Thursday, February 16, 2017

Simple Chess: Attack Your Comfort Zone!

I am not comfortable going all out and attacking my opponent's king. I don't feel comfortable sacrificing material to open up lines in the position. I don't feel comfortable advancing pawns around my king to attack. Although I am not comfortable doing it, I have become better prepared to do it if the position calls for it.

What do I mean by being prepared? I mean taking the time to study books such as The King in Jeopardy and The Art of Attack in Chess. These two books have worked great in helping me understand the need for having a better developed army, the importance of opening up the position quickly so that you can keep the initiative and not allow your opponent time to regroup.  

I'm not going to lie, when those books talk about the initiative for a whole piece or even 2 or 3 whole pieces, I don't fully understand it. In my mind, the concept makes sense but over the board I don't understand what that (initiative) means. So I keep re-reading the same material and then taking a break. While, it still hasn't fully clicked, I can tell that something is going on because I am starting to get a feel for when my pieces should just pounce on my opponent's King. 

In the games I am about to show you, I have to be humble and explain that these are my games. Yes, most of them I did win. No, I am not showing off my wins to get some kind of recognition. It's just that I know my thought process when I start an attack and I hope that it gives you some deeper insight or understanding towards your own games. I did not play my games perfectly and quite often made a move or series of moves that could have allowed my opponent back into the game. 

I think the biggest lesson to really take away is that whether you win or lose, by playing attacking chess you will learn something deeper about the game of chess. Deeper in the sense that you start to understand that it is not all about the material but sometimes it is about the elusive idea of the initiative or something else that can only be sensed but not seen. Sometimes, the initiative is something you have on the board but sometimes the initiative is something you have psychologically. Of course, the majority of the time I find out that it was all just an illusion and I have lost the game due to my inability to assess the position and the non-tangibles. That is okay, because with each loss I get better and am working on building my knowledge on what works versus what doesn't work.

And you probably thought the French Defense was a boring opening that only allowed White to start an attack on the king-side.

So this previous game brings up a few principles that I have picked up throughout the years.
  • Don't move pawns on the side you are weaker on. 
  • When you have more pieces in one area of the board than your opponent, then you attack will probably work.

For my final game I am going to show you my most recent example of the attack on the uncastled king. This was played Tuesday night at the Charlotte Center.

Again, I am not professing that I am an amazing attacker as I clearly have room to improve. I am stating that sometimes you need to really work on the things that make you uncomfortable. I have been spending the last several months on tactics and attack and defense. These are things that I was completely terrible at and tried to shy away from. Or worse, I would launch unsound attacks because I didn't look at all the tactics in the position or I would try to attack with only one or two pieces. Now, I am able to at least get a better feeling for when I should attack versus just improve my position.

I challenge you to get outside your comfort zone and I promise by doing so you will learn something new and exciting about the game of chess.

I hope to see over the chessboard soon,


  1. A thoughtful post, David. Thank you!

  2. there is another very interesting in and in addition he offers a very good chess guide...