Learning to Attack
Recently I have been trying to improve my attacking skills. Previously I had spent 6 months working only on my endgames maticuously going through every example of Silman's Complete Endgame Course book. It is fabulous by the way. Memorizing each chapter as I went until I reached the 2000 and above section. Time to take a break from end games. Then I spent another 6 months working Opening Theory. That subject is TOO BIG to have any real progess for me. I picked an opening repertoirre and a defense and studied many variations. I got adequate. In those openings I am fairly strong, however I get bored playing the same thing all the time so I ventured into just learning the first 3-5 moves of every opening I could find, learned their names, basic concepts for why they exist, and now I just try one at random when playing blitz. I often fall into traps, but I'm having a good time.
Still.... I could open safely and finish strong but I was severly lacking in the middle game attack. naturally attacking the king is the most fun.
I began studying a book called The Art of Attack in Chess. This book is simply amazing. I have been learning about focal points, destructive sacrifices, tempo, and more. I am by no means a master of this material but I have seen my games drastically improve.
In the past I would positionally manuever and then trade down (simplify) to an endgame advantage and let my end game skills win. This is what I am good at. Here is an example from today in a 3 minute blitz game. While the blitz game is loaded with errors and blunders as to be expected with such fast time controls at 7am :-) it is the destructive sacrifice on the focal point f7 after setting up a mating net that I most pleased with. For me this was a great way to win (not in the endgame). I hope you can ignore the errors in the first half of the game and enjoy the ending.
For me this game represents progress. Sure there were blunders or errors by both sides as to be expected in a 3 min blitz. However, in the past I was not very good at attacking in the middle game. For me to recognize the potential of a Bishop sac on f7 so early in the game (at move 17), then set it up, allow my Kingside to be attacked knowing I had the faster attack (tempo concepts), set up the mating net with the Rook on e1 and then successfully employ the Bishop sac on f7 for the win, all within a 3min time control.... I am very pleased with the results.
If you would like to become a better attacker I highly reccommend the book: The Art of Attack in Chess. A true classic.