[Title "White to move"]
[FEN "1r3rk1/1p4bp/p2p1q2/2pPn1p1/B1PnRp2/PPN2P1P/2QB2P1/3R2K1 w - - 5 27"]

This is a diagram from the game between Del Rey, Diego and Efimenko, Zahar on the Zalakaros Chess Festival after 26...Nd4. White answered with 27.Rxd4. I don't understand why white needed to sacrifice his rook for the knight in this position.

2 Answers 2


Well, he has to because there is no other option. The black Knight threatens to capture the white Queen, but also a 'sacrifice' on f3 which will eventually win the white Knight on c3.

[Title "White to move"]
[FEN "1r3rk1/1p4bp/p2p1q2/2pPn1p1/B1PnRp2/PPN2P1P/2QB2P1/3R2K1 w - - 5 27"]

1. Qb2? Ndxf3+ 2. gxf3 Nexf3+ 3. Kg2 Nxd2 4. Qxd2 Qxc3

This might not even be the best variation for Black. In any case, even after the sacrifice, White is still lost.

  • 1
    Maybe ...b5 is strong after 1.Qb2 in the variation above. I'm not sure it's better than the given line, though.
    – Scounged
    Commented Jun 1, 2016 at 21:28
  • Stockfish says Black is up by 3 points after 27.Rxd4 cxd4 28.Ne4 Qg6 29.b4 d3 30.Qb1 b5 31.cxb5 axb5 32.Bb3 h5 33.Kh1 g4 34.Rg1 Ra8 35.Qc1 Rf7 36.Ba2 Rfa7
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 4:15
  • After 27. Qb2, Stockfish says, 27.... b5 28.cxb5 axb5 29.Bxb5 Nexf3+ 30.gxf3 Rxb5 31.Rf1 Rxb3 32.Qc1 Qh6 33.Kg2 Nf5 34.Kh2 Qh5 35.Qc2 Ng3 36.Ree1 Rfb8 37.Rf2 Bd4 with a 6.5 point advantage to Black.
    – Tony Ennis
    Commented Jun 2, 2016 at 4:32

I think it's an clearance sacrifice. Because the position is so jammed up,he would have sacrificed it to make it a bit open.

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