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Engl i sh Translation Copyright © 1 996 Ken Neat

First published 1 996 by Cadogan Books plc, London House, Parkgate Road,
London S W I ) 4NQ.

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Cover design by Brian Robins

Typeset by Ken Neat, Durham

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Introduction 7

A Little about Strategy and Tactics 8

2 Elementary Contacts 12
3 Attack and Defence 15
4 Tying and Pinning 18
Combined Attack 22
6 Second Wave of the Attack 26
7 Double Attack 28
One piece simultaneously attacks two enemy pieces 28
Two pieces simultaneously attack one enemy piece 30
Two pieces simultaneously attack two enemy pieces 32
8 Reciprocal Double Attack 36
9 Double Blow 38
10 Defence against a Double Blow 42
11 How a Double Blow Arises 46
12 Attack on the King 53
13 Mating Attack Mechanisms 57
14 Combinations and Sacrifices 62
15 Classification of Combinations 70
16 Winning Combinations 73
Combinations against the king 73
Combinations to win material 76
Combinations to promote a pawn 77
17 Drawing Combinations 79
Perpetual check 79
Stalemate 80
Blockade 81
Perpetual pursuit 82
Fortress 83
Drawing balance of forces 85
18 Chess Aesthetics 87
6 Chess Middlegames : Essen tial Knowledge

19 Strategy of Attack 95
Attack on the uncastled king 95
Attack on the kingside 98
Attack after castling on opposite sides 103
Attack on the queenside 107

Index ofPlayers and Analysts I11

Introd uction
The middlegame is the most difficult and complicated phase of chess, but
also undoubtedly the most fascinating and interesting. Many major works
have been devoted to it, and in various books one can find hundreds of
examples from the middlegame, but it seems to me that such a mass of
material is most likely to frighten the average ehess enthusiast, wishing to
improve his play in this stage of the game in order to achieve certain suc­
cesses, and, more important, to obtain the maximum pleasure from playing.
It was for this reason that the author had the idea of writing a small book
devoted to the middlegame, and including in it only that which is most
important, most essential, so that subsequently the reader would be able
independently and competently to solve many problems arising during the
struggle on the chess board.
Since the middlegame is the most complicated phase of chess, as with
any complicated phenomenon various approaches can be made to it. Since
the main aim of the game is to give mate to the enemy king, which demands
a certain coordination of the forces, I consider that particular attention
should be devoted to the problems of concerted piece action.
In this book I have tried to reveal to the reader the deep significance of
these important concepts, and have aimed to show how the coordination of
the pieces arises during play. My main conclusion, which will make it much
easier to understand the basic struggle on the chess board, is that, despite
the countless multitude of different situations arising in the middlegame,
there are only two effective attacking procedures, leading to success - the
combined attack and the double blow. A mastery of these techniques, and
an ability to prepare them gradually, is extremely important.
And one more thing. Since in the middlegame the main target of attack is
his majesty the king, in this book great attention has been paid to the attack
on the king. Typical mating mechanisms, offensive techniques, and ways of
conducting an attack are all considered.
The task of this small book is to help the reader to find his way through
the boundless ocean of chess, in which, according to the Indian saying: 'a
gnat may drink and an elephant may bathe.'

Yuri Averbakh
November 1995
1 A Litt l e a bout Strategy
and Tactics
During the course of a game a a game, forty moves or more may
player repeatedly has to find be required, but to lose it is suffi­
answers to two questions - what to cient to make one bad one! You
do, and how to do it. The answer to yourself will no doubt have several
the first question is given by chess times encountered this paradox. As
strategy, and to the second by grandmaster Richard Teichmann
tactics. once aptly put it: 'chess is 90 per
It is well known that, in warfare, cent tactics!' Every player, from
strategy is assigned the leading role, beginner to World Champion, has
and tactics a subordinate one. experienced this at first hand
But on the chess board everything himself.
is different. Although here too In order to gain an impression of
tactics are largely subordinate to the connection between strategy and
strategy, their role is extremely tactics on the chess board, we will
important. After all, on the chess examine a short, but highly instruc­
board, except when a pawn is tive game, played by two Moscow
promoted, there are no reserves, and masters of roughly the same
this means there can be no addition strength. This game, incidentally,
to the existing forces, which them­ also demonstrates certain ideas and
selves are very limited. Therefore it procedures typical of the middle­
is not surprising that even one game.
tactical mistake, oversight or
blunder may lead to defeat. And on Bonch-Osmolovsky-Baranov
the contrary, a successful tactical Moscow /953
operation may immediately decide
the outcome of a game. During play, 1 e4 e5
especially in complicated, unclear 2 tDO tDf6
positions, you have to be extremely Instead of defending his e5 pawn,
attentive. Otherwise unpleasant sur­ Black in turn attacks the opponent's
prises will await you at every step. pawn. This opening, developed by
Remember that, however success­ Russian masters in the 19th century,
ful your strategical plan, a tactical is called the Petroff Defence.
mistake can completely ruin it. Not It should be known that if 3 tDxe5
without reason is it said that, to win Black should first play 3 .. . d6, and
A Little about Strategy and Tactics 9

only then take the e4 pawn. The White calmly replies 13 O-O!, and if
point is that on the immediate 13 ... lLld3 14 'ifc4 lLlxcl IS ':xcl,
3 ... lLlxe4 White has the strong reply when the bishop cannot move on
4 'ife2, when the knight cannot account of 16lLldS.
move on account of S lLlc6+, Therefore with his next move
winning the queen. Black switches his queen to the
3 d4 queenside, to where, to all appear­
White, with the advantage of the ances, the opponent's king is
opening move, is the first to begin intending to take shelter.
play in the centre, simultaneously
opening lines for the development
of his pieces.
3 exd4
4 e5 lLle4
5 'ifxd4 d5
6 exd6 lLlxd6
7 �d3 'ife7+
Experience has shown that
7 ... lLlc6 8 'iff4 g6 is more accurate
here. With the move in the game
Black plans to answer 8 �e3 with
8 ... lLlfS , exchanging knight for
bishop. But as we will see later, this
operation leads to a loss of time,
and to Black delaying the develop­ 10 ... 'ifb4
ment of his pieces. 11 'ife5+
8 �e3 lLlf5 Of course, there is no point in
It was not yet too late for Black to White exchanging queens. His lead
reject his initial plan. By playing in development is best exploited in
8...�fS 9 lLlc3 lLlc6 10 'ifa4 �xd3 an attack.
he would have gained an acceptable 11 ... �e6
position, whereas now he encoun­ 12 0-0-0 lLlc6
ters significant problems. In the hope of mounting an attack
9 �xf5 �xf5 along the c-fiIe, Black tries to buy
10 lLlc3! his opponent off with a pawn.
It transpires that taking the pawn 13 'ifxc7 nc8
is extremely dangerous: on 10 ... 14 'iff4 'ifa5
�xc2 there follows 11 ':c I lLlc6 15 'ifg5!
( 1 1...�fS 12lLldS ) 12 'iff4. It is true By offering the exchange (now
that here Black has 12 ... lLlb4!, but that he is a pawn up), White
10 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

switches his queen to an active 19 ttJxe6+

position with gain of tempo. Against such a check, called a
15 ... 'lWa6 double check, there is only one
16 l:rhel defence - the king has to flee, but
A picturesque position. White's where to? If I9 . . . 'ifi>c8 20 J:!.d8 mate,
pieces are fully mobilised and are while 19. . . �e8 is met by 20 ttJxg7+
ready for positive action, while it..xg7 21 i.g5+ �f8 22 J:!.d8 mate.
Black has not yet resolved the That only leaves e7, but there too
question of safeguarding his king. the king does not find safety.
Therefore he decides on a desperate 19 . . . 'ifi>e7
counterattack. 20 it..g5+!
16 ttJb4 It is important not to let the king
17 ttJd4 .l:txc3 escape to f6.
20 f6

.�. . . w, 21 ttJd8+
... • ....
, ' /. "


NaIvely assuming that this

exchange sacrifice will lead to a
draw. For example: 18 bxc3 ttJxa2+ Here Black admitted defeat: there
19 �d2 ttJxc3 20 �xc3 i.b4+! 21 is no defence against mate in two
�xb4 'lWc4+ 22 �a3 'lWa2+ with moves.
perpetual check. But White had seen In this game we see a clash of
beforehand that after the capture on two ideas, of two strategical plans.
c3 the opponent's back rank would Relying on his lead in development,
be weakened, which allows him to White concentrated his pieces in the
strike a decisive tactical blow. centre, preparing an attack on the
18 'lWd8+ ! ! enemy king that had not managed to
Truly a bolt from the blue! castle. Black, after sacrificing a
18 ... �xd8 pawn, was hoping for a counter-
A Little about Strategy and Tactics II

attack on the queenside, where the has deprived it of the f6 square, and
white king had castled. But every­ the rook at el lands the fatal blow.
thing was decided by tactics - by The bishop at f8 and pawn at f6 not
sacrificing his queen, White was only fail to help, but actually hinder
able to refute Black's plan and to their king, by depriving it of the
conclude the game brilliantly. vital squares f8 and f6. And the
Note that in the final mating king's rook, like the remaining
attack all the white pieces took part black pieces and pawns, performs
(with the exception, of course, of the cheerless role of spectator to the
the king). And the actions of his execution of its own monarch.
pieces were excellently coordinated This game demonstrates the
- in the final position the rook at d I importance of assigning roles on the
takes away the black king's squares chess board. And in the following
on the d-fiIe and defends the knight chapter we will begin by trying to
at d8. The knight, in turn, deprives understand how the pieces and
the king of the f7 square, the bishop pawns coordinate one with another.
2 Eleme ntary Contacts
The aim i n a game of chess is to However, already i n the initial
checkmate the opponent ' s king. But disposition in each camp one can
none of the pieces is able to achieve discern a number of contacts and
thi s on its own. As we know, to do l inks between the pieces and pawns,
this even the all-powerful queen and that means, their coordination .
needs help. The pawns cover the pieces
For success in operations carried standing behind them from the
out on the chess board, the har­ attacks of the enemy pieces, and the
monious, coordinated action of the pieces, in turn, defend (support)
pieces is required. It is extremely these pawns, each at least once,
important to understand how this while simultaneously defending one
arises. We will try to disclose what another. However, the initial
lies behind these exceptionally placing of the pieces also has a very
important concepts. significant defect - apart from the
Let us consider the initial knights, none of the p ieces is able to
arrangement of the pieces. move, to say nothing of attacking
the opponent's pieces: they are
prevented from doing so by their
own pieces and pawns, which
restrict one another's freedom of
Thus in the initial position we
discern three types of contacts
between the pieces (and also be­
tween the pieces and pawns) of each
side - three forms of e lementary
coordination .
I . Support - a p iece (or pawn)
supports (defends) another p iece (or
The two sides are both l ined up in 2 . Covering- a piece (or pawn)
two ranks facing each other. covers another piece (or pawn)
Between them is a large neutral against attack.
zone. A l l is calm and quiet - no one 3. Restriction a piece (or pawn)

is threatening anyone else, and restricts either the movement, or the

indeed no one is able to do so. scope of another piece (or pawn).
Elementary Contacts 13

Whereas the first two contacts We come to the important con­

may be considered useful, although clusion that between the pieces of
not always necessary (after all, in the opposing sides there exist three
the initial position there are as yet types of contacts, three types of
no threats at all), the third contact interaction. Firstly, restriction (as
demonstrates an adverse, lack of mentioned earlier), secondly, the
coordination in the actions of the threat of an attack, and thirdly, the
pieces, when they not only do not attack itself. Incidentally, it is useful
help, but essentially hinder one to mention that an attack -' b oney
another. "piece on another - does not arise
Now let us see how the situation sucfdeiiTy; out' graauany: first there .
on the board changes after some musThe athri:iii '
initial opening moves. Let us play 1 By replymg 2 . ..tZ:lc6, Black
e4. White immediately takes control defends the eS pawn, controls the d4
of the squares dS and fS in the square, and creates the threat of an
opponent's territory, and at the attack on c2.
same time certain restrictions are If we wish to, we can (relying on
straight away removed - his queen, elementary contacts), describe any
bishop and even his king gain the situation that arises on the chess
opportunity to move forward. But board. Subsequently we will try to
the e4 pawn has immediately do this. But here our task is to show
broken away from its camp and, how, in the course of play, between
lacking support by the pieces, is the pieces of the two sides certain
undefended. And here we note the contacts and links arise. Figur­
arising of a fourth contact - the atively speaking, as the forces of the
threat of aD attack on it by a black two sides take up their fighting
knight from f6. positions, between the warring
After the reply 1...e5 Black takes camps there as though extend
control of the d4 and f4 squares in invisible lines of force. Imper­
the opponent's territory. In addition, ceptible to the naked eye, like very
the white pawn is blocked. It is fine wires, they enmesh the field of
halted, restricted in its movements. battle.
But the eS pawn that has broken These lines of force - we call
away from base is now itself threat­ them elementary contacts and links,
ened by an attack. And, by 2 �f3, arise both between the pieces, and
White carries out this threat, attac­ between pieces and certain squares.
king the black pawn and creating To repeat, these elementary links
the fifth contact - attack. Note that are support, covering, restriction,
from f3 the knight also creates the the threat of an attack, and the
threat of attacking the f7 pawn. attack itself.
14 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

Strictly speaking, in the endgame However, the promotion of a

another contact arises - the sixth pawn is not typical of the
and a very distinctive one - tbe link middlegame, and here we will touch
between a passed pawn and its on this theme only briefly.
promotion square. Like a magnet, In conclusion it should be
the pawn is drawn towards this mentioned that all other, more
square, and the closer it is to it, the complicated types of tactical inter­
stronger the threat of it being action are formed out of these six
promoted to a queen. This threat is elementary contacts that we have
no less strong that an attack on this discovered.
3 Attac k a n d Defe n ce
In the course of a game the warring kn ight creates a threat of the second
aides endeavour to inflict material order. Depending on the number of
losses on each other, and with this moves that are needed to
aim they make attacks with their accompl ish an attack, these threats
pieces and pawns on the pieces and can be of various orders (stronger or
pawns of the opponent. weaker).
Let us look again at the initial We thus come to the conclusion
position. that, before making an attack, a
piece moves as though by steps,
gradually intensifying the threat.
Attacks and threats (moreover, as
we have established, threats can be
of various orders) constitute
elementary means of attack . And
there is another extremely impurtant
conclusion. Whereas attacks and
threats of the first order are easily
discernible, threats of the second,
third and subsequent orders are
often concealed from the
experienced eye and are not easy to
It is not difficult to establish that Thus, an attack has been made on
from gl the white knight can neither a piece. But how effective is it? It is
attack, nor threaten to attack any of effective on ly if the opponent
the enemy pieces. But from f3 it is disregards this threat or does not
threatening an attack, and from g5 notice it. But if he sees the threat, he
or e5 it is already attacking the f7 will try to avoid material loss, and
pawn. Beginning an attack on the f7 theoretically he will have five
pawn from g l , the knight moves as possible ways of defending. Let us
though by steps . Strictly speaking, examine them in turn with the aid of
even from gl the knight is a schematic position (see diagram
threatening to attack the f7 pawn, next page).
only for this it requires not one Let us suppose that White has just
move, as from f3, but two. There­ played 1 :fd 1, attacking the
fore it can be said that from g 1 the unprotected bishop at d6.
16 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

3. Covering. If the attacking

piece is of long-range action, then
another piece can be moved into the
l ine of attack, drawing the fire on
itself. This method also allows an
exchange, therefore the covering
piece should normally be equal to or
weaker than the attacking piece. In
addition, it should be supported
either by the attacked piece itself, or
by some other piece. Here the attack
on the bishop can be covered by
4. Answering attack (counter­
1 . Withdrawal. The attacked attack). In this case the attack is
piece moves out of the firing l ine. simply disregarded, the attacked
This method of defence can be piece is left undefended, and in
either passive or active in nature. If reply an attack is made on a
the piece simply moves, leaving the stronger or at least equal piece of
attacked square, this will be a the opponent. In our position this
passive defence - here, for example, might be done by 1 ...h6.
1...i.f8. S. Capture. If the attacking piece
But if, in moving, it in turn is on a square that in turn is attacked
attacks an opponent's piece, such a by one of the opponent' s pieces, it
defence will be active. Here such an may be captured. Here B lack has
opportunity is provided by the move the possibility of l.. . .li.xd l .
1.. . These are the main methods of
2. Support. The attacked piece attack and defence. In the event of
remains in place, but, in order to the attacked piece withdrawing
defend it, another piece is brought (I...i.fl!), or the attacking piece
up to its defence. This method being captured ( I . . I), the
allows an exchange, therefore situated is relieved. But in the other
support is normally possible only three cases the situation becomes
when the attacking piece is of equal more aggravated and complicated:
or superior strength and importance into the conflict are drawn not just
to the attacked piece: otherwise the two, but a m inimum of three (in the
exchange will lead to material loss case of support or covering) or even
for the defending side. In our four pieces (in the event of a
example the attacked bishop can be counterattack).
supported, for instance, by 1 ...l:tad8. As we have seen, the defensive
Attack and Defence 17

possibilities are very diverse. But by a knight it is impossible to

their employment is often defend by covering, while if the
determined by the type of attacking king is attacked, in this case neither
and defending pieces. Thus, for support nor counterattack are
example, if a piece is attacked by a possible. In short, the choice of
pawn, it normally has to save itself defensive methods depends on the
by running away, against an attack concrete situation .
4 Tyi n g a n d Pi n n i ng
Let us suppose that some piece has In this amusing position Black
attacked an equivalent or weaker cannot win, even if it his turn to
piece of the opponent, and that move. If he plays 1...ttJd6, then
another piece has come to its aid, by after 2 'it;>g7, in order not to lose a
defending it. It would seem that the piece, the knight has to go back to
balance has been restored. Ah, no! /7, while if 1...�c2, then 2 'it;; g7
Compared with the initial situation, iLb3 3 ..t.>h7! and the knights, which
it has significantly changed: be­ are tied to each other, are crippled.
tween these three pieces a certain As we see, here the king on its
tension has arisen - invisible own successfully opposes three
attacking and defensive l ines of enemy minor pieces. And this
force are now in place. occurs thanks to tying.
I n this case it may prove that the If a piece is attacked by a long­
third, supporting piece significantly range piece, it can be defended by
loses in strength: its mobil ity and covering - a second piece as though
ability to attack will be restricted. takes the fire upon itself, covering
It turns out that by tying it is the l ine of action of the attacking
possible to neutralise a significant piece. In doing so it itself turns out
material advantage. Let us consider, to be pinned: if it moves, this will
for example, the conclusion to a lead to the loss of the attacked
study by V.Chekhover ( 1 949). piece.
I n other words, after covering, the
attack on the attacked piece
disappears, but the threat of an
attack stil l remains. And the pinned
piece loses both in mobil ity and in
Such a situation, in which, as in
tying, a minimum of three pieces
take part, is called a pin. By means
of a pin a big material advantage
can also be neutralised.
(see diagram next page)
Here Black is a rook up, but he
cannot win.
Tying and Pinning 19

bishop, but here too h i s attempts to

win come to nothing.
These two examples demonstrate
that a pin is especially i mportant, if
the pinned piece is covering the
king: in th is case it completely loses
its strength ! This feature of a pin i s
sometimes forgotten even by
masters. Here is a typical example.

His knight i s pinned, and (since

under normal circumstances king
and rook cannot win against king
and b ishop) his king and rook are
forced to defend it - they are tied to
it. White achieves a draw by
moving his bishop between g3 and
The following position is perhaps �akogoDov-Cbekbover
even more amazing. Tbi/isi 1 937

White had aimed for this position

from a long way off. He was not
afraid of 1 . ..J:lrs, since he assumed
that by 2 J:ld8 he in turn would pin
the enemy rook. But the ex­
perienced master had not taken
account of the fact that his pinned
queen had lost his strength and that
2 :i'b4+! was possible, after which

he was immediately obliged to

The defects of pinned pieces,
covering their king, are also
B lack has an enormous material strikingly demonstrated by the
advantage - two rooks against a following ancient study.
20 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

The queen at f5 is under attack by

four black pieces - king, queen,
rook and pawn, but not one of them
can take it. The king, because the
queen is supported by its own king,
and the remaining three pieces
because they are pinned, the b lack
king being behind them. It thus
transpires that the four-fold defence
of the f5 square is in fact i llusory.
I f it is the queen or some other
piece, apart from the king, of
course, that is behind the pinned
C.Gilbert, 1877 piece, then in certain circumstances
White to play and mate in two such a pin can be disregarded.
A classic example of such an
By playing 1 'ili'fl! White does 'il lusory' pin is provided by the
not appear to threaten anything: all ancient miniature game Legall de
the approaches to the enemy king Kermeur-St Orie, played in Paris
are securely defended. But the in 1 750.
problem is that it is Black to play, 1 e4 e5 2 �c4 d6 3 liJf3 �g4 4
and a move by any of his pieces dis­ liJc3 g6
rupts the defence. Thus on a knight
move there follows 2 'ili' f6 mate, on
a rook move 2 'ili' f4 mate, and
finally, if 1...'j;xe6+ 2 'ili' fS mate.
This final position merits a diagram .

