The Queen's-side attack

The King's-side attack is so exciting and pleasurable that it is sometime hard to remember that games can be won on the other side of the board. I can remember some youthful indignation when playing against the French Defence, when my ambitions on the King's-side came to nothing, while my opponent's pussyfooting manoeuvres snuck in for a touchdown on the neglected Queen's-side.

  What is there to aim for in a queen-side attack? The aim is not mate, but to win or weaken the opponent's pawns on that side. Queen's-side attacks are more modest but more safe than attacking the King's-side, and, because there is no requirement to mate, may endure after an exchange of Queens.

  One of the most familiar, although rather difficult, Queen's-side attacks is the minority attack, often seen in the Queen's Gambit (Exchange variation), when the pawn structure invites it. There are two examples below, but I have started some examples of Queen's-side attacks in symmetrical positions from Capablanca and Alekhin, and close with a splendid tactical coup from Garry Kasparov.

 

Contents

  1. Capablanca,Jose - Alekhin,Alexander (1) [D30] the queen's-side attack: (St Petersburg ), 1913
  2. Alekhin,Alexander - Capablanca,Jose (34) [D51] the queen's-side attack: Buenos, 1927
  3. Kupchik,Abraham - Capablanca,Jose (Lake ) (2) [A46] the queen's-side attack: sealing K-side first, 1926
  4. Smyslov,Vasily V - Keres,Paul (Moscow Wch ) (17) [D51] The queen's-side attack: minority attack, 1948
  5. Alekhin,Alexander - Euwe,Max (Amsterdam) (2) [D17] the queen's-side attack: minority attack, 1935
  6. Kasparov,Gary - Larsen,B (8) [A55] the queen's-side attack: Bugonjo, 1982

Capablanca,Jose - Alekhin,Alexander (1) [D30] the queen's-side attack: (St Petersburg ), 1913

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. e3 Nf6 4. Nf3 e6 5. Nbd2 Nbd7 6. Bd3 Be7 7. O-O O-O 8. Qc2 dxc4 9. Nxc4 c5 10. Nce5 cxd4 11. exd4 Nb6 12. Ng5 g6 13. Ngf3 Kg7 14. Bg5 Nbd5 15. Rac1 Bd7 16. Qd2 Ng8 17. Bxe7 Qxe7 18. Be4 Bb5 19. Rfe1 Qd6 20. Bxd5 exd5

 

t+-+-Ts+
Xx+-+xJx
-+-D-+x+
+l+xN-+-
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pP-Q-PpP
+-R-R-K-

A symmetrical pawn position where the initiative is important. White siezes his chance on the Q-side, which leads to the gain of the c-file, which leads to access to the seventh rank, which leads to a King's-side rout.

21. Qa5 a6 22. Qc7 Qxc7 23. Rxc7 h6 24. Rxb7 Rac8 25. b3 Rc2 26. a4 Be2 27. Nh4 h5 28. Nhxg6 Re8 29. Rxf7+

 

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yeuch

29... Kh6 30. f4 a5 31. Nh4 Rxe5 32. fxe5 Kg5 33. g3 Kg4 34. Rg7+ Kh3 35. Ng2 1-0

 


Alekhin,Alexander - Capablanca,Jose (34) [D51] the queen's-side attack: Buenos, 1927

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 Nbd7 5. e3 c6 6. a3 Be7 7. Nf3 O-O 8. Bd3 dxc4 9. Bxc4 Nd5 10. Bxe7 Qxe7 11. Ne4 N5f6 12. Ng3 c5 13. O-O Nb6 14. Ba2 cxd4 15. Nxd4 g6 16. Rc1 Bd7 17. Qe2 Rac8 18. e4 e5 19. Nf3 Kg7 20. h3 h6 21. Qd2 Be6 22. Bxe6 Qxe6

 

-+t+-T-+
Xx+-+xJ-
-S-+dSxX
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-+-+p+-+
P-+-+nNp
-P-Q-Pp+
+-R-+rK-

Symmetrical central pawns usually mean drawish positions, but White has an opportunity to make mischief on the Queen's-side

23. Qa5

  An irony: see the St.Petersburg game from 1914.

23... Nc4 24. Qxa7 Nxb2 25. Rxc8 Rxc8 26. Qxb7

 

-+t+-+-+
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The rest is a long answer to the question, can Alekhin win from a complex position, a pawn up against the greatest natural talent of the game?

