Rather, has there ever been a significant chess player that avoided sacrifice or even equal exchanges at all costs?

Rather, has there been a significant player that was solely bent on maximum pawn and overall piece advantage, having only gains and no loss of pieces against his opponent?

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    This question is funny. I appreciate its irony. It's like chess buzzwords. The question seems to say something sober and chesslike, but I have read it three times and still don't know what it's talking about. – thb Sep 8 '17 at 1:57
  • I think the question is clear. I don't think it makes much sense to ask this, but it is clear: is there a player that does not like to exchange pieces? – Pablo S. Ocal Sep 8 '17 at 18:02

No, because such a player could never become a significant chess player :)

If you refuse to exchange in every type of position, you won't make it very far in chess (no matter how good you are). There were definitely players that loved to attack and do tactics (such as Garry Kasparov and Mikhail Tal), but even these players exchanged pieces when it was the best option.

No champion can be only good at attacking - you have to be well rounded to a certain degree.

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My brother and I used to play in this way as children. We thought that 'losing' any material (even in equal trades) was bad. Games were long, knights were powerful in the inevitably blocked positions and games were won by who could stay awake the longest. All of this sounds anathema to me now I'm a stronger player.

In fact, exchanges are a vital part of the game. E.g. many attacks need open lines, which implies some pawn trades:

No pawn exchanges, no file-opening, no attack

Source: The Wisest Things Ever Said About Chess by GM Soltis, quoting Aron Nimzowitsch

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