Attacking Chess: Move by Move

Obviously, the ultimate goal in chess is a checkmate and therefor it stands to reason that good technique for attacking an opponent’s king  is one the most important skills a young chess player should study. However, because understanding the tactics and strategies of attacking is also a necessary skill for a successful defensive chess player, studying attacking masterpieces may also save a young player from unnecessary losses. As much as possible, I try to teach my students proper attacking techniques as well as encourage them to use openings that result in  sharp positions.

In the game below, I examine an attacking masterpiece played by Susan Polgar at the age of eight. In the style of Irving Chernev’s Logical Chess: Move by Move,” I comment on every move that was played in the game. I hope that readers of this blog will take some extra time to help a younger chess player understand some of the pure attacking motifs employed by Susan Polgar at the start of her chess career. Also, please consider signing your child up for the Fremont Summer Chess Camp at Mission San Jose Elementary School to expose them to more lessons like this one and to allow your child to actually meet GM Susan Polgar in person.

 

[Site “Budapest (Hungary)”]
[Date “1977”]
[White “Polgar Zsuzsa (Susan)”]
[Black “Sirko”]
[Result “1-0”]
[ECO “B21”]
[Opening “Sicilian”]
[Variation “Smith-Morra, 4.Nxc3 Nc6 5.Nf3 e6 6.Bc4 a6”]

1. e4

An eight year old Susan Polgar preferred the dynamic possibilities of playing "1. e4." Several years prior to this game, Bobby Fischer declared the move, "best by test" on one of his score sheets.

An eight year old Susan Polgar preferred the dynamic possibilities of playing “1. e4.” Several years prior to this game, Bobby Fischer declared the move, “best by test” on one of his score sheets.

1… c5

Remuneratively for the authors of opening books, the Sicilian Defense is a popular reply to "1. e4" which requires extensive preparation.

Remuneratively for the authors of opening books, the Sicilian Defense is a popular reply to “1. e4” which requires extensive preparation.

2. d4

Rather than play into her opponent's opening preparation, Susan Polgar challenges the "c5" pawn on move two. At age eight Susan Polgar, is already a predator at the chess board.

Rather than play into her opponent’s opening preparation, Susan Polgar challenges the “c5” pawn on move two. At age eight, Susan Polgar is already a predator at the chess board.

2…cxd4

"What do you do after 2. d4 in the Sicilian?" You take it, of course!

“What do you do after 2. d4 in the Sicilian?” You take it, of course!

3. c3

The Smith-Morra Gambit is a delightfully hostile way to crush black's Sicilian dreams.

The Smith-Morra Gambit is a delightfully hostile way to crush black’s Sicilian dreams.

3… dxc3

Again, black's best plan is to simply take the pawn offering.

Again, black’s best plan is to simply take the pawn offering.

4. Nxc3

For the price of a pawn, Susan Polgar is leading in time, space and force.

For the price of a pawn, Susan Polgar is leading in time, space and force.

4… Nc6

Black wisely develops a piece.

Black wisely develops a piece.

5. Bc4

Susan Polgar develops her bishop to where it is attacking the "belly button."

Susan Polgar develops her bishop to where it is attacking the “belly button.”

5… e6

This is a good choice for black as it blocks white's bishop from the weak f7 square. Obviously, in "1) e4 e5" openings black does not have this luxury.

This is a good choice for black as it blocks white’s bishop from the weak f7 square. Obviously, in “1) e4 e5” openings black does not have this luxury.

6. Nf3

As a young gambiteer should, Susan Polgar keeps developing her pieces.

As a young gambiteer should, Susan Polgar keeps developing her pieces.

6… a6

This is the first sign that Susan Polgar's opponent has seen the Smith-Morra Gambit before. Decades after this game was played, IM Tim Taylor recomended this line of defence in a very well researched and popular book. Black's idea with the "Taylor System" is to simply prevent white's knight from creating problems by advancing to b5. Objectively speaking, this seems to be black's best scoring line.

