You are about to delve into the mysteries of the most highly complex least understood area of chess that even the Masters have great difficultly trying to understand.

What makes me say this it the great lack of information on the subject. I have spent a lot of time going through literally hundreds of chess books at many sources trying in vain to find a reference book on the subject and have come up empty handed, not even finding one book or even any information in the many books I have in my chess library on the subject.

The most I could muster up was a definition of the term in the Reassess Your Chess by Jeremy Silman as it relates to Chess.

I also found reference and some infomation about compensation by the author and developer, Amir Ban of Fritz's Junior, the computer chess world champion in 2004 in all categories.

He said that Junior is different from all other chess programs in it's search strategies and evaluation functions.

Read on why he says it is so different and how it relates to compensation and from this you may get some insight into why compensation is necessary to understand from the prospect of using the sacrifice.

He said that, the program has a very distinctive style of play. The special strength of Junior is in it's understanding of compensation. The program is an extraordinarily effective tool for analyzing sharp and dynamic positions, especially those involving the sacrifice of material. It is the program that is most likely to correctly understand the compensation involved, both in the execution of a sacrifice and in the defense against it.

In the College Dictionary this 14 th century term is defined as: The act of being compensated for. The increased functioning of another organ or unimpaired parts of the same organ. Which makes sense that if one organ is defect it can be replaced by another good one. Something that constituted an equivalent or has its compensations. Payment or remuneration working for compensation.

But in Chess, the definition takes on a whole new meaning that is not so easy to understand. It is true however that in chess compensation is in fact an exchange of one advantage for another, but how one goes about doing that is what is hard to understand.

In order to fully understand and appreciate the complexities of compensation, one must first fully understand the terms used to explain it. Read over these terms carefully and try to see the subtle differences between them.

Further along in this treatise are fine solid examples with annotations to further explain and show exactly how it works.

Main Body of Explanation

The Terms

1. COMPENSATION can be explained as an equivalent advantage in one imbalance that balances the opponent's advantage to another and so may transfer that imbalance to a plus to the one making it.

Or in an exchange of:
1. Material vs. Development.
2. Space vs. Superior Development.
3. The exchange of a minor piece like 3 pawns for a Bishop.
4. A sacrifice for the development of a knight in a critical outpost in the enemies camp.

2. CALCULATION is used to verify the tactical worth of a move that seems to take care of the needs of a position. Usually to weigh the imbalances and find a proper move order or make a plan or find a combination.

Compensation is more or less an exchange of one advantage over another. However that exchange may lead to another advantage further along in the game, like maybe in the endgame where Bishops may be more important than knights. Or trading off your Bad bishop for a good Bishop. Or trading off your Knights for a Bishop Pair where two Bishops work extremely well together and are usually considered an advantage in open positions like the Endgame. Or development of a outpost in a part of the board that could be an important factor in the endgame.

Many times using compensation involves a sacrifice and it is here that the understanding of compensation becomes the most complex.

3. SACRIFICE is the voluntary offer of material for the purpose of gaining a more favorable advantage than the material investment. This decision can be a most vexing one to determine, for if it fails to materialize one may even lose the game, especially if that sacrifice involves a Queen. One must be absolutely positive that their calculations have proved beyond a doubt that this sacrifice is sound before making it.

The positional sacrifice is a sacrifice of material that improves the position of the sacrificing player.

But as silly as this may sound, there are some who firmly believe that they may make a sacrifice of say to use their Bishop to take a castled king's pawn just for its shock effect and then hope that their opponent becomes so unnerved that they will make a serious blunder.

Just try such a foolish move with Fritz or a high rated player once and see what happens to you?

Unlike a combination, a sacrifice is not a cut and dried affair, and there is usually an element of uncertainty or risk associated with it. Though a combination always has one or more sacrifices, a sacrifice need not be associated with a combination.

One important consideration in compensation is in the calculation of a sacrifice, and so must take into account the compensation of the sacrifice and the risks involved.

4. RISK is a doubled-edged sword. It is a move or plan or opening variation that aims for an advantage while carrying the danger of a disadvantage.

In order to minimize the risks involved you need to perfect your assessment abilities of accurate evaluation of the position in terms of expressing the position in a logical way.

Remember the position holds the truth, you just need to find it through analysis.

Your going to need special skills in organized and efficient chess thinking not in trying to memorize moves or in the practice of solving mate tactic problems quickly.

To be able to assess a position like a master takes practice to increase your chess thinking skills. You will need to develop a chess technique and a method for using that technique to plan ahead. Like early initiative and control of the center that translates into an advantage for you.

5. TECHNIQUE is a method of how the details of a problem are solved. Technique is system to use for the movements of your pieces. Masters for example may use the power of calculation to develop a move order in the Endgame to queen a pawn. They have developed their calculation techniques to a high degree in this regard. They use technique as a means and procedure in a method for attaining a desired end. It is a highly developed system that has become a powerful method in a systematic way. They also can use their calculation techniques in the evaluation of compensation in order to analyze the outcome of a sacrifice.

This is the challenge for you to be able to develop such a system of technique of your own. And there is no better way of developing such a system of technique than in the study of the theory and practice of Chess Endings.

Your system will need to train you to think methodically in a typical order every time you evaluate and analyze a position.

If you are going to be successful at using compensation in order to gain an advantage over your opponents you must choose the right value of compensation. By this we mean that you must search ahead in the position and evaluate the type of balance desired verses the compensation of a trade or a sacrifice. Do not make the mistake of over valuating the worth of a trade or sacrifice for an advantage in such desired compensations such as space or mobility for example for a knight on a critical outpost that it's true worth may be several times in value than the relative value of that knight that is said to be worth 3 pawns.

The same can be said for any trade for compensation. Making stupid trades thinking you will gain an advantage and superior position with out first searching ahead and carefully evaluating the trade is sure to lose the game for you. Some think the shock value or just the fact that a trade or sacrifice will so throw off their opponent that he will blunder badly afterwards. Some times this does work, but against a stronger player the risk is not in favor of making such dubious moves.

This is usually the sign of a patzer who over valuates his position and tries to force his way through a blockade or destroy the pawns in a castled king's position with out sufficient backup. With out first carefully calculating out those risky moves he will never succeed against a stronger player.

The Examples

Be sure and look at all of these examples. You are going to be surprised at these sacrifices and even the many Queen sacrifices that show some spectacular games that you will be sure and enjoy for the brilliant play.

1.Compensation Training 1

Answer to Compensation Training 1

2. Kasparov - Deep Junior Training 2

Answer to training 2

3. Greco - NN

4. Steinitz - Lange

5. Blackburne - NN

6. Morphy - Le Carpentier

7. Murphy - Turner

8. Bobotsov - Tal, Mihail

9. Rosanes - Anderssen