The Thought Process behind Sacrifices in Chess


Chess is complex. We have to agree to that. The amount of calculations, thought processes and conceptualizations involved are perhaps more in chess than any other game. For a lot of us beginners, it could be a little scary as well, with the fear of embarrassment accompanying each move. When playing, it usually happens that a lot of our calculations go wrong and we end up losing coins. From accidentally losing pawns to completely forgetting about the unguarded queen, we would have seen them all.

These are involuntary and something that we had never thought of. But there are a few players who voluntarily give their pieces up for dominance, power and significant advantage. Called sacrifice, some players believe that a few sacrifices have to be made to ensure a bigger victory in the larger picture. What appears to be a mistake for the opponent and gives him a temporary advantage ends up being deceptive, restoring complete power and dominance to the player who triggered a sacrifice.

To make things easier to understand, let’s take a pop culture reference to substantiate this thought. If you have seen the latest installment of Avengers – The Infinity War – you would know where we are heading with this one. With mild spoilers ahead, read on to find out the uncanny resemblances and thought processes behind a sacrifice.


A Strange Theory

When stuck in Titan, Dr. Strange time travels to see all possible combinations about the consequences of the war. Out of over 14 million possible outcomes of the war, he announces that they would win in just one future. If you pay attention to his plans, what follows are sacrifices. From giving up his time stone to most superheroes to the war, it was all about sacrifices.


The Endgame

In chess, endgame refers to the final few pieces left on the board. Endgame is the outcome of all the previous tactics and strategies executed in the middlegame. It is during the endgame that most sacrifices take complete shape and fetch the player who sacrificed pieces the advantage. It is also the priceless moment when the opponent realizes the deception. Tying back to Strange’s theory again, he says that they were in the endgame.

That is exactly the thought process behind sacrifices in chess. A player, when he or she is staring on the board, is not just contemplating on his game or trying to read his opponent’s mind and gauge next moves. The player is playing against himself; an interesting game of shadows runs inside the mind, where un-foreseeable futures are laid out with back up plans, strategies and counter measures. It is out of all the possible combinations that the analytical minds of players select the most appropriate ones for sacrifice, mislead the opponent and lay the trap.

In chess, the thought process behind sacrifices is bigger pictures in the game. Right from the first few moves, players think of their endgame strategies and reverse engineer their processes.

That’s how it works for most players thought it can differ among different players and their experiences. A few losses of pieces are just to rattle the opponent’s board and his or her mind, making him figuratively and technically weak.

The opponent either feels the pressure and hurries with his or her move or comes to a conclusion that the game is lost. And that by itself is a victory for the player. So the next time you’re playing chess and your opponent loses a big piece in the beginning or middlegame, do not be deceived. You might be lured into a trap in the next couple of moves. Wise words much?