Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Danger Of Attacking Frenzies

How many times have this scenario happened before?

You know what happens.

You mount an attack.

You know you have the advantage.

You start squeezing and pressing, and then you made a minor slip.

You suddenly realise you are in a spot of trouble as your opponent mounts a feeble looking attack.

You try to fend off the attack and try to figure out how to get out of the situation without losing your advantage.

Then WHAM! you're dead.

Sounds familiar?

Even GMs are not immune to it. For some reason, our brains are hard-wired that the idea of making a strategic retreat and to lose the advantage just doesn't occur to us.

Take for example, this game: I am Black. To say I am knee-deep in manure would be an apt description.

Suddenly, my opponent, in his eagerness to press home the attack - makes a somewhat innocuous move that was ultimately fatal.

Very surprisingly, this natural looking move is the bane of White's problems and one that ultimately proved costly.

31. f5?
(see diagram on right)

White decides to press for the advantage.

By hoping to dislodge the Knight on e6, White hopes to put more pressure on the c5 pawn which will ultimately give way and White pretty much wins.

But after the obvious move 31... Ng5, suddenly White realise he's about the lose the Rook for the exchange due to a fork after 32... Nf3+.

At this point, White panics and plays the ultimately disastrous move.

32. Kf2?? (see the second diagram on right)

From here onwards, White is dead as a doornail and the end comes swift and fast as White is now in trouble. Can you see it? The answer is highlighted between the brackets.

[32 ... Qf3+ 33. Kg1 Nh3# 0-1]

So the next time that you are thinking of attacking, pause, calculate, take a step back and be ready to give up the advantage if the situation calls for it. The goal in chess is to have a safe king and to checkmate your opponent's king. You can have 5 Queens on the board and it's worth diddly squat if you're checkmated.


  1. Nasty little check there! It's amazing how a seemingly useful and aggressive moves turns into our undoing. As one teacher is fond of saying, "Don't chase your opponent's pieces to better squares."

    Guilty as charged!

  2. Indeed.

    I myself have been at the wrong end of such an attack many times as well. It occurred two times over the board as well. After those games, never have I ever wanted to cover my head with a brown paper bag any faster.