An Explosive Attacking Theme

The other day, while listening to the live commentary to the game Short-Anand in Round 4 of the London Chess Classic, GM Gordon and IM Peterson noted briefly a common attacking theme that is popular among class players. It was a plan I had seen before, and even employed myself in the Dutch. In its simplest form, it is illustrated In the introduction to “The Classical Dutch” by Simon Williams. Including only the relevant portion of the board and noting that black’s pieces are on their ideal squares for an attack, he demonstrates the attacking motif with the following diagram:

Here, the idea is simply to win by playing Bxg2, fxg3, Rxf3, and either mating on h2 or winning a ton of material. This setup occurs naturally in the Classical Dutch, following the maneuver Qd8-e8, h4. By coming to the king-side so quickly, the queen brings enormous pressure to bear on white’s position. The move 7…Qe8 is common in both the Classical Dutch and the Leningrad, and is a move that I favor for precisely this reason. A dream continuation in a game would look something like this:

Naturally, if white is a strong player he will not allow such an attack to come together so easily, however, I cannot tell you how many games I have won with this simple plan, particularly in blitz.

What interested me about the brief aside by the Full English Breakfast guys, was that they were discussing the possibility of playing this idea as white against the sicilian!

For example, look at this position after the move 8.d3 from the game Short-Anand, London, Round 4:

It looks a lot like the Classical dutch reversed! Here we can see white is thinking of bringing the queen to the kingside and opening the necessary diagonals to launch this simplistic attack. One fantasy variation may go as follows:

Naturally, this would never occur in Grandmaster level play, but it’s an attack I can see working time and again against class players. In fact, Macauley Peterson mentioned that this exact attacking theme won him many points as a junior before earning a title.