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Pawn Storm!

  • GM Gserper
  • | Jun 30, 2012

When I first started playing chess, my favorite strategy was to wait until my opponent castles, and then castle on the opposite side and start a pawn storm!  It was exactly what I liked about chess. This way of playing would promise a very exciting game regardless of the result! I don't remember exactly where I learned this strategy, but maybe the next game gave me some ideas. It was a very important game as White was in a must win situation to qualify for the Candidates Matches:

White's beautiful attack made this line of play extremely popular and even today this particular variation is a major headache for Najdorf Sicilian players!

Or maybe I fell in love with this primitive, but powerful strategy after I found the following triplets in one of the first chess books I read (it was called "In the Fire of an Attack" by Mikhail Tal):

Now you can imagine how thrilled I was after finishing the next game played in the Soviet National Junior Championship:

As years passed, I got stronger and more experienced and so now I know that you cannot apply this strategy in every position.  And yet, when a proper situation arises, the pawn storm is still my favorite chess weapon! The following game was played in the US Championship and got a brilliancy prize:

This article is intended for less experienced chess players and explains the basic strategy of a pawn storm when kings are castled on opposite sides. My advice for amateur club players is to try to follow this simple strategy from my childhood. Just like myself at some point you'll learn that you cannot castle on the opposite side blindly just to start a pawn storm. In certain situations your opponent can just crush you in the center before you even start your attack, or maybe their attack against your King is much faster and more powerful. But the most important thing is that you'll learn a lot about attack, defense, and tactics. And of course you are going to have a lot of fun in the process!

To learn more about Pawn Storms, click here!


  • 21 months ago


    TQ SIR...

  • 22 months ago


    RE: chesskid564504

    The board as it looks doesn't show the checkmate. Click the 'P' or > button to see the moves.

  • 22 months ago


    An easy puzzle from the end of the last game


  • 22 months ago


    This is FUN.


  • 22 months ago



  • 22 months ago


  • 22 months ago


    Thankyou GM Gserper, I shall create a tactics trainer puzzle from the first game. Removing white's b3 knight allows the problem to continue without ambiguity after Qd8.

  • 22 months ago


    The GOOD stuff !!

  • 22 months ago


    Excellent strategy, I never used it before. After reading this yesterday, I got a challenge from someone and the opportunity for a perfect storm came up.

    As soon as he castled Q-side, I noticed that most of his heavies were on the K-side. That's when I started pushing pawns, and ended up mating him in 31. Perhaps one of my own personal best games I've ever played. Thanks for everything, I encourage anyone else to give this a try, when the opportunity looks ripe.

    Game here: http://www.chess.com/echess/game.html?id=55723156

  • 22 months ago


  • 22 months ago


    nice move

  • 22 months ago


    @THE_SACRIFICER:  yes, it is tough to translate over, though i did notice that it made me go over every move twice, so in a way, was a benefit!  Nice thing I liked was that a couple of the chapters were broken into sections, so i could go over one section one night, and the next another.  Still an excellent read!

  • 22 months ago


    If the pawn wasn't Pinned he still would have beaten him- 1.Kxh8 2..Qh2+ Qh6 3. Qxh6 Gxh6 4. Rg1+ Ng7 5. Rxg7+ Kh8 6. Rg1#     But it brutally ended as ----1.Qh2 Qh6 ( If 1.Kg8 Qh7 #) 2.Qxh6+ Kg8( Pawn is pinned) 3. Qh7# 

  • 22 months ago


    I am guessing that the author may have first read about this strategy in Art of the Middlegame by Keres and Kotov, who cover the subject at length. It's an important middlegame theme to understand. Moreover, when I have a choice of castling on the opposite side, I look at the pawn structure and most of all lead in development. If the conditions are favorable I will castle on the opposite side and start a pawn storm.

  • 22 months ago


    I don't understand how the last example is a check mate.

  • 22 months ago


    after i read this article i gave it a shot and  i was about wining that my clock ran out of time.it was great,i'll do it more

  • 22 months ago


    thats great


  • 22 months ago


    hmm...alright thanks

  • 22 months ago


    interesting idea!

  • 22 months ago


    nice article

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