Before you wonder what is “Sandwich” in chess terms let me tell you that it is a term for chess tactics wherein a chess piece (usually major) like the Rook or Queen getting caught between two enemy pawns and not free to move. Sandwich generally means to be inserted between two other things.


Means – to put (someone or something) in the space between two other things or people. Source: Merriam-Webster

In the schematic diagram below see how the Rook is trapped by a Pawn (that is defended of course).

To see how it can be used in our chess game let’s look at this position.

White to play (after Black played Rxb5).

Hint – Can the Rook be captured?

Explanation – The Rook is a very powerful piece. Like other pieces, it needs space to show its strength and stay out of trouble. The best is to keep the Rook on an open file and/or an open rank. When the Rook leaves the back rank in the middlegame, there is always a chance it will get stuck somewhere. One particular setup very troubling for the Rook is when it is stuck between the two Pawns, or, as I like to call it – ‘sandwiched’.

Solution – Almasi,Z (2717) – Robson,R (2562) (Hungary, 2010)

After 19…Rxb5

Over the last few moves both players exchanged some very heavy tactical blows. Finally, Black captured the N on b5, regaining the piece. Unfortunately, his R is about to get sandwiched.

20.Ne7+! (20.b4+-) Kh8 21.b4!+- White could have played this move right away, but decided to make a check first. He expects to win the Rb5 and avoid a possible …Rxd5.

Black resigned as after 21…Nd6 22.a4 Re8 23.Nf5 Nc4 24.Bc3. He loses a Rook for only a Pawn.


Now that you understood what a ‘sandwich’ in chess parlance is, try solving this and see how easy it is to think of entrapping the rook or doing something even bigger in case black tries something funny.

White to play:

Hint – once again I repeat – the Rook is a powerful piece, so always keep an eye on its mobility. When the space is limited, the Rook can get trapped or ‘sandwiched’.

Memorizing such chess patterns will help you to calculate easier and should improve your results.



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