Thursday, February 9, 2012

Attacking when castled on opposite sides

Castling on opposite sides, e.g. White castled queenside and Black castled kingside, usually leads to a very sharp game. Both players try to mate each others kings as quickly as possible. This is usually fun, but at the same time, it is risky. Here is what we recommend in this type of position:

  1. Be ready to take risks! If you have a choice between taking a risk and loosing the initiative, take the risk. These positions are sharp and having the initiative is vital.
  2. Wasting time is lethal! Related to advice 1, in such sharp situations a single tempo can cost you the whole game. Try to choose the most aggressive moves and keep the initiative at all costs. 
  3. Push your pawns! The goal is to open files against the enemy king. Open one or more files with the pawns.
  4. Invade with your heavy pieces! Use the open files to invade the enemy king with your queen and rooks. Keep thinking about advices 1 and 2 while attacking.
  5. Do not push the pawns in front of your own king! This will create anchoring points that the opponent may use to open files against your king. For example if you castled queenside and your b2-pawn is on b3, then black may play a7-a5-a4xb3 and open the a-file, which means disaster for your king.
  6. Have control over the center! When starting your attack, check whether or not you have enough control over the center. It is generally a good idea to have good control over the center before starting a flank attack.