08 June 2014

Annotated Game #126: How to attack?

This third-round tournament game shows again the attacking possibilities of the English Opening on the kingside, even though I did not take the best advantage of them.  After a Grunfeld-type defense from my opponent, I had a small opening advantage which soon turned into equality.  Black, however, did not have any initiative of his own, so it was my ideas (for good or ill) that ended up driving the entire game.

A relatively harmless plan involving the advance of my h-pawn turned into an attacking possibility after Black recaptured with the wrong pawn (18...fxg6?!) and then left his knight in a vulnerable position pinned to his queen.  I was able to whip up some initiative and could have had a serious attack with 21. f4! but focused erroneously on play along the h-file.  After a simple board sight failure led to me passing up the chance to win a pawn, I entered a drawn double-rook endgame.

The analysis illustrates some useful concepts regarding how to attack.  In addition to the above examples, there were more subtle improvements such as 17. Rh1 or earlier opportunities to place the queen on a better square.  The game is also a useful example of how attacking play, even when not particularly threatening, can lead to opportunities being created on the board.

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