This is the first sign that Susan Polgar’s opponent has seen the Smith-Morra Gambit before. Decades after this game was played, IM Tim Taylor recomended this line of defence in a very well researched and popular book. Black’s idea with the “Taylor System” is to simply prevent white’s knight from creating problems by advancing to b5. Objectively speaking, this seems to be black’s best scoring line.

7. 0-0

Susan Polgar is castled, has a three on one piece advantage and controls the center. Even when black employs the Taylor System, white has a lot to write home about.

Susan Polgar is castled, has a three on one piece advantage and controls the center. Even when black employs the Taylor System, white has a lot to write home about.

7… d6?

I don't like the idea of black playing another slow pawn move here. A better plan is to develop pieces in a way similar to this: 7...Qc7 8.Qe2 Bc5 9.Rd1 Nge7

I don’t like the idea of black playing another slow pawn move here. A better
plan is to develop pieces in a way similar to this:
7…Qc7 8.Qe2 Bc5 9.Rd1 Nge7

8. Bf4

Susan Polgar brings in another piece and now has a 4 to 1 advantage in development. Dimitrov Pavel of Bulgaria had a very nice win against a 2600 rated opponent by means of a different path.

Susan Polgar brings in another piece and now has a 4 to 1 advantage in development. Dimitrov Pavel of Bulgaria had a very nice win against a 2600 rated opponent by means of a different path.

( 8.Qe2 b5 9.Bb3 Ra7 10.Rd1 Rd7 11.Bf4 Be7 12.Rac1 Bb7 13.e5
Nh6 14.exd6 Bxd6 15.Bxd6 Rxd6 16.Ne4 Rxd1+ 17.Rxd1 Qe7 18.Nd6+
Kf8 19.Ne5 Nxe5 20.Qxe5 Bd5 21.Rc1 Qf6 22.Nf5 {1-0, Dimitrov Pavel (BUL) 2350 – Parligras Mircea (ROM) 2601 , Varna 6/19/2010 It (open)} )

8… Be7

The more aggressive 8...b5 was good enough for a draw in Kim Yap - Marat Dzhumaev, 2012.

The more aggressive 8…b5 was good enough for a draw in Kim Yap – Marat Dzhumaev, 2012.

( 8…b5 9.Bb3 Bb7 10.Qe2 Nge7 11.Rad1 Ng6 12.Bg3 Qc7 13.Rd2
Be7 14.Rfd1 Rd8 15.Kh1 O-O 16.Nd4 Nxd4 17.Rxd4 Ne5 18.R4d2 Nc6
19.a3 Rfe8 20.h3 h6 21.Bf4 Bf8 22.Qg4 Ne5 23.Qg3 Kh8 24.Rd4 g5
25.Be3 Ng6 26.a4 Bc6 27.axb5 axb5 28.f3 {
…1/2-1/2, Yap Kim Steven (PHI) 2405 – Dzhumaev Marat (UZB) 2481 , Bandar
Seri Begawan 4/10/2012 Memorial F.Campomanes (open)} )

9. Qe2

Pavel Anisimov elected to play "9. a4" in order to stop Vladimir Shipov from playing b5 in a strong victory for white.

Pavel Anisimov elected to play “9. a4” in order to stop Vladimir Shipov from playing b5 in a strong victory for white.

( 9.a4 Nf6 10.Qe2 e5 11.Bg5 Bg4 12.Qe3 h6 13.Bh4 O-O 14.h3 Bh5
15.g4 Bg6 16.Bg3 Nb4 17.Rac1 Rc8 18.b3 Rc5 19.Rfd1 Qc7 20.Nh4
Kh7 21.Nf5 Rc8 22.Nxe7 Qxe7 23.f3 Ne8 24.Bf2 f6 25.Qd2 R5c7 26.Bb6
Rd7 27.Nd5 Nxd5 28.Bxd5 Rxc1 {…1-0, Anisimov Pavel (RUS) 2518 – Shipov Vladimir, Samara 4/24/2009 Ch City} )

9… Na5?

