The Greek Gift and the Attacking Zwischenzug

In Honor of Nezhmetdinov recently posted on what is arguably one of the best known sacrificial attacking ideas in chess: the classical bishop sac at h7/h2, also known as the Greek Gift. I have chosen to illustrate the Greek Gift with an animated move sequence from the Wikipedia article that features another hugely important idea: the zwischenzug. To play a zwischenzug during an attack basically means to move a piece without giving check. The more I study attacking chess, the more I realise that the art of attack is the art of knowing which zwischenzugs you can afford to make without jeopardising your attack. Such zwischenzugs, in my experience, are ten times harder to spot and consider in your calculation, at least for beginners, because you’re (a) so immersed in your desire to force things and overwhelm your opponent in one seamless chain and (b) because making a zwischenzug often means your opponent has several rather than just one potential responses. (Perhaps I ought to add c) because it takes patience and audacity — a peculiar combination.) To consider the zwischenzug is the antithesis to “patzer sees check, patzer gives check”, and while the following example may be blatantly obvious to advanced players, to me it illustrates very succinctly the idea of the zwischenzug in the attack.   middlegame_attack_zwischenzTimeo danaos et dona ferentes!

5 Responses to The Greek Gift and the Attacking Zwischenzug

  1. […] Weapons: The Greek Gift The Greek Gift sacrifice crops up in isolated pawn positions every now and then in combination with a knight on e5.  […]

  2. nezha says:

    On the position, I would strongly consider Qg4 too.. setting up discovered check. Then if he doesnt move the queen, e.g. he does some weird knight move, Ne6+ and the queen is lost.

    One of the position you have to look for is the position of the opponent queen. If it is within forking distance, then the classic bishop sac can be done not with the intent of mate but with the intent of gaining queen for two minor pieces.

  3. chunkyrook says:

    Excellent pattern, Nezha. Thanks.

  4. […] The Greek Gift and the Attacking Zwischenzug « The Chunky Rook […]

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