The knight at f3 is pinned, but it

unexpectedly releases itself:
5 liJxeS! St.xdl
Black's greed is his undoing. Of
course, he should have repl ied
Tying and Pinning 21

S dxe5, losing only a pawn. But

... to release itself, by creating some
now he is mated in two moves. strong threat, such as the threat of
6 il.xfi+ <3;e7 7 ttJd5 mate. mate, the threat to win a stronger
Thi s spectacular finish became piece, and so on.
known as 'Legall's mate ' .
And here i s another example of
unpinning that has become a classic.
(see diagram ne xt column)
Not seeing how he could save his
pinned bishop, Black resigned. But
he could have not only saved the
game, but even won with the spec­
tacular move l l ! Attacking the
queen with his rook, B lack simul­
taneously threatens mate at h2. And
here it i s White who would have
had to resign !
It can be said that a pin is VOB Popiel-Marco
'illusory ' , if the pinned piece is able Monte Carlo 1902
5 Comb i n ed Atta ck
A s we have already stated, a simple
attack on an enemy piece rarely
proves effective. For th is to happen
it has to be i ncapable of being def­
ended or covered by its own pieces,
and of moving out of the attack.
Quite a different matter is a
combined attack, normally carried
out by several pieces or pawns,
when one of them attacks the
opponent' s piece, and the others
prevent it from m oving or being
defended. I n such situations it often
happens that the withdrawal squares Nimzowitsch-Alekbine
of the piece are cut off by its own Bled 1 931
pieces or pawns.
Here all White ' s hopes rest on his
attack on the rook at a8, but Black
found a refutation of his plan: 1 ...
tDd5+ 2 �d2 "b6 3 'i'xa8+ �d7,
and the white queen is trapped.
After 4 0-0-0 tDc7 5 �a5 tDxa8 6
�xb6 tDxb6 B lack won.

Polanica Zdroj 1975

In this position White played I

f4! 'i'xe4 2 �el, and it transpired
that the black queen was trapped.
After 2 ... e6 3 tDxf6 Black resigned.
Combined Attack 23

I n this position, the conclusion to 6 liJxeS, and the b lack knight had no
a study by L.Kubbel ( 1 940), Black retreat.
does not look to be in any particular
But there follows 1 'i'a8! Wb2 2
lfJdS, and White manages to deprive
the queen of all eight free squares .
Note the negative role played here
by the black pawns, which signif­
icantly restrict the freedom of their
own queen.

Varna 1 965

In one of the variations of the

Ruy Lopez after I e4 eS 2 liJf3 liJc6
3 il.bS a6 4 il.a4 d6 5 d4 bS 6 il. b3
liJxd4 7 liJxd4 exd4 the fol lowing
position is reached.
Bie1 1977

White played 1 nb3, reckoning

on regaining h is pawn, but after 1 ...
b4! 2 .l:I.xb4 bS 3 hS il.d6 4 .l:I.b3 b4
his rook was trapped. By continuing
S . .l:I.e8 fol lowed by taking his king
. .

to c4, B lack won.

In the fol lowing position White's
first move 1 'i'c1 looks incompre­
hensible, and Black decided to win
the opponent's central pawns by
l...lfJxd4+ 2 �d3 'i'xeS. But White
had calculated accurately: 3 'i'c8+ Here 8 'i'xd4 would be a m istake
Wg7 4 'i'h8+! Wxh8 5 lfJxf7+ �g7 on account of 8...cS 9 'i'dS �e6 1 0
24 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

'Wc6+ �d7 11 'ii d 5 c4, when the

white bishop is trapped.
In the examples considered the
targets of the combined attack were
the queen, rook, knight and bishop.
But a king can also be subjected to a
combined attack. We will give
several typical instances of an attack
on the king, where the decisive
blow is landed by various pieces.
Of course, the strongest piece in
an attack on the king is the queen.

Liege 1926

Skopje 1976

Wh ite has created the threat of

mate in two moves, but it is B lack N.N.-PiIIsbury
to play, and he wins by 1.. .l:te3+! 2
Blindfold Exhibition 1899
fxe3 'iWg3 mate.
By pinning the rook at f3 (see In this position B lack gives mate
next diagram), Black assumed that with a lone bishop, only first he has
he had defended against all the to restrict the enemy king: 1...'iWfl+
threats. But after I .l:tg2 ! it trans­ 2 �gl, and now 2 ft'f3+ ! 3 �xf3

pired that the rook could not be ..v.xf3 mate.

taken on account of 2 ft'xfS mate, As we see, in the final mating
and meanwhile 2 'i'xh7+ 'i.t>xh7 3 position the task of restricting the
l::!.h 3 mate was threatened. king is fulfilled by pieces of the
Combined Attack 25

same colour. Picturesquely speak­

ing, they as though go over to the
opponent' s side, by hindering their
own king.
A similar situation arises when
mate is given by a lone knight. A
classic example is the so-called
'smothered mate ', which has been
known s ince the late 1 5th century,
at the dawn of modem chess.

Tbilisi 1 973

In this unusual position both

kings are in danger, and in fact
White is threatening mate in one
move. But it is B lack to play, and in
three moves he is the first to give
mate: 1...'ilff2+! 2 'ilfxf2 l:thS+! 3
ii.xhS gS mate.
I hope that you will have
1 'ilfe6+ 'ifo>h8 2 lLlli+ 'ifo>g8 3 understood that in the event of a
lLlh6+ �h8 4 'ilfg8+! l:hg8 5 lLlli combined attack on enemy pieces,
mate. including the king, it is extremely
Mate by a pawn occurs most important not only to coordinate the
often in the endgame, but here we actions of your own pieces, but also
give one of the rare examples of a to be able to exploit the restricting
spectacular mate of this type in the role played by the opponent' s
middlegame. pieces.
6 Seco n d Wave
of the Attack
Let u s suppose that the first attack pieces attack one. In such situations
has been parried: an adequate the attacked piece most often has to
defence against it has been found. safe itself by running away.
The attacked piece has been sup­ Thus in the above schematic
ported or covered against attack by position White may attack the black
another piece, or, finally, a counter­ b ishop at d7 with 1 r:tdl. If B lack
attack has been employed. defends it by 1...r:td8, then White
However, the battle is not yet can attack the bishop a second time
over. If the attacker has reserves - with 2 ttJeS, forcing it to move.
pieces occupying active positions - 2. An attack on the supporting
then a second wave of the attack is piece. This attack is even more
quite possible - a new attack. dangerous than the previous one.
If the attacked p iece has been After all, it is not so simple for the
supported, then here there are supporting piece s imply to leave its
theoretically two possible attacking post, without abandoning its 'ward'
options: to its fate. Here too there is a double
attack: two pieces attack two enemy
pieces. Moreover, if the defending
piece is not in turn supported by
some other piece or pawn, this
entire defensive construction may
collapse like a house of cards in the
face of the second attack.
In our schematic position after 1
J:td l J:td8 this could be carried out
by 21<.b6.
If the defence is carried out by
covering, then again there are
theoretical ly two attacking options.
1 . A second attack on the
1 . A second attack on the covered piece, only this time from a
defended piece. Since it is carried different, undefended side.
out by a new piece, this will already I n the following schematic
be a double attack, in which two position Black might answer 1 1<.b3,
The Second Wave of the Attack 27

attacking his rook, with the D, so that two white pieces are now
covering move 1 ...tDdS. Then 2 threatened. Since 3 tDf6+ <;t>g7 does
�4 would be a new attack on the not help White, he is bound to lose
covered piece. material .

2. A new attack on the covering Maciewski-Averbakh

piece. This will be an attack of two Polanica Zdroj 1 976
pieces on one, which here could be
made after 1 .tb3 tDdS by 2 :ad l. Thus, in the second wave of the
If the defence is carried out by a attack the defending pieces drawn
counterattack, a second attack on into the skirmish may themselves
the attacked piece i s now pointless. become its target, and i n many cases
The most effective form of attack a double attack situation arises on
here will be one where, in moving the board.
out of the l ine of fire, the attacked Every chess enthusiast is fam i liar
piece itself strikes a blow at some with the ' fork' - a dangerous
enemy piece. I n this case two of the attacking procedure, when two
opponent' s pieces w i l l now be pieces simultaneously come under
under attack. attack by a piece or pawn. As you
A practical example is provided have probably already real ised, the
by the following position. 'fork' is merely a particular instance
B lack attacks the white knight of a double attack. But a double
with 1 c6. If White ignores th is
... attack is much more dangerous and
and makes the counter-attacking effective than a simple one, and in
move 2 :tf3?, then B lack replies tactical operations on the chess
2 . tDeS, not only defending his f7
.. board it plays an extremely
pawn, but also attacking the rook at important role.
7 Dou b l e Atta ck
The fact that the double attack i s a
highly effective attacking method,
was clear to our ancestors back at
the dawn of modern chess. Thus, for
example, i n one of the first chess
books - that of the Portuguese
author Damiano (Rome 1 5 1 2), in a
chapter devoted to subtleties of
play, out of a couple of dozen
examples no less than half comprise
various forms of double attack.
And this is what was written, for
example, in the ancient book of the
first Russian master A lexander Uhlmann-Averbakh
Petroff (St Petersburg 1 824): Dresden 1 956
'It is needful to endeavour to
m ake such moves that would have a By 1 Black forces his
double aim ' , and 'One must also opponent to give up rook for knight,
endeavour to carry out double and then by a double attack he also
attacks' . wins the second rook.
Let us consider the most com­ I f, for example, White replies 2
monly occurring instance of a l:tc8+ <j;g7 3 l:txf3 , there follows
double attack. 3 .. .'ii' xf3+ 4 ""h2 'i'g3+ 5 'oii>h l
'i'h3+ 6 cJo>gl 'i'xg4+ and 7 . . .'i'xc8.
One piece simultaneously attacks White i n fact played 2 'i'd8+
two enemy pieces ""g7 3 J::tx f3 'i'xf3+ 4 'at>h2 'i' f4+ 5
'it>g2 'i'xg4+, and here he resigned.
This is our fami liar 'fork' . Usually On 5 . . . 'i'xg4+ there could have
it is assumed that a 'fork' is made fol lowed 6 cJo>f2 'i' f4+ 7 <j;e2 'i'xc I
either by a knight, or by a pawn, but 8 'i'xd5 'i'c2+ 9 'it>e3 'i'c6 1 0 'i'e5+
in fact such an attack can be made 'i'f6 etc.
by any piece, including his majesty As regards the character of the
the king. attack, in no way different from the
But let us begin with the queen; 'fork' is the double attack on some
the double attack comes into its enemy pieces by a bishop or rook.
arsenal, of course. The only difference is that the
Double Attack 29

bishop attacks along diagonals, and Here Black is threatening the

the rook along ranks and fi les. discovered check 1 . . . .:.c2+, and I
'Wc5 can be met by 1 . . . l::tx g2+ 2
'iti>xg2 'i'd2+ and 3 .. :ii'xcl. But
White, exploiting in turn the
possibility of a double attack,
quickly decides the game in his
1 'i'xc4 'i'd2 2 'i'c2+! 'i'xc2 3
':'xc2l::txc2 4 !iLe4+ and S !iLxc2.

Helsinki 1 937

By 1 !iLe7 White temporarily sac­

ri fices a piece, in order after 1.. .

.txe7 2 ':'xeS to carry out a double

attack on queen and bishop and to
win a pawn.
Zurich 1 953

In this curious position White is

threatening to capture on h5
followed by the 'fork' 2 lZJxg7+.
The knight cannot retreat to f6 on
account of 2 !iLf4 winning the

queen, and 1 g6 allows 2 !iLd4 . It


follows that here Black has no way

of defending against the double
He played 1...!iLc8, and after 2
'i'xhS+ 'i'xh S 3 lZJxg7+ <Jo>d7 4
S myslov-Zita lZJxhS he was two pawns down, and,
Prague 1946 of course, went on to lose.
30 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

his advantage. The promotion of

one of the pawns is threatened, and
I . l:tcd6+ is met by 2 �cS with the
. . ,

threat of 3 c8='iW+, while if

1 . lil:ed6+ 2 �eS, with the threat of

3 e8='iW+. Black has nothing better

than to give perpetual check.

Two pieces simultaneously attack

one enemy piece

The most effective example of such

an attack is the double check, when
Ahues-Kurpun both p ieces sim ultaneously attack
Germany 1 935 the king, and there is nothing else
for it do to but move. The following
By the exchange sacrifice I famous old study vividly demon­
lhd6! White succeeds in carrying strates the power of the double
out a pawn fork. After l . . .ltxd6 or check.
1 . 'ii'x d6 there follows 2 eS, since
. .

2 'ii' x eS allows the decisive 3 iLf4 .


A.White, 1 9 1 9

After F.Sackmann, 1 9 1 0 Forced to run from the attacks of

the wh ite pieces, the black king
Here Black has an enormous ends up in the corner of the board,
material advantage, but after I �dS, where it is mated.
with a double attack on the rooks, it I 1.'!.f2+ �e3 2 ltf3+ �e4 3 lte3+
transpires that he is unable to realise �d4 4 l:te4+ �dS 5 ltd4+ 'it>cs 6
Double Attack 31

1d5+ 'iite 6 7 .:te5+ 'iit b 6 8 .l:te6+ occurred many times even in master
Sb7 9 J:[b6+ 'iit a 7 10 J:[b7+ \t>a8 1 1 games.
L7+ 'ii.> b 8 1 2 l:ta8 mate. 1 e4 e5 2 ti:lo d6 3 d4 ti:ld7 4
A mating attack, involving the .i.e411.. e 7?
useof the double check, was carried
out by White in the fol lowing

It is hard to believe that thi s

natural move i s a fatal m i stake.
Fridstein-Aronin Fearing the advance of the knight to
Moscow 1 949 g5, B lack defends this square with
his bishop, but disregards the d5
Things don 't seem to be so bad square which is no less important.
for Black: he is threatening both The correct reply was 4 . . . c6.
t...'iWxe3, and 1 . . .ti:lxg4. But now 5 dxe5 dxe5? 6 'i'd5!
came the unexpected double check
I .i.h5+! 'iit h 7.
It transpires that the rook is
immune: if 1 . . . \t>xf5 211.. g6 mate.
2 1I..g6+ \t>g8 (2..\t>g7 3 1I..d4) 3
lIxf6! "i'xe3 4 .i.ti+! \t>f8 (4 . . . \t>h7
would have been answered by 5
£g8+ and 6 l:txh6 mate) 5 1I..e6+
Se7 6 l:tti+, and White gives male
in two moves: 6 . . . \t>e8 7 l:!:g8+ .il.fS
8.:tgxfS mate.
Attacks in the opening on f2 or f7
often involve a double attack. Here
is an instructive example, which has
32 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

Only six moves have occurred, The game continued 3 %let J:l.ae8 4
and the attack on fl is already It:lc3 l'he4! 5 ltJxe4 .l:!.e8, and B lack
irresistible. After 6 ... lt:lh6 7 �xh6 won .
Black is left a piece down.
Of course, instead of S . . . dxeS it
would have been much better to Two pieces simultaneously attack
play S ... ltJxeS, but even in this case two enemy pieces
6 It:lxeS dxeS 7 'i'hS is possible,
with a doubl e attack by the queen
on eS and fl. B lack has only one
move - .7 . . g6, and after 8 'i'xeS
White wins a pawn.
An attack by two pieces is
especially dangerous, if the attacked
piece is pinned. We know that a
pinned piece loses significantly in
mobility and strength, especially if
it is covering the king, a fact that
should never be forgotten .

Correspondence 1947

B lack's position looks critical: he

is threatened with the capture on d7
fol l owed by mate with the rook at
bS. But by exploiting a d iscovered
check, he not only neutralises the
threat, but also tips the scales in hi s
t...'i'd3+! !
Tischler-Yurev For a n i nstant Black gives u p his
Leningrad 1927 queen, but in so doing he lures the
opponent's king i nto a discovered
In reply to L..dxc4 White check. On 2 Wxd3 there fol lows
decided to treat himself to a knight 2 . il.xc6+ with a simultaneous
. .

and played 2 �xe4, after which attack on k ing and queen, and then
Black attacked the white bishop 3 . . . i<.xa4. I f i nstead the white king
with the spectacular move 2 :iVf5!
.. moves to e l , Black rep lies
Double Attack 33

2 . . .'i' xb l , and there is no longer a 5 '!:!'xb7+ 'it;>g8 6 llg7+ �h8 7.!:!.g5+,

threat of mate. and White gained a winning
material advantage.

Moscow 1 949 K.Torre--E m.Lasker
Moscow 1925
Here White found the deadly
move 1 'i'b2 ! By placing his queen The fol lowing study demonstrates
in ambush, he creates the threat of 2 a somewhat different construction
lZ'lxg6+ hxg6 3 J:th3 mate, or of the 'windmi l l ' , which m ight well
2 . . . 'i'xg6 3 J:tg3+ and mate next. be called a 'meat-grinder'.
How can this be parried? If, for
example, 1 h6, then 2 llc7!, and if

2 ... 'i'xb2 3 lZ'lxg6 mate.

After the comparatively best
1...lZ'lc4 2 lZ'lxg6+ iixg6 3 l:lxc4+
'i'g7 4 'ilfxg7+ �xg7 5 J:tc7+ White
gained a won ending.
Discovered check is the driving
mechanism of the complicated
tactical operation known as the
'windm i ll', a classic example of
which is provided by the following
game (see diagram next column).
By 1 �f6 ! ! White gave up h i s W.Mees, 1 973
queen, but after 1 ...'ilfxh5 2 .l:tx g7+
the 'windm i l l' went into operation : White has only three pieces,
2 'it>h8 3 l:txfi+ �g8 4 l:tg7+ Wh8
... whereas Black has four times more,
34 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

but the 'meat-grinder' begins to It transpires that White intends,

operate: exploiting the threat of a discovered
1 i-xe2+ �el 2 iLb5+ ttJe5 3 check, to win the queen for nothing.
J::[xe5+ i-e2 4 llxe2+ �n 5 l:te4+ Black has nothing better than to
ttJd3+ 6 i-xd3+ l:te2 7 i-xe2+ �el again place his queen en prise to the
8 i-g4+ �n 9 'it>d2 bishop 1. 'i'h3 !, but then 2 J:US+
- ..

After disposing of a fair number 'it>b4 3 J:If4+ is possible, when a

of the enemy pieces with a series of discovered check again leads to the
discovered checks, White begins win of the enemy queen. An am­
playing for mate. Although the using position, wouldn't you agree?
conclusion to the study does not Note that here the black knight
relate to our theme, we nevertheless played a negative role, in helping
give it: White to trap the queen. Had it not
9 .lhg4 10 l:hg4 hl='i' 1 1 l:Ic4
.. been there, Black would have had
with inevitable mate. the saving reply 1 . 'IIt'h 7 !

We conclude our demonstration A s w e have already mentioned, a

of the strength of the discovered double attack can also arise if, in
check with the spectacular finish to reply t o a n attack, in moving o u t of
the fol lowing study. t h e l i n e of fire the attacked piece in
turn attacks some opposing piece.
The following game shows that
even the strongest players in the
world can sometimes overlook the
possibility of such an attack.

J.Hoch, 1973

B lack has queen for rook, and it

appears that White is simply obliged
to take the opponent ' s queen, and be
satisfied with a draw. But he rejects
the capture and makes the para­ Thomas-Euwe
doxical move 1 iLd7 ! ! Nottingham 1 936
Double Attack 35

B y playing here l . . ..Jtc5+ 2 �h l answering double blow with 3

li'le6, Black would have achieved a .Jtxti+, which after 3 'i'xti ..• 4
perfectly acceptable position. it'xc2 left him two pawns up.
But he replied 1'le6, assuming
that the bishop at d6 could not be
taken on account of 2 l:hd6 l:txd6 3
'i'xd6 J:tdS. However, in his pre­
lim inary calculations he overlooked
the fact that White can reply 4
li'ld7 ! , and after 4 . . . 'i'xd6 5 l:txd6
the move 5 . li'lfS is refuted by 6
. .

li'lf6+. 5 . . . <Ji>hS also does not help, if

only because of 6 li'le5 .
The most i nteresting thing is that
White believed Black, that the piece
could not be taken, and replied 2 g3.
(see diagram next column) Maroczy-Bogolj ubow
Dresden 1936
White played 1 dxc6, not fearing
possible double attacks, since he Had Black first played 1 . . .!:!.xd 1 +

had accurately calculated the 2 J:hd I and only then 2 . . . .Jtxc2,

possible continuations. The game White's strongest reply would have
continued 1 ...i.xc2. been 3 'tWa2 ! , and if 3 . .l:lfS .

