I seem to win a lot of games when I sac a rook for a bishop or a knight. Is this just me, or do exchange sacrifices often lead to a win?

I realize that any fool or noob can go overboard and do it all the time, but there are positions when it just feels right and they almost always lead to a win.

What guidance is there to better know when that sac of a rook for a minor piece is likely to pay off?

  • 2
    This is quite broad and hard to answer. What we need to remember is that the piece values that we have are only approximate average values of the pieces. So sometimes a minor piece can definitely be more powerful and valuable than a rook, but any decent answer would have to go into quite some detail outlining that there are many more factors that come into play when judging a position, and that material count is but one of these.
    – Scounged
    Sep 25, 2020 at 21:21
  • I don't know the probability, but a lot of the time we sac the exchange when we see a very clear compensation.
    – SmallChess
    Sep 26, 2020 at 9:59
  • 1
    This is impossible to answer because most times it is played, it is because the player thought it "just feels right" -- that is, they only do it when they think it is good. That introduces huge bias, of course. Sep 28, 2020 at 14:55
  • I was going to do a database search - then I realized it would be impossible to tell "purposely sacrificed the exchange" from "accidentally lost the exchange" just by looking at material.
    – D M
    Sep 28, 2020 at 23:22
  • 1
    What is the sample space?? If you're going to exchange a rook for a minor piece whenever you can, your probability of winning is pretty low. If you only sacrifice the exchange when it gives you a winning position, the probability of winning is pretty high. The question is meaningless.
    – bof
    Sep 28, 2020 at 23:44

1 Answer 1


In my experience, it's best to just check what it gives, for example: if I now sacrifice my legs and in return all my tools will be active and the opponent's passive, then it's right to sacrifice my legs, every time I have to act like math, feet equal point, activity equal 1.2, direct attack On the king is worth 1.3, and so on, everyone has to decide for him what is worth to him an attack on the king, what is worth my feet, and thus decide whether to sacrifice or not. Hope I helped

  • Sorry, but it's difficult for me to understand the answer. It seems like a machine translation. Could you improve it?
    – lodebari
    Oct 14, 2020 at 12:55

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