Attacking 101: Volume #001 Book (October 2012)

  • NM FearNoEvil12
  • | May 25, 2014

Attacking 101: Volume #001

The goal of the books in this series (Attacking 101: Volume #nnn) is to provide detailed analysis of my own attack games played against lower rated players. The players are all rated in the range of 1000 to 1800 - the types of players you would frequently encounter at your local chess club, local tournaments, online, and at home. They make the same errors you regularly witness in your games but here you get to see a Chess Master dissect and exploit the moves, show why they are wrong, and how to punish the opponent‘s poor play.

For readers, I have included a chapter from the book.

Danish Gambit

Opening Lines

The Danish Gambit starts with the following move sequence:

Danish Gambit (C21)
1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4 3. c3 dxc3 4. Bc4

From there, Black can choose to accept the second pawn with the move

4. ... cxb2 and White will develop his queenside Bishop too with the move 5. Bxb2.

Techniques Learned

The Danish Gambit, like most opening gambits, is designed to provide speedy development at the cost of a pawn or two. Whether the gambit works or not will be determined by your ability to convert the development advantage into another form of advantage like positional pressure, material gain, checkmate, etc. If Black is able to thwart your advances then he will very likely win the endgame with his surplus of queenside pawns.  

The Danish Gambit is the perfect weapon against pawn grabbers and material mongers.

--------- Game #013 ----------

--------- Game #014 ----------

I play another game with the same player and this time around he declines accepting the second free pawn. I wonder why? 


Preface                                                         7
    Opening Selection                                      7
    Dropping Pieces                                         8
    Volume #001                                               8
    Computer Software                                     8
    Kudos                                                         8

Center Game                                                  9
    Techniques Learned                                    9
    Game #001 – MassCarnage – king92 (1339)     10
    Game #002 – Joel Johnson – Daniel Pecherski (1134) 12
    Game #003 – Joel Johnson – Gianni Giaconi (1280) 15
    Game #004 – Joel Johnson – Phil Kusner (1380) 16
    Game #005 – MassCarnage – cajob321 (1330)   17
    Game #006 – FearNoEvil – Clever (1444)         19
    Game #007 – MassCarnage – mukundan (1647)   20
    Game #008 – MassCarnage – onti (1358)           21
    Game #009 – MassCarnage – Drums (1459)        23
    Game #010 – Joel Johnson – Phil Kusner (1480) 24
    Game #011 – MassCarnage – esadpo (1542)       25
    Game #012 – FearNoEvil – theKing (1583)        27

Danish Gambit                                                  28
    Techniques Learned                                       28
    Game #013 – MassCarnage – adna (1479)           28
    Game #014 – MassCarnage – adna (1473)           30

Alekhine’s Defense                                             31
    Techniques Learned                                        31
    Game #015 – MassCarnage – thisurthat (1654)     32
    Game #016 – FearNoEvil – Boletus (1792)          34
    Game #017 – Joel Johnson – Tyler Sypherd (1580)     35
    Game #018 – Joel Johnson – Nikola Ogrizovic (1706)  36

Nge2 Caro Kahn                                                39
    Techniques Learned                                       39
    Game #019 – MassCarnage – ucanthide (1279)     39
    Game #020 – MassCarnage – Akaba (1648)          41
    Game #021 – MassCarnage – Clockwork64 (1477) 43

Sicilian Grand Prix                                              44
    Techniques Learned                                        44
    Game #022 – MassCarnage – Mondrogan (1445)     44
    Game #023 – Joel Johnson – Mark Webb (1246)   46
    Game #024 – MysteryMan – blackending (1674)    48
    Game #025 – MassCarnage – mwu2007 (1327)      50
    Game #026 – MysteryMan – happychess (1629)     51
    Game #027 – MassCarnage – sergiofabian (1445)   52
    Game #028 – MassCarnage – mentor123 (1642)     53
    Game #029 – MassCarnage – qs16 (1663)              54
    Game #030 – MassCarnage – jasep (1644)             55
    Game #031 – Joel Johnson – Tim Suzman (1780)   56
    Game #032 – MassCarnage – killaduck44 (1361)     58

Smith-Morra Gambit                                             59
    Techniques Learned                                          59
    Game #033 – MassCarnage – jimh (1456)               60
    Game #034 – MassCarnage – nando3 (1633)            61
    Game #035 – MassCarnage – DADASH (1651)           62
    Game #036 – MassCarnage – jusmove (1559)          64
    Game #037 – MassCarnage – jusmove (1540)            65
    Game #038 – Joel Johnson – Richard Smouse (1521) 68