B lack has attacked all three of the (3 .. Jha2 4 l:tdS mate) 4 i.xf7+
opponent' s heavy pieces, but after 2 'iWxf7 (4 . .lhf7 5 J:ldS mate) 5

l:txd8+ 1::txd 8 White struck an 'i'xc2 .

8 Rec i p roca l
D o u b l e Atta c k
A lready i n the preceding example
we saw that the situation on the
board becomes sharper, when there
is a reciprocal double attack. Here is
another example of the same type.

3 .1tc6+!
A paradoxical move! It turns out
that none of the three pieces can
take the bishop.
3 .l:l:xc6 is met by 4 J:l:xf7,

Simagin-Zagoryansky 3 . <;i;>xc6 by 4 Ihc8+ and then 5


[vanovo 1 944
l:txf7 and, finally, if 3 . . lLlxc6 White

has the decisive 4 1l:xf7+. Black is

B lack' s position looks difficult: obliged to move h i s king.
White is threatening a decisive 3 ...<it>e6 4 l::t h6+ 1:tr6 5 .ltd7+!
invasion with h i s second rook. The decisive move, based on the
However, he had planned an same double attack. White wins the
interesting defence, based on exchange.
counterattack. The reciprocal double attack de­
1 ...l:tf7 2 �h8+ <it>d7! mands attentiveness, tactical vision
A reciprocal double attack has and precise calculation, otherwise it
arisen. All four rooks are en prise. can lead instantly to loss of
Captures lead only to exchanges, material.
but White finds a clever way out of Here are two instructive examples
the situation. from master practice.
Reciprocal Double Attack 37


Alatortsev-Konstantinopolsky Chekhover-Kan
Tbilisi 1 937 Leningrad 1 933

In thi s sharp position White is a After 1 ...'i'xa2 and the reply 2

pawn up, but his kingside is �a t he played 2 ... l:txd6.
weakened and 1 'i'f3 is threatened.
... Note that 2 .. : i'c2 would have
All the threats could have been been bad on account of 3 .Ile4,
parried by I l:tc2 ! , i n order to when the queen no longer has any­
answer 1 :i'f3 with 2 i.g2. But
.. where to go.
White wanted immediately to solve However, he had not taken into
all his problems, by exchanging the account White ' s subtle reply 3 'i'e5 !
dangerous bishop, and here is what Note that, in moving out of the
thi s led to: firing l ine, the queen has not only
1 i.c4 .lhc4 2 "iixc4 J:tdl+! maintained the double attack, but
Exploiting the fact the white rook has itself also attacked the black
is tied to the queen, Black creates a bishop. Here Black had been relying
reciprocal double attack, which he on the new attack 3 . f6, but only

turns to his advantage. After 3 Wg2 now did he notice the counter
'i' xc4 4 I:txc4 l:ha I he is a rook up. possibil ity of a double attack by 4
In the fol lowing position B lack "i'd5+! l:txd5 5 .Ilxd5+ and 6 l:txa2
was tempted by the a2 pawn, rely­ with a decisive advantage.
ing on the possibility of a counter He had to reply 3 'i'd2, and after

double attack. 4 "i'xb5 White went on to win.

9 Do u b l e B l ow
' Excuse me', may ask the metic­ This is a typical instance of a
ulous reader, who has attentively double blow, cons i sting of an attack
acquainted himself with the pre­ on an enemy p i ece and a threat of
ceding pages of thi s book. 'Is not mate. After all, the threat of giving
the double attack, which you have mate is even more dangerous than
described in such detail, the same as an attack.
the double blow? ' A s i m i lar, although slightly
Yes, it is, but the double blow is a d i fferent s ituation i s depicted in the
broader concept than the double follo wing exam p l e .
attack. We define a double blow as
being a combination of any two
attacks and threats.
We will now consider various
instances of such blows.

By I jics the white queen,

supported by the bishop, attacks h 7,
threatening mate. Simultaneously it
keeps under fire, i.e. attacks, the
Chigorin-Janowski bishop at f6, although for the
Paris 1900 moment it is defended. But thi s is
the problem! In order t o defend
against the mate, Black is obliged to
After 1 CS! �xCS White struck a advance his pawn to g6, thereby
double blow with 2 jicS. He is depriving the bishop of its defence.
threatening mate at fS, and simul­ Thus here too we have a double
taneously the bishop i s attacked. blow, consisting of an attack o n a
B lack resigned. piece and a threat of mate.
Double Blow 39

Balashov-Biyiasis Klyatskin-Yudovich
Manila 1976 Moscow 1937

White played 1 'i'g4, creating a An interesting case is represented

threat with two pieces, queen and in the fol lowing diagram :
knight, to give mate at g7. At the
same time he is threatening to give
check with the knight at h6, with a
double attack on the opponent's king
and queen. It is not difficult to guess
that we have here a double blow,
consisting of two threats - a threat
of mate and a threat of a double
(see diagram next column)
With 1 . . . .l1Le7 B lack attacked the
white rook. White could neither
move his rook, not take the queen . Keres-SIiwa
He had to reply 2 !l:dh l , after which Gothenb urg 1955
Black implemented his second
threat - a double attack: 2 ...'i'xf4+ 3
l:hf4 .l1LgS 4 liJe2 J:[dfS, when White By playing 1 'i'b3 White attacked
resigned. Here the double threat the d5 pawn, simultaneously crea­
consi sted of an attack and the threat ting the latent threat after 2 liJxfS
of a double attack. lhf5 of regaining the piece by 3
40 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

1:txe4, exploiting the pin. Thus here It is time to sum up. The
we have a double blow in the form expanded concept of the double
of an attack and the threat of a b low, a co mbi n at i o n both of attacks,
second order attack. and of the most varied threats,
It is c lear that the threat of enables us to make the fol lowing,
promoting a pawn to a queen may extre m e l y broad classification,
be no less strong than an attack. encom passing all poss ible instances
After all, they both have the aim of of attack .
achieving material gain. Although I . Doub l e attack .
the threat of queening a pawn 2 . Com b i nation of s i mp l e attack
occurs most often in the endgame, an d double attack .
we give a rare example from the 3 . Combination of simple attack
m iddlegame. and threats of various orders. Earlier
we showed that, depending on how
many moves were needed for the
achievement of the set goal, threats
can be distinguished as threats of
the first, second, third order etc.
4. Combination of a double attack
and threats of various orders.
5. Combination of two threats of
various orders.
Such an expanded concept of the
double blow enables us to
understand the entire diversity of
tactical operations carried out on the
Engels-Maroczy chess board, both simple, and the
Dresden / 936 most compl icated, and to disclose
the mechanisms operating in them .
In this pOSItIOn White Note that threats can have the
unexpectedly played 1 ':'xb2 'iWxb2 most diverse aims, significant and
2 'iWxc8+ ! lDxc8 3 d7. insignificant. There can be a threat
We again have here a typical to give mate, but there can also be a
instance of a double blow - on the threat to occupy some strategically
one hand White is threaten ing to important square with a piece, and
queen his pawn by 4 d8 'iW+ and on
= , one may also try not to al low an
the other hand, by taking the knight enemy piece onto such a square.
with 4 dxc8='ii+ . It is not hard to One can threaten to give stalemate,
see that against these two queening give perpetual check, or construct
threats Black has no defence. an i mpregnable fortress. And all
Double Blow 41

these and similar threats can wel l be attacks are immediately evident, but
combined in a double blow. the threats of h igher orders are
r hope that you will have concealed, being as it were ' under
understood that in chess the double water' . They have to be sought and
blow is an effective and truly found.
universal device, both in attack and It should also be understood that
in defence. double blows do not arise out of
1 should once again remind you noth ing. I nitially threats must
that it is necessary to distinguish appear, and only then the double
between the double attack, which is blow itself arises. The abi l ity to
merely a particul ar instance of the foresee and to sense the possibil ity
double blow, and the double blow in of a double b low arising, and to
all its complexity. The point is that prepare it, is a great ski l l . It is an
with a double attack everyth ing is important component in the so­
apparent, everything is clear - the called combinational vision of a
attacks themselves are patently chess player. And it is to help the
obvious. But with the double blow, reader to develop his combinational
especially with threats of h igher vision that the author has set as h i s
orders (second, third etc.) situations task.
arise that resemble an iceberg - the
10 D efen ce a g a i nst
a Do u b l e B l ow
However strong, however danger­ It is true that the rook is undefen­
ous a double blow, in exceptional ded, but it cannot be taken: on
situations a defence can be found. 1 . . . 'i' xa4 there fol lows 2 lth3 + �e4
We w i l l now turn to an exam ination 3 J:th4+, winning the queen.
of such cases. However, the most important
thing is that, while attacking the
queen, at the same time White has
created the threat of mate by 2 J:th3 .
Black has only one defence,
1 ...'i'c8, but then all the same there
fol lows 2 J:th3+ 'i'xh3 3 lta3+,
winning the queen with the help of
the double blow.
We advise the reader to study this
position carefu lly: it constitutes a
veritable eulogy to the double b low,
since the entire p lay of both sides i s
based on it.
The above example enables a
simple rule to be established: a
We have here an ancient position double blow may not bring the
by I.Kling ( 1 849). It shows a desired effect, if, in avoiding the
typical double blow situation - the blow, one of the attacked pieces is
black king has attacked the op­ capable, in turn, of creating some
ponent ' s rook, and simultaneously strong threat such as mate etc. A
the queen i s threatening mate. defence against a double blow may
White ' s position looks critical, also be provided by a counter
wouldn't you agree? double blow.
But there is a defence. White Therefore, when carrying out a
finds the fantastic move 1 lta4 ! ! double blow, one must look
In moving his rook away from the carefully so as not to run into a
attack, he at the same time covers counter double blow, such as
the al square, defending against the occurred, for example, in the
mate, and in turn attacks the queen. fol lowing game.
Defence against a Double Blow 43

Fischer-Shocron S.Kaminer, 1 93 5
Mar del Plata 1 959

White has a queen for a bishop,

After 1 ':c6 Black should have but B lack begins a dangerous
repl ied l . . :i'd7, when, as shown by mating attack:
Fischer, White cannot play 2 ':xc4 1 ....ltg6+ 2 �al .lte7!
because of 2 . 'i'd3 , with the threat
.. The deadly double blow 3 .ltf6+

of 3 . . . J:lb l . is threatened. Events now develop

I nstead Black played 1 ...'i'd8, swiftly:
hoping to catch his opponent in a 3 ttJt3 .It f6+ 4 ttJe5+ �e7
double blow.
White went along with this - 2
:'xe6 'i'c8 .
This was the move that B lack was
relying on (2 . fxe6 3 'i'xe6+ and 4

'i'xe5 is hopeless for him), but

White had seen a little further:
3 .ltd7!
It transpires that B lack has fal len
victim to his own plan : 3 ... 'i'xd7 is
met by the double blow 4 :'xg6+!
Therefore he conceded defeat.
Here is another example, in
which the salvation from a double
blow is similarly provided by a As yet it is not clear what Wh ite
double blow. has achieved. We have a typical a
44 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

double b low s ituation - the bishop of mate with the rook at fI . If he

at f6 i s attacking the queen and plays I .!::!. cd I , then all the same
simultaneously threatening mate. It 1 .. .' � xd6 fo l lows. I lLlc4 does not
is hard to imagine a worse position ! help on account of 1 . . . .ltxc4, and
But nevertheless White wins here finally, after I J;tdd I Black takes the
by the fantastic move 5 'iWh4 ! ! kn ight at c S . It appears that Wh ite
By pinning the bishop, he parries has n oth i n g better than I ttJg6+
the threatened capture on eS and hxg6 2 'iWhJ+ Wg8 (2 il.hS 3 ...

simultaneously i ntends to take the J:!:xc7) 3 �e6+ with perpetual

f4 pawn, to defend the knight. And check.
after s . il.xh4 the formerly pinned
.. But Alekhine had foreseen in
knight itself lands a double blow - 6 advance a bri l l iant reply, which
lLlxg6+ and 7 lLlxh4. solves all White ' s problems, while
To prevent the double blow, keeping his extra piece. He played 1
White exploited a pin, but it was a 'iWd l ! !
' fork' that led to victory, i.e. again a If I il.xd I , then 2 J;txc7 i s now

double blow. possible.

In such positions, rich in tactical The game concluded l ...ii'as 2
possibilities, the seem ingly most 'Wxe2 (2 'Wi'dS was also good) 2 ...

incredible moves are possible. ii'xes 3 lidS, and B lack resigned.


"" 'iV ,
� ts

Odessa 1918
This position could have occurred
in the game Reshevsky-Euwe ( The
Black has attacked both of the Hague 1948).
opponent's rooks with his queen, We have here a typical double
which White cannot take on account blow situation White is
Defence against a Double Blow 45

threatening mate at h7 and is diverting double blow 2 li'ld7!,

simultaneously attacking Black's leading to the win of the queen.
knight with his own knight. I t The correct reply, parrying the
appears that t h e simplest way of attack, is l . . ..lte4! If 2 li'lxe4 Black
defending is by 1'lf6, moving the brings up his rook with gain of
knight out of the l ine of fire and tempo by 2 .l:Hc8, while if 2 'YWxe4

defending h7. But th i s would be a he plays 2 . li'lf6, defending h7 and


decisive m istake: Wh ite has the s i m u ltaneously attacking the q ueen .

11 H ow a Do u b l e B l ow
I n the overwhelming majority of 2 'ilid3 !
examples considered earlier, we A subtle move. First White must
encountered the double blow situa­ provoke . . . g7-g6, weakening the f6
tions after they had already arisen. square. The immediate 2 'ilia3 does
A double blow is especially danger­ not achieve anything after 2 . . . h6.
ous, if it appears l ike a bolt from the 2 g6 3 'ilia3

blue. But thi s suddenness is a Now a double blow situation has

consequence of the fact that ins­ arisen. White is threatening both 4
ufficient attention was paid to the lLlxh7, and 4 'ilixa6. And if 3 . . . h6 he
threat of the double blow, and that wins the exchange by 4 lLlh7 !
necessary counter-measures were Black replied 3 lLle6, and after 4

not taken in time. lLlxe6 fxe6 5 'ilixa6 he lost a pawn.

Here is another example of the
same type.

B udapest 1950
B lack played 1 ...:c8 , in order to Tbilisi 1 937
release his knight from the defence
of the c6 pawn. But in so doing he Here Black was pinning all his
left the a6 pawn undefended, which hopes on 1 lLld4, clearly under­

allowed White, by carrying out a estimating the following retreat by

double blow, to win a pawn : White:
How a Double Blow Arises 47

2 'ii' f1 ! the c-file by placing his queen at c3,

Now the bishop has to retreat, and therefore the move 1...J:tc8
since 2 1L1xf3+ 3 gxf3 leads to the
... looks perfectly natural, but it is in
loss of a piece. fact a decisive m istake, allowing
2 ...�e7? White to carry out a double blow:
As we will see later, this move is 2 1L1xe6!
a m istake that in the end allows The knight cannot be taken on
White to carry out a double blow. account of 3 'ii'c 3, but Black can
The only correct move was 2 . . .1<.f8,
. take the rook.
when after 3 lLle5 'ii'g 5 4 f4 'ii'e 7 2 .. Jhc4 3 1L1h6+!
B lack avoids loss of material . But This final blow had to be antici­
now events develop by force. pated in advance. After 3 . . . gxh6 4
3 lLlxd4 1bd4 4 �e2 ! 'ii'xh6 B lack is mated, and therefore
An excellent move; it transpires he resigned.
that on account of 5 .1<.f3 B lack The sacrifices accompanying the
cannot capture on e4. double blow can be the most varied.
4 Jbd l 5 'ii'xd l 'ii'g 5 6 h4 'ii'(6
.. For example, by means of a sac­
7 e5 'ii'g6 8 "d7, and White wins a rifice the opponent's pieces can be
piece. forcibly drawn onto the necessary
Very often the emergence of a squares, on which immediately or
double blow is accompanied by within a few moves they come
sacrifices, demanding precise, and under a double blow.
sometimes deep calculation. The fol lowing examples demon­
strate such situations.

Zagreb 1 965
White intends to seize control of Stockholm 1 954
48 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

The awkward placing of White ' s Then, to lure the king to a7, the
queen, rook and bishop suggested to queen is given up:
Black a rook sacrifice with the aim 2 'ifxa7+ ! 'it'xa7
of inflicting a double blow. And now White regains with
I ..Jlc 1 ! interest the sacrificed material :
For an instant, by giving u p the 3 bxc8=tiJ+ ! !
rook, he lures the opponent' s queen Often a double blow i s preceded
to c l , in order after 2 'ilfxc 1 to by a sacrifice with the aim of
immediately win it - 2 ...tiJe2+ 3 elim inating a defender.
l:txe2 l!ixc 1 + . The remainder was
simple: 4 'it'll .1I.a6 5 �d3 'ilfxal 6
.1I.xa6 'ilfd l , and White resigned.
Such sacrifices, leading to a
double blow, are essentially stan­
dard techniques, with which every
strong player should be fam iliar.
A classic example of sacrifices
with the aim of luring the
opponent' s pieces into a double
blow is provided by this position by
E manuel Lasker:

Zurich 1 959

After 1 �xg7 'it>xg7 White

exploited the unfortunate placing of
B lack' s king and queen by the rook
sacrifice 2 l:bf7+!
After 2 J:txf7 he immediately

carries out the double blow by 3

tiJe6+, wh ile if 2 . . 'it>g8 he has the

decisive 3 l1g7+! 'it>h8 (3 . . tiJxg7 4


'ilfxh7 mate) 4 l1xh7+ 'it'g8 5 l:I.g7+

'it'h8 6 1hg6 .
First, to lure the rook to c8, White In the following position White ' s
sacrifices his rook: pieces are dangerously impending
I l:l.c8+ 1hc8 over the opponent' s king, but the
If 1 . . . 'ihb7 2 l1xd8, and the e l opposition of the queens allows
square i s defended. Black to carry out a double blow.
How a Double Blow Arises 49

In this position it is only the t2

pawn that is protecting Wh ite
against a double attack on g2. But
perhaps it can be eliminated?
Reasoning in this way, we find the
spectacular move 1...iI'g3 ! !
The queen has to be taken - 2
fxg3, whereupon there fol lows
2 .. ,lhg2+ 3 �hl J:tdd2, and mate
cannot be prevented.

Leningrad 1 956

However, first he must eliminate

the piece defending the white queen.
1...J:hd3 ! 2 J:l.xd3
White has to take with the rook:
his queen is occupied with guarding
2 J:l.e1+ 3 �f2 4Je4+ 4 �xel

il'xg6, and Black won.

Poland 1955

Wh ite has just landed a double

blow - he has attacked the knight at
d4 with his rook and IS
simu ltaneously threatening mate
with the rook at a4. Of course,
Black could have withdrawn his
kn ight to c6, in order to block the
rook check 2 J:l.a4+ with 2 . . . 4Ja5 .
But after some thought, he found a
better solution. Let us also try to
find it.
Rabinovich-Chekhover (variation) If, for exam ple, B lack plays
Leningrad 1 932 1 . iI'c2+, then after 2 �e I he
50 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

cannot land a double blow with transpired that 3 dxc5 allows the
2 . . . lLlf3+, on account of the fact that double blow 3 ... 'iWxc5+, winning the
this square is guarded by the g2 rook at c l .
pawn. But perhaps there is a way of White therefore resigned.
eliminating this pawn? It turns out
that there is!
1 ....i.fJ+!
The king cannot move to either
one side or the other on account of
mate in one move (2 . . . 'iWc2 or
2 . . . lLlc2), while after 2 gxfJ there
fol lows 2 ... 'iWc2+ 3 �el lLlxfJ+,
when B lack has achieved his aim.
The aim of a sacrifice may be, for
example, the opening of lines, as a
result of which a double blow can
be landed.
A classic example of such a
sacrifice is provided by the AIster-Betak
conclusion to the fol lowing game. Prague 1 956

Black ' s posItIOn looks solid

enough, wouldn't you agree? And
yet this outwardly quiet situation
conceals the threat of a double
blow, and White can win a pawn
with 1 .i.xh6!
The point is that Black cannot
take the bishop: the opening of the
file after 1 . gxh6 allows White to

move his queen onto the same

diagonal as the opponent ' s queen
with gain of tempo - 2 'iWg3+, and
after 2 . �f8 (if 2 . . .�h8 3 lLlxf7

Bogoljubow-Capablanca mate) he can land the double blow 3

New York 1 924 lLlg6+, winning the queen.
Such opportunities for a double
First B lack sacrificed his knight - blow are not always noticed even by
1 ...lLlxd4 2 cxd4, and then he masters. The following example is
regained it with 2 .. J:l.8xc5, when it highly instructive.
How a Double Blow Arises 51

But the way that subsequent

events developed was not at all how
the commander of the black pieces
had assumed.

