In this superb collection of “Modern GM Chess Miniatures” you will learn to add another layer of sophistication to your stockpile of chess tactics.
Chess tactics do not occur in isolation. As the great Bobby Fischer said: “Tactics flow from a superior position”.
Of course, having the superior position is not enough on its own to win the game. Chess tactics are what converts a superior position into a victory.
Crafting a Superior Position
Although the richness of chess creates many exceptions to the guidelines we learn as beginners, there are some tried-and-true principles you can bank on:
- Developing your pieces without delay is good.
- Control of the center is important.
- Activity is the most important criteria in deciding the value of the pieces on the board.
- Never underestimate the value of king safety.
- Being in control of an open file or able to gain control of such a file is good.
Many of these advantages don’t appear significant on their own but they add up as the chess game progresses.
We often underestimate their value until we find ourselves in a bad position and are trying to wrest control of the open file from our opponent.
One of the ways these rules can help you is if your opponent launches an early attack. Unless you have violated the guiding principles of chess you will have sufficient defensive resources.
Forcing moves force wins!
Knowing this will give you the reassurance you need to keep looking until you find them and help you stay calm under the pressure of his attack.
When you know how to obtain the superior position you will have more opportunities to use tactics in chess.
Time Is Of The Essence In Every Attack
Before you launch your attack it’s essential you are certain that you have stopped your opponent’s plans.
Make certain you are aware of the urgency of the position. In a closed position, you are likely to have more time to bring your pieces across the board than when you have sacrificed material.
When losing a single tempo can be enough to cost you the game, remind yourself: “Forcing moves force wins!”.
Checks, captures, and threats are your most important criteria for candidate moves in these positions.
Most of the time these moves will see you through to victory or a winning position but sometimes they will buy you more time – the time you need to bring another piece into the attack.
The Essential Elements Of An Attack
Never launch an attack on the side of the board where your opponent has more pieces. Your attacking force must outnumber the defenders.
Any attack that leaves you with a winning material advantage is a successful attack.
The material plus might be as little as one pawn in an endgame, but if your opponent can’t stop it from promoting it’s a winning material advantage.
Sometimes it isn’t necessary for your pieces to be around the enemy king. Long-range pieces like bishops, rooks, and the queen can attack from the opposite flank.
In most attacks, your target is the enemy king. Since a checkmate ends the game regardless of material imbalance be willing to sacrifice a piece to expose the enemy king.
There are times when you will be able to strengthen your attack after you have played a sacrifice. Look to see what reinforcements you have if your attack looks like it’s running out of steam.
This is also not the time to concern yourself with your pawn structure. Opening the g-file might mean being left with doubled-pawns in the h or f-file.
Kramnik versus McShane
In this game, you will get to enjoy the long walk the black king takes to the kingside and then all the way back to the queenside.
There is also a very nice exchange sacrifice by White on move 20.
Enjoy this great chess miniature.
Attack Using Chess Tactics
When there is opposite-side castling, you can use your pawns to lead the attack and open lines for your pieces.
Don’t be afraid to give up material with an exchange sacrifice if it removes a key defender. Especially if it also weakens the pawn shield in front of the king.
Pawns are also very effective at opening lines against a king stuck in the center. If your king is safely castled consider sacrificing a piece to keep the enemy king stuck in the center.
Attacking the castled king where you have castled on the same side is best done with your pieces leading the way.
This will reduce the number of opportunities for your opponent to get counterplay.
You mustn’t neglect the role of your pawns in the attack. What you must do is adopt a more cautious approach in same-side castling positions.
Also, in such positions sacrifices are usually made in the latter half of the attack to deliver the knock-out blow!
Short versus Kasparov
Spotting Chess Tactics
When assessing if there is the possibility of chess tactics in a position there are three things to look for
- loose pieces
- badly placed pieces
- and a weak king position.
Although we are looking to attack, it’s also important to use these three signals to keep your own position safe. Keeping your pieces well-placed, defended, and taking care of your king’s safety will improve your results.
Be sure your opening preparation includes studying the typical tactical motifs to help you gain victories and avoid falling into any traps.
Daily puzzle solving is needed if you want to master tactics in chess. By solving puzzles, you will increase your pattern recognition.
Patterns of attack repeat themselves. Studying the games of past greats will help you learn tactics you can apply in your own games.
Final Thoughts on Tactics in Chess
GM Eugene Perelshteyn has put together a collection of attacking gems. Included are chess miniatures played at the highest level in recent years.
If these tactics are effective against great modern-day players, like Topalov, you can confidently use them with lethal effect in your games.
These are obviously the highest quality tactics in chess you are likely to uncover, and GM Perelshteyn has done all the work of putting them together for you.
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