The Attacking Set-Up That Always Wins

The Attacking Set-Up That Always Wins‎

GM Gserper
93 | Strategy

Any experienced player knows that chess is all about pattern recognition. At least this is true of chess played by humans. In this article, I argued that one of the biggest competitive advantages World Champion Magnus Carlsen has is his unique memory that allows him to remember thousands of chess patterns. Today, I would like to discuss one of the most powerful attacking set-ups that can arise from many popular openings. 

It is easy to describe this set-up. White has a knight on e5 supported by the pawns on d4 and f4. For Black, the set-up is a knight on e4 supported by the pawns on d5 and f5.

Surprisingly, this set-up has no general name, but when White employs this set-up in the Queen's Gambit, it is called the "Pillsbury Attack." The American grandmaster won so many games using this line that according to Kasparov's "My Great Predecessors," it was said that "If Pillsbury has played Ne5, then Black is lost." Hence, the title of my article.

Here is one of Pillsbury's most famous games in the "Pillsbury Attack."

You might be wondering why this set-up is so powerful. These are the three main reasons:

1. The centralized knight on e5 is so mighty that it creates fertile soil for many combinations. The following classical game demonstrates the concept quite well.

GM David Bronstein was famous for his original ideas. Here is his treatment of the "Pillsbury Attack."

2. If Black cannot tolerate the knight on e5 anymore and captures it, then White recaptures with the f4-pawn and opens the f-file against Black's king which tremendously increases the power of the attack. Here is a game by the 13-year-old Tal.

As was mentioned earlier, Black can play the following set-up too.

3. Finally, the f4-pawn can be used as a battering ram to demolish the position of Black's castle or open the f-file. The above-mentioned game Pillsbury versus Marco is a good example of this strategy. Here is a more recent example:

As you can see, this powerful set-up can be used in many different openings. Moreover, there is an opening designed specifically for this set-up

I hope this article will help you to win many games using the "Pillsbury Attack."

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