Minority Attack: Turn Your Pawns Into Weapons

Minority Attack: Turn Your Pawns Into Weapons

| 19 | Strategy

ih8sens (real name: Matt Nicholson) is a national master rated 2329. He asked the following:

“I have a position that I’m curious about. The majority of players I’ve asked believe that Black should not play 18…Bxg3. The computer suggests that 18…Bxg3 and 18…c5 are of similar strength, although there are some extremely different positions that arise. I’d like to hear your opinion as an IM.”

So let’s return to this position:

As you saw, this position occurred from a minority attack. White uses the minority of queenside pawns to attack the enemy majority of queenside pawns. White hopes to leave Black with a weakness that can be attacked for a long time. I will discuss the minority attack in this article, but first let’s look at the position ih8sens was discussing. First, we’ll look at 18...Bxg3.

Another way to play the position after 18...Bxg3 is:

ALL IN ALL: 18...Bxg3 leads to equality, but many positions still have play and can lead to chances for both sides.
Let’s take a look at 18...c5.

Returning to Mr. Matt Nicholson (ih8sens), he offered the following game in which he was White.

Matt Nicholson: “Here’s another minority attack game. I played badly and deserved to lose, but it shows some interesting ideas for Black! For example, it shows the possibility of the white bishop getting in trouble and Black keeping his options open by not automatically trading on b4. Basically, I was totally outplayed and only held because my opponent can’t manage his clock."

Here are some typical scenarios in minority attack games:

Then the little guys run at the other little guys. Then... weaknesses!

White Creates Weak Points In The Enemy Camp

Black Weakens The Kingside

Black Strikes Back On The Queenside

Black Targets White’s King For Extinction

White has dithered away on the queenside without making any headway into cracking Black’s queenside pawn structure open via a2-a4 followed by b4-b5. This gave Black the green light to go after White’s kingside.

Black Can Use The Minority Attack Too

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