Pirc/Modern Defense                                              70
    Techniques Learned                                            70
    Game #039 – MassCarnage – Izeelden (1568)           70
    Game #040 – MassCarnage – gladiator46 (1672)        71
    Game #041 – MassCarnage – Green-Pigeon (1623)     74
    Game #042 – MassCarnage – JorgeIV (1727)              76
    Game #043 – MassCarnage – RRCHESSMAN2009 (1412) 78

Yugoslav Attack                                                        79
    Techniques Learned                                              79
    Game #044 – FearNoEvil - baron25 (1545)                79

Center Counter                                                          82
    Techniques Learned                                                82
    Game #045 – MassCarnage - Floppyboard (1573)          82
    Game #046 – MassCarnage - torre1217 (1685)              85

Qd3 French                                                                  87
    Techniques Learned                                                  87
    Game #047 – FearNoEvil – SnowTiger (1793)                87
    Game #048 – Joel Johnson – Kevin Huynh (1434)           89
    Game #049 – Joel Johnson – Anu Menon (1093)              91
    Game #050 – MysteryMan – Lzmann (1763)                    92
    Game #051 – MassCarnage – BillietheKid (1375)             95
    Game #052 – MassCarnage – Superman (1792)                97

Blackmar-Diemer Gambit                                                98
    Techniques Learned                                                   98
    Game #053 – MassCarnage – Nielsferatu (1511)               98
    Game #054 – MysteryMan – Kendo (1641)                       99

Stonewall Attack                                                           101
    Techniques Learned                                                   101
    Game #055 – MassCarnage -- Launchywiggin (1501)        102
    Game #056 – MassCarnage -- nigelst (1551)                    103
    Game #057 – MassCarnage -- orien (1680)                      104
    Game #058 – MassCarnage -- Reyad86 (1505)                 105

Unusual Openings                                                           106
    Techniques Learned                                                   106
    Game #059 – FearNoEvil_US -- OrangSemelai (1516)      106
    Game #060 – MassCarnage -- jnader (1171)                   108

Book News                110
    Available Books     110
    Future Books         110

What people are saying about Attacking 101: Volume #001:

Thomas M. Peterson, Madison, WI
I love to fight on the chessboard. My philosophy is get the pieces out to the right places and coordinate an attack. However, this book has shown me there is a second equally important factor to winning: controlling your opponent. This book is teaching me the methods that go on behind the scenes that lead to inevitable wins. Through Joel's books I am getting an excellent winning education.

I like to keep my best chess sources secret, but I have to give credit where credit is due. This book is aimed at the improving player. Thanks again Joel for helping us break into the expert ranks.

Mark Marshall
Exceptional chess book for the intermediate player. I hope Joel produces more just like this. Play like Morphy, Tal and Alekhine, get this book. 5 Stars.

Andrew Bland, Bradford, United Kingdom
Brilliant, the almost move by move annotation is very helpful. It's a little sad but I'm quite excited about working my way through it – and already looking forward to volume 2. I've been completely re-visiting my repertoire after reading your comments about playing aggressive openings.  For me Joel, your work is filling a huge gap in my Chess library.

Dr. Nicholas Sterling, Chess Horizons, Massachusetts Chess Association
What is provided in Attacking 101 is illuminating, and does a superior job of linking opening to final position, or alpha to omega. This reviewer eagerly awaits Volume #002 and recommends this book to those who are ready to learn how to sneak up on their opponents with well-conceived and well-executed attacks.

My books are available at the following websites:

USCF Sales

Chess Books From Europe


Thanks for your support, Joel Johnson


  • 2 years ago


    Thanks, Joel! Looking forward to your next book. I also sent you a message about the other stuff.

  • 2 years ago

    NM FearNoEvil12

    Hi Byron,

    Let's start with the easy question. When will Attacking 101: Volume #002 come out? Currently, my plan is to write Volume #002 (and maybe 3 & 4), one after the other in the fall or winter this year. My best guess is end of October. I already have most of the games for the book, so I should be able to accomplish that goal. I will sendd you a private message to address your other questions. Thanks, Joel


  • 2 years ago


    Hi Joel,

    Hope you're still checking this post. I wanted to let you know that I LOVE your book. I've worked through all the "Center Game" and "Danish Gambit" games, and I'm working/reworking through the Alekhine games. I must admit that I didn't see the tactics on that first Alekhine game even after thinking it through before looking at the answer, so I've gone over it a few times. The Center Game games have been lots of fun in my blitz matches. I actually managed to use the Knockout Punch theme on someone rated higher than me (I didn't actually land the punch, but the threat won me a bishop which eventually won me the game!)