Moscow 1 936
White ' s knight is attacked, and
without much thought he retreated it
to g3 . And yet he had the Richter-Kasper
opportunity to create a double blow Benshausen 1 975
situation by sacrificing the knight:
1 It:lf6+! gxf6 2 exf6 1 It:lf6+! gxf6
In thi s position White has two The knight has to be taken, but
threats. One is to give mate in two this exposes the king, creating the
moves by 3 'i'g3+ and 4 'i'g7, and grounds for the subsequent mating
the other is to give mate in two attack.
moves by 3 'i'xfS+ <t>xfS 4 l:td8. 2 lic7+ <t>g6
And against these two threats there Or 2 <t>g8 3 'i'xh6.

is no defence. 3 1i'd l !
The destruction of the enemy W e have here a double blow
king's position, with the aim of situation - Wh ite attacks the rook,
opening l ines and the subsequent and at the same time threatens mate
landing of a double blow, dec ided from g4.
the outcome of the fol lowing game. B lack therefore resigned.
Black's knight was at c6, and he Most often sacrifices are multi­
has just played it to b4, attacking purpose. Thus in the fol lowing
the a2 pawn. He only considered the example the sacrifice i s made hoth
reply I J:l:c7, on which l . . .'i'xa2 is to open l ines, and to e l i m i nate a
possible, when 2 It:lf6+ is not defender and set up a p i n . H u t i t s
dangerous on account of 2 . . . Wg6. ultimate aim i s a double hlow.
52 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

subsequent rook sacrifice. At the

same time, after the queen takes the
bishop it is pinned, and is unable to
defend the f2 square against a
double blow by the knight.
2 'i'xg2 1hd l !
A reciprocal double blow
situation has now arisen, so that
White does not have time for 3
'WWxc6 on account of 3 . . . l:he l +.
3 lhd l ttJf2+ 4 �gl 'WWx g2+ 5
<;t>xg2 ttJxd l 6 l::tx b4 l:hc2+ 7 �gl
l::tx b2, and B lack was awarded a win
Stolyar-Averbakh on adjudication.
Leningrad 1 938 With this we conclude our
discussion of sacrifices, leading to
the emergence of a double blow
There fol lowed 1 ...�xg2+! situation, but we will continue it in
By this temporary sacrifice of a later chapters where the question of
piece, B lack opens the d-fiIe for a mating attacks will be covered.
12 Attack o n the King
In the initial posltton the king is m iddle of the board. However, he
covered from the front by a rank of was bold not through his own free
pawns. But as soon as the central will. White sacrificed three m inor
pawns advance, in order to allow pieces to bring him out into 'clear
the pieces to be developed, the king water' , and now he quickly finishes
is deprived of its pawn protection, him off.
which i s potentially dangerous. 1 ltac 1 !
Therefore, as a rule, at the first Undoubtedly the strongest move.
opportunity castling is carried out White restricts the movements of
and the king is taken into safety. the black monarch. It has available
And, of course, there is no point only a narrow l ittle strip of the
in the king coming out ahead of its board, which in fact becomes the
troops: it will immediately be king's grave.
assailed by the opponent's pieces. Mate on the move by 2 'iWd I i s
To checkmate a king in the threatened.
m iddle of the board, if it is not If the king tries to run back home
covered by its own pieces and with I . . �dS, there follows 2 e6+

pawns, is not a difficult task. Let us (or 2 'iWf7+ Sl.. e 6 3 'iWf3+ ..ti>d4 4
consider a single, but very typical 'i'd ] mate) 2.. .l2JfS (2. . .�d6 3 'iWeS
example. mate) 3 'iWxfS+ 'it> d6 4 :red I + � e 7 S
'iWf7 mate. And 1 Sl.. fS does not

help on account of 2 'iWh4+ �dS 3

'iWc4 mate.
Even in the event of castl i ng by
the king, its safety i s not always
guaranteed . Even though covered by
pieces and pawns, it may also come
under attack. We will consider
several typical patterns of mating
attacks against the castled position.
Don ' [ be surprised that on th is
and the fo l lowing diagrams you w i l l
not see the white king. These are
not positions from games, but
Alone, without his retinue, his patterns. They show only the pieces
majesty has gone out into th e that land the final, mating blows.
54 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

successful storming of the king's

fortress, but not by a frontal assault,
as in the preceding diagram, but
from the side.
1 J:te8+ l1xe8 2 lhe8 mate
Again we see a familiar picture -
the king's flight is cut off by his
own pawns. If just one of the pawns
had advanced, the king would have
had more freedom, and there would
have been no mate on the back rank.
The idea naturally suggests itself:
is it not worth making an escape
square beforehand, thereby for ever
Here White plays 1 £6, attacking removing the threat of mate on the
the g7 pawn with both queen and back rank? No, it is not. Any pawn
pawn, and threatening to give mate advance weakens the king ' s fort­
on this square. B lack has no choice: ress, and may allow the opponent's
like it or not, he has to reply 1...g6 , pieces to attack the king hiding
opening the gates and allowing the behind the pawns. We will show
queen to go to h6. After 2 'i'h6 the this in some schematic examples.
fortress is transformed into a dun­
geon for the king from which there
is no escape, and on the next move
he is mated by 3 'i'g7.

Here B lack has made an escape

square in an unfortunate way by
. . . f7-f6. Thi s allows White to carry
out a mating attack with his rooks
This shows the pattern of a from the side.
Attack on the King 55

1 J:l.xg7+ 'it>h8 2 J:l.xh7+ \t>g8 3 The king cannot escape: 1 Wh6


llbg7 mate. is answered by 2 J:l. h4 mate, but now

Two rooks are capable of gene­ too after 2 J:l.h4 B lack has no
rating enormous energy, especially defence against 3 l::!.h 8 mate.
if they have broken through onto the
penultimate rank.

This is an example of a mating

attack with bishop and knight.
Here we see an example of a White forces mate in two moves:
combined mating attack with rook 1 4Jxg6+ �g8 2 4Je7 mate.
and bishop: Also possible is I 4Jxn+ \t>g8 2
1 J:!.g7+ �h8 2 J:l.xg6+ l::t f6 3 4Jh6 mate.
.i.xf6 mate And now let us examine some
mating attacks on the castled
position with rook and knight.

l .i.f6+ �g8
56 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

Here White lands a double blow

on a7 I lLlc6+ l£<a8 2 1ha7 mate.

Of course, there are numerous

possible mating finishes, and we
l lLle7+ "'h7 2 Uh5 mate have given only the most
In the final position (see diagram elementary, which you would do
next column) White first traps the wel l to remember: they will occur
king by 1 l:td8+, and after 1 l£<g7
... time and again in your games, and
he shuts it in with 2 lLlf6, after will serve as rel iable guides when
which mate by 3 ng8 cannot be carrying out a mating attack on the
avoided. enemy king.
13 M ati n g Attack
Mecha n isms
The coordination o f the forces where it might retreat. And it turns
becomes clearly apparent in a out that White ' s rook and bishop,
mating attack, and so let us try to by coordinating their actions into a
establish how a mating mechanism double blow, aimed at the black
is created and how it works. We monarch, give mate, whereas the
will begin with the fol lowing army of black pieces, and there are
schematic position. no less than seven of them, not only
do not help, but even prevent the
king from moving out of the firing
But what if in the previous
position there was no knight at gB,
and this square were free?

The black pieces are huddled

around their leader, and seem to be
ready to parry any attack on it. A
check on the diagonal can be
b locked by rook, bishop or knight,
and a check on the file also by rook,
bishop or knight. I n this case too B lack cannot
But by 1 :h5+ White puts the defend against the attack. After 1
black king in double check, and it :h5+ >t>g8 White gives mate by 2
transpires that the king has to move. �h7.
But where to? The numerous defen­ Of course these two positions
ders, crowding around the king, are present exceptional s ituations, in
occupying the g7 and g8 squares, to which the black pieces are
58 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

particularly uncoordinated, but successful implementation of a

sometimes in the course of a game double blow.
this lack of coordination among the Let us consider another schematic
opponent' s forces can be created, as position.
in the fol lowing position.

Chudinovskikh-Zhuravlev B lack ' s forces are e legantly

USSR 1 990 deployed on three sides around their
king, but the d5 square on the d-fiIe
White ' s heavy pieces are is not covered, and by 1 .:I.dS White
impending over the black king, but gives mate.
how is he to continue the attack? And in the fol lowing schematic
After all, B l ack is threatening to position, where the b lack knights
take the rook at h6, and then to play are absent, their role is taken over
his knight to d3, neutralising the by a second white rook.
opponent' s light-square bishop.
I f you look deeply into this
position, and compare it with the
previous one, you will probably find
the correct solution. White gives
mate in four moves as fol lows:
1 J:th8+! lDxh8 2 'Wh7+ ! 'it>xh7,
and now, exactly as i n the previous
example, 3 J:thS+ and 4 �h7 mate.
By sacrificing his rook and
queen, White not only destroyed the
coordination of the b lack pieces, but
also created the conditions for the
Mating Attack Mechanisms 59

Here, as in the previous example, but then White carried out his
White gives mate by 1 ndS. second threat 2 'iWxh7+ Wxh7 3

Such a mate by two rooks, with .:th l + and mate next move.
the remaining p ieces deployed in
the most varied ways, occurs quite
often in practice.
A classic example of such a
l inear mate is provided by the
conclusion to the fol lowing game.

USSR 1 978

Note that 1 . .li.g6 would not have


saved the game: 2 J:xg6 hxg6 3

'iWxg6, and, since the rook at e8 i s
Schmid-Hofman under attack, there is n o satisfactory
Germany 1958 defence against 4 J:h I mate.

In reply to 1 l:[h6+ the black king

is obliged to run to the defence of
its rook at c7, and this plays a fatal
l>e7 2 J:g7+ Wd8 (or 2 .l:H7 3

1::txf7+ Wxf7 4 llxh7+, winning the

rook) 3 J:d6+ It>c8 4 llg8+, and
mate next move.
In the fol lowing two examples a
mating attack is combined with the
striking of double blows.
(see diagram next column)
To defend against the mate by the Miles-UhImann
queen at f6, B l ack played 1 ...'iWd4, Hastings 1 97516
60 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

After 1 ..:i'xh2+ 2 �xh2 ':'h6 3

'l'eS lDr6 White resigned.
The following game demonstrates
an example of m utual chess
b lindness.

USSR 1 990

Superb, wouldn ' t you agree?

Let us sum up. As you will have
Barcza-Tarnowski seen, in mating mechan isms the
Szczawno Zdroj 1 950 placing of the opponent' s pieces
and pawns is often exploited. After
Here White played 1 fS?, over­ all, for the king it is quite
looking that by 1 " ''I'f3+! his immaterial which pieces are
opponent could force mate. But hindering it, its own or the enemy
Black too did not see this mate. He pieces; it i s important only that they
repl ied l ..J:tg3, and in the end he restrict the space available to it. By
even went on to lose. the skilful exploitation of the enemy
A spectacular l inear mate was forces, the number of attacking
found by Black in the fol lowing pieces i n a mating attack can be
game (see diagram next column). reduced to the minimum.
White is threatening mate in one It should also be noted that in a
move, and at first sight there mating attack there are solo pieces,
appears to be no satisfactory which fulfil the main role, and there
defence. However. . . are also secondary pieces, but the
1 ..:i'h4+ ! ! 2 gxh4 choice of actors on the chess stage
If Wh ite takes on h4 with his belongs to you. The former play an
king, he is immediately mated by active role, the latter a largely
2 . . . .:.xh2
. passive one, but even the latter
2 ...l::t e3+ 3 ..\tf3 ..\txe6+ ! 4 'i'xe6 should not be underestimated:
':'xf3 mate without their participation the
Mating Attack Mechanisms 61

mating mechanism would not work. but also non-moving. And it is the
Figuratively speaking, in a mating role of the latter that is played by
mechanism there are moving parts, the opponent' s pieces and pawns.
14 Co m b i nati o n s
a n d Sac rifices
O n many occasions you yourself We already know that in tactical
have probably noticed that situa­ play the opponent' s pieces and
tions on the board frequently occur pawns can be forced to help our
where, in reply to the purposeful aims. This is achieved in the most
actions of one of the players, the varied ways, but the strongest and
replies of the other are forced. He is most effective of these is the
essentially obliged to go along with sacrifice. Usually it appears sud­
the idea of the opponent, and is denly and unexpectedly, and comes
unable in any way to change the as an unpleasant surprise to the
inexorable course of events. The opponent. The suddenness and
pieces and pawns of both sides are unexpectedness of a sacrifice is due
as though l inked with one another to the fact that we usually make use
by invisible threads, and, obeying of the comparative values of the
the will of one of the players, they pieces, which apply in normal
whirl around l ike puppets per­ situations. When we are sti l l study­
forming a ritual death dance. ing the rudiments of chess, we learn
Such situations are usually called that a queen is much stronger than a
combinations. The results of a com­ rook, that a rook is stronger than a
bination can be very varied - mate bishop or knight, and that the latter
to the king, winning of material, are much stronger than a pawn.
obtaining a positional advantage, Such truths are firmly lodged in
gaining equal chances, or finally, our mind. We know, of course, that
attaining a draw. these correlations are not something
Several definitions of a combin­ inflexible, but in practice we often
ation have been suggested, but we forget this. However, in tactical
will not go i nto all these theoretical positions, where there is a wealth of
subtleties. It is i m portant only to attacks and threats, these cor­
mention that a combination is relations are, to a significant degree,
nomally forc ing and leads t o a arbitrary. Very often the strength of
definite aim . It should be added that a particular piece at a given moment
often, especially in the m iddlegame, is determ ined by its degree of
an accompanying, although not participation in the tactical oper­
obligatory, feature of a combination ation in progress. If for the success
is a sacrifice. of a mating attack the defences
Combinations and Sacrifices 63

around the opponent's king have to It often happens that our forces
be destroyed, we do not begrudge are already coordinated against
giving up material, since in the end some target, but for the success of
it will be regained with interest. It is the operation we need to reduce or
the same with a double blow. If it fully eliminate the defensive
brings us material gain, then for it resources. It is this aim that i s pro­
to occur we can also give up vided by a sacrifice. This and the
something. The only problem is that fol lowing examples show how this
we first have to give up something, is done.
and then regain it. Here White played 1 l:txf6!
Therefore in a sacrifice an On 1 . . . 'itt xf6 there follows 2
element of risk i s always present: ..txg5+, while if 1 . ..'i'xf6 2 lLlh5+.
suppose that the opponent somehow B lack' s seemingly solid position
manages to wriggle out and the sac­ collapses, and so he conceded
rifice proves incorrect? This means defeat.
that a sacrifice normally requires As you see, by the sacrifice of his
precise and sometimes deep cal­ rook White lures the black king to
culation. I n the end everything has f6. This is known as a luring or
to be weighed up. decoy sacrifice. In the given
Sacrifices can be used to achieve example, with the help of a luring or
the most varied tactical aims, but in decoy sacrifice White carried out a
particular they serve as a means of simple double blow combination.
disorganising the opponent's defen­
ces or fully eliminating them.

Here, by threatening mate - 1

'Wh6, White forces the reply
Fischer-Gligoric 1...l:tg8, and then, by sacrificing his
Zagreb 1 970 queen for the h7 pawn covering the
64 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

king, 2 'i'xh7+ ! , he destroys assisting the necessary coordination

Black' s defences, and after 2 ... between the attacking pieces and
'i.t>xh7 gives mate by 3 l:lh2. the target of the attack.
Thi s is an example of a
destructive sacrifice, the aim of
which was to eliminate the defences
of the enemy king.

White gives mate in two moves:

1 l:te8+! Wxe8 2 'i'e7 mate
By a decoy sacrifice he co­
ordinates the actions of queen and
Here White gives mate in three knight with the target of the attack ­
moves: the black king, creating the required
1 .li.f8+ ! .li.h5 2 'i'xh5+! gxh5 3 mating mechanism.
J:lh6 mate
This is an example of a diverting
sacrifice. By giving up his queen
for the bishop at hS, White diverts
the g6 pawn which is covering the
h6 square against the penetration
there of the white rook, as a result
of which this mating finish becomes
Thus the elimination of defenders
or their d isorganisation can usually
be achieved by means of three types
of sacrifices - decoy, destructive
and d iverting. However, sacrifices
can fulfil not only a destructive role, Karpov-Csom
but also a constructive one, by Bad Lauterberg 1 977
Combinations and Sacrifices 65

It sometimes happens that a If the bishop were removed from

player's own p ieces prevent the h5, and also the rooks from d8 and
carrying out of a combination, and g8, then by . . . 'fih8 Black woul d be
hinder the required coordination of able to force mate. Thi s means that
the forces. Naturally, such pieces these pieces must be eliminated:
can wel l be given up, by sacrificing 1 ...i.e2 ! 2 'fixe2 llh8+ 3 �gl
them. llhl+! 4 �xh l llh8+ 5 �gl J::t h l + !
Thus here, were it not for his 6 �xh l 'fih8+ 7 � g l 'fi h 2 mate
knight at g3 , White would have I Such a sacrifice, which has the
'fih2+ �g8 3 'fig3+, forcing mate. aim of vacating a square or line, can
He therefore played 1 lZlfS!, and be called a vacating sacrifice.
Bl ack resigned.
After 1 . . . lZlxd7 2 'Wh2+ �g8 3
'fig3+ he is again mated, while 1 . . .
lZlh4 allows 2 llh7+ lZlxh7 3 'fig7
Thus we have met another type of
sacrifice - for the vacating of a
square. A sacrifice can also be made
for the vacating of a l ine, if some
piece is preventing another piece
from fulfilling especially important
functions on this l ine. The fol lowing
example demonstrates this situation.
Budapest 1 951

Here B l ack ' s position looks

critical, but i f we notice t h at his
king does not havc a s i n gle move,
we eas i l y fi nd a s er ies of sacrifices
lead i n g to sta lemate and a draw.
I ...l:[b l + 2 �h2 l:thl+! 3 �xhl
l1l g3+ !
The knight has to be taken,
otherw i se the queen will be lost.
4 fxg3 'fixg2+!
The final sacrifice, which puts
Manov-Hairabedian everything in its place. After 5
Bulgaria 1 962 <J;>xg2 B lack is stalemated !
66 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

It is time to take stock. We have

established that sacrifices can serve
the aim both of d isorganising or
eliminating the opponent' s defen­
ces, as wel l as, on the contrary,
assisting the coordination of our
own forces. These sacrifices can be
very varied.
We have established that there
are five basic types of sacrifices:
1. The decoy sacrifice, when the
opponent' s pieces or pawns are
lured onto some definite squares.
2. The diverting sacrifice, when
the opponent' s pieces or pawns are This sacrifice, firstly, lures the
diverted from fulfi l ling some pawn ( or bishop) to c6, depriving
important functions. the king of this square, and
3. The destructive sacrifice, secondly, it simultaneously vacates
when p ieces or pawns destroy the the a6 square for the knight to land
opponent' s defences. the mating blow.
4. The vacating sacrifice, when Thus this is an example of the
pieces or pawns are sacrificed to combination of a diverting and
vacate squares or l i nes, needed for vacating sacrifice.
the actions of our pieces.
5. The self-eliminating sacrifice,
when p ieces or pawns are simply
unnecessary or superfluous. They
prevent the attainment of some aim,
and must be removed from the
In practice, all these types of
sacrifices occur in pure form, but it
is more usual for a sacrifice to
pursue simultaneously several aims.
I n the fol lowing position, by
sacrificing his queen White gives
mate in two moves : P.Romanovsky, 1 9 5 0
1 "i'c6+! dxc6
Or 1 . i.xc6 .
. . Here too White gives mate in two
2 ttJa6 mate moves, by sacrificing his queen.
Combinations and Sacrifices 67

1 'iWfS+! l:hfS 2 CiJe7 mate, or

l ...WxfS 2 I:th8 mate.
By this sacrifice White either
lures the rook to fS, d iverting it
from the defence of e7, or lures the
king to the same square, diverting it
from the control of h8. This means
that this is an example of a decoy
and diverting sacrifice.