If black wants to move white's bishop on this move, I prefer pawn to b5 as it doesn't place black's knight on the rim. However, black has no shortage of other ideas to try.

If black wants to move white’s bishop on this move, I prefer pawn to b5 as it doesn’t place black’s knight on the rim. However, black has no shortage of other ideas to try.

( 9…e5 10.Be3 Nf6 11.Rfd1 Bg4 12.h3 Bxf3 13.Qxf3 O-O 14.Rac1
Rc8 15.Bd5 Qd7 16.g4 h6 17.Kh1 b5 18.Rg1 Nd4 19.Bxd4 exd4 20.g5
hxg5 21.Rxg5 Nxd5 22.Rxg7+ Kxg7 23.Qh5 Nf4 24.Rg1+ Ng6 {0-1, Pedersen Nicolai Vesterbaek (DEN) 2460 – Jakobsen Peter (DEN) 2330 , Aarhus 1991 It} )

( 9…Nf6 10.Rfd1 Qc7 11.b4 O-O 12.Qe3 Ng4 13.Qd2 Nxb4 14.Bb3
e5 15.Nd5 Nxd5 16.Bxd5 exf4 17.Qxf4 Ne5 18.Bb3 Nxf3+ 19.Qxf3
Be6 20.Rac1 Qb8 21.Bc2 b5 22.e5 dxe5 23.Qh5 g6 24.Qh6 Rd8 25.Re1
Qb6 26.Rxe5 Rac8 27.Ree1 Bb4 28.Re4 Rxc2 29.h3 {…0-1, Bezivin Joelle – Pile Richard (FRA) 2335 , Montigny 1999 It (open)} )

( 9…Qc7 10.Rfd1 Nf6 11.Rac1 O-O 12.b4 e5 13.Be3 Qb8 14.a3
h6 15.Bb6 Bd8 16.Bxd8 Rxd8 17.Qa2 Rf8 18.h3 b5 19.Bd5 Bb7 20.Qd2
Nd8 21.Qe3 Nxd5 22.Nxd5 Bxd5 23.Rxd5 f6 24.Nh4 Nf7 25.Nf5 Kh7
26.Rcd1 Qc7 27.Qg3 Rg8 28.Nxd6 Nxd6 29.Rxd6 {…1/2-1/2, Daloz Jean-Michel (FRA) 2143 – Etchegaray Patrice (FRA) 2419 , Urcuit 1989 It (open)} )

10. Bd3

The young Susan Polgar already knows not to trade her pieces when planning an attack.

The young Susan Polgar already knows not to trade her pieces when planning an attack.

10… Nf6

This seemingly natural developing move is not as safe as it looks because of "11. e5 dxe5 and then 12. Nxe5." If black's a5 knight was not on the rim, it could defend e5 from a white knight

This seemingly natural developing move is not as safe as it looks because of “11. e5 dxe5 and then 12. Nxe5.” If black’s a5 knight was not on the rim, it could defend e5 from a white knight.

11. Rfd1

Susan Polgar has a rook in the same file as her opponent's queen and a queen in the same file as her opponent's king. Black needs to be very careful to avoid white's tactics.

Susan Polgar has a rook in the same file as her opponent’s queen and a queen in the same file as her opponent’s king. Black needs to be very careful to avoid white’s tactics.

11… e5

Black moves a pawn into the center and seemingly assures that Susan Polgar's white bishop remains blocked by her own pawn on e4.

Black moves a pawn into the center and seemingly assures that Susan Polgar’s white bishop remains blocked by her own pawn on e4.

12. Bg5

Now if black castles, Susan Polgar can play Ra-c1 and thus have all her pieces "in the game."

Now if black castles, Susan Polgar can play Ra-c1 and thus have all her pieces “in the game.”

12… Be6?

