Chess Demon

Chess Demon

| 104 | Tactics

"The Song Of A Stormy Petrel" is probably the most famous work of the Russian writer Maxim Gorky. It was required reading in the Soviet schools, so we had to memorize it and know it by heart. I still remember the line: "So he dashes, like a demon, — proud, black demon of the tempest."

We have a similar demon in chess: I am talking about the move Ng5 (or Ng4 for Black). Whenever I see this move, I cannot help but hear the cry of Gorky's Stormy Petrel: "Tempest! Soon will strike the tempest!" Let me show you how it works. I would like to start with one of the most famous games in the chess history.

With this victory, Deep Blue won the historic match. So, to some extent the Ng5 move marked the beginning of the computer chess hegemony. 

The Ng5 move is a very typical way to start an attack in many openings. Look at the following two diagrams. In both cases, White has barely started development and yet the Ng5 move begins a very strong attack.

So, what's the secret of the Ng5 demon? For starters, it attacks the f7-square (which is Black's most vulnerable spot before he castles) as well as the h7-square, which can be a target of an attack after Black castles. Also it opens a direct path for White's Queen to get into an action on the kingside.

Now let's see how it works when Black plays Ng4! Here are two very famous classical games:

Some of our readers are probably thinking: "Well, these attacks in the games above are really cool, but too complicated for me. I am just an average club player, where should I start?" Well, there are many openings lines and traps where Ng5/Ng4 moves are an integral part.

1) The Fried Liver Attack

2) The Fishing Pole Trap

We analyzed this and similar traps here.

3) Stafford Gambit

Shock your opponents with an unexpected and violent attack that starts with the "chess demon": Ng5 or Ng4!

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