I am a beginner. Recently I have looked at the computer-generated analysis of one of my games and I found a surprising recommendation. Why is it best to sacrifice my Queen in this situation, as the screenshot shows?

[FEN ""]
[StartPly "10"]

1. e4 e5 2. Qf3 c6 3. Bxc4 Nf6 4. d3 d6 5. Bg5 Bg4

enter image description here

  • 3
    Since you are a beginner, you probably did not see this trick which is fairly standard in this position: 1.Bxf6 Bxf3 2.Bxd8. "Normally" after this you are a figure up. Unfortunately, chess is all about details, and in exactly this position it backfires due to Bxg2. Still, memorize the pattern! – Hauke Reddmann Mar 24 at 8:15
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    If you are beginner, you should focus more on reading some good book and doing some tactics training. Also when engine tells you something - and you don't understand why - just make that move on analysis board and see what engine will say next - it would show you that at the end of exchanges white get material advantage by taking pawn on f7. – Drako Mar 24 at 8:26
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    Why don't you continue the computer line of play? – theonlygusti Mar 24 at 17:03
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    @HaukeReddmann After 6 Bxf6 Bxf3 7 Bxd8 Bxg2 8 Bg5 (or Ba5, Bh4) Bxh1 we must analyze further to see if the Bh1 can be trapped after 9 f3, 10 Kf2 etc. Black could also try 6 Bxf6 Qd7 (or Qc8), making it a Bishop-for-Knight trade after all. As Glorfindel noted, though, White could have won a pawn with 7 Qxg4 Nxg4 8 Bxd8 Kxd8 9 Bxf7; White also had the option of playing Bxf7+ on move 7 or 8. – Noam D. Elkies Mar 25 at 1:31
  • The biggest mistake was attempting the Scholar's Mate to begin with. – SecretAgentMan Mar 29 at 17:04

It's basically a trade. After you take the bishop, if the opponent takes your queen with the knight, then your bishop is no longer blocked by the knight and you can take their queen too. The advantage here is that after the trade, the opponent's king will have to take your bishop, and thus can no longer castle.

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    "...that after the trade, the opponent's king will have to take your bishop" why does the opponents king have to take the bishop? The bishop isn't threatening the king right? – BruceWayne Mar 24 at 17:29
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    @BruceWayne The opponent should take the bishop, otherwise the opponent is down an officer. It's a take-back. – Pål GD Mar 24 at 17:37
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    @PålGD ah ok. I figured it'd be better for black to take that bishop, but was curious if the king "had to take" it. Thanks! – BruceWayne Mar 24 at 17:37
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    But castling's not worth much anymore. One more trade of pieces and it's time to consider moving the king to the center. – Joshua Mar 24 at 18:08
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    @BruceWayne - this kind of concept of moves that you "have to" make (even though they're not required by the rules) is something I struggled with for a long time when I was first starting in chess. For example, if I was looking at some analysis where, for example, Black ended up down material or something, I would think "Why does Black have to do that? Why don't they just do something else that is better?" It was a long time before I realized the answer is usually, "If they don't play along the analysis line, everything else they might try is actually worse". – patbarron Mar 24 at 21:23

As @Ibrahim explains, you'll win the queen back, but after that White can even take the pawn on f7:

[FEN ""]
[StartPly "10"]

1. e4 e5 2. Qf3 c6 3. Bxc4 Nf6 4. d3 d6 5. Bg5 Bg4 6. Qxg4 Nxg4 7. Bxd8 Kxd8 8. Bxf7

and White is a pawn up.


The other answers already explain what's going on, but there's standard terminology for it:

This is not actually a sacrifice, merely a queen trade, because the knight is pinned against the black queen.


Then you can take f7 with bishop and you are one pawn up

  • 9
    Why are you simply repeating (which less details) what another answer is already saying? Please only add answers when they improve on or add to already existing answers. – John Coleman Mar 25 at 13:36

Material superiority does not always equate with winning. A myriad of games have been won by players with less point values on the board.

For the reason above, running an analysis may not show the advantage of a particular move until a dozen or so moves later.

  • 11
    Welcome to chess.se! Before posting an answer, please ensure that you are in fact answering the question posed, and consider how your answer improves upon existing answers. In particular, this answer could benefit from an example where the advantage is only apparent after a dozen moves; this certainly does not apply to the position given in the question. – Brian Drake Mar 25 at 3:28

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