The Greek Gift

Chess is all about pattern recognition and today I am going to talk about a typical attacking method on the castled king with the bishop sacrifice on h7 or h2. Yes, that’s the Greek gift sacrifice. In the following discussion what I will try to explain is when there are more chances that you will succeed with the attack and when the Greek gift fails.

Ideal Conditions for the Greek Gift

– Absence of the natural defender (knight)
– Stable center
– Availability of g5/g4 square for your knight or Possibility of opening up the h file.
– Pawn on e5/e4

If the majority of these conditions have been fulfilled then you must calculate deeply to check if it works. Here are some illustrative games:

Game 1

Game 2

Game 3

Normally when the defending side is able to defend the h7 square then the Greek Gift. Here is a game which illustrates this:
Game 4

These are general points that can help assess whether the sacrifice might work, but of course concrete calculations are needed before taking the plunge.

Ashvin Chauhan