Experienced chess players will tell you that giving up a rook for a minor piece frequently involves getting an extra pawn and damaging your opponent’s pawn structure. Such was the case in the following diagram with Piranha(quite the aggressive moniker for a chess player) playing out of the United States with the white pieces at the number one chess playing website in the world(Internet chess club)!
White’s opening play has been a little loose and not particularly circumspect, a common characteristic of young, untrained US players. With Black to move, the above prerequisites for an exchange sacrifice are present. If Black’s f8 rook captures White’s f3 Knight, the e5 pawn will fall to either the horse at g6 or c6 AND White’s kingside pawns will be weak. This is not too inviting given that castling queenside would be tantamount to chess suicide.
Sacrificing the exchange at f3 on the Black side of this French defense is probably as common as the well known Rook takes Knight at c3 in the Sicilian which is just a book move in the Dragon variation. Also Black’s passed and protected d pawn prevents White piece occupation of the e4 and c4 squares. Note that White will have no pawn control in the center after his e5 pawn is ingested by one of the Black Steads.
Finally, White’s rooks are long way from being active and risk being overrun by swarming Piranha like minor pieces! All these observations lead one to believe in this positional “sacrifice of material“.