Whether you face the Sicilian Defense as White or are a 1…c5 player yourself, you need to be familiar with all manner of Sicilian sacrifices. Some will help you win beautiful games and others you just need to know to stay safe!
In this video, IM Sopiko Guramishvili, aka Miss Tactics, looks as some of the more unusual Sicilian sacrifices: those taking place on the e6, f6, b5 and f5 squares.
The action begins with an open position with Black having a great bishop on b7, firing down the long diagonal and White having an aggressively advanced g-pawn, and 2 knights in the center.
Importantly, neither side has castled and whoever can generate some kind of an attack will have a great chance of winning. Nxe6! fxe6, Nxe6 followed by Bh3! White gets 2 pawns for a knight and secures it on the e6 square with the light-squared bishop. Now Black’s king is completely exposed and his pieces paralyzed. For instance, if his f8 bishop moves, the g7 pawn falls with check.
Even though Black can force the gain of more material, it’s too risky. All the empty squares around his king just invite the White queen in and checkmate isn’t far away.
Still, White needs to find a way to capitalize on his dangerous attack. You don’t win games merely by appearing dangerous!
g6+! is a great move, freeing the g5 square for a knight, with tempo. White castles queenside, conveniently bringing his rook into the game, but must keep the initiative going otherwise Black’s material superiority – and his own threats – will decide the game in his favor.
See how the game plays out in the video. It’s an instructive example of attacking the king in the center!
In the next example, Sopiko shows an unusual variant of the e6 Sicilian sacrifices. Again the knight captures the e6 pawn but, this time, is immune to capture as the Nxe6 move revealed a discovered attack on the Black queen. The trick? Black sacrificed his other knight to lure the queen to this square!
Now White smashes through Black’s defenses by capturing both the e6 and g7 pawns!
And there are plenty more Sicilian sacrifices in the rest of the video – maybe you can use some in your next game!
Want more? Check out IM Sopiko Guramishvili’s Sicilian Sacrifices course.