When in Doubt... Attack!  (Part Two)

When in Doubt... Attack! (Part Two)

| 35 | Tactics

Most chess players prefer to play White and the statistics clearly favors the side who opens the game first. One of the amazing features of Korchnoi's chess is the number of games he won with Black (unfortunately I know it from my own experience, see here: and here: doubtattack ). In fact I think there are not many players who could come even close to Korchnoi in this department. What's his secret? I think he reveals it himself by saying: " How a chess game gets won? You force your opponent to solve problems which he simply cannot solve."  Sounds simple-- even primitive-- but how do you actually do it in a real game?   Let's try to find out the answer in the next game.  

How many times have you seen a GM losing his game with White in just 17 moves?  What if I tell you that it is not just a GM, but one of the best players in the World Bent Larsen? Then you'll understand why I consider this game one of the most amazing I've ever seen. Again I cannot help but compare Victor Korchnoi to Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (see the first part of this article) and the famous dialog from the same famous scene in the restaurant:

Donna: Ah, it's amazing...

Lt. Col. Frank Slade: Well, I am in the amazing business!

The next diagram shows the position after just 4 moves and it is quite typical for the Reti opening. White knows that he is going to fianchetto both Bishops, castle and start a long positional battle. Yet, Victor the terrible finds a way to stop this seemingly unstoppable plan. And here we can witness a very common phenomenon.  When a chess players gets out of his comfort zone, when he cannot play the moves he likes and intended to play, then suddenly he starts making one mistake after another.  As an old chess saying goes: " When you don't see good moves, you start playing bad moves".  That's exactly how I lost all my games against Korchnoi, he simply didn't let me play what I was planning to play, he made me feel uncomfortable (see for example that 8...g7-g5 move and the whole plan of the attack against my King that he played in one of those games).  Here something similar happens to Larsen and he collapses in just 17 moves without making a clear mistake!

So, try to guess how Korchnoi made Larsen forget about his intention to just finish his development and play a long positional play. Spoiler alert: since every next diagram can give away the answer for the previous one, please scroll down the article slowly!

(I give you a chance to test your attacking skills and compare your moves to those of the legendary Victor Korhnoi, so 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".) 



If you look at the next diagram, then you can see that Black is underdeveloped and his overextended center is about to get attacked (for example by d2-d3). What should Black do? (Hint: when in doubt... attack!)
Black has opened the 'h' file and is ready to attack, but the Rh8 alone cannot harm the White King. Ideally, Black wants to bring his Queen there. What's the quickest way for the Queen to reach the 'h' file?
Black has a clear advantage due to his impregnable center and the weak position of the White King. Yet, it is difficult to believe that the game ended in just three more moves! What should Black do?
Let me finish with a very famous quote of Fischer: 'I like the moment when I break a man's ego'. Could it be that Fischer was talking about breaking a man's chess ego? Maybe he meant that if you don't allow your opponent to play the moves and plans he feels like he is entitled to play, you break his chess pride, his consciousness and therefore his chess identity? That's exactly what Korchnoi did in most of his games and in my opinion it is one of the secrets of his success!
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