    So two questions (if you're checking this):

    1. What is your view of chess coaches and attackers vs. defenders? My son is an attacker who was one of the top players in our state for his age group this year. He doesn't need a coach yet--he's eight, and most of his mistakes are "en prise" mistakes--but eventually he will. I ask because I read Josh Waitzkin's book about how a defensive coach turned him off chess by "correcting" his attacking nature. Is it important to find a coach who prefers attacking, or are all masters capable of teaching how to attack?

    2. When is Volume #002 coming out??? I'm finding myself looking forward to white games on, but I've got nothing when I'm black! :) (Well, I've got my Sicilian, but it's not nearly as exciting as sac'ing a pawn for development as White.)



  • 2 years ago

    NM FearNoEvil12

    Hi naruhodo,

    By the way, I really like the Marc Esserman book, "Mayhem in the Morra", and I have a chapter in Attacking 101 about the Morra Gambit and mention his book.

    Enkoy, Joel

  • 2 years ago



    Thanks for the reply! That's right, Carissa Yip is from your hometown! I actually learned of the Smith Morra from reading about one of her games (even though she was only 9). Since starting Esserman's book, I've won three of my four rated games in which I've played the Morra, one of which was against a 1500 (I'm 1292, but I've only been playing rated games since January). Ironically, the Morra game I lost was because my second 1500 opponent tripped me up by declining it (and I lost on time since it was a USCF dual-rated 30/5)!

    I just ordered your Attacking 101 book from Amazon. The reason for my late reply was that I was looking for another chess book to get me to the $35 minimum, and it was clear to me that a lot of books are written for stronger players; I had to shop around. I'm looking forward to learning more about attacks.

    Thanks for your reply, and thanks for writing this book!

  • 2 years ago

    NM FearNoEvil12

    Hi naruhodo,

    It is important to play gambits as part of a player's development cycle, to learn how to attack, maintain the initiative, and convert material minus into a winning position. Then, when you become stronger, you will have the appropriate understanding to convert such positions to wins. I talk about this in one of my books. I met Carissa Yip on one of my trips back home to Lowell, MA, at the Fitchburg Chess Club, a couple of years ago. I also gave her a free copy of one of my books.  

    Thanks, Joel

  • 2 years ago


    Thank you, Joel! This is a great article, and I'm studying it. I'm going to check out your book.

    I strongly disagree with Johnny. Showing your games against lower-rated players is a great idea, similar to some of the games in Chernev's classic Logical Chess. Grandmaster v. Grandmaster games are often too hard for beginners to understand, as they require calculation that goes beyond the ability of most beginners. Gambits are fun for us lower-rated players, and they demonstrate easy-to-understand tactics. Plus, they're fun!

    These gambits are also perfectly sound if you're playing people at lower levels. Grandmaster Larry Christiansen recommends experimenting with gambits, and he recently studied the Smith Morra as a weapon to be used for his own games, even at the grandmaster level! His star prodigy Carissa Yip (who became an expert at the age of 9 and is currently one of the top young players in the U.S.) plays gambits against other expert-level players. If it works for people at that level, it will definitely work for the rest of us too.

    Anyway, thanks again for sharing this!

  • 2 years ago


    sometimes danish gambit is good

    and also there is queen d2 after bb4+

  • 2 years ago


    You should not be teaching losing variations to lower rated players. My teacher has always taught me how to beat the best. People will not get good at chess if they hang on to what's making them lose and opening plays into

    that. To play the opening well is so important and teaching people gambits is only going to get them killed when they try to make the leap to master level. It's hard to defend gambits but defenders love them cause they get the material and run. One should always be working to eliminate weaknesses and gambits create a weakness in the opening right from the start. There are good gambits yes, but you are

    advocating teaching the Danish which loses instantly to the variation I mentioned and it's more resilient cousin the smith morra. These are unsound. If one wants to play sound gambits and be aggressive the Marshall gambit is an amazing system and so is the benko. But these are complicated for lower level players and so if you want to play them you better know what you're doing or you have no chance.

  • 2 years ago


    Looks like a nice book to learn attacking style ;)

  • 2 years ago


    Let the guy alone: he talked about using it agains 1000 to 1800 players. Works like charm at low level.

  • 2 years ago


    People like this should not be writing books. The Danish Gambit is not sound and will not work against better players. Just FYI. As soon as you know to play 5...d5 with the idea of if bishop takes playing Nf6 Bxf7 Kxf7 Qxd8 Bc4+!! with the rook about to win white's queen and black being up material with an easy win the danish gambit becomes trivial. What's more, good attack is not built on psychology but on positional soundness. Tal never played a gambit in his life.

  • 2 years ago




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