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Learn to Attack!

Learn to Attack!

May 30, 2013, 12:00 AM 62,043 Reads 67 Comments Tactics

Last December the chess community celebrated the 100th birthday of Rashid Nezhmetdinov, one of the most creative attacking players in the history of chess.  He is one of my most favorite players and the game we'll analyze today shows why he was truly an attacking genius.

When we talk about an attack we immediately think about tactics and sacrifices. But as one of the grandmasters (I think it was Tartakower, but I can be wrong here) noticed about Alekhine's games, many chess players miss the real point. "Give me the position where Alekhine executed one of his famous combinations and I'll do it just like him. The really difficult part is how to get such a position!" (This is how I remember this phrase even though the wording might be different).

In today's game (played by Nezhmetdinov when he was not even a master), you'll get an opportunity to create a nice attacking position and then execute a wonderful combination. 

(The game is given as a quiz.  Please remember that you can always replay the whole game from the first move if you click "Solution" and then "Move list".)

Black's move looks strange to put it mildly. We are talking about an attack and Black is moving back - what kind of an attack is it? But in fact Black is preparing his attack! And one of the principles of an attack says: Do not trade pieces when you attack; each trade makes your opponent's defensive task easier. Of course you shouldn't use this rule blindly (just like almost any other rule of chess). Here the Bishop's retreat is especially good because White's position is cramped and he doesn't have space for all of his pieces, therefore Black avoids the trade of Bishops.
When you have an advantage in the center and also your pieces are active, you can sometimes push the pawns in front of your King in order to use them to gain more space and start a direct attack against your opponent's King.  This principle is very common in the Sicilian Defense, like for example in the next famous game (sorry Judit!).
Now back to the Nezhmetdinov's game. How should Black continue his attack?
The Rook lift is your best friend when you attack. Some openings (like the Dutch Stonewall) are even based on this idea. Check out for example the following classical game:
Now you need to finish preparation for the final combination:
Never forget to bring as many pieces into your attack as possible. Beginners tend to attack with just two pieces (based on my experience somehow it is usually a Queen and a Knight), but such "attacks" are usually repelled easily. Remember, the more pieces that you use for your attack, the more powerful it gets! 

Finally the most exciting part. Find the winning combination!
As you can see, in most of the cases the preparation for a beautiful combination is much more difficult to do than the combo itself! I wish you many beautiful attacks!

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