 Re2+ 2. Kh1 Qxg3 3. Qg8+ Kxg8 4. Rxg7+ 1/2-1/2

The "Immortal Draw" game:

[Event "Vienna"]
[Site "Vienna"]
[Result "1/2-1/2"]
[White "Carl Hamppe"]
[Black "Philipp Meitner"]
[fen "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Bc5 3. Na4 Bxf2+ 4. Kxf2 Qh4+ 5. Ke3 Qf4+ 6. Kd3 d5 7. Kc3 Qxe4 8. Kb3 Na6 9. a3 Qxa4+ 10. Kxa4 Nc5+ 11. Kb4 a5+ 12. Kxc5 Ne7 13. Bb5+ Kd8 14. Bc6 b6+ 15. Kb5 Nxc6 16. Kxc6 Bb7+ 17. Kb5 Ba6+ 18. Kc6 Bb7+ 1/2-1/2

You can find many more in these game collections:

  • Why in the first game after 2.Nxf6+ didn't the queen or rock eat the knight? Mar 7, 2016 at 15:43
  • 1
    @PichiWuana Double-check - the bishop on d3 and knight on f6 both put the black king in check simultaneously. Mar 7, 2016 at 15:44
  • Oh right... Now I saw it. Mar 7, 2016 at 15:45
  • 1
    @pbu: this is called a rambling rook.
    – Glorfindel
    Mar 7, 2016 at 22:02
  • 2
    @OlivierDulac Was it the Torre–Adams game?
    – bof
    Mar 8, 2016 at 5:29

Nakamura in 2007: Michal Krasenkow vs Hikaru Nakamura

[Event "Casino de Barcelona"]
[Site "Barcelona ESP"]
[Date "2007.10.19"]
[EventDate "2007.10.18"]
[Round "2"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Michal Krasenkow"]
[Black "Hikaru Nakamura"]
[ECO "A14"]
[WhiteElo "2668"]
[BlackElo "2648"]
[PlyCount "56"]
[fen "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1. Nf3 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. g3 d5 4. Bg2 Be7 5. O-O O-O 6. b3 a5
7. Nc3 c6 8. d4 Nbd7 9. Qc2 b6 10. e4 Ba6 11. Nd2 c5 12. exd5
cxd4 13. Nb5 exd5 14. Nxd4 Rc8 15. Re1 b5 16. Bb2 Re8 17. Qd1
bxc4 18. bxc4 Qb6 19. Rb1 dxc4 20. Nc6 Rxc6 21. Bxf6 Qxf2+
22. Kxf2 Bc5+ 23. Kf3 Rxf6+ 24. Kg4 Ne5+ 25. Kg5 Rg6+ 26. Kh5
f6 27. Rxe5 Rxe5+ 28. Kh4 Bc8 0-1

Here one of the craziest queen sacrifices that I have ever seen:

[Event "Hoogovens"]
[Site "Wijk aan Zee NED"]
[Date "1996.01.16"]
[EventDate "1996.01.13"]
[Round "3"]
[Result "1-0"]
[White "Vassily Ivanchuk"]
[Black "Alexey Shirov"]
[ECO "D44"]
[WhiteElo "?"]
[BlackElo "?"]
[PlyCount "69"]
[fen ""]
[Startply "41"]

1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nf3 e6 5.Bg5 dxc4 6.e4 b5 7.e5 h6
8.Bh4 g5 9.Nxg5 hxg5 10.Bxg5 Nbd7 11.exf6 Bb7 12.g3 c5 13.d5
Qb6 14.Bg2 O-O-O 15.O-O b4 16.Na4 Qb5 17.a3 exd5 18.axb4 cxb4
19.Be3 Nc5 20.Qg4+ Rd7 21.Qg7 Bxg7 22.fxg7 Rg8 23.Nxc5 d4
24.Bxb7+ Rxb7 25.Nxb7 Qb6 26.Bxd4 Qxd4 27.Rfd1 Qxb2 28.Nd6+
Kb8 29.Rdb1 Qxg7 30.Rxb4+ Kc7 31.Ra6 Rb8 32.Rxa7+ Kxd6 33.Rxb8
Qg4 34.Rd8+ Kc6 35.Ra1 1-0
  • Super game! why does the king or queen take out knight on b7 after 25th move?
    – pbu
    Mar 7, 2016 at 22:52

There are so many games to choose from! The following queen sacrifice was quite shocking, at least the opponent didn't anticipate it.

