End Game Pawn Sac to Mobilize King


In this chess blitz game played at ICC, NiftyNifty of Ireland probably thought he was winning as his King was about to penetrate into Black’s territory. However, after Black plays h5! luring the White Monarch into enemy territory, the first player is completely lost despite being a pawn up in an ending with minimal material for both sides.

What makes this attraction sacrifice work? After White plays King captures pawn at h5, the Black King gets to the f5  square with decisive penetration into the White position. Moreover, the White Bishop is entombed by his own pawns which are also vulnerable to attack by the very unimpeded and mobile Black Prelate.

Black does have to be alert to the possibility of White capturing the Black pawn at b4 in an attempt to create a dangerous passed a pawn.

Remember that in many endings with the heavy pieces off the board, King mobility and centralization become significant priorities. In this particular case, a pawn was a very small sacrifice in return for the aforementioned gains by the Black king.

BTW, one of the best Irish players in the world was/is Eugene Curtin who was in Texas as a math professor last I heard. He has a humorous anecdote about a game he had with the hyperactive GM Walter Browne. Curtin said that the Australian born GM labored immensely over his first move and then finally whipped out 1. d4 with his characteristic gusto and verve! Curtin became quite tickled at this excessive display which eradicated any pre game jitters. I believe Curtin won the game.

Pawn Sacrifice in Ending To Improve King Position