Tuesday, January 30, 2007
Attacking Play
As I've been trying to sharpen my play, I am trying to understand the profile of a good attacking player. I happen to think that the kind of chess played over the board is a direct reflection of the player. Meaning, if you are meek and tame at heart, it would be very hard to play wildly and without restraint. We can only take out what is inside our hearts so to speak.

Anyway, Since I think the commitment to attacking play involves a particular frame of mind. I have to re-adjust my thinking and eliminate certain inhibitions that prevents me from creating the type of game I envision.

1. The very first roadblock that I have to conquer is fear. Losing rating points, losing face, just losing period. But to play sharply means sometimes you get cut yourself. Its like a knife fight. Only one will survive, but both of you will be cut. An old punisher comic I read stated that, the one who will win in such a fight, is the one more willing to be cut more deeply. Because then, he wont be afraid of the knife and would be able to think more calmly.

And its true you know, you just cant attack afraid, you just cant. You cant attempt to punch someone then as soon as you connect, try to run like a headless chicken. You're either in or youre out. Dont do it if you cannot commit to such a thing.

If I see my rating fluctuating wildly, that would be a great sign as I would be well on my way to achieving my goal.

2. Love of material - The surest way to win is to be up material. Heck, sometimes you win using only such trivial matters as a favorable king position. The result of this is that I have a very definite partiality to gaining wood. Just win a pawn or two, then consolidate and reach a favorable endgame. That used to be my motto. Play if safe, no undue risk. Besides its always better to sacrifice your opponent's men right? Safety is the best policy.

But as I've stated above, playing it safe and launching wild speculative attacks is direct anathema. One who strives to create chaos and havoc over the board must accept that he will lose material. Pawns, knights, bishops, even the queen. No price is too great for the scalp of the enemy king.


I still love material, and still find myself snatching pawns for the heck of it =<


Refusing to gain material in the middle of an elaborate attack is very hard. I cant calculate too deeply for one so I am almost always unsure what the end result of all my actions are. In a way, I'm playing a form of "hope" chess. That is, I try to cram three or more pieces near the vicinity of the king, and hope that something comes up.

Funny thing is, something almost always comes up. Which proves that seeing all the possibile combinations resulting from multiple pieces coordinating harmoniously, requires such high levels of calculating/pattern recognition prowess that U1800 players are really hard pressed to find the correct line.

This is unsound chess. When all you have going for you is the hope that somewhere, somehow the enemy does not see the most precise lines. Really unsound.

But the gambler rolls the dice..

He can do nothing else.

posted by Nezha at 5:27 AM | Permalink |


  • At 10:35 AM, Blogger Blue Devil Knight

    I am in a similar boat. This weekend in my tourny, I decided to play more aggressively. My best win (against someone rated 1263, who somehow got into the U1200 section as an 1180), was in the exact kind of situation you describe. I planted my queen on h5. My knight was on g5. My white bishop was bearing down on him. I really had no idea what I was going to do. I figured, he has to deal with my mate-in-one threat by weakening his kingside. This should give me something interesting. And it did, but nothing I had thought through when I made that queen move.

    It made me realize that you don't always need all your pieces ready to start a crazy speculative attack. Sometimes three is enough. I didn't end up a lot of material after the dust settled (2 pawns up, but his kindside pawn structure completely demolished). At first I was all bummed that I didn't mate him in my attack. But then I realized I had an amazing position going into the endgame. I easily won by playing conservatively after that.

    I hope that with experience playing these aggressive moves, I will eventually get a feel for when it is, and when it isn't, appropriate.