[FEN ""]
[Event "Zurich Candidates"]
[Date "1953.09.23"]
[Round "14"]
[Result "0-1"]
[White "Yuri Averbakh"]
[Black "Alexander Kotov"]
[StartPly "59"]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 d6 3.Nf3 Nbd7 4.Nc3 e5 5.e4 Be7 6.Be2 O-O 7.O-O
c6 8.Qc2 Re8 9.Rd1 Bf8 10.Rb1 a5 11.d5 Nc5 12.Be3 Qc7 13.h3
Bd7 14.Rbc1 g6 15.Nd2 Rab8 16.Nb3 Nxb3 17.Qxb3 c5 18.Kh2 Kh8
19.Qc2 Ng8 20.Bg4 Nh6 21.Bxd7 Qxd7 22.Qd2 Ng8 23.g4 f5 24.f3
Be7 25.Rg1 Rf8 26.Rcf1 Rf7 27.gxf5 gxf5 28.Rg2 f4 29.Bf2 Rf6
30.Ne2 Qxh3+ 31.Kxh3 Rh6+ 32.Kg4 Nf6+ 33.Kf5 Nd7 34.Rg5 Rf8+
35.Kg4 Nf6+ 36.Kf5 Ng8+ 37.Kg4 Nf6+ 38.Kf5 Nxd5+ 39.Kg4 Nf6+
40.Kf5 Ng8+ 41.Kg4 Bxg5 42.Kxg5 Rf7 43.Bh4 Rg6+ 44.Kh5 Rfg7
45.Bg5 Rxg5+ 46.Kh4 Nf6 47.Ng3 Rxg3 48.Qxd6 R3g6 49.Qb8+ Rg8

The earliest sound positional sacrifice of the queen is:

[fen "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1.d4 d6 2.e4 Nc6 3.Nf3 Bg4 4.d5 Ne5? 5.Nxe5! Bxd1 6.Bb5+ c6 7.dxc6 Qa5+ 8. Nc3 O-O-O 9. Nc4 Qb4 10.a3 Qc5 11.Be3 Qh5 12.Rxd1 

This leads to a position where white has two pieces, a pawn and fantastic positional compensation for the queen.


The 'immortal game' has a queen sacrifice, followed by two rook sacrifices. White went on to win, mating with two knights, a bishop and a pawn.

  • 2
    Could you give the score or link to the game? Mar 7, 2016 at 23:28

Lilienthal-Capablanca 1935: See http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1090860.

Lilienthal said in an interview in New In Chess that Bobby Fischer introduced himself to him with "e takes f6".

  • Great sacrifice ! For some reason I didn't know this game at all, while it certainly deserves to be a classic.
    – Evargalo
    Nov 14, 2022 at 7:54

Kramnik v. Kasparov in Munich, 1994. Kasparov sacrificed his queen on move 12!

