Attacking Chess Tactics: Hounding the enemy King

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When you consider that White as a player had the highest Elo rating ever achieved while Black reached the next highest spot, you might expect the game to be a close tussle and a long, slow process till one pips the other at the final post. You will therefore wonder at White’s attacking force that made the Black King run all over the chessboard to seek final futile shelter in White King’s domain! It is therefore no wonder that the game ranks as one of the greatest display of attacking chess tactics.

The diagram below shows the position after 23 moves and the next move by White that started it all can surely be considered as one of the best moves ever played on the board! Try to follow the moves with an analytical mind to understand the chess tactics deployed and also the possible alternatives with their consequences. That is the best way for you to learn from great players and raise your own game.

Position after 23 moves

start of a king hunt

Your initial assessment of the position will show that the Black King is severely hemmed in with very few squares available to it. The White Queen and Bishop are looking along open diagonals to the Black King’s position with the Knight poised menacingly. The only open file is under the control of White Rook. In contrast, none of the Black pieces pose any threat to White King with all of them lying in their own territories. The only weak point in White’s position is the unsupported QP that is under attack by as many as 4 Black pieces (you may know about ‘overprotection’, is this a case of ‘overattack’!?) but Black still needs a move to get rid of this ‘protruding thorn’ to roll forward his united Q-side pawn phalanx!

Now see how it all proceeds in the context of above positional factors.

24. Rxd4 cxd4   The Rook sacrifice comes as a rude shock but you may agree that it suddenly turns the formidable pawn phalanx looking like a tattered army, giving Black a weak QP the fall of which will open another diagonal leading to the Black King.
25. Re7+ Kb6   2. … Qxe7 3. Qxd4+ Kb8 4. Qb6+ Bb7 (or Qb7) 5. Nc6# – all Black moves are forced.
26. Qxd4+ Kxa5  
27. b4+ Ka4  
28. Qc3 Qxd5   Black removed the White QP and guarded against the threat of Qb3#. If instead 5. … Bxd5 6. Kb2 Bc4 8. Qb3+ Bxb3 9. cxb3#
29. Ra7 Bb7   If 6. Kb2 (with the idea 7. Qb3+ Qxb3+ 8. cxb3#) then 6. … Qd4 forces exchange of Queens
30. Rxb7 Qc4  
31. Qxf6 Kxa3  
32. Qxa6+ Kxb4  
33. c3+ Kxc3   10. … Qxc3 11. Rxb5#. It is strange how White throws away all the Pawns guarding his King!
34. Qa1+ Kd2   11. … Kb3 11. Qb2+ Ka4 12. Ra7#. Black will lose his Queen on 10. … Kb4 11. Qb2+ Qb3 12. Rxb5+ or 10. … Kb4 11. Qb2+ Ka5 12. Qa3+ Qa4 13. Ra7 or 10. … Kb4 11. Qb2+ Kc5 12. Rc7+
35. Qb2+ Kd1  
36. Bf1 Rd2  
37. Rd7 Rxd7  
38. Bxc4 bxc4  
39. Qxh8 Rd3  

Qa8 c3  
41. Qa4+ Ke1  
42. f4 f5  
43. Kc1 Rd2  
44. Qa7 Resigns   R.I.P.


Position after 44. Qa7

end of king hunt



  1. Matt says:

    Attack the king like a hound — oh what a pleasant feeling when I do this.

  2. ChessMaster says:


    If that’s the way you play, I wouldn’t like to face you in a tournament!


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