Seek The Initiative

We chess players are told that when we have the advantage we must attack. It is not an option, said Mr. Steinitz, it is a ‘duty’ — an obligation.

The top chess Grandmasters, however, don’t just leave it there, they actively seek initiative. They look in every corner for it, every nook and cranny. And, furthermore, they are willing to do whatever they (legally) can for it.

The game I am going to share with you this week has been analysed in a few sources. Nevertheless, it is my game of choice to illustrate the point of actually ‘seeking’ the initiative, looking to go that one step further in order to manufacture it, rather than waiting for it to just happen … or not.

The game is between British GM’s Adams and Howell. It was played at the London Chess Classic of 2010. You will watch as Michael Adams, playing White, actively seeks the initiative. He seeks it so much that he is willing to take a risk, enticing his opponent in to wasting some time and neglecting his development. And then, into accepting a pawn sacrifice a few moves later. In return for the pawn, Adams obtains much superior development, and a powerful Kingside initiative. He wastes no time in using this to make threat upon threat towards his opponent, giving him no time to develop or organise his pieces. In fact, when Howell does complete development, it is too late to be of use, and Adams finishes the game superbly.

A very nice display, in which Mickey is in complete control throughout — Enjoy!

John Lee Shaw