[Event "Munich (Germany)"]
[Site "http://lichess.org/ZmQyTtlz"]
[Date "1994"]
[White "Vladimir Kramnik"] 
[Black "Garry Kasparov"]
[Result "0-1"]
[PlyCount "78"]
[ECO "E92"]
[Opening "King's Indian Defense: Petrosian Variation, Stein Defense"]
[Termination "Normal"]
[fen "rnbqkbnr/pppppppp/8/8/8/8/PPPPPPPP/RNBQKBNR w KQkq - 0 1"]

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7 4. e4 d6 5. Nf3 O-O 6. Be2 e5 7. d5 a5 
8. Bg5 h6 9. Bh4 Na6 10. O-O Bd7 11. Nd2 Nc5 12. b3 Nfxe4 
13. Bxd8 Nxc3 14. Qe1 Rfxd8 15. Rc1 Nxa2 16. Ra1 Nb4 17. Bd1 e4 
18. Rb1 Re8 19. Qe3 f5 20. h4 Rf8 21. g3 Rae8 22. Kg2 Nbd3 
23. Rg1 f4 24. gxf4 Rxf4 25. h5 g5 26. Rf1 Rh4 27. Rh1 Rf4 
28. Rf1 Ref8 29. f3 Rh4 30. fxe4 Nf4+ 31. Kg1 Ncd3 32. e5 Nxe5 
33. Rc1 Rh3 34. Nf3 g4 35. Nxe5 Rxe3 36. Nxd7 Nh3+ 37. Kg2 Rxf1 
38. Kxf1 g3 39. Kg2 Nf4+ 0-1
  • Kasparov gets a Knight, a Bishop, and two pawns for the Queen—this looks like an (unusual) exchange rather than a sacrifice, doesn't it? Mar 15, 2016 at 9:29
  • The second pawn wasn't part of the exchange. (Kramnik could have continued to defend it with the rook.) So Kasparov traded nine pawns worth of material for seven. Isn't deliberately losing an exchange to gain a positional advantage a sacrifice by definition? Mar 15, 2016 at 14:57
  • And what other measures has White against the threat .. e4 and than ... Nxe2 with loss of the exchange (Rook against Bishop)? Mar 15, 2016 at 15:19
  • Interesting. I had not seen that tactic. Thanks. Mar 18, 2016 at 15:32

This is the most shocking queen sacrifice I've seen. I saw it live and struggled to believe it.

[Title "Jonah Willow vs Neil Berry 4th EJCOA IM 2022"]
[fen ""]
[Startply "19"]

1. Nc3 Nf6 2. e4 e5 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. Bb5 Nd4 5. Ba4 c6 6. Nxe5 d6 7. Nf3 Bg4 8. d3 Bh5 9. Rg1 b5 10. Nxd4 Bxd1 11. Nxc6 Qc8 12. Bxb5 Nd7 13. Kxd1 Qb7 14. Be3 Be7 15. e5 a6 16. Ba4 Bd8 17. Ne4 O-O 18. Nxd6 Qxb2 19. Bd4 Qa3 20. Bb3 Nxe5 21. Bxe5 Qc5 22. Ba4 Qxf2 23. Bd4 Qf4 24. Ne4 f5 25. Nd2 Bf6 26. Nf3 Bxd4 27. Ncxd4 Qd6 28. Re1 Kh8 29. Rb1 Rab8 30. Rxb8 Rxb8 31. Bb3 g6 32. Re6 Qf4 33. g3 Qg4 34. Kd2 Rd8 35. Kc3 Rc8+ 36. Bc4 Qh3 37. Re7 Qh5 38. Ne5 Rb8 39. Ndf3 f4 40. g4 1-0

I post this answer in case the OP or anyone else is here for information to help their own play. Either to learn how they might offer their queen to try to trap their opponent, or how taking their opponent's queen might turn out to fall into their opponent's trap. One such trap is Légall's mate. Positions amenable to setting this trap can be reached in a number of ways. Here's one example, where Black plays the Petrov, sacs their queen and traps White:

[Title "Black traps White in the Petrov"]
[FEN ""]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Nxe5 Nc6?! {The Stafford Gambit. d6 is best.} 4. Nxc6 dxc6 5. d3 Bc5 6. Bg5? {h3/f3/Qf3 are best} Nxe4! 7. Bxd8? Bxf2+ 8. Ke2 Bg4#

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