Chess Tactic: Fishing Pole Attack | MURDER down the h-file! 🎣♟️🤩

Chess Tactic: Fishing Pole Attack | MURDER down the h-file! 🎣♟️🤩

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#tactics #fishingpole #rooksac #brilliant 

Sometimes, chess does not go your way. Losing streaks are a feature of chess. However, there is always light at the end of the tunnel! This game was at the end of 9 consecutive losses, but this only made this glorious victory with a brilliancy, all the sweeter!

The game began in a very prosaic way. As I play the Two Knights Defense with Black against the Italian Game, White can potentially drag me into the Giuoco Pianissimo, the “very quiet” game (1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. d3 h6 5. Nc3 Bc5). In this position, I simply don’t have a better move and White’s position is completely solid. There’s nothing wrong with (5… Bc5) and entering the Four Knights Italian Variation of the Giuoco Pianissimo, other than the fact that I don’t like playing these lines! 😅

White short castles the next move, which makes sense. The most accurate move for Black in the position is a symmetrical short castle as well. However, I chose to not commit my king and played (6… d6) instead. Stockfish thinks that short castling is slightly more accurate, but d6 has an advantage that I like. Simply, I like to shake things up, if possible, in the middlegame and it’s potentially more exciting to attack White’s king by castling the opposite side, or even just keeping the king in the centre!

We see this play out! On move 8, White starts an attack with (8. Nd5). The boring but accurate response would be to trade knights (8… Nxd5). However, I didn’t want to! After thinking for a minute, I decided to make an attack of my own with (8… Ng4)! Now, the engine thinks that this goes nowhere as after (9. h3), the knight will be forced back to it’s starting square of f6. But we don’t have to!

Even though the engine disapproves rating it a mistake [+2.6], we can play (9… h5!?), a fishing pole trap! White is still ahead, but capturing the seemingly hanging knight with their h-pawn is a mistake as the h-file will fully open, which is dangerous with Black’s rook still controlling that file! This is an advantage with not castling that side!

White ignores my knight and presses their second knight into the attack (10. Ng5). This seems to work (11. Nf7? Kxf7 12. Nxc7+ Ke7 13. Nxa8) as White makes use of a discovered check, and then an absolute fork to win a rook and pawn for one of their knights. However, my intuition was that this was probably a mistake for White, and this bourn out in the analysis – despite White being up three points of material, the evaluation was only [+0.3]!

Why? White traded away one of their knights and their second knight was stuck on a8. That’s two active pieces! My a8-rook, however, had yet to be activated, and wasn’t contributing yet to the game. Although my king was forced to move, it was nonetheless completely safe in the centre, behind a pyramid of pawns on dark squares.

White, flush with the sense of success in winning material, now gobbled my “hanging” knight (14. hxg4?! hxg4) and was now up 5 points of material at the end of the turn. However, the evaluation was shifted even further away [+0.3 → -0.3]!

At this point, I saw a beautiful, deadly, murderous tactic down the fully opened h-file! 😈 The principal idea was to sacrifice my rook to draw White’s king onto the h-file and to clear the way for my queen to access the h-file. With my dark square bishop pinning White’s f2-pawn to the king, pushing my g-pawn to g3 is potentially unstoppable, and would support a lovely checkmate! As a chess assassin this was delicious assassination!

White didn’t see this tactic and struck their pawn down the b-file to open the a-file and defend their trapped knight. This doomed their king! I didn’t play the tactic in the most expedient way, as I didn’t recognise how powerful it was (I could have immediately sacrificed the rook for an 8-move forced checkmate!), but launched it a couple of moves later! I was very gratified to see that the rook sacrifice was rated a brilliancy by the analytic engine (17… Rh1+!!), and I won a couple of moves later with checkmate (19. Qh2#) down 13 points of material! Glorious!

The big takeaway from this game is to keep an eye out for this “fishing pole” tactic down the h-file – both using it against your opponent or it being used against you!


Hi!  I'm vitualis, the chess noob (aka chessnoob64), and I run the "Adventures of a Chess Noob" YouTube channel and blog.  I'm learning and having fun with chess! 

I restarted playing chess recently after my interest was rekindled by the release of "The Queen's Gambit" on Netflix.  I mostly play 1 or 2 games a day, and am trying to improve (slowly!).  I document some of my games and learning experiences on my blog and YouTube channel from the perspective of a beginner-intermediate player!

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