Tag Archives: chess attack

Chess Tactics: More on attacking techniques

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We have discussed earlier that chess tactics rather than chess strategies come to the fore during the middle game. And unless you are one of those with a gift of intuition (remember Intuition vs. Logic?) it needs a deep thinking to work out the tactics in the complex middle game positions so as to come out on top!

Many beginners want to know how they can chalk out these chess tactics. Since every chess game is different, there is no magic ‘one size fits all’ type of formula. Of course, if you know those 20 Golden Rules for successful attacking chess, it helps you to identify the possibilities. But the best way to learn their application is to follow the games of those great players who are known for their combinatory skills and attacking flair, like Alekhine and Tal. So here is one game from the latter player who had the Black pieces and you study carefully how he conjures up his attack.

Here we start from the beginning to see how the middle game position develops with only one exchange of pawns.

1. d4 Nf6
2. c4 c5
3. d5 e6
4. g3 exd5
5. cxd5 b5
6. a4 b4
7. b3 g6
8. Bg2 d6
9. e4 Bg7
10. Bb2 0-0
11. Ne2 Re8

Position after 11 moves.

Position after 11 moves

You can see that Black’s Q-side pawns have come so much forward as to hamper White’s development. His QN could not move to the usual c3 square and had to move to d2 to support his KP under attack by Black’s N and R. The semi-open e-file gave Black a potential pin and White’s unsupported QB on the long diagonal was facing Black’s KB. White has not been able to castle yet as he has been busy in countering Black’s attacking probes and his King is therefore standing exposed in the center. Having such weak spots while playing Tal was like shaking the red rag before the bull! But you will probably note all this only after seeing Tal’s tactics to target the weak areas for launching his attack.

12. Nd2 Nxe4
13. Bxg7 Nxd2
14. Bh6 Bg4
15. Be3 Nf3+
16. Bxf3 Bxf3
17. Rg1 Nd7
18. Qd2 Nf6

Position after 18 moves

Position after 18 moves

Though he has not been able to castle (because of Black Knight on d2 and then the Black QB forcing White’s KR to move), White seems to have recovered from those pins on his K and Q, freeing his Knight to move for supporting his QP under attack. Unfortunately, Black is a player who does not care for the weakening of his castle if he gets to hound his opponent! White’s QP was at his mercy and most people would pick it up, but Tal saw bigger things in this position! And true to his tactical sense, Black Knight soon got a fork holding White’s Q and R. With an inferior strength in pieces and pawns, including the isolated QP, White gave up the fight!

19. Nf4 g5
20 Ne2 Re5
21. 0-0-0 Ne4
22. Qc2 Bxe2
23. Qxe2 Nc3
24. Resigns

Here is one lesson to take home on setting up your defensive strategy when faced with such attacking players. To launch the attack, your opponent will need space to maneuver his pieces. So try to deny him that space by keeping the position as closed as possible. If you are a positional player preferring to build up advantage through slow step by step process, this kind of chess strategy will suit you but frustrate your attacking opponent. His impatience may ultimately force him to commit mistakes which you can exploit to your advantage.

Again using one of Tal’s games, we will examine in another article how some positional players were able to prevail upon Tal by using aforesaid strategy.

Chess Tactics: how a mouse challenged a lion

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In an earlier article (lesson in chess tactics), we discussed a little about Alekhine and his extra-ordinary combinations. This game was played when he was already known as a formidable chess player and two years later he became the World Champion. His opponent with Black pieces was Mr. Nescio Nomen. (Have you heard of him? If not, see at the end of this article.)

Position after 11 moves.

Position after 11 moves

If you look at the chessboard situation after 11 moves, Black has been able to develop quite well. If Alekhine does not appear to have gained any advantage over Black, that itself can be considered a great play by Black, particularly for a player of his standing! But you must admit, Black has played in line with those chess strategies and chess tactics that we have discussed.

The play proceeded:

12. Bf3 Rac8  
13. Qe2 Rfd8  
14. Rad1 b5  
15. a3 Ne8  
16. Bxe7 Nxe7  
17. e5 Bc6  
18. Nd4 dxe5  
19. fxe5 Qb6  


Position after 19 moves.

Position after 19 moves

White probably was planning a King-side attack for which his QB was at g5, his Q and B had the d1-h5 diagonal and his Rooks could move to g-file and h-file via row 3. Black took some steam out of it by forcing exchange of White QB. White then opened the d3-h7 diagonal possibly to post his KB on e4 and moving his Q to h5 and subsequently positioning his rooks. You have probably seen something similar in his other game described earlier on how to attack the castled King.

