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Compensation - chess

In chess, compensation is the typically short-term positional advantages a player has in exchange for typically material disadvantage. Short term advantages involve initiative and attack.

Compensation includes:

Examples

Polugaevsky versus Evans

Polugaevsky-Evans, 1970
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
White to move, draws

A rook on the seventh rank (the opponent's second rank) is usually very powerful, as it threatens the opponent's unadvanced pawns and hems in the enemy king. A rook on the seventh rank is sufficient compensation for a pawn (Fine & Benko 2003:586). In this position from a game between Lev Polugaevsky and Larry Evans, the rook on the seventh rank enables White to draw, despite being a pawn down (Griffiths 1992:102-3).

Spassky versus Fischer

Spassky-Fischer, 1960
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Position after 5. Ne5

Spassky-Fischer, 1960
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Analysis position after 13. Nc3

A famous 1960 game between future World Champions Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer began with a King's Gambit opening. White sacrifices a pawn on his second move:

1. e4 e5
2. f4 exf4
3. Nf3 g5
4. h4 g4
5. Ne5

reaching the first position shown. Fischer examines an alternate fifth move for Black:

5... h5
6. Bc4 Rh7
7. d4 d6
8. Nd3 f3
9. gxf3 Be7
10. Be3 Bxh4+
11. Kd2 Bg5
12. f4 Bh6
13. Nc3

reaching the second position, where Fischer explains "White has more than enough compensation for the pawn." (Fischer 2008:123)

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