When in Doubt... Attack!

  • GM Gserper
  • | Apr 23, 2011

One of the best movies ever produced in my opinion is "Scent of a Woman". If you've seen the movie, then I don't need to explain why. In the very unlikely situation that you never watched the movie, stop right here and run, don't walk, to rent this exquisite gem. One of the best scene of the whole movie is the famous Tango in the Restaurant. I don't know what I love more there: the absolutely beautiful 'Por una Cabezo' Tango, gorgeous Gabrielle Anwar or unbelievable Al Pacino who plays a blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade. Judge for yourself:



There are many memorable lines in the movie and one of them was said by Lt. Col. Frank Slade: " When in doubt...attack!"  Well, I took the liberty of slightly editing his saying since the last word there is actually an expletive and this is a family-friendly web site.  If you watched the movie, then you know the actual quote and if not... then this is one more incentive to watch the movie! 

You may ask what does it have to do with chess and why there is a picture of GM Korchnoi on the top of the article? Well, in my eyes, Victor Lvovich has many similarities with Al Pacino's character. And one of them is you may like him or hate him, but you definitely respect him as a chess player and personality!  Also the slogan of many of Korchnoi's games is exactly this: "When in doubt...attack!" And the next game is a good example.

This is our third game (you can see the previous one here: http://www.chess.com/article/view/victor-the-terrible) and I really hoped for revenge. I was very optimistic because the position in the next diagram looks very favorable for me. White has a strong initiative on the Queen's side and it is very difficult for Black to untie his pieces there due to the weakness of the 'a4' pawn. Note that the trade Bxa5 would be positional suicide since it would turn the 'b7' and 'c7' pawns into bleeding wounds on the open files. Even in a bad dream I wouldn't be able to imagine that just 13 moves later I would have to resign due to an unavoidable checkmate!  So, can you play like Frank Sla... I mean Victor Korchnoi? Just remember: "When in doubt...attack!"

(I give you a chance to test your attacking skills and compare your moves to the ones 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".) 

When you play such titans as Korchnoi, you learn a lot. Two days after I lost this game I had a chance to show my newly acquired skills against a very strong Grandmaster. The position in the next diagram looks very dangerous for White since there is no defense against the trade of the Bishops followed by Qh3-g2 checkmate.  What should White play?

So when in your next game your opponent catches you in an opening trap or you have weak pawns or you are a piece down you know what to do.  When in doubt... attack!!


  • 15 months ago


    Double check!

  • 3 years ago


    Do u know that Victor korchnoi farted

  • 3 years ago


    What nonsense

  • 5 years ago


  • 5 years ago


    When in doubt, take a nap

    You'll fell better afterward

  • 5 years ago



  • 6 years ago


    When you present a game as a puzzle, make sure that people have a reasonable chance of solving it. I don't see the difference between 18...Qe7 followed by 19...hxg3 and 18...hxg3 and then 19...Qe7. If the move order is critical, then perhaps you should explain why is that. I don't see it. And you don't explain it.

    Is it so obvious, like Black is completely lost if he moves first 18...hxg3?

  • 6 years ago


    What a great article.  and a good movie pick as well.  Too bad the blind colonel didn't play some chess with the lovely young lady after the tango.  I appreciate your articles and your insight.

  • 6 years ago


    GM Serper should write a book on this.

  • 6 years ago


    good movie

  • 6 years ago


    What would you do instead of Qc2?

  • 6 years ago


    The scent of an exposed king provoked the attack.
  • 6 years ago


    That Serper guy must be one of the old Romanatic geniuses. That was an amazing attack!  (O.K - I knew it was you but I stand by my statement)

  • 6 years ago


    Mr Serper, my congratulations for such great article!...Someones at this forum simply didn't understand at all that the key point was not the movie, but the willing to fight any time, no matter how bad the position may look, so a good chess player must be above all very resourceful...

    Thank you for sharing your extraordinary experience...

  • 6 years ago


    actually his statement was that it was the best movie ever produced in his opinion.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion as you are to yours even if I disagree with it.  There is no need to be derisive towards other people's opinions.  If everyone had the same tastes in art, this world would be a boring place.

  • 6 years ago


    Scent of a Woman is "one of best movies ever produced"?  I hope you are kidding.  It is average at best and one of worst titles ever produced.    There are literally thousands of better films.   1992 was admittedly a weak cinematic year, but here are five infinitely better films produced in the same year as "Stink of a Woman", alphabetically:  1. Bad Lieutenant; 2. The Crying Game; 3. A Few Good Men; 4. Glengarry Glen Ross; 5. Howard's End; 6. The Player; 7. Reservoir Dogs; 8. Single White Female; 9. Unforgiven... and yes, even "Wayne's World".  

  • 6 years ago



  • 6 years ago


    Scent of a Woman: I've seen most of it, it was boring, not a great movie at all.

  • 6 years ago


    Anyone notice the (yes!) easter egg here? In the last game, GM Serper employed the famous Botvinnik System! You can see it perfectly defined by move 8, and it's basically this variation, only Black delayed castling until move 10: http://www.chess.com/opening/eco/A26_English_Opening_Kings_English_Variation_Botvinnik_System_Prickly_Pawn_Pass_System#

  • 6 years ago



    29.cxd5 opens up discover attack on the queen with Bxf6+ and leads to all sorts of tactical nastiness

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