Aluksne 1967

Things look hopeless for Black,

but he saves the game with the help
of two sacrifices.
l. . .ltd3+! 2 'ii' xd3
The acceptance of the sacrifice i s
forced: after 2 <J;>g4 'iW d I + Wh ite
Alekhine--Yates even loses.
London 1922 2 'iWe3+! 3 'iWxe3 - stalemate !

What kind of sacrifices were

Here White carries out an these? The first, by th e rook at d3,
operation involving a knight w a s of course self-e l i m inating, hut
sacrifice: at the same time it kept the wh ite
1 CiJd7 'it'h8 2 CiJf6! I:tgfS 3 queen i n the v i c i n i t y of the c3
llxg7 ! square, i .c . it was also effectively a
By giving up his knight, Wh ite decoy sacr i fi c e .
destroys the opponent ' s defences, The s c co n d sacrifice is especial ly
while simultaneously l u ri ng the i n tcresti n g . By giving up his queen,
b lack rook to f6 . B lack not only eliminates it, but
3 .. .lhf6 4 We5! s i m u ltaneously lures the white
This king move crowns matters: queen to e3 , thereby pinning the gS
4 . . . :ff8 or 4 . . .llafS allows mate i n pawn and creating the fortunate
two moves by 5 : h7 + and 6 I:tcg7 . possibility of a stalemate. This
B lack therefore resigned. means that here we have an
68 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

example combining decoy and self­ possible, eliminating the important

elim inating sacrifices. black knight. Therefore the initial
It should be mentioned that in a moves of the combination are easy
single combination, albeit a fairly to find:
complicated one, virtually all types 1 tLib4! axb4 2 'ti'xd6! 'ti'd7
of sacrifices may sometimes be

The first wave of the attack is

Korchmar-Polyak over, and Black ' s last move is his
Kiev 1 937 only defence. But how is White to
continue the attack? Exploiting the
All the white pieces are fact that the black queen is tied to
threateningly impending over the the defence of the e8 square, White
enemy king, B lack' s position hangs finds a second queen sacrifice :
by a thread, and it is not surprising 3 'ti'dS ! !
that White finds a spectacular The q ueen cannot b e taken on
combination, demonstrating the account of 4 .!:te8+, and meanwhile
veracity of an old saying - a chain White is threaten ing to capture on
is as strong as its weakest link! g7, since the rook at f7 is pinned.
Let us try to find th is com­ B lack has nothing better than
bi nation . It is not hard to see that 3 .'�fS, but then White for the third

B lack' s central defender is his time sacrifices his queen: 4 lhg7 !

knight at d6. Were it not for the 'ti'xdS, and now he nevertheless
knight, White would give mate in gives mate : 5 .!:tg8+! �xg8 6 .l:e8+
three moves by I .l:e8+ .l:fS 2 .l:fS 7 .l:xfS mate .
.l:xg7 + and 3 l:txfS . Let us investigate what happened
In turn, if the white knight were here. By I tLib4 White eliminated
not at dS, I 'iWxd6 would be his knight. This was a vacating
Combinations and Sacrifices 69

sacrifice, opening the d-file for his an advantage at the finish of the
queen. 2 ft'xd6 was a destructive combination. Certain authors
sacrifice: an important defender of altogether regard them as ' pseudo­
the black king had to be removed . sacrifices ' : after all, in the end they
The prettiest m ove in the are fully repaid.
combination was undoubtedly 3 However, there are sacrifices that
'i'id5 . This - a d iverting sacrifice - are of a completely different
is an attempt to divert the black character, and which are repaid by
queen from the defence of e8. no means immediately. In par­
Incidental ly, if Black had replied to ticular, these are sacrifices for the
this not with 3 . Wf8, but 3 . . . g6,
.. initiative, for a lead in development,
then 4 J:tge3 , with the unavoidable in order to hinder the development
penetration of the rook to e8, would of the opponent' s pieces, and so on.
have been decisive. Such sacrifices are customarily
The rook capture on g7 is a called ' real ' . All that they give are
combination of a destructive and a some advantages, which only later,
decoy sacrifice: after 4 . . lixg7 the
. and by no means by force, may
reply 5 'ili'xd7 becomes possible. bring some appreciable gains. Real
Finally, the last sacrifice, 5 J:tg8+, sacrifices are most often of a
is an example of a decoy-diverting strategical nature : they are normally
sacrifice: the black king that is lured assoc iated with the subsequent plan,
to g8 is diverted from the defence of although they may lead to tactical
the e8 square. complications and combinations.
Thus in thi s combination four Real sacrifices occur most
types of sacrifice are present - frequently at an early stage of the
vacating, destructive, d iverting and game. For example, in the King's
decoy. Gambit. Evans Gambit, the
In studying the different types of Chatard-Alekhine Attack against
sacrifices, we have largely exam­ the French Defence. the Morra
ined only those that comprise parts Gam b i t agai n st the S i c i l ian
of a combination . Such sacri fices Defence. the Scotch Gambit, and in
are essentially temporary, bringing many other sharp open ing lines.
72 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

Combinations to win any of the of a new queen, or to decisive

other pieces can logically be material losses for the opponent.
divided into two sub-groups. The And in the other sub-group will be
first covers those, at the finish of combinations, in which the threat of
which the win of material is accom­ promoting a pawn is combined with
plished by a combined attack, i.e. other strong threats to or attacks on
when the piece is attacked and a piece.
simultaneously it is not allowed to All these types of winning
escape. combinations are given in the table,
The second sub-group covers as are drawing combinations, which
double blow combinations, in which can be divided into six sub-groups.
an attack on a piece is combined Combinations leading to perpetual
with some other threats or attacks, check (on the king) and to perpetual
apart, of course, from attacks or pursuit (on any other piece) are
threats to the king. typical of the m iddlegame, whereas
The arrangement of combinations combinations leading to stalemate,
to win material i s also presented in the blockade of some i mportant
the table. enemy piece, the construction of a
Combinations to promote a pawn fortress, or the reduction to a
can be divided in similar fashion. In drawing balance of forces are more
one group will be combinations, in typical of the endgame, but are
which the threat of promoting a nevertheless worth knowing.
pawn leads either to the appearance
1 6 Wi n n i n g Co m b i n ati o n s
Thus, as regards the target of the White's queen, rook and two
attack, winning combinations have bishops are aiming threateningly at
been divided into three groups. The the kingside. In order to get at the
first covers combinations directed enemy king, he needs to deprive it
against the king, the second covers of its pawn screen. This is achieved
combinations against the other by a rook sacrifice, which here both
pieces and pawns, and the third destroys the opponent' s defences
covers combinations to promote a and also lures his king into a pin.
pawn. t lhg7 ! �xg7
We will now separately examine The rook has to be taken : 2
combinations in each of these J:!.xh7+ or 2 �xf6 was threatened .
groups. 2 'i'g4+ �h8 3 'i'h5

Combinations against the king

The first in this group are mating

combinations, at the conclusion of
which a mating mechanism operates
and mate is given.

Note s h o u l d be made of a highly

signi ficant subtlety - the moves by
the qu ee n to g4 and h5 became
possible, only because B lack' s king
was lured onto the diagonal of the
bishop at e5. The mating mechan­
i sm - queen, supported by the other
bi shop, attacking h7 - has already
Radulov-8ederborg been created. The bishop at e5 is
Helsinki 1 961 also indirectly participating in it, by
74 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

paralysing the knight at f6. Mate the queen merely fulfilling a restric­
cannot be prevented : on 3 . . .'it>g8 ting role, the honour of landing the
there fol lows 4 .1o.xf6 l:l fe8 5 'i'xh7+ decisive blow going to the bishop.
'11;> f8 6 'i' h8 mate. White has nothing better than 7
'i'g5, but after 7 . . . 'iI'xf4+! 8 <oto>h3
'i'xg5 the game is over. This
example differs from the preceding
one, only in that, at the cost of
heavy material loss, mate can be
averted, which, however, does not
affect the result.
Mating combinations may also be
associated with a double b low.
when a threat of mate is combined
with some less strong threat or
attack. Such combinations normally
lead to a win.
Kopayev-Averbakb Here is a typical example of such
Leningrad 1 946 a combination :

Here the white king has come out

in front of its pawn screen, and in
addition its defenders are on the
opposite wing. Not surprisingly, it
immediately comes under a strong
attack, since B lack can quickly open
the h-fiIe.
l ...h4 2 'i'c3+ 'iil d 7 3 'iWe5
At full steam the white queen
hastens to the aid of her sovereign,
but it is already too late . . .
3 ... hxg3+ 4 Wxg3 l:th3+ !
The rook is sacrificed in order to Parr-Wheatcroft
set up a mating mechan ism. The London Championship 1 938
king is l ured to the fatal h3 square
and diverted from the defence of 0 , By 1 .!:th5! White landed a spec­
for where the black queen is aiming. tacular double blow. The black
5 'iilx h3 'i'f3+ 6 'it>h4 .i.e7+ queen is attacked, but if 1 . . 'iI'xd7

Here we see a queen giving mate there fol lows mate in two moves 2 -

in conjunction with a bishop, with lLlg5+ '11;> h 8 3 1hh6 mate.

Winning Combinations 75

It is worth mentioning once again to. And meanwhile Black is

that such combinations, involving a threatening 4 ... tbg6, finally locking
double blow, often arise suddenly the dungeon door, and then 5 . . . :h8,
and unexpectedly. At any event, for wining the queen.
one of the players! To defend against this threat,
Here is a characteristic example: White has to resort to extreme
4 llcl tbg6 5 .l1l.g3 c6
To 5 .. .l:lhS White was intending
to reply 6 :xc7+ iixc7 7 iixg6.
6 :cS
On 6 . . . :h8 White was planning 7
ltf5, but Black has available a
deadly double blow, prepared far i n
advance; which immediately
decides the game.
6 . .l1l.c3 !

On the one hand the q ueen i s

attacked, a n d on t h e other hand
Solovyev-Averbakh m ate is threatened at e I . Therefore
Moscow 1 945 Wh ite re signed .
And now a double blow com b i n­
Here B lack ' s pieces are the more ation, in which t h e king is simply
actively placed, although at first one of the targets attacked.
sight there is nothing to suggest that
the end is close for White. In fact
his position is critical : his queen is
severely restricted, and Black i s
able to exploit t h i s fact o r

1 ...tbe2+ 2 '.t>fl tbf4 3 �h7

It appears t h at B lack can w i n
immediately b y 3 �e6, threaten i n g

mate in three mo v es (4 'ilic2+ 5...

'.t>g l 'ilixe l +), but White parr ies this

threat by 4 iie4, and after 4 . 'ilixe4 ..

5 dxe4 B lack cannot play 5 .lhe4 ..

on account of 6 :dS mate.

Black' s correct reply is 3 ... iif7!
The white queen is trapped, and Botvinnik-Menchik
does not have a single square to go Hastings 1 93415
76 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

Black' s posItIOn is difficult.

Trying to exchange the strong white
b ishop, which is aiming at e6 and
f7, she played 1 ...�d5, and this IS
what happened:
2 fxe6 �xb3 3 e7+ !
i i
A l ittle, but highly effective
combination. By this pawn sacrifice
the black king is l ured into a double
blow. After 3 lto>xe7 4 ltJc6+

White ' s material advantage i s

sufficient for a win, and s o Black
Leningrad 1 934
Combinations to win material
Therefore Black repl ied 1...exfS,
Combinations of this type are assum ing that the d-pawn would not
divided into two groups. The first run away . But in fact this move was
covers combinations in which the a m istake. allowing White to carry
win of a piece is achieved by a out a combination against the black
combined attack on it, i.e. when an queen.
attack on th is piece is made, and it There followed 2 �xf7+ ! l:I.xf7 3
has no possibil ity of moving away , ltJc4. and the queen was trapped.
or of d e fen d i n g aga i n st t h e attack.
The second sub-group concerns
double blow com b i nations, where
the attack on a piece is combined
w ith attacks or threats of attacks on
other pieces.
A typical example of a combined
attack is given in the following
diagram .
Here White played I fS .
After the pawn capture 1 . l::tx d4

he was intending to reply 2 fxe6

.ltxe6 3 .ltxe6 fxe6 4 ltJg6 l:I.e8 5 e5
ltJfd5 6 'i'f2, with a double blow -
an attack on the rook and the threat Novotelnov-Rovner
of a check at f7. Moscow 1946
Winning Combinations 77

Thi s is an example of a combin­ move the black queen has attacked

ation to win a piece by a double the opponent' s queen and rook.
blow. White is helpless: he can neither
White was apparently satisfied take the queen, nor defend the rook,
with his position : the b6 pawn is and on 7 l::!.f2 there follows 7 . . 'ifxc2

attacked, and 2 f6 is threatened. But 8 lhc2 l:!:d I mate.

it was B lack' s turn to move and,
seizing on a significant defect in the
placing of the opponent's pieces Combinations to queen a pawn
(poorly defended back rank), he
unexpectedly sacrificed a piece : It is clear that the advance of a
l! 2 iLxfS tLlxfS 3 .tlxfS pawn and its promotion to any
J:iedS! piece, but especially to a queen, i s
A very important move in a n effective m ethod o f gaining a
B lack' s plan - now the queen has to material advantage. In the
retreat, such that it is simul­ m iddlegame such situations occur
taneously guarding the back rank. comparatively rarely. We give an
4 'i'c4 J:tacS S 'i'e2 1:1xc2 6 'ilixc2 exceptional example, where a pawn
'ili'cS! became a queen immediately after
the opening.

Belgrade 1970

1 b3 eS 2 il.b2 tLlc6 3 c4 tLlf6 4 tLlf3

e4 S tLld4 il.cs 6 tLlxc6 dxc6 7 e3
iLfS S 'i'c2 'ife7 9 il.e2 0-0-0 10 f4
Wh ite has played the opcn ing in
original s t y l e but t h i s has not donc

him any good : Black has success­

fu lly comp leted the mobilisation of
h i s fim:es and i s ready to begin
Let us try to investigate what active play. And White ' s last move
happened. By a piece sacri fice is a serious mistake, which merely
B lack first lured the white rook to assists the opponent.
f5 and diverted it from the defence 10 tLlg4 ! 11 g3 hS 1 2 h3 h4!

of the back rank. Then the white By sacrificing a piece. Black

queen was lured to c2. All this has mounts an irresistible attack on the
led to a double blow - with its last wh ite king.
78 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

13 bxg4 bxg3 1 4 l:tgl but strong passed c3 pawn enables

him to sacrifice his knight, but carry
out a winning combination.

Now comes an unexpected

sacrifice that assists the advance of
the pawn and opens the h4-e I Wcltmander-Polugayevsky
diagonal for the black queen . Sochi 1 958
14 ... �b l ! 15 lhb l g2 1 6 11fl
There is nothing better; if 1 6 lrg 1 I . . .ttJg3+!
'it' h4+ 1 7 � d I 'it'h I ! 1 8 'it'c 3 With th is sacrifice B lack opens
'i'xg I + 1 9 �c2 'it'f2, and White can the f-file for the fol lowing double
resign. b low.
16 ...'it'b4+ 1 7 �d l gxfl ='it'+ 18 2 fxg3 'i' f6+ 3 'it'f2
iLxfl iLxg4+ There is nothing else: otherwise
White resigns; after 1 9 iLe2 he is White loses his rook.
mated next move. 3 . .lhet+ 4 �xel 'it'xf2+ 5 �xf2

Of course, combinations to c2, and the pawn queens.

promote a pawn that involve a It is useful to investigate the
double blow are also possible. mechan ism of this double blow.
The first impression in the 2 . '*i'f6+ is a double attack (on the

following position is that Black rook and the king), in combination

stands badly - his knight is lost. with the latent threat of promoting
However, the seem ingly harmless, the pawn to a queen.
1 7 D rawi n g Co m b i n ati o n s
We will begin our examination of the advance of the pawn seriously
drawing combinations with those in weakens the king's fortress, a factor
which the target of the offensive is that Alekhine exploits with two
the king, but where the attack on the destructive sacrifices.
monarch leads not to mate, but to 2 �xb6 gxb6 3 J:txe6 fxe6 4
perpetual check. 'Wg3+ .t>b8 5 'Wg6
White ' s queen, also supported by
Perpetual cbeck his bishop, has ended up dange­
rously close to the black king. But
This situation arises most often Black' s knight i s securely covering
when the enemy king' s defences are h7, and it turns out that White is
destroyed, but there is insufficient unable to create mating threats.
force to give mate. In the majority A fter S... 'i'e8 all that he has is
of cases, attacks on the king leading perpetual check: 6 'i'xh6+ .t>g8 7
to perpetual check are carried out by 'iWgS+ .t>b8 (of course, not 7 .t>f7 8

the queen. The fol lowing is a classic 'Wg6 mate) 8 'Wb6+, and the players
example: agreed a draw.
Sometimes perpetual check may
be a way to save the game, after an
attack has petered out.

SI Petersb urg 1914

Here Lasker played 1 ...h6, with

the aim of determining the position Smyslov-Vasyukov
of White ' s dark-square bishop. But Moscow 1 961
80 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

The first impression is that Stalemate

White ' s attack has come to a halt,
and that he cannot avoid loss of Stalemating combinations occur
material. But there is a way to save rather rarely in the middlegame, and
the game: are much more common in the
1 J:!.h5+! endgame. In most cases stalemate
This destructive sacrifice exposes occurs when one side, with a
the king, which proves sufficient for significant material advantage, and
perpetual check. where the win is within reach,
1 ...gxh5 2 �d6+ �g6 3 "Wf8+ overlooks the opponent's defensive
with a draw. resources.
A threat of perpetual check may Here is one of the best known
be combined in a double blow with examples of this type.
some other strong threat, for
example, a threat of mate.

New York 1963
Ryumin-Verlinsky It is patently clear that White
Leningrad 1 933 stands bad ly. He is a piece down,
his king is in mortal danger, and it
Black ' s strong passed pawn at d2 seems time to resign. However,
gives him the advantage, but by Evans did not resign, but made a
threaten i ng mate Wh ite manages to move that h i s opponent evidently
draw the game by perpetual check. took to be a gesture of despair.
1 J:[fl ! dl='iW 2 �e6+ ! �h7 I h4! lle2+ 2 �hl ii'xg3
(2 . . . ii'xe6 3 llfS+ �h7 4 llh8 mate) Antic ipating immediate capitula­
3 tZlf8+ '.t>h8 (3 ii'xfS 4 ii'g6+
... tion, Reshevsky did not take the
'.t>g8 5 �e6+) 4 tZlg6+ with a draw. trouble to clarify his opponent' s
Drawing Combinations SI

intentions, and captured the pawn 1. .l:txh2 2 'i'e3 J:la8 3 J:lg7+


(he should have played 2 . . . 'i'g6 3 A gesture of despair, which Black

l:tfS 'i'e6 ! ) . But now White's king simply ignored .
has no move, and he needs only to 3 ... lt>h6, and White res igned.
get rid of his superfluous queen and Later it was establ i shed that with
rook. his first move Geller had let slip the
There fol low two self-elim inating win. 1 l:tg4 ! was correct, e.g. 2

sacrifices : l:I:h3 ne I + 3 It>e2 Itg2+ and 4 . . . l:I.c3

3 'i'g8+! 'it>xg8 4 l:txg7+, and the mate.
capture of the rook leads to Taking the pawn with 1 lhh2 ...

stalemate, while if it is not taken, allowed Taimanov the possibility of

then the ' desperado' rook gives an elegant stalemating combination
perpetual check. - 2 l:txgS lt>xgS 3 l:tg3+!
Stalemate is usually the last This decoy sacrifice, which is
saving chance. But this is by no simultaneously self-eliminating, de­
means a straw at which a drowning prives the white king of any moves.
man clutches. The threat of After the forced 3 . 'i'xg3 the ki n g
. .

stalemate is a very real defensive is stalemated, and Wh ite only needs

procedure, which should always be to get rid of his queen - 4 'i'b8+
kept in mind. It>g7 5 'i'gS+! w ith a draw.