Black really should have castled here. Developing the queenside bishop could have waited a move or two.

Black really should have castled here. Developing the queenside bishop could have waited a move or two.

13. Nxe5!

Even at just eight years old, a passion for sacrifices is part of Susan's nature.

Even at just eight years old, a passion for sacrifices is part of Susan’s nature.

13… dxe5

Against an eight year old or an eighty year old, black is correct in taking the knight.

Against an eight year old or an eighty year old, black is correct in taking the knight.

14. Bxf6!

Susan Polgar sets up a neat combination here. Do you see it?

Susan Polgar sets up a neat combination here. Do you see it?

14… 0-0?

Black chooses not to capture back in order to avoid Susan playing Bb5+ and the Rxd8. However, losing the queen for reasonable compensationg seems like the best idea. ( 14...Bxf6 15.Bb5+ axb5 16.Rxd8+ Rxd8 17.Qxb5+ Nc6 18.Qxb7 Nd4) Despite exchanging allowing Susan Polgar to exchange her rook for black's queen, black has a very playable position.

Black chooses not to capture back in order to avoid Susan playing Bb5+ and the
Rxd8. However, losing the queen for reasonable compensationg seems like the best idea.
( 14…Bxf6 15.Bb5+ axb5 16.Rxd8+ Rxd8 17.Qxb5+ Nc6 18.Qxb7 Nd4)
Despite allowing Susan Polgar to exchange her rook for black’s queen, black has a very playable position.

15. Bxe5

Susan Polgar is clearly winning. Now we get to see how good her technique was at age eight.

Susan Polgar is clearly winning. Now we get to see how good her technique was at age eight.

15… Bf6

I believe black's best plan would have been to attack rather than defend. ( 15...Bc5 16.Rac1 Nc6 17.Bf4 )

I believe black’s best plan would have been to attack rather than defend.
( 15…Bc5 16.Rac1 Nc6 17.Bf4 )

16. Bxf6

If Susan Polgar had wanted to win with a better endgame she could have played this instead: ( 16.Bxa6 Qb6 17.Bxf6 Qxa6 18.Qxa6 Rxa6 19.Bh4 )

If Susan Polgar had wanted to win with a better endgame she could have played this instead:
( 16.Bxa6 Qb6 17.Bxf6 Qxa6 18.Qxa6 Rxa6 19.Bh4)

16… Qxf6

A forced recapture which exposes black's queen to white's dagger.

A forced recapture which exposes black’s queen to white’s dagger.

17. e5

Susan Polgar unlocks the b1-h7 diagonal for her bishop while attacking her opponent's queen and gaining space.

Susan Polgar unlocks the b1-h7 diagonal for her bishop while attacking her opponent’s queen and gaining space.

17… Qg5

Black places the queen in the same file as Susan Polgar's king to create some tactical possibilities.

Black places the queen in the same file as Susan Polgar’s king to create some tactical possibilities.

18. Qe4

Susan Polgar's queen moves to a very active square while threatening checkmate on h7.

Susan Polgar’s queen moves to a very active square while threatening checkmate on h7.

18… Qh6

( 18...g6 19.f4 Qe7) Is another way for black to avoid being checkmated.

( 18…g6 19.f4 Qe7) Is another way for black to avoid being checkmated.

19. Rac1

All of Susan Polgar's pieces are in the game and placed well.

All of Susan Polgar’s pieces are in the game and placed well.

19… Nc6

The Black Knight returns from its voyage to the edge of the world.

The Black Knight returns from its voyage to the edge of the world.

20. Bb1!

It's absolutely incredible that an eight year old discovers a brilliant "backwards" move!

It’s absolutely incredible that an eight year old discovers a brilliant “backwards” move!

20… Rfd8

Black decides to contest Susan Polgar's control of the open d-file.

Black decides to contest Susan Polgar’s control of the open d-file.

21. Ne2!

This reverse knight move is the only path toward position the knight closer to her opponent's king. Even at age eight, we see glimpses of brilliant maneuvering from Susan Polgar.

