Attack and Defense

  • GM Gserper
  • | Jul 15, 2012

In our life we are surrounded by thousands of opposites. Day and Night, Up and Down, Good and Evil. Almost every day we need to make a choice: Left or Right, Paper or Plastic, Ginger or Mary Ann (OK, I am just kidding about the last one. It is Mary Ann of course!). Today we are going to discuss two opposite elements of chess.  One is well known, the other one very obscure: Attack and Defense.  But the good thing is you don't need to make a choice between them, since you should know both and use them depending on the situation on the board.

Let's start with the first element, which is a well-known attacking concept. 

Here is what Kasparov writes about 11...Ne6?!:  " When I saw this move I was surprised since Black allows the White Knight jump to f5 (I always loved to put my Knight on f5)..."  

I have underlined Kasparov's words because they show that even when Kasparov was just 10 years old he already knew how dangerous Nf5 can be. The reason is simple: from its excellent position the Knight controls the vital squares around the Black King. The follow-up can be moving your Queen or Rook on the 'g' file with a direct attack against the 'g7' square, or in many cases the Knight can just be sacrificed to open the road to the King's residence.   Let's look at two classical examples played by famous attacking wizards:

The Nf5 is so important for an attack that in many cases you might want to sacrifice some material to get your Knight to this 'magic' square.
Of course the Black f4-knight is as dangerous as White's f5-knight.
Now you can see why Nf5 (Nf4 for Black) is so powerful and young Kasparov loved it so much.  But even such a dangerous animal can be tamed.  Next time we'll talk about a very little known idea which can help you to deal with the Nf5 and an attack against your King in general.
to be continued...


  • 3 years ago



  • 4 years ago


    nice article, brief but to the point

  • 4 years ago


    In the last game Psakhis vs Chekhov, surely 24... d3 is stronger, threatening both the bishop and mate?

    Thanks for the article!

  • 4 years ago


    Very nice article. Thanks.

  • 4 years ago



  • 4 years ago


  • 4 years ago


    Ginger, or Marianne?  Both...

  • 4 years ago


    At young age gkasparov was playing opening ruy lopez and winning some position such like f5 with his knight pieces!Maybe i should try this skill Nf5

    Ayuh pukul orang dengan Nf5!Ayuh rakan!yahuu!!

  • 4 years ago


    great article, my fav. was the Tal game

  • 4 years ago


    TQ SIR...

  • 4 years ago


    In Tahl vs. Stean, I can't see how '21.Bxh6 is even simpler'. 21...Bxh6 (??) 22.Qxh6+ Nh7 and all is defended... What am I missing ?

  • 4 years ago

    FM gauranga

    Actually I like Ginger

  • 4 years ago


    You are right about the purpose of the example. And I made a mistake in my previous analyses - set a wrong position. Sorry Laughing

  • 4 years ago



    I can't see how 17. Bxc4 really helps black, all it does is gain some time, but at the cost of a possible material gain, late in the game?

    As I get it the point of this, it is to show the power of the knights position and possible sacrifice, and the example shows that rather nicely.   

    But I might be to noobish to get your point :)

  • 4 years ago


    Can anyone wiser than me (and my chess program) explain why not to play as black in the game "Leonid Stein (?) vs. Lajos Portisch (?)" just simple 17. ... Bxc4 instead of 17. ... Nfd7? Because if black made such mistakes (if this is realy mistake) everyone can atack them anyway and anyhow. And example is not so good.

  • 4 years ago


    Great article. The Tal game is insane! So many pieces attacking and defending each other, all around the poor black king.

  • 4 years ago


    Good article. Helpful to chess players. Thank you.

  • 4 years ago


    brilliant article thankyou

  • 4 years ago


    @akki_master: "He who defends everything defends nothing." -Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor.

  • 4 years ago


    nice nice

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