20 golden rules to remember for a successful attack!

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You must have experienced that a steam-rolling attack generates more spectator interest than an equally effective but subtle positional maneuvers to gain advantages. This may be the reason that beginners’ games often become hammer and tongs all the way. No harm if you want to make attack your preferred style, but you should know how to prevail upon your opponent with your attack lest it ends up in a whimper! Here are some points for you to consider to launch an effective attack.

  1. What does an attack mean? It means checks, captures or creating threats to that effect. Examine these possibilities carefully.
  2. A most important aspect of attack to get a fair chance of success is timing. A premature attack will soon run out of steam and you will be left with a weaker position.
  3. As a footboard for launching attack, your pieces must be developed and coordinating among themselves.
  4. You should be able to bring a greater concentration of power to bear on the attacked squares, either through your own development or exploiting your opponent’s lack of development.
  5. Your attack has a greater chances of success if enemy pieces are undeveloped or in a position from where they cannot join the battle readily when you start your attack. Look for this opportunity.
  6. Once an attack is launched, you will not find much scope of retreat, so try to analyze all likely variations beforehand.
  7. Assuming that both players have handled their opening moves correctly, it is likely that kings have castled. So you may have to plan to attack the castled king. This means looking for weaknesses (or creating weaknesses) in the castled position.
  8. Remember that any pawn advance from the row in front of the castled position creates some weakness but may be justified if it is a calculated move to start an attack.
  9. If the opponent has castled kingside with a fianchettoed bishop, the advance of the NP to g6 is a weakness. If you can exchange the enemy King Bishop, the weakness will become apparent readily. If you are defending such a position, avoid the exchange of this bishop.
  10. In castled position, the advance of RP to h6 also creates weakness at g6 square and along b1-h7 diagonal. Often a sacrificial attack on h6 pawn can completely ruin the castled position.
  11. The importance of controlling the center was mentioned in the 50 tips on chess strategy, A breakthrough in the center often precedes an attack on the castled king.
  12. You may also lock the center to facilitate pawn storming on the flanks.
  13. Gaining a tempo is also an important part of attack. A gain in tempo gives the effect of having two moves against the opponent’s one. During attack, a tempo gains you time, the importance of which was mentioned at the beginning.
  14. Make maximum use of open or semi-open diagonals and files, particularly those leading to the castled king, by using bishops, rooks and queen as appropriate.
  15. Look for the chance of eliminating the best defender, which is often a knight on f6 or bishop on g7.
  16. If you cannot directly eliminate the key piece(s), think of luring those away from their posts by offering something difficult to refuse!
  17. If the players have castled on the opposite sides, it opens the chance for pawn advance towards enemy king to initiate the attack.
  18. Many successful attacks have a surprise element. A move that is practically unexpected may throw the opponent’s thinking out of gear. Such unexpected moves often come in the form of a sacrifice. Look out for such surprise moves.
  19. You can also think of a zwischenzug (intermediate move) as an element of surprise. This is often made by changing your sequence of moves from what can normally be expected by the opponent.
  20. But while attacking, don’t be blind to possible counter-attacks by your opponent, which may upset your plans.
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