I t is well known that in an attack the

pieces should support one another,
so that their actions against the
enemy king are coord i n ate d There­

fore when there is a sm a l l n u m ber

of attack i ng pi eces. a s ys t e m of
defence is poss i b l e . based on
shutting onc o f these p i eces out of

Taimanov-Geller (see diagram next page)

Moscow 1 951
The black pawn cannot be
White ' s position is lost: against prevented from queening. but i t
the numerous threats there is no turns o u t that e v e n in this apparently
defence. The game lasted just three q u ite hopeless pos i t io n Wh ite has a
more moves: pos s i b i l ity of sav ing the game.
82 Chess Middlegames: Essential Know/edge

V.Chekhover, 1 954 after F.Simkhovieh, 1 924

(conclusion of a study) White to play and draw

He plays 1 il.. g4! d4! "i'd8 2 h4, and, despite

This move constitutes a typical Black ' s enormous material advan­
double blow. On the one hand tage (extra queen), he is unable to
White attacks the pawn, and, if win.
B lack takes the bishop -1 . . 'ittxg4,
. Such a method of defence is not
then after 2 f3+ and 3 �f2 the king often encountered, but it is never­
stops the pawn and the draw theless worth knowing.
becomes completely obvious.
And in reply to l ...el="i' White Perpetual pursuit
carries out his second threat - by 2
h3 ! he completely shuts in the black With perpetual check it is the king
king at h4, after which the queen that is pursued, but other pieces too
alone is unable to do anything. can be subjected to such a con­
It is not only the king that can be tinuous attack. Although this theme
blockaded, but any other piece, even is one that has been thorough ly
the queen . Thus in the following developed by study composers, it
position Black ' s king, together with also occurs occasionally in practice.
his bi shop. is securely shut in the The following position shows one
corner, but his queen is threatening such exam ple.
to break out to freedom, after which Black's pieces are scattered, and
the white pawns, like ripe apples, his queen is practically shut out of
will fall one after another. But the game. In addition, e4-e5 is
White succeeds in blocking in the threatened. However, the congested
queen. placing of the white p ieces on the
Drawing Combinations 83

kingside allows B lack to carry out a pieces are unable to penetrate, is an

combination on the theme of important strategical method of
perpetual pursuit. defence.

Zurakhov-Bukbman Flohr-Lilienthal
Kiev 1 967 Budapest 1950

1 ...�g4 2 bxg4 White has a queen for rook and

After 2 'ilff2 �xe2 3 tDxe2 pawn, but the play i s a l l on one
'ilfxf2+ Black has nothing to fear. wing, and the result depends on
2 tDxg4 3 l:fel
•.. whether or not he can take the
Since the h I square is defended opponent's fortress by storm .
by the knight, the attack by queen There fol lowed 1 ...tDfS! 2 �xfS
and knight against the white king is Flohr thought that after this ex­
not so dangerous. But what proves change he would eas i l y win with h i s
decisive here is the fact that the passed pawn, but t h e resu lting
white queen is very restricted in its pos ition constitutes an im pregnable
movements, and B lack is able to fortress. 2 'iW f4 wa s stronger, so as
begin a pursuit of it. then to try to break up Black' s
3 . tDb2! 4 'ilff2 tDg4 5 'ilfo
.. defences b y the advance o f the
The only move: after 5 'ilf fl h-pawn .
White is mated. 2 ... gxfS 3 <it>g2 f4 4 h4 'iii' h 7 5
S tDb2 with a draw.
..• �O l:te3+ 6 '1ti>xf4 lle6 7 'iii' fS llg6 8
h5 J:th6 9 <it>g5
Fortress White ' s pieces have approached
right up to the opponent' s defences,
The construction of an impregnable but they are unable to penetrate
fortress, into which the opponent' s inside the fortress.
84 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

9 .!::t.e 6 10 "d8 Wg7

•.. Thus we can conclude that the
The queen cannot be allowed to loss of even one pawn on the
go to fB . kingside will signify defeat.
1 1 "d4+ Wb7 1 2 " b 4 J:[b6 13 What then can White do? Does he
'Wb4 Wg7 1 4 'ifb8 l:!.e6 drawn. have any possibility of avoiding the
The idea of constructing a loss of any pawns? It turns out that
fortress is not always obvious. he has, and a very unusual one - he
Sometimes it can be highly must give up his bishop !
camouflaged. Initiall y this idea looks pointless,
but the paradox is that, thanks to
this seemingly quite incomprehen­
sible piece sacrifice, White
succeeds in evicting the rook from
his position and in setting up an
impregnable fortress.
1 Wd l ! l:!.h2 2 �el (or 2 'it> e2)
2 ...l:[xg2 3 'it>fl l:[h2 4 'it>gl l:[h6 5
f3! l:!.e6 6 'ii,( fl 'ii,( f7 7 �f2

V.Chekhover, 1 947
White to play and draw

White has three pawns for the

exchange, and his task does not
appear difficult. But outward
impressions can often be deceptive.
B l ack has the dangerous threat of
invading the opponent' s position
and capturing a couple of pawns, A unique position has arisen.
after which it will not be difficult B lack is a rook up, but here it
for him to win. proves impossible to exploit thi s
For example: I 'ii,( c 2 l:l h2 2 .lt fl advantage. Wh ite h a s set up a pawn
l:txf2 3 i.d3 J:l.g2, or I i.f3 l:[fB 2 barricade, and his king is securely
i.d l l:!. xf2 3 g4 J::tg 2 4 �c2 l:!. g3, guarding all the entrances and exits.
and, by taking his king to e4, B lack And in conclusion - a humorous
wins. study on the theme of the fortress.
Drawing Combinations 85

endgame. The following ancient

example is typical.

A.Rudolph, 1 9 1 2
White to play and draw
G.Greco, 1 623
The task of making a draw may Black to play and draw
cause perplexity: White ' s position
looks completely hopeless. But he B lack is two pawns down, but he
does not lose heart: nevertheless saves the game by an
1 i.a4+ ! ! exchanging combination:
What nonsense ! A s I t I S , White 1 ....I:I.a 1 + 2 .l:l.fl l:I.xfl+ 3 .t.>xfl
has so I ittle force, and he gives up i.h3!
another p iece. In this way, by giving up his
1 ...'ittxa4 2 b3+ 'itt b 5 3 c4+ 'ittc 6 4 b ishop for the g-pawn (or to trans­
d5+ 'ittd 7 5 e6+ �xd8 form the g-pawn into an h-pawn
I f the pawns are disregarded, the after 4 gxh3), Black achieves a
white king has to battle alone well-known the o ret i ca l pos ition, in
against a hugely superior enemy wh ich White ' s extra bishop does
force, but after 6 IS, permanently n ot g i v e him a w i n .
locking the fortress, Black is power­ I n t h e fo l l owi ng, more comp l i ­
less to i nvade the enemy position, cated example, Wh i te achieves a
and is unable to realise his enor­ dra w i n g balance of forces by means
mous material advantage. Therefore of a double blow.
- draw.
(see diagram next page)
Drawing balance of forces
White is rook down . I n order to
Such combinations, l ike the pre­ gain a draw he m u st save his knight
ceding ones, occur most often in th e and win the enemy bi s ho p .
86 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

1 e7 J:te4+ 2 Wfl! J:he5 3 ltJc7!

!!xe7 4 ltJd5!
An extremely effective move,
which constitutes a double blow.
The knight attacks the rook and
simultaneously carries the threat of
a double attack on king and rook.
Therefore the black rook cannot
move to e8, e6 or e4.
4 ...!!e5
The only move. But now White
carries a second order threat.
5 ltJf4+ Wg4 6 ltJd3, with a
M.Perelman, 1 95 5 double attack on rook and bishop.
White to play and draw
18 Ch ess Aestheti cs
For anyone who knows nothing No one is surprised therefore by the
about chess, the l ittle pieces are enthusiastic applause of the spec­
nothing more than wooden or tators, when some game is
plastic knick-knacks. It is hard to concluded by a spectacular, deeply
believe that they are capable of calculated combination.
l iving a complicated life, ful l of And it becomes understandable
dangers. But m an ' s thinking and why, in the majority of chess
imagination inspire these pieces, events, special prizes are awarded
and they, l i ke real actors, are for bril liancy, and the most
capable of giving wonderful per­ beautiful games and combinations
formances. These may be tragedies, find their way into publications
dramas, or even comedies. And throughout the world.
what is most interesting is that the But what is meant by a beautiful
person moving these pieces, and game or a beautiful combination?
also any spectator present, himself In order to answer th is question,
becomes a direct participant in the we will acquaint you with a few
performance. He does not know combinations from th e treasury of
what the outcome of the spectacle chess art, the most striking master­
will be, and he experiences excite­ pieces of chess creativity.
ment, surprise, delight, frustration
and despair, since the seemingly
unpretentious pieces are capable, as
it turns out, of touching the most
sensitive and innermost parts of the
human soul . And it is then that a
game of chess is transformed into a
work of art, which not on l y
gladdens the m ind, but also warm s
the heart.
Among the feel ings accompany­
ing the struggle on the chess board.
the strongest and most profound is
undoubtedly the feeling of beauty -
beauty of idea, beauty of human
thought. This beauty acts with un­ Zukertort-Blackburne
usual intensity on our imagination. London 1883
88 Chess Midd/egames: Essential Knowledge

B l ack ' s kingside is weakened, but establish that, after bringing his
he is pinning all his hopes on his second rook into play, White gives
knight move to e4. However, White mate in a few moves. But the move
simply disregards thi s threat, having played also does not save Black. A
seen that he will later gain excel lent new sacrifice fol lows:
attacking possibilities. 7 :(8+ ! 'it>xh7
1 f5! If 7 . . . 'iifxf8 8 �xe5+ �xh7 9
When p laying this, Zukertort 'iifxe4+ �h6 1 0 :h3+ with a quick
would have had to calculate mate.
accurately all the consequences. 8 'iif xe4+ 'it>g7 9 �xe5+! (another
l ...lbe4 2 �xe4 dxe4 3 fxg6! rook sacrifice) 9 ... �x(8 10 �g7+ ! !
Played with Olympian cal m : A spectacular concluding stroke!
White is not afraid of 3 . . . J:l: c2 . 10 ... 'iifxg7 allows 1 1 'iife 8 mate,
3 ... l:tc2 4 gxh7+ ..t>h8 5 d5+ e5 while if I O . . . 'ihg7 1 1 'iifx e7+. Black
therefore resigned.
The beauty of Zukertort's com­
bination consists in the series of
spectacular sacrifices - queen, rook
(twice) and bishop, but the most
beautiful move, of course, was the
initial and quite unexpected queen
move to b4. No less important is the
fact that the combination arose as a
result of a clash of ideas.

White ' s attack appears to have

come to an end. That, at any event,
is evidently what the commander of
the b lac k pieces thought, but it is
here that the fu ll depth and beauty
of Zukertort ' s idea is revealed. He
sacrifices h i s queen !
6 1'ib4!! J:l:8c5
A las, the acceptance of t h e sac­
rifice leads to a forced mate - 6 . . .
'iifxb4 7 �xe5+ ..t>xh7 8 J:l: h3+ ..t>g6 Steinitz-Bardeleben
9 J:l:g3+, and the reader h imself can Hastings 1 895
Chess Aesthetics 89

The s ituation looks rather 3 �g8 4 .!:rg7+!


compl icated and unclear: B lack is a Nothing short of miraculous ! The

pawn up, and is threatening, after rampant rook feels perfectly at
exchanging rooks, to win the knight. home in the enemy position .
It is true that White has available a 4 . <iti'h8
. .

discovered check with his knight, There is simply nothing else.

but what does it lead to? 4 . .�f8 is decisively met by 5

1 ttJgS+ We8 2 lhe7+! ttJxh7+.

It begins ! It is bad for Black to S J:hh7+ !
take the rook with his queen on
account of the obvious 2 . . : i'xe7 3
.!hc8+ .!:rxc8 4 'i'xc8+, while if he
takes it with the king, then 2 . . <iti'xe7

3 .!:r e I + �d6 4 'i'b4+ Wc7 (4 . .!:rc5


5 .!:r e6+) 5 ttJe6+ �b8 6 'i'f4+ .!:rc7

7 ttJxc7 'i'xc7 8 .!:r e8 mate.
Such a combination is not dif­
ficult to calculate, and if that was all
there was to it, it would hardly merit
distinction. But the fact that White ' s
rook at c l has been l e ft undefended
allows B lack to make a paradoxical
move, prepared beforehand . In this
way he was hoping to refute Here the game concluded, and
White's idea. what's more, rather unexpectedly.
2...'it>f8! Realising that he was losing, the
A quite worthy reply. 'Go ahead,' stunned Bardeleben could not hide
the b lack monarch seems to be h is feel ings, and was so upset t hat
saying, smiling iron ically, 'take my he got up from the hoard , l e ft the
queen if you want, and you w i l l be p l a y i n g h a l l . a nd . . did not ret u r n .
mated on the back ran k ! ' He w a s , o f cour se awarded a loss.

Surely White wasn ' t l i ke t h e The u n s p o rt i n g behav iour of his

hunter in the old Russian fairy talc, opponent did not al low Steinitz to
who caught a bear, but the trouble concl ude his bri lliant combination,
was, the bear wouldn 't let him go ' the finish to which he promptly
However, it transpires that demonstrated:
Steinitz had also anticipated th is. 5 '>t> g8 6 J:t g7+ '>t> h8 7 'i'h4+!

3 .!:rti+! '>t> xg7

Very clever: the rook is sti l l White's efforts have been
immune. crowned by success - he has final ly
90 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

forced his opponent to accept the

rook sacrifice. But now the black
king comes under a series of deadly
b lows by the queen and knight.
8 'i'h 7+ �f8 9 'i'h8+ <l; e 7 I 0
'i'g7+ 'itte 8
After IO <l; d6 1 1 'i'xf6+ White

gives mate next move.

1 1 'i'g8+ <l; e7 12 'i'f7+ �d8 1 3
'i'f8+ 'i'e8 1 4 ttJ f7+ 'it> d7 1 5 'i'd6

Lodz 1 907

Possible here was the prosaic

1 . . . ttJxh2 2 'i'h5 .i.xe4 3 ttJxe4
ttJxfl , or 2 .i.xb 7 ttJxfl with the
threat of 3 . . . ttJg3+. But the l ine
chosen by B lack is, of course, far
more beautiful and spectacular.
1 ...'i'h4 2 g3
Stumbling into the main variation
of the combination. Now the b lack
The beauty of this truly grandiose pieces, like a pack of hungry
combination lies not only in the fact wolves, fal l on the enemy monarch .
that it extends for 1 4 moves, 2 .l:hc3 ! ! 3 gxh4 J::t d 2 ! !

involves the repeated sacrifice of a A fantastic position! Black has

rook, and ends in a spectacular given up his queen, and four of his
mate. Perhaps the most important p i eces are en prise, but the capture
thing is that Steinitz anticipated the of any of them leads to mate or to
paradoxical king move, on which irreplaceable loss of material.
his opponent was pinning all his I f 4 .i. xc3 .i. xe4+ 5 'i'xe4 J:l.xh2
hopes. mate, or 4 'i' xg4 .i. xe4+ 5 J::t f3 ':'xf3
I n the fol lowing position White ' s 6 'iW g2 J::t fl + 7 J::t xfl .i.xg2 mate.
defences in the centre, under fire F inally, 4 .i. xb7 is met by 4 . . . J::txe2
from all sides by Black' s long-range 5 .i. g2 J::t h 3 ! 6 .i.xh3 ':'xh2 mate.
pieces, look decidedly shaky. The That only leaves the line chosen
question is, how to demolish them? by White.
Chess Aesthetics 91

Here B lack even has two ways to

win. One is combinational, where
the variations are not so spectacular
as after 2 g3, although they are
convincing enough.
2 .. .l:h c3 ! 3 �xc3
The best reply. A forced mate
results from 3 'ili'xg4 l:txh3+! 4
'ili'xh3 'ili'xh3+! 5 gxh3 �xe4+ 6
.ti> h2 l:td2+.
3 . . . �xe4 4 'ili'xg4
After 4 'ili'xe4 'ili'g3 ! 5 hxg4 'ili'h4+
White is mated.
4 .. :i'xg4 5 hxg4 l:t d3 ! 6 .ti> h2
4 'ili'xd2 �xe4+ 5 'ili'g2 l:h3 The only defence against 6 . . . l:th3
White resigns, since there is no mate.
defence against the mate at h2. 6 . . . l:xc3, and with two bishops
Here, of course, the queen for a rook Black must win this
sacrifice was very fine, and the ending.
position arising after it extremely However, the second, totally
striking, but all the play was in one prosaic way, is even simpler - 2 . . .
direction: White could do nothing to ..ITI. xe4 3 ttJxe4 ttJe3 ! 4 l: fc I (there i s
oppose the powerful enemy blows. no other defence against 4 . . . l:tc2)
Incidentally, it is worth seeing 4 ... 'iIi'xf4, with a material advantage.
how Black' s attack would have
developed, if White had defended
with 2 h3 instead of 2 g3 .

.t. l .t.

New Orleans 1920
92 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

Outwardly the position looks M iraculous! The queen again

quiet, and so after I .i. xf6, w ithout offers itself, but due to the mate
especially considering the conse­ threat it cannot be taken in e ither
quences, Black replied 1. .. .i.xf6, way.
although 1 . gxf6 came into con­
.. 4 ... 'i'b5 5 a4!
sideration. The point is that in this This move - the sacrifice of an
case 2 J:lxe7 does not work on insignificant pawn - is no less
account of 2 . . . the7 ! (but not strong than the preceding queen
2 .. .l:t xe7 3 J:lxe7 'i'xe7 4 'i'g4+ and sacrifices. In a combination every­
5 'i'xc8). thing is identically important -
After the capture with the bishop, sacrifices, attacks, and even the
B lack' s queen is tied to the defence most simple moves.
of the rook at e8, which allows Incidental ly, without this impor­
White to carry out a wonderful tant move White ' s combination
combination. would not have worked: on the
2 'i'g4! 'i'b5! immediate 5 'i'xb7 B lack can reply
It turns out that Black too has 5 . . 'i'xe2 !

powder left in his keg! In moving 5 .. :i'xa4 6 l:e4! 'i'b5 7 'i'xb7!

out of the attack, the queen in turn The triumph of the attack ! The
creates the threat of capturing on e2. black queen perishes on the field of
3 'i'e4 ! ! battle. Black resigns.
A worthy reply! The queen i s In this combination the four
untouchable. It not o n l y defends the queen sacrifices are spectacular, of
rook at e2, but itself threatens to course, but I think that the subtle
take the opponent' s queen, which move 6 l:le4 ! i s no less pretty. After
has to retreat. all, in combination with the pawn
3 ... 'i'd7 4 'ire7 ! ! sacrifice at a4, it is only this move
that makes the entire combination
correct and leads to a win.

(see diagram next page)

Black has just captured a white

knight at h5, assum ing that after I
'i'xh5 f5 he would have time to
erect a defensive line. Therefore,
without losing time on regaining the
piece, Wh ite immediately destroys
the fortifications in the vicinity of
the opponent's king.
Chess Aesthetics 93

but their effectiveness depended on

the final double blow.
You have seen just a few of the
dazzling ancient combinations from
the treasury of chess art. I hope that
you liked them . In fact, the golden
fund of chess contains many more,
and modem tournaments are
constantly adding fresh examples.
All the given combinations are
characterised by originality of
thought, spectacular, deeply calcu­
lated sacrifices, and paradoxical
Lasker-Bauer moves that are difficult to find -
Amsterdam 1889 everything that in chess constitutes
But I should like to emphasise
1 �xh7+! 'iti>xh7 2 'l'xh5+ 'iti>g8 3 one further important feature of the
.i.xg7 ! ! >t>xg7 chess combination. A game of chess
The second sacrifice has to be is a clash of two personal ities, and
accepted. If 3 . . . f6, then 4 lIf3 'l'e8 5 this means two intellects and two
'l'h8+ 'iti>f7 6 'l' h 7 . characters, and an artistic chess
4 'l'g4+ 'iii> h 7 5 lIO e5 production is created in the course
Only in this way can Black of the struggle between them.
prevent the threatened mate. For this reason, even a
6 l:th3+ 'l'h6 7 l:txh6+ 'iii> x h6 spectacular combination that is
For the moment B lack has qu ite unexpected for o n e of the sides,
adequate compensation for the where the p l ay is all in onc direction
queen - a rook and two bishops. But and onc of the p l ayers i s given the
the fol lowing move, which had to role o f a w h i p p i n g - boy, by the laws
be seen in advance, puts everyth ing of chess bea ut y must be val ued
in its p lace : W hite wins a further much less than one where there is a
piece. clash of ideas, when both players go
8 'l'd7! �f6 9 "i'xb7, and Wh ite in for o n e and the same position, but
won. one sees a little further, when one
Lasker' s combination, involving sees a combination, and the other
the sacrifice of both bishops, be­ sees its refutation . If from this
came a classic, and has been re­ viewpoint we exam ine the exam ples
peated many times in practice. The given, the combinations i n the
bishop sacrifices are spectacular, Zukertort-Blackburne and Stein itz-
94 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

Bardeleben games should be rated is met by the decisive 4 . . . e2+ 5

more highly than, say, the combin­ lhe2 'i'xe2+! 6 'it;xe2 d 1 ='i'+ and
ations in the Rotlewi-Rubinstein wins. And on 4 ltg4+ my opponent
and Lasker-Bauer games. had prepared the spectacular reply
A s an example of such a clash of 4 . . . J:lg6, when after 5 J:lxg6+ hxg6 6
ideas, I should like to give the fol­ 'i' xg6+ (6 h6+ 'iPh7) 6 . . . 'it;xf8 Black
lowing ending: is a rook up.
Why then did White nevertheless
go in for this continuation? Because
he saw i n advance a refutation of
the opponent's combination !