But Black again made a timely intervention by trying to exchange White’s KB. White did not want to shift the KB which would hand over the a8-h1 diagonal to opponent’s QB. So White thought of bringing his knight quickly to the other side via d4 and f3 if his KB was captured or taking out Black’s offensive QB. But he overlooked the weakness of this knight move.

Do you see how Black found the weakness of White Knight on d4, supported by the Rook only and standing in the open diagonal leading to the White King. This offered an opportunity to Black for creating a pin and Black readily grabbed it. This prevented the Knight from removing Black’s QB and Black could bring his Knight to f5 for piling up pressure on d4 square.

By trying to take his King to a safer position, White suffers a setback with loss of the Knight. (It is worth analyzing whether Qf2 would be a better move for White).

But it still needed Black to play correctly to press home his advantage against a player like Alekhine. As you can see in the following moves, Black did not falter in his steps! Black was trying to simplify by exchanging the pieces as it would leave him with extra Knight and similar pawn strength to get a winning advantage in the end game. White of course could not allow that. White then tried to grab pawns but Black rose up with the tactics of giving up a pawn somewhere to grab a White pawn elsewhere while maintaining some subtle threats on White’s back row and King position!

20. Kh1 Rxd4  
21. Rxd4 Qxd4  
22. Bxc6 Nxc6  
23. Ne4 Qxe5  
24. Qf3 Qf5  
25. Qe2 Qg6  
26. c3 Ne5  
27. h3 f5  
28. Nd2 Qf6  
29. a4 Nd6  
30. axb5 axb5  
31. Re1 Ndc4  
32. Nxc4 Nxc4  
33. b3 Na5  
34. Qxb5 Qxc3  


Position after 34 moves.

Position after 34 moves

White could do nothing much except taking the pawn offered by Black after which Black finishes off the game quickly.

35. Rxe6 Qc1+  
36. Kh2 Qf4+  
37. Kh1 Rc1+  
38. Resigns  


If you can take the lesson from this and keep up your confidence, you can be the giant-killer next time as Mr. Nescio Nomen (“NN” in chess parlance, “unknown name” in Latin)!

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.

How To Avoid Premature Attacks In Chess

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You are new to the game chess, and you have been taught that the game is about attacking your opponent any chance you get. You forget that it is a tricky game and you need to analyze every move. You go ahead and act hastily and in a few rounds your opponent corners your queen or you hear checkmate and wander what happened. The act of seeing a small opening and rushing for it before thinking the move through, is a premature attack.

A chess beginner believes that it is better to have many small wins that one big one. They do not look at the game from a bird’s eye view and as a result lose. He/ she will leap for any available chance to get rid of the opponents’ piece without thinking of the next move or if he/she will lose a valuable piece like queen. Jumping at every chance without careful thought will distract you from the overall aim of the game. You will find yourself playing something like draft instead of chess.

Other beginners think that it is possible to capture the queen in the early stages of the game. Therefore all his/ her moves will center on capturing the queen forgetting that the opponent is watching him/ her and will attack and kill right after that hasty move. Therefore if you are a beginner to avoid this premature attack from happening keep a few things in mind.

Since chess is a tricky game, you will need to see the overall picture of the game. This can mean that you leave some good opportunities for better ones in the future. When you see a chance to take out your opponents’ piece, ask yourself what your opponents’ next move will be. This way you can anticipate future attacks on your valuable pieces.

Play chess in your mind by laying out an overall picture of your opponents’ future moves. If you notice that your opponent will be ahead of you by you moving a certain way, then stay put or move another piece. Slow and sure moves can get you far in this game, compared to attacking without thought.

When playing, your main aim should be to advance all your pieces. Concentrate on getting your queen on the opposite side of the board. Only when you feel confident that an attack will be a great move, can you carry on with it. If you opponent knows that you are a beginner, do not give him the benefit of the doubt by expecting you to carry out hasty moves, surprise him by taking it slow and attacking when he / she least expects. An expert in any game has to be analytical in every move to be able to shout out checkmate.

Just because you haven’t played the game before does not mean you have to lose. Keep this beginner tips in mind and avoid premature attacks. Remember your opponent is busy thinking of how to corner you or capture your pieces.
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