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A desperado is a piece sacrifice that will result in stalemate if the piece sacrifice is accepted.


Sometimes a stalemate can be forced by sacrificing the last piece that can move. This tactical solution to force a stalemate is called "Desperado".


White is three pawns down in the rook endgame, and the situation looks hopeless. However, Black's last move hxg2 was a blunder. White's king is now without any moves, and White can sacrifice the rook with the desperado Rxa3+! The rook gives check and attacks the rook on a4, therefore Black is forced to recapture. White has no legal moves - stalemate.

Sometimes you have to play the desperado on the right square, so that the recapturing piece helps with stalemating the king, as in the following example:

Black is two pawns down in the queen endgame and looks lost. However, White's last move was a mistake, allowing the desperado Qg3+! The queen gives check and attacks the queen on d6, therefore White's recapture is forced. The queen on g3 now takes away all the squares of the king in the corner - stalemate.

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