I received an email the other day advising me that this year’s Chess Kids camp will be held at Wodonga from July 7 to 10.  Previous camps have been at Philip Island and Hobart so the change of venue should be good fun.

The theme for last year’s camp was “defending” so I was a little horrified to find out that this year’s theme will be “attacking”.  Why horrified?  Well I spend many of my chess coaching lessons trying to persuade my students not to attack … I’m more a “boa constrictor” sort of player and I only attack when the position demands it … not just because I want to.  Indeed last week I showed a game where Marcus Raine tried an unjustified attack in a game against Jason Tang and ended up losing horribly in 14 moves.

Never-the-less I have bitten the bullet and started finding material on the theme “attacking” and there is no shortage.  Chess players of course are all different and some are really imaginative and invariably try to attack in their games whilst others may prefer endgames or positional play perhaps.  In my time I can think of players like Alan Goldsmith and Eddy Levi who were greatly feared as attackers, so when playing them you always tried to swap off and keep the game quiet.  On one occasion I was playing Levi and was a solid pawn ahead with the opportunity to swap off into a double rook ending.  I wasn’t sure that I could win it so I kept the queens on but soon regretted it as Levi whipped up a ferocious attack.  I explained what had happened to Guy West after the game and how I it mistakenly decided not to swap off into an ending and he replied … “but surely you know that ALL endings are won against Levi!”  Often attacking players a very good at attacking but less good at other types of chess games.

The most important thing to remember in attacking as that the position has to justify an attack – for instance you have more attackers than defenders; there are weaknesses in the defence around the opposing King and ideally you have more space.  Very often I watch inexperienced players playing and they will play a move like Ng5 early in the game.  I ask them why they did that move and the reply comes back “I wanted to attack”.  I then have to explain how an attack by a single knight against a well defended King is unlikely to succeed.

I hope that you have a better understanding of “attacking” so let’s put you to the test in today’s puzzle.  Black to play and win.  Good luck.

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