This reverse knight move is the only path toward position the knight closer to her opponent’s king. Even at age eight, we see glimpses of brilliant maneuvering from Susan Polgar.

21… Rac8?

Now all the black pieces are in the game. However, this underestimates the strength of Susan Polgar's plan. A better idea would have been: ( 21...g6 22.Nf4 ( 22.f4 Bg4 23.Bd3 Qh4 ) Rxd1+ 23.Rxd1 Bg4 )

Now all the black pieces are in the game. However, this underestimates the
strength of Susan Polgar’s plan. A better idea would have been:
( 21…g6 22.Nf4 ( 22.f4 Bg4 23.Bd3 Qh4 ) Rxd1+ 23.Rxd1 Bg4 )

22. Nf4!

Susan Polgar's knight has now joined the party but it still is difficult to see what the eight year old has in mind.

Susan Polgar’s knight has now joined the party but it still is difficult to see what the eight year old has in mind.

22… Bg4

Black's bishop moves to g4 to avoid Nxe6 fxe6 f4 and to attack Susan Polgar's rook on d1.

Black’s bishop moves to g4 to avoid Nxe6 fxe6 f4 and to attack Susan Polgar’s rook on d1.

23. Rd6!

Susan Polgar moves her rook to attack the queen which is defending h7 from her bishop and queen battery. If black trades rooks on d6, Susan will be left with a dangerous passed pawn on d6.

Susan Polgar moves her rook to attack the queen which is defending h7 from her bishop and queen battery. If black trades rooks on d6, Susan will be left with a dangerous passed pawn on that square.

23… f6??

Finally, black crumbles in the face of Susan Polgar's unrelenting attack. Moving the pawn to f6 opens up checking possibilities for the queen on the a2-g8 diagonal.

Finally, black crumbles in the face of Susan Polgar’s unrelenting attack. Moving the pawn to f6 opens up checking possibilities for the queen on the a2-g8 diagonal.

24. Qd5+!

Black committed a crime and Susan Polgar delivers the punishment.

Black committed a crime and Susan Polgar delivers the punishment!

24… Kf8

Black's king moves further into danger in hopes that the eight year old handling the white pieces fails to capitalize on her winning chances.

Black’s king moves further into danger in hopes that the eight year old handling the white pieces fails to capitalize on her winning chances.

25. Rcxc6!

The young Susan Polgar is an unrelenting attacker.

The young Susan Polgar is an unrelenting attacker.

25… Rxd6

All roads lead to defeat for black but now Susan Polgar has a mate in 6. Can you find it?

All roads lead to defeat for black but now Susan Polgar has a mate in 6. Can you find it?

26. Qxd6+

Susan Polgar's queen takes advantage of her adversaries exposed king.

Susan Polgar’s queen takes advantage of her adversaries exposed king.

26… Ke8

It is a sad day when your king is forced to confront your opponent's queen, alone.

It is a sad day when your king is forced to confront your opponent’s queen, alone.

27. Rxc8+

( 27.e6 Rd8 28.Rc8 Qxh2+ 29.Kxh2 Rxc8 30.Qd7+ Kf8 31.Qf7#) Completes the difficult mate in 6.

( 27.e6 Rd8 28.Rc8 Qxh2+ 29.Kxh2 Rxc8 30.Qd7+
Kf8 31.Qf7#) Completes the aforementioned mate in 6.

27… Bxc8

Black does not resign because Polgar's knight is pinned to a checkmate.

Black does not resign because Polgar’s knight is pinned to a checkmate.

28. Ne2

Problem solved and Susan is easily winning. Black resigns.

Problem solved and Susan is easily winning. Black resigns.

 

*All analysis is by Chris Torres

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Attacking Chess: Move by Move”

  1. Sanjeev Thakur Says:

    Good opening moves

  2. Sanjeev Thakur Says:

    Good opening moves which leads to crushing defeat

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