The Art Of Attacking A Slightly Weakened King Side

In a recent tournament game, as White I ended up misplaying a Semi-Tarrasch type of early middlegame, allowing Black easy equality after committing to the e5 advance (giving up control of the d5 square) and not taking advantage of Black’s lag in development. However, I managed to win by stubbornly trying to attack a slightly weakened King side, resulting from my forcing g6 to avoid mate on h7. Even after g6, however, Black’s position was fine. But at least I had something to work with. This game is instructive because it shows how to try to make progress based on just a single possible weakness in the opponent’s position.

The story

Black made the error of trading off the dark-squared Bishops, permanently weakening f6 and h6 and d6. Again, objectively Black’s position was still solid and fine, because of his very strong Knight on d5 that guarded the f6 square anyway.

But I did some maneuvering and waiting to allow my opponent to make one inaccuracy after another, resulting in Black voluntarily moving the Knight away from d5 to b6 and my own Knight getting to a d6 outpost, thanks to Black’s missing dark Bishop.

Finally, Black made a tactical inaccuracy that allowed me to win the a7 Pawn. Even after this, objectively the position should have been an easy draw, thanks to simplification and Black’s total control over the d5 square. But Black gave up the light-squared Bishop for mine, resulting in a position in which I had still had a bind and remote chances to try for a King side attack.

It turned out that Black maneuvered poorly, making his own Rooks passive and away from his King, and finally erring with moving his Queen also away from his King, to the Queen side. This allowed me to land my Knight on f6 just in time as the King side was undefended, and through some tactics win the f7 Pawn and the game.

A long grind of a game, but I was happy that my patience was rewarded.

Franklin Chen

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About Franklin Chen

Franklin Chen is a United States Chess Federation National Master. Outside his work as a software developer, he also teaches chess and is a member of the Pittsburgh Chess Club in Pennsylvania, USA. He began playing in chess tournaments at age 10 when his father started playing in them himself but retired after five years, taking two decades off until returning to chess as an adult at age 35 in order to continue improving where he left off. He won his first adult chess tournaments including the 2006 PA State Game/29 and Action Chess Championships, and finally achieved the US National Master title at age 45. He is dedicated to the process of continual improvement, and is fascinated by the practical psychology and philosophy of human competition and personal self-mastery. Franklin has a blog about software development, The Conscientious Programmer and a personal blog where he writes about everything else, including his recent journey as an adult improver in playing music.