Szczawno Zdroj 1 950

As can be seen, the position is

extremely sharp. Black ' s king has
no pawns covering it, but as yet it is The game concluded:
not evident how it can be attacked. 4 ltg4+ J:lg6 5 b6+ !
White ' s king i s comparatively safe, Th is modest pawn move radically
but the central black pawns are changes the situation, by opening
ready to rush forward. Who will be the h-file for an attack by the white
the first to create real threats? queen . B lac k has only one reply:
I 'i'fS d3 2 IH4 d2+ 3 <Jo>dl e3 S Wxh6 6 J:lxg6+ bxg6 7 'i'b3+!

Just three moves have been made, Now it al l becomes clear. After
and the wh ite king is in mortal both 7 . . . W g5 8 'i' h4 and 7 . . . <l; g7 8

danger: there appears to be no 'i'h8 there is only one outcome -

defence against 4 . . . e2+. Thus 4 :e4 Black is mated.

19 Strategy of Atta ck
Up till now we have been Attack on tbe uncastled king
examining s ituations in which the
warring forces have already made At the very start of a game the
contact, and tactics have come to players have to solve the problem of
the fore. We will now turn to a the safety of their kings. Since in
study of positions in which the main the majority of openings the
feature is strategy, where if the position is usually opened in the
forces of the two sides have come centre, they aim to take their kings
into contact, then only in the centre, as far away as possible from the
and the subsequent actions demand fighting that begins in the centre,
the drawing up of a correct plan that and castle either on the kingside, or
corresponds most closely to the on the queenside. Only in excep­
features of these positions. It should tional cases, when the centre is
be mentioned that the choice of plan blocked, and play is conducted on
depends to a certain extent on the the flanks, may a player try to gain
pawn structures of the two sides, time for d e vel op i ng his in itiative,
but to an even greater degree it is economi se on castling and not h u rry
determined by where the main to evacu ate h i s ki n g from th e ce n tr e .
target of the attack is located - the In certain openings a play er w i l l
enemy king. endeavour t o deny the opponent's
Depending on the placing of the king the right to castle, and for this
kings, four typical situations can be will b e prepared t o sacrifice
distinguished: material. Here we w i l l exam ine
(a) One or both kings are several instances, where for some
deprived of the right to castle or are reason one of the k ings i s caught in
unable to c ast l e. t h c ccntrc a n d hecomcs a targct for
(b) Both kings h a v e castled on attac k .
the king s i de . Our t a s k is to cstabl ish how in
(c) The kings have castled on slI c h positions th e offensive actions
opposite sides. arc planned, and how the attack is
(d) The kings have both castled conducted .
on the kingside, but the offensive is As a r u le , in open positions with
mounted on the queenside. an un castled king it is extremely
We will now examine what w i l l dangerous to begin act ive p lay. The
b e the strategy o f attack i n each of fol lowing example con v i ncingly
these cases. demonstrates this.
96 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

Thus both kings have lost the

right to castle. But White' s forces
are fully mobilised, and thi s allows
him to make an immediate assault
on the enemy monarch, whereas his
own king in the m iddle of the board
feels completely safe.
7 l:te l !
Less c lear is 7 ttJc7+ �d8 8
ttJxa8 'it'cS ! , with two threats
9 . . . 'iWxc4 and 9 . . . ttJf2+.
7 ttJef6

If 7 . . . ttJecS , defending the e6

Averbakh-Estrin pawn against attack, then 8 ..Ii.e3 !
Moscow 1 964 'iWh4 9 ttJd6+, winning the queen.
S �xe6! 'iWxb2
White has a clear lead in develop­ The bishop cannot be taken on
ment, yet, tempted by the win of a account of mate in two moves.
pawn, Black risks beginning active 9 J:c1
play: 1...�xc3+ 2 'iWxc3 ttJxe4 What can Black do now? 9 ...
He does not fear 3 ..Ii.bS+ on 'iWxbS is met by 10 ..Ii.c4+, and
account of 3 . . . ttJc6. But . . . meanwhile White is threatening 1 0
3 ttJbS! 'it'cs ..Ii.xd7+ �xd7 1 1 J:1c7+ �d8 1 2
Black assumed that the attack on 'it'xf8+, mating. There i s n o defence
f2 wou l d gai n time for the defence. against this, and so B lack res igned.
4 'iWxg7 ! J:t1'8 5 � h 6 'iWxf2+ 6
�dl ttJd7

Portoroz 1 958
Strategy ofAttack 97

B lack has delayed evacuating his 1 1 . ..�d6 would have been

king from the centre, and now answered by 1 2 'i'f4+, winning the
queenside castling can be answered rook.
by 2 ltJxt7, and kingside castling by 12 'i'xg7
2 gS . B lack resigns. After 1 2 . . . .iLe4 1 3
He therefore played 1...f6, having 'liVeS he loses his bishop.
decided first to drive away the The possibility of opening up the
knight, and then nevertheless to position is an important factor in
castle que.enside. The loss of the e6 evaluating positions with an
pawn did not worry him : in return uncastled king.
he was intending to pick up the g3
pawn. However, in order to hold the
opponent's king in the centre, White
sacrificed a piece.
2 .i.xe6 ! fxe5 3 dxe5 .i.e7
After 3 ... .i.xeS 4 l:the l White ' s
attack is too dangerous. For
example: 4 ... .i.xg3 S .i.d7+ with a
quick mate, or 4 ... .i.f6 S .i.c8+ �t7 �»;
6 'i'e6+ �g6 7 hS+ 'it>gS 8 'i'e3+
t5 t5
with mate to follow. t5 t5 t5 t5
4 l:t h fl � � II
Threatening 5 .i. t7+ �f8 6 .i.g6+
�g8 7 'i'c4 m ate. Flohr-Simagin
4 ...l:tfS 5 .I:bfS+ .i.xfS 6 'i'f3 ! Moscow 1 945
Black is tied hand and foot. For
example, he cannot play 6 .. .l::i d 8 B lack did not like the fact that. if
because of the simple 7 J:!.xd8+. h e castled. h i s opponent would p lay
6...'i'e7 7 'i'b3 h i s b i shop to a3 and a rook to e I .
Threatening 8 .iLd7+ 'i' xd 7 9 w i n n i n g a pawn and reta i n ing the
l:txd7 'it>xd7 1 0 'i'xb7+ and 1 1 i n itiative. Therefore he played 1...
'i'xa8 . �d7. t h i n k i n g that his powerful
7 ...l:t b8? pawn group in t h e centre would
This loses quickly. The toughest safeguard h i s king against attacks.
defence was 7 . . . bS, e.g. 8 .i.d7+ But with two energetic blows Wh ite
'i'xd7 9 l:txd7 �xd7 10 'liVt7+ .iLe7 destroys the black fortress.
II e6+ 'it>d6 12 'i'xg7 .iLe4 13 'liVxh6 2 c4 dxc4 3 d5!
.iLdS, and Black can stil l hold on. This pawn sacrifice, which B lack
8 .i.d7+! 'i'xd7 9 l:hd7 'it>xd7 10 is obliged to accept, com p letely
'i'f7+ .i.e7 11 e6+ �d8 exposes his king.
98 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

3 ...4:ixd5 4 l:td l pawn structure allows White to

The posItIOn has radically open l ines by a piece sacrifice and
changed: only fragments remain of to begin an immediate attack on the
Black' s pawn defences, and 5 king.
l:txd5+ is threatened. His next move 1 exfS gxfS 2 4:ixfS! exfS 3 l:tel !
is practically forced, but, faced by F irst and foremost the king must
the opponent' s heavy pieces, his not be allowed to castle.
king, strolling about i n the centre of 3 ... d6
the board, immediately finds itself There is nothing better. If 3 ... h6,
in danger. defending against 4 il.g5, there
4. . .';t>e6 5 'iWxc6+ 'Wd6 6 'Wxc4 would have followed 4 il.f4 'i'd8 5
Itad8 4:id5 4:ixd5 6 'ifh5+ >fi>f8 7 il.xd5
6 . . . c6 is decisively met by 7 �f4, with a decisive attack. 3 . . . 4:ic6 also
e.g. 7 . . . 'iWd7 8 'i'e4+, and mate does not help on account of 4 il.f4
fol lows in two more moves. 'i'a5 5 4:id5 4:ixd5 6 cxd 5 . Finally,
7 'iWg4+ <JiIe7 8 'iWxg7 c;t>d7 3 ... �d8 can be met by 4 l:txe7!
The king tries to flee from its >fi>xe7 5 il.g5 with numerous threats.
pursuers, but in vain. 4 il.g5 >fi>d8
9 �g5 lldfS 1 0 'i'd4 c6 11 �f4 4 .. .';t>d7 is met by the decisive 5
'i'a3 12 'i'e5 l:txe7+, while if 4 . . . >fi>f7 5 4:id5 .
Black resigns: if 1 2 .. J:l.c8 there 5 l:txe7 ! 'i'xe7 6 4:id5 4:ixd5
fol lows 1 3 l:txd5+ cxd5 14 'i'xd5+ B lack gives up his queen, but this
.r.e8 1 5 l:te l + etc. does not delay the end for long.
7 il.xe7+ 4:ixe7 8 'i'xd6+ 4:id7 9
lld l !
A curious position! Black has no
way of defending against the
capture on b7, after which he
inev itably loses material.
9 ..Jlg8 10 il.xb7 !1g6 11 'iWd4
4:ic6 1 2 'i'b6+ >fi>e8 1 3 il.xc6 Black

Attack on the kiogside

By cast l i n g on the kingside, the

Averbakh-Gold berg king comes under the protection of
Tula 1955 its paw ns . But even behind such a
pawn screen it may be subjected to
The weakening of the opponent' s an attack, if the opponent succeeds
Strategy ofAttack 99

in creating a significant advantage Black parries the threat with a

in force on the kingside. double attack on g2. Now 4 e5 i s
refuted by 4 . . . .i. xg2+ 5 � g l .i. xh3 .
The position has become sharper,
and combinations are in the air.
White includes his second rook in
the attack.
4 J:lf4 !
It turns out that he does not have
to fear 4 ... e5: he replies 5 J:tfh4 ! ,
and i f 5 . . .exd4 6 �xf6 with
inevitable mate.
What can Black do now? The
hanging positions of the opponent' s
pieces suggest t o h i m a counter­
Averbakh-Fridstein 4 ... liJ xe4
Vilnius 1946 This unexpected continuation sets
White difficult problems. To 5
Here White played J:td3, liJxe4 Black was intend ing to reply
intending to swing the rook across 5 ... �xe4, attac k i n g g2 and g a i n i n g
to g3 or h3, to attack the enem y time for the defence: if 6 .i.xe7
king. B l ack should have forestalled there follows 6 . . . �xg2+ 7 >t> g l
the opponent' s plan by 1 .. e5, . �xh3 , threatening mate.
forcing the queen to go to e3 . If instead 5 �xe7, Black was
Instead of this he repl ied L.bS, intending to play 5 . . . liJxc3 , threat­
beginning an attack on the queen­ ening to win the queen by
side, which, however, came too late. 6 . . . �xg2+ 7 � g I It'ixe2+.
There fol lowed: And yet W h i t e fe l l in with his
2 J:tg3 (threatening to take on f6) opponent ' s plans' Why?
2...�h8 3 nh3 ! 5 .i.xe7 4lxc3
The most vulnerable target for The reason was that in his
White ' s attack is the h7 pawn . The calculations h e had foreseen a
knight that is defending it is spectacu lar way of immediately
attacked by the bishop at g5, and so deciding the game in his favour.
for the success of the operation i t is Look at the diagram position . The
sufficient for him to attack h 7 a black king is defended only by
second time. The decisive 4 e5 dxe5 pawns, and in White ' s attack there
5 'i'h4 is already threatened. are four pieces (queen, both rooks
3 . 'i'b7
. . and bishop). All he needs to do i s
1 00 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

break up the royal fortress, s ince the

king on its own will be unable to
withstand the opponent' s superior
forces. And the role of destroyer is
played by none other than the
queen .

Kotov-U nzicker
Stockholm 1 952

1 l:te4 tZJf8 2 tZJrs Wh8 3 ..... h 5

' White ' s play i s simple,' wrote
grandmaster Kotov regarding this
game. 'As many pieces as possible
6 .....xg7+ ! 'it>xg7 7 l:tg4+ Wh8 8 on the kingside. B lack has no way
i.f6 mate of opposing this.'
The power of White ' s attack is 3 l:tc7 4 J:[h4

demonstrated by the fact that he Only four moves have passed,

could even have managed without and White has created such an
his rook at f4, and sti ll given mate advantage in force on the kingside,
in six moves - 7 l:tg3+ Wh6 8 i.g5+ that there is already no defence.
'it>g7 9 i.xd8+ 'it>h6 1 0 i.g5+ 'it>g7 There is the threat of a knight
I I i.e7+ W h6 1 2 i.xfS mate. sacrifice at g7 or h6.
If the attacker is able to con­ 4 ...tZJh7 5 tZJxg7 ! �xg7 6 i.xh6+
centrate his pieces on the kingside, �g8 7 l:tg4+ l:tg6 8 e6!
the attack will normally be very Black resigns. 8 ... l:txg4 is met by
dangerous. The following example 9 'Wxg4+, and meanwhile 9 exf7+ is
i s typ i ca l . th reate n ed

The basic drawback of B lack ' s Of c our se in the position j ust


position is that o n h i s k i ngs i d e ' a l l considered B lack had no counter­

the doors an d w i ndows are open ' , play, and the white pieces were able
and this decides the battle in favour to storm the king's fortress without
of White: unhindered, he can launch h indrance. This is by no means
an assault on the royal fortress. always the case. Often the
Strategy ofAttack 101

opponent' s defences have to be 7 � xe4, with a decisive advantage.

broken up, which may demand However, 4 . . . l:I.acS was stronger.
considerable effort. Black incorrectly goes totally onto
the defensive, which makes things
markedly easier for White.
5 lIel <;f;>f8 6 �b2 !
White exploits the opponent ' s
m i stake by provoking a n important
weakening of his pawn structure.
6 ...f6 7 i.. b4 4:ld6 8 J:Ige3 <;f;>n
If S . . . e5 9 f4.
9 f4 �d7 10 �e2 !
S imultaneously creating two
.{;s t!:, .f/J
.. threats - 1 1 lhe6 and I 1 �h5+
it. A � fol lowed by the penetration of the
queen i nto the enemy position .
Alekhine-Colle 10 ...lIe8 1 1 �hS+ <;f;>g8 12 'i'g6
Bled 1931 fS 13 .i.xd6 �xd6 14 .i.xfS �xf4
I S �h7+ 'it'f8 16 �g6 �d4 17
White ' s bishops are aimed at the .i.xe8 1he8 1 8 <;f;>h l �f6. and B lack
kingside, which creates the neces­ resigned.
sary preconditions for an attack. It The fi n i sh cou l d have been 1 9
is true that, in order to obtain thi s "i'h8+ <;f;> f7 20 'i'l'xeS+ <;f;>xeS 2 1
position, White has sacrificed a lhe6+.
1 l:I.abl l:td8
Defending against the threat of 2
i.. b 4.
2 J:Ie3
The rook is ready to swing across
to g3 .
2 ... b6 3 �e2
If immediately 3 IIg3 . then
3 . . .4:lh5 4 l:1.g4 4:lf6.
3 ... i.. b 7 4 l:1.g3 4:le8
The exchanging combination
4 .. Jhd3 5 �xd3 (stronger than 5
�xf6, which is also possible)
5 . i.. e4 does not work on account
. . Averbakh-Fuchs
of 6 l:I.xg7+! �xg7 (6. . .�f8 7 'i"g3 ) Dresden 1 956
1 02 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

An attack on the kingside may s lZlf8 6 j.xhS j.xb2


arise suddenly, as a result of events If 6 . . . gxhS 7 lZlxhS lZlg6 8 lZlf6+

occurring in the centre or even on j.xf6 9 j.xf6 lZlxh4 1 0 J:txh4 with
the queen s ide. inevitable mate.
Thus here the rook at a3 is in a 7 lZlf5! gxbS
position to swing across to the I f Black takes the knight -
kingside, but as yet it is not clear 7 . . . gxfS, then 8 j.f6 j.xf6 9 'lWxf6 is
how this can be carried out. At the possible, and if 9 'lWe7 1 0 j.xf7+ !

same time B lack is threatening to 'lWxf7 I I l:th8 mate.

attack the queenside pawns by 8 j.f6 lZlg6 9 'lWgS lZlee7 10
l . . .lDe5 or l . . .'lWb4. Incidentally, he lDh6+ 'ito>f8 11 j.xb2 Black resigns
is also inviting the opponent to To launch an attack on the
begin complications after I j.e7 kingside one often has to resort to a
lDe5 . But White has quite different pawn storm, the aim of which is to
plans. open lines for attacks by the heavy
I lDe4! pieces.
Unexpectedly the b lack queen
begins to feel uncomfortable: 2 j.d2
is threatened. In addition, the d6
pawn is hanging. Against 1 . . . lZle5
White had prepared the fol lowing
combination, in which the decisive
role is played by the rook at a3 - 2
'lWh3 ! lZlbxc4 3 lZlf6+ j.xf6 4 j.xf6
lZld7 (otherwise there is no defence
against the threat of S 'lWh6) S
'lWxh7+! �xh7 6 nh3+, and mate
next move.
1 ...lZle8 2 'lWh3 ! 'lWe7 3 iih4 l:te8
There is nothing better. If 3 . . .f6 4 Botvinnik-Zagoryansky
l:th3 hS 5 j.xhS fxgS 6 lDxg5 gxhS Sverdlovsk 1 943
7 lZle6 'lWb6 8 lZlxg7 �xg 7 9 iixh S
with a decisive attack. The forces of both sides are
4 J:th3 hS S lZlg3 ! grouped around the isolated black
White has no reason to hurry, and pawn - White ' s pieces are attacking
so he prepares the sacrifice on h S . it, and Black's are defending it.
The immediate 5 j.xh5 would not Exploiting the fact that the
have succeeded on account of opponent' s pieces are markedly
S .. .l::txe4 ! 6 'lWxe4 gxhS 7 l:txhS restricted, Botvinnik begins a pawn
lDfS. attack on the kingside. The fact that,
Strategy ofAttack 1 03

in so doing, he exposes his own 14. it'al+ 1 5 'it'h2 g6 16 it'xg6


king, does not worry him: the op­ .i.b7 1 7 it'd6+ %tbe7 18 it'd8+
ponent' s pieces are fully occupied Black resigns
with the defence of the d5 pawn. If the opponent's pieces are fairly
1 g4! it'c6 2 gS hxgS 3 it'xgS f6 4 active, an attack by the pawns from
it'g6 .i. 1i in front of the king may prove
The capture on h3 would have double-edged, by opening l ines for
been too risky, since it would have the invasion of the enemy pieces. [n
allowed White quickly to switch his such cases, before beginning the
rooks to the h-file. pawn storm, the player should try to
S 'i/ig3 fS 6 figS fie6 7 Whl evacuate his king to a safer place,
At the cost of creating new usually on the opposite wing.
weaknesses (the f5 pawn), Black
has included his queen in the Attack after castling on
defence and for the moment has opposite sides
prevented White from doubling
heavy pieces on the h-file. But now As we have seen, if the k ings have
for this aim Wh ite uses the g-file. castled on the same side, an attack
7'eS 8 l:tgl l:trs 9 it'h6 .!:tb8 is mainly carried out using the
10 .'l:l.h4 pieces. Pawns take part com para­
White has after all achieved his tively rarely in such an attack, more
aim. His queen penetrates into the as an exception.
enemy position. It is a quite d i fferent matter after
10 'it'rs 11 fib8+ .i.g8 12 :f4!
... castling on opposite sides. Here the
A shift of fire ! The rook has offensive is mainly carried out by
helped the queen to invade the pawns. It is normally they that are
opponent' s fortress, and now it sacrificed for the sake of open ing
begins besieging the f5 pawn . l ines for the heavy pieces or with
1 2 .. J:tbb7 the aim of breaking up the enemy
Black covers in advance his fortress. S ince both s ides can
vulnerable g7 point. engage in such a pawn storm, it is
13 1IgS 1I1i 14 fibS very i m portant to be able to outpace
The triumph of White ' s plan. He the opponent, in order to be the first
has shattered the opponent' s king­ to reach the main target of the
side defences, broken into his posi­ attack - the enemy king.
tion, forcing the black pieces to take It should be mentioned that i f any
up uncomfortable positions, and then of the pawns in front of the castled
attacked the weak f5 pawn with su­ king have moved, th is makes it
perior forces. It cannot be defended, easier to storm the king and to open
and the game does not last long: lines. And pieces too, standing in
1 04 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

the path of the pawns, can faci litate This i s the whole point ! After 1 0
their advance. ..txa2 Black would have had a
We will begin with an example saving check at c5 .
where White carried out a pawn 10 .. :i'e8 1 1 e6!
storm without any difficulty. S impler than 1 1 ..txf7+, which
would also have won.
1 1 1 2 'it>al f5
There is no way of saving the
game. 1 2 . . . fxe6 is met by 1 3 ..txe6+
'iix e6 1 4 'i'xd8+ 'i;xg7 1 5 'ii' d4+
and 1 6 1he4.
13 e7+ .ladS 14 'ii' f6 'ii' ti 1 5
e8='ii'+ B lack resigns

Baden Baden 1 925

1 f4 'ii' e6
If 1 .....a5 2 e 5 , and 2 . . . tLld5 can

be met by 3 tLlxd5 il.xd5 4 il.xh7+

�xh7 5 'ii'd 3 + and 6 'i'xd 5 .
2 e 5 lUe 8 3 J:!hel J:!ad8
By pinning the e5 pawn, B lack Spassky-Petrosian
tries to restrain the pawn offensive, Moscow 1 969
but not for long.
4 f5 .....e7 5 'ii'g 5 tLld5 6 (6 B lack is ready to play . . . b7-b5,
The fact that the black knight and but White is the first to begin a
q ueen were in the path of the pawns pawn storm .
has horn fru i t White ' s pawns have
- 1 g4! tLlxg4
already come into contact with t he If 1 . . . b5 there could have
opponent ' s pawns. fol lowed 2 g5 hxg5 3 fxg5 tLlh5 4
6 ...'ii' t'S 7 ..tc4! g 6 ! fx g 6 5 'ii'g 5 . In order to
The position has become sharper, mai ntain his pawn screen, Petrosian
and White finds a tactical so lution. decides to accept the pawn sacrifice.
7 ...tLlxc3 8 J:!xd8 J:!xd8 9 fxg7! 2 'ii'g2 tLlf6 3 J:!gl il.d7 4 f5!
tLlxa2+ 10 �bl ! 'it>h8
Strategy ofA ttack 1 05

By allowing l ines to be opened, I n order to outpace the opponent

Black goes down without a fight. in the development of his attack,
4 . . . e5 was the lesser evil. B lack is offering the b4 pawn,
S l:!.d fl 'ii'd 8 reckoning on I 'ii' xb4 to reply I . . .

