Checkmating the enemy king is the ultimate goal in chess. In this book Simon Williams helps readers to practice and improve their skills in this vital area of practical chess. A mating attack typically involves a build-up of forces, followed by an opening of lines, often involving a sacrifice. Once the enemy king is exposed, it is either checkmated, or only saved at a great cost in material. The puzzles in this book are pertinent to all these phases, and involve questions of where to attack and what pieces to use.
Full solutions are included
Chess is a strange and compelling game, a game that anyone can play, from any walk of life. Players' styles vary greatly, and this variety enriches chess, making it more attractive and colourful. These differing styles can range from the ultra-solid to the bizarrely wild, with most players floating about in the middle somewhere. But what is a better joy in chess than to watch a great attacking game where one tempo will change the outcome from lost to won? Attacking is at the soul of chess after all; let's remember that the aim of chess is to give checkmate! And how better to go about this than by attacking?
It seems that in modern-day chess most literature and database material are confined to the discussion of openings. Openings are certainly important, but they are not that important. There is no point in a player being able to get an advantage from the opening only to throw it away because he/she has no idea of what to do next. In my opinion it is more important to understand tactics and the power of positional strategies than to have a massive opening repertoire. The only way to improve tactical skills is by practising them. This book is aimed to sharpen up the reader's attacking skills through the use of exercises.
The puzzles in this book vary from the easy to the very difficult, with motifs ranging from common to bizarre. Chess-players of all standards should find something to interest and challenge them. By trying to solve these puzzles the reader will test his tactical skills and hopefully learn some new skills on the way. I have included in this book some of the most beautiful wins that I have witnessed. The reader can also try to guess the moves of great players such as Kasparov, Tal, Alekhine, Shirov, etc., which will certainly be challenging!
This book is divided into six chapters. These six chapters are all based around different aspects of attacking chess. I have arranged the puzzles so that they become progressively harder as the chapter develops. Of course this is rather a subjective matter but most readers will find the puzzles at the start of the chapter a lot easier than the puzzles towards the end. In most cases I have not given stipulations of the type 'checkmate in five moves' because in a real game it is rather unlikely that your opponent will be so generous as to tell you that you can win in 'x' moves. I have given clues to some of the puzzles and in many cases the first move is obvious; but in each puzzle it is important to analyse the chosen move as deeply as possible - ideally you should follow through until you see a win (or in some cases a draw). You may if you wish set up the position on a board if you find this helpful. In some chapters I have given a model game as a taster and some general themes that occur regularly within that given sphere.
I will now briefly summarize some important concepts to be borne in mind when attacking.
1) Attacking chess will normally involve tactics at some point. Tactics by their nature usually involve checks or captures. So the most important things to watch for are checks and captures - this is simple common sense really. If a player on every move starts by analysing all checks and captures that are available to him, he will be more aware of any tactics that the position offers. Checks and captures have a forcing nature so they tend to lead to variations that are forcing. By the process of elimination a player can decide whether a line is viable, or in many cases whether it wins the game or loses the game.
Rule 1: Always analyse checks and captures first.
2) Successful attacks do not start from thin air; they are successful for a reason. A successful attack works because of certain features in the position; for example, an exposed king, open h-file, active pieces, etc. These are factors for which a player should always be searching. Most successful attacks occur from the build-up of small positional advantages. There is no point in a lone white knight attacking a black king that is guarded by most of its army. A rule of thumb is that three pieces are normally needed for a successful attack, but of course there are exceptions to this. Three pieces attacking a poorly guarded king will normally triumph.
Rule 2: Only attack when there is a chance of success. This can depend upon a number of factors, the most obvious being when a player has more or better placed pieces than his opponent. In other words timing is crucial.
3) Calculation is the key. Good calculation will give good results. People calculate in different ways; if you are missing lots of tactics look at the way in which you are calculating. One simple way to calculate in a complicated position is to do the following. Take all the moves which are critical (maybe checks and captures) and analyse them one by one. You will either find a decent line (if the
position lets you!) or by elimination you will arrive at an 'only move'. Do not swap half way through calculating from one line to another.
Rule 3: When starting an attack, calculate the possible variations as deeply as possible.
Most of the above rules are common sense but it is amazing how often players, even top players, ignore these logical rules.
List of Content
008 Attacking the King Caught in the Centre
030 Attacking the Castled King
058 Strike in the Centre
084 Time is Everything!
107 Attacking on Opposite Sides
134 Expect the Unexpected
158 Index of Players