Returning the queen to the .ltc6 followed by 2 J:tbS, with ...

defence, but 5 . . . 'ii' e 5 was the active play on the queenside.

toughest defence. Now, however, However, Fischer finds the
White' s attack develops swiftly. 'Ach i lles' heel' in Black ' s set-up.
6 fxe6 fxe6 7 eS! dxeS 8 liJe4 l liJb6!
liJhS It is extremely important for
Probably the only move. S ... exd4 Wh ite to exchange his badly placed
can be met by 9 liJxf6 g5 1 0 'ii'h 3 knight.
l::r e 7 1 1 lhg5 with a decisive attack. l ....!:!.b8
9 'ii'g 6! exd4 1 . . liJxb6 would have been met by

An obvious m istake. More ten­ 2 'ii'xb4, and if 2 . d5 3 'ii' xb6 'i'xb6

. .

acious was 9 .liJf4, and if 1 0 J:txf4

.. 4 .lt xb6, when 4 . . . dxe4 is bad on
exf4 1 1 liJf.3 'ifb6, planning after 1 2 account of 5 J:id7, winning a piece.
liJf6 to give u p queen for rook. I n 2 liJxd7 "i'xd7 3 >lo>bl 'fIIe 7 4
this case White would have had to .ltd3 .lte8 S hS
find the decisive move 1 2 .:tg5 ! After completing h i s develop­
10 liJgS! Black resigns ment and placing his pieces on the
I f 10 ... hxg5 1 1 'ii'x h5 + >lo>gS 1 2 required squares, Wh ite begins a
'ii'f7 + >lo>hS 1 3 .:tf3, and there is no pawn storm .
defence against the mate. S ... eS 6 .lte3 .lte6 7 l:ldgl as 8
g6! .ltf6
S . . .f6 is met by the decisive 9 h 6 ! ,
K �g· e . g . 9 . hxg6 1 0 J:t xg6 .:tf7 1 1 hxg7

J:txg7 1 2 'f11 h 2 ' .lt rs n .:tx f6 etc.

�y; .t If i n stead S fxg6 <) hxg6 hxg6.

then a fier 1 0 'iWh2 W t7 I I 'i'h7

W h i te has a very strong a ttack .
9 gxh7+ W h 8 1 0 .ltgS
Natural ly. White aims to
exchange an important defender of
the royal fortress.
1 0 'flle7

The queen hurries to the aid of

the bishop, but I O .ltxg5 I I J:txgS

Fiseher-Spassky f6 would perhaps have been a

Belgrade 1 992 tougher defence.
1 06 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

1 1 .l:I. g3 .hg5 12 lhg5 'iff6 13 I g4! lbbd7 2 f4 'ifa5 3 15!

J::t b g l 'ifxf3 In positions such as these, pawns
In search of counter-chances. do not have to be counted - the
Otherwise after 14 'ifg2 the g7 main thing is to be able to expose
pawn all the same cannot be the opponent' s king. After 3 . . .exf5 4
defended. gxf5 lbxe4 White was intending 5
1 4 ltxg7 'i'f6 15 b6 a4 1 6 b3 fxg6 lbxc3 6 gxh7+, and if 6 . . . <;;t>x h7
Forestalling possible attempts at 7 '1'i'c2+, or 6 .. .';t>f7 7 '1'i'f3+,
counterplay. regaining the piece.
16 ... axb3 17 axb3 J::t fd8 18 'i' g2 3 ,. .J:tab8
J:tf8 1 9 J:tg8+! Petrosian aims at all costs to gain
White ' s task i s a simple one - he counterplay, and the situation
needs to eliminate both of his becomes extremely sharp.
h-pawns, which are covering the 4 fxg6 hxg6 5 e5 ':'xb2
opponent ' s king against checks on After 5 . . . dxe5 6 'i' c2 ! the game
the file. would have quickly concluded,
19,..<;;t> x h7 20 Ilg7+ <;;t> h 8 21 h7! whereas now White must defend
Black resigns. There is no de­ accurately to avoid, in turn, coming
fence against the threat of 22 J:!.g8+ under a crushing attack.
<;;t> xh7 23 J:th 1 + 'ifh6 24 'ifg7 mate. 6 'Oii> x b2
After 6 '1'i'xb2 J:tb8 Black answers
7 'ilia l with 7 . . . dxe5, while if 7 '1'i'c2
he wins the queen by 7 . . . '1'i'a3+ 8
<;;t> d 2 J:tb2 .
6,..J:l.b8+ 7 <;;t> c 2 lbdS 8 '1'i'xc4 gS
Threatening 9 . . . lbe3+.
9 J:td3 lbb4+ 1 0 <;;t> d l dS 11 '1'i'b3
Or 1 1 . . . lbxd3 1 2 '1'i'c2 lb7xe5 1 3
dxe5 �xc5 1 4 '1'i'xd3 '1'i'xc3 1 5
'tiVg6+ �g7 ( 1 5 . . . <;;t> h 8 1 6 �g7+
�xg7 I 7 lbxg5+ with a quick mate)
1 6 '1'i'xe6+ <;;t> h 8 1 7 �xg7+ <;;t> x g7 1 8
Averbakh-Petrosian '1'i'e 7 + <;;t> g 8 1 9 '1'i'xg 5 +, and White
Moscow 1 961 wins.
12 '1'i'bl c4 1 3 '1'i'c 1 Black resigns
In this position White can regain It is useful to know the fol lowing
his pawn with 1 'iix c4, but he con­ standard attacking procedure, which
sidered it more important to begin a has occurred many times in
pawn storm immediately. practice.
Strategy ofAttack 1 07

Attack on the q ueenside

The targets of an attack on the

queen side will primari ly be weak
pawns, but the aim of such an
offensive may also be the invasion
of the heavy pieces, usually the
rooks, into the enemy position.
Sometimes this invasion is trans­
formed into an attack on the king,
sheltering on the other side of the
We will begin with a c lassic
Averbakh-Sarvarov example.
Moscow 1 959

B lack appears to have been the

first to begin his attack, but this
impression is erroneous: his offen­
sive has no spec ific aim, whereas
White ' s pawn storm involves a
concrete tactical blow.
1 ttJe5 �b7 2 g4 as 3 J:!.dgl a4 4
g5 ttJh5 5 �xh7+!
This is the point! This sacrifice
wins by force .
5. . .ttJxh7 6 g6 fxg6 7 -.wxg6
Unexpectedly, four white pieces, Ru binstei n-Salwe
headed by the queen, have ended up Lodz 1 9()!i
close to B lack' s monarch . He has
only one reply: B lack has a wcak pawn at c6. It is
7 ttJ7f6 8 -.wfi+ �h8
.•• instructive to fo l l o w how con­
If 8 . . .'�h7 the fol lowing pretty si stently the com m ander of the
variation was possible: 9 J:!. g6 ! ttJ g8 white pieces mounts on attack
1 0 l:!.xg7+ ttJxg7 I I -.wg6+ and 1 2 against it.
ttJ f7 mate. I � c 5 l:!. fe8 2 l:!. f2 !
9 Ihg7 ! ttJxg7 10 l:!.gl ttJtlJ5 1 1 Preparing to switch the rook
l:!.g6 -.wd6 1 2 l:!.xd6 �xd6 1 3 ttJg6+ across to the queenside.
�h7 14 �xd6 B lack resigns 2 ... ttJd7 3 �xe7 J:!.xe7 4 -.wd4!
1 08 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

White maintains control over the

c S square.
4 .. Jlee8 5 iLfl IIec8 6 e3 "ifb7 7
lZJe5 lZJxe5 8 1he5 IIe7 9 J:tfe2 "ifb6
10 b4!
Now the black pawns are
completely paralysed.
1 0 ... a6 l l l!a5
White avoids the trap 1 1 l::tx d5? !
cxd 5 ! 1 2 .....xb6 l::txc2 with counter­
1 1 ...J:lb8 1 2 a3 !la7
It is no longer possible to avoid
the loss of a pawn. Averbakh-Ravinsky
13 l::txe6 ..wxe6 1 4 ..wxa7 J:la8 15 Moscow 1950
'i'e5 "iWb7 1 6 �f2 h5 1 7 �e2 g6 18
"ifd6 "ifc8 1 9 J:lc5 1 b4 a6 2 a4 lZJg4 3 iLxe7 "*xe7
After winning a pawn, White 4 lZJxg4 iLxg4 5 b5 axb5 6 axb5
does not hurry. The main thing i s "*g5 7 'it.>hl J:tad8 8 bxc6 bxc6
not t o al low any counterplay on the The two sides have consistently
part of the opponent. carried out their respective plans -
1 9 .. JWb7 20 h4 a5 White has opened l ines on the
A desperate attempt to open up queenside and has created a weak
the position. pawn in the opponent' s position at
21 J:tc7 "*b8 22 b5 a4 23 b6 IIa5 c6, while Black has switched his
24 b7 queen to the kingside and is
B lack resigns. 25 IIc8+ is threatening the rook manoeuvre
threatened, and 24 . . . 'it.>g7 is met by . . . J:td6-h6. White must play very
25 IIxf7+. carefully, to avoid com ing under a
With certain pawn structures, an crushing attack.
offensive on the queenside has the 9 lZJe2 IId6 1 0 IIb6 J:th6
aim of creating weaknesses in the B l ack gives up a pawn, to gain
opponent ' s pawns, and then time for his attack. However,
attac k i n g them . A typical example I 0 . . . �d7 was correct, retaining the
of such a storm is the so-called pawn for the moment, to which
m inority attac k , when onc, or m ore Wh ite was intending to reply 1 I
usually two pawns advance against lZJg3 , and i f 1 1 . . .J:th6 1 2 iLf5 ! ,
the opponent's pawn chai n . combin ing attack with defence.
I n the fol lowing example White After 1 2 . . . "*h4 he has the move 1 3
began a m inority attack. h 3 in reserve.
Strategy ofAttack 1 09

1 1 lhc6 lOg6 moment the c6 pawn i s adequately

Black has two threats - 1 1 . . . 'iIi'h4, defended, and on I b5 Black
with an attack on h 2, and 1 1 . . . lOh4, appears to have the reply l . . . c 5 .
threatening the g2 pawn . Yet Kotov nevertheless played 1
12 lOgI ! lOh4 b5!
12 ... 'iWh4 could have been an­ It turns out that 1 . . . c5 can be met
swered by 13 h 3 . by 2 dxc5 ! "iWxe5 3 cxb6 lixc3 4
Now on 1 3 .!::!.x h6 B lack was bxa7 �xc2 5 I:!:xc 2, when the d4
plann ing the spectacu l ar reply 1 3 . . . pawn promotes to a queen at a8 '
.li.h3 ! 1 4 .1i.xh7+ Wf8 1 5 'i1i'c5+ li:te7 . Ragozin saw th i s combination, and
White h a s o n l y one defence, b u t a played differently.
perfectly adequate one. 1...�ac7 2 bxc6 Wg7
13 f4! k'l.xc6 2 . ttJxc6 is met by 3 .li.b5 .

B lack is rattled and loses without 3 'ili'b l ! lOxc6 4 'iWxb6 �b8 5

a fight. After 13 . . . 'iIi'h5 14 �xh6 'ili'xb8 ! ttJxb8 6 lhc7 �xa3 7
"i'xh6 White would sti l l have faced Sl.xg6!
the problem of how to realise h i s The fire is immediately switched
extra pawn . to the kingside.
14 Sl.xh7+! WfB 15 fxg5 1hc2 1 6 7 ...ttJc6 8 lii l xc6! Sl.xc6 9 lii xf7+
.li.xc2 .1i.h5 Wh6
17 l:!.f4 was threatened. Or 9 . . .Wh8 1 0 .li. h 7 w ith the
17 il.. b 3, and White won . threat of 1 0 ttJg6 mate.
I D f4! 'i'xe3+ 1 1 Wh2 'ili'xe5 12
fxe5, and B lack resigned.

�. i

Moscow 1 949

White ' s heavy pieces are con­ Pctrosian-Bronstein

centrated on the c- file, but for the Moscow 1967
1 10 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

B lack ' s kingside is weakened, but 7 dxe5 fxe5 8 <'bxe5! "iix c5

cannot easily be attacked. White, on I f 8 . �xe5 9 <'bxd5 "iix c5
. .

the other hand, has a queen side (9 . . �xd5 1 0 "iixd5+) 1 0 lhe5, with

pawn maj ority and the obvious plan the threat of 1 1 <'bf6+.
of b2-b4-b5. Black, for his part, is 9 :!c6 'i'a7
threatening a pawn offensive in the The toughest defence was 9 . 'i'as

centre with . . . t7-f6 and . . . e6-e5. 1 0 <'bxt7 lht7, and if 1 1 "iix dS

1 b 4 � g 7 2 l:bl ! 'i'xdS (not I \ . . .i.xc3 1 2 :!g6+) 1 2
Accurately played ! White needs <'bxdS i.d4, when White sti l l faces
to open the b-file as soon as pos­ the problem of realising his extra
sible, to invade with his rook at b6. pawn .
2 ... f6 10 <'bg4!
Black i s in too much of a hurry. The rook, together with the
He should have played 2 . . . "iic 7, knight, actively join the attack on
combining attack with defence. the kingside.
3 <'bd3 �f7 4 b5 "iic 7 5 bxa6 1 0 ...�h8
bxa6 After 10 ... h S the simplest is 1 1
5 . . .:!xa6 6 <'bb5 and 7 <'bd6 is <'bf6+, while if 1 0 . . i.hS 1 1 <'bxh6+

unpleasant for B lack. �xh6 12 "iix hS "iix f2+ 13 Wh2

6 l:tb6 e5 "iixe l 14 l:xh6 with a decisive
Black is consistent, although this attack.
attempt to initiate play in the centre 1 1 <'bxb6 i.e8 12 l:xe8! "iix f2+
meets with a tactical refutation. 1 3 �b2 l::!. axe8 14 "ii b 5 "iie 1 15
However, White ' s plan would also <'bf5+ \t>g8 16 <'bxg7 l:n 1 7 "iixe8+
have born fru it after 6 . . . l::!. fe8 7 "iia4 Black resigns
e5 8 l::!.x a6.
Index of Players
and Analysts
Adams 91 Chigorin 38 Janowski 38
Ahues 30 Chudinovskikh 58
Alatortsev 37 Colle 24,101 Kaminer 43
Alekhine 22, 44, 67, Csom 64 Kan 37,46
79,101,104 Cvetkovic 23 Karpov 24,64
Alster 50 Kasper 51
Andersson 23 Engels 40 Keres 39
Antoshin 49 Estrin 96 Kling 42
Aronin 31 Euwe 34,44 Klyatskin 39
Averbakh 22, 27, 28, Evans 80 Konstantinopolsky 37
29, 47, 52, 74, 75, Kopayev 74
94,96,98,99, 101, Fischer 43,63,105 Korchmar 68
106, 107, 108 Flohr 46,83,97 Kotov 100, 109
Fridstein 31, 99 Krogius 29
Balashov 39 Fuchs 101 Kubbel 23
Baranov 8 Furman 33 Kuindzhi 25
Barcza 60 Fuster 96 Kupper 48
Bardeleben 88 Kurpun 30
Bauer 93 Gauffin 29
Betak 50 Geller 81 Larsen 47,77
Betatski 65 Georgadze 25 Lasker, Em. 33, 48,
Biyiasis 39 Gilbert 20 79,93
Blackburne 87 Gligoric 63 Legall dc Kcrrneur 20
Bogoljubow 35, 50 Gogolev 67 Lcvcnllsh 46, 51
Boleslavsky 46 Goldbcrg 98 Li I icnthal 83
Bonch-Osmolovsky 8 Greeo 85 Lyubensk y 49
Botvinnik 75, 76,102
Boudi-Bueno 22 Hairabedian 65 Maciewski 27
Bronstein 109 Hoch 34 Magogonov 19
Bukhman 83 Hofman 59 Manov 65
Horberg 47 Marco 21
Capablanca 50 Ma roczy 35,40
Chekhover 18, 19,37, Isakov 32 Marshall 104
49,82,84 Ivanov 59 Matanovic 47
112 Chess Middlegames: Essential Knowledge

Matulovic 23 Richter 51 Tarj an 24

Mees 33 Romanovsky 66 Tarnowski 60
Menchik 75 Rotlewi 90 Thomas 34
Miles 59 Rovner 76 Tischler 32
Rubinstein 90, 107 Tolush 49
Nedobora 60 Rudolph 85 Torre, E. 23
Nikitin 32 Ryumin 51,80 Torre, K. 33,91
Nimzowitsch 22
N.N. 24 Sackmann 30 Uhlmann 28, 59
Novoltenov 76 St Brie 20 Unzicker 100
Salwe 107
Olafsson 48 Sarvarov 107 Varshavsky 67
Onnos 65 Schmid 59 Vasyukov 79
Osloukhov 60 Sederborg 73 Verlinsky 44, 80
Shocron 43 von Popiel 21
Parr 74 Simagin 36, 97
Perelman 86 Simkhovich 82 Weltmander 78
Petrosian, A. 59 Sliwa 39 Wheatcroft 74
Petrosian, T. 104, 106, Smyslov 29, 33,79 White 30
109 Solovyev 75
Pi IIsbury 24 Soultanbiev 24 Yates 67
Polugayevsky 78 Spassky 77, 104, \05 Yudovich 39
Polyak 68 Steinitz 88 Yurev 32
Stepanov 76
Rabinovich 49 Stolyar 52 Zagoryansky 36,102
Radu lov 73 Szepanek 49 Zhuravlev 58
Ragozin 109 Zita 29,94
Ravinsky 108 Taimanov 29, 81 Zukertort 87
Reshevsky 44, 80 Tal 96 Zurakhov 83