26... Nc4 27. Qb4 Ra8 28. Ra1 Qc6 29. a4 Nxe4 30. Nxe5 Qd6 31. Qxc4 Qxe5 32. Re1 Nd6 33. Qc1 Qf6 34. Ne4 Nxe4 35. Rxe4 Rb8 36. Re2 Ra8 37. Ra2 Ra5 38. Qc7 Qa6 39. Qc3+ Kh7 40. Rd2 Qb6 41. Rd7 Qb1+ 42. Kh2 Qb8+ 43. g3 Rf5 44. Qd4 Qe8 45. Rd5 Rf3 46. h4 Qh8 47. Qb6 Qa1 48. Kg2 Rf6 49. Qd4 Qxd4 50. Rxd4 Kg7 51. a5 Ra6 52. Rd5 Rf6 53. Rd4 Ra6 54. Ra4 Kf6 55. Kf3 Ke5 56. Ke3 h5 57. Kd3 Kd5 58. Kc3 Kc5 59. Ra2 Kb5 60. Kb3 Kc5 61. Kc3 Kb5 62. Kd4 Rd6+ 63. Ke5 Re6+ 64. Kf4 Ka6 65. Kg5 Re5+ 66. Kh6 Rf5 67. f4 Rc5 68. Ra3 Rc7 69. Kg7 Rd7 70. f5 gxf5 71. Kh6 f4 72. gxf4 Rd5 73. Kg7 Rf5 74. Ra4 Kb5 75. Re4 Ka6 76. Kh6 Rxa5 77. Re5 Ra1 78. Kxh5 Rg1 79. Rg5 Rh1 80. Rf5 Kb6 81. Rxf7 Kc6 82. Re7

 

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answer: yes

1-0

 


Kupchik,Abraham - Capablanca,Jose (Lake ) (2) [A46] the queen's-side attack: sealing K-side first, 1926

1. d4 Nf6 2. Nf3 e6 3. e3 b6 4. Bd3 Bb7 5. O-O Ne4 6. Nbd2 f5 7. c3 Be7 8. Qc2 d5 9. Ne5 O-O 10. f3 Nxd2 11. Bxd2 Nd7 12. Nxd7 Qxd7 13. Rae1 c5 14. Qd1 Rf6 15. Qe2 Raf8 16. Bb5 Qc7 17. f4 c4 18. Kh1 Bd6 19. Rf3

 

-+-+-Tj+
XlD-+-Xx
-X-LxT-+
+b+x+x+-
-+xP-P-+
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pP-Bq+pP
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Before launching on his Queen's-side attack, Black secures the King's-side . I found this very striking: I assumed his next move was the start of a King's-side offensive, because that's where the pieces are pointing. But the Pawns point the other way.

19... h5! 20. Ref1 Rh6 21. Be1 g6 22. Bh4 Kf7 23. Qe1 a6 24. Ba4 b5 25. Bd1 Bc6 26. Rh3 a5 27. Bg5 Rhh8 28. Qh4 b4 29. Qe1 Rb8 30. Rhf3 a4 31. R3f2 a3

 

-T-+-+-T
+-D-+j+-
-+lLx+x+
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-XxP-P-+
X-P-P-+-
pP-+-RpP
+-+bQr+k

the dam is breached

32. b3 cxb3 33. Bxb3 Bb5 34. Rg1 Qxc3 35. Qxc3 bxc3 36. Rc2 Rhc8 37. Bh4 Bd3 38. Rcc1 Rxb3 39. axb3 a2 0-1



Smyslov,Vasily V - Keres,Paul (Moscow Wch ) (17) [D51] The queen's-side attack: minority attack, 1948

1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. Bg5 c6 5. e3 Nbd7 6. cxd5 exd5 7. Bd3 Be7 8. Nf3 O-O 9. Qc2 Re8 10. O-O Nf8

 

t+lDtSj+
Xx+-LxXx
-+x+-S-+
+-+x+-B-
-+-P-+-+
+-NbPn+-
pPq+-PpP
R-+-+rK-

The classic starting-point for a minority attack. Black has a majority of Pawns on the Queen's-side but no open file; the half-open c-file means that White can attack there more easily than Black! White is not obliged to go in for the minority attack, but it is a good way to play for a win.

11. Rab1 Ng6 12. b4

  The characteristic manoeuvre of the minority attack.

12... Bd6 13. b5 Bd7 14. bxc6 Bxc6 15. Qb3 Be7 16. Bxf6 Bxf6 17. Bb5 Qd6 18. Rfc1 h5 19. Ne2 h4 20. Bxc6 bxc6 21. Qa4 Ne7

 

t+-+t+j+
X-+-SxX-
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q+-P-+-X
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p+-+nPpP
+rR-+-K-

White's attack has yielded a weak pawn to aim at, while Black's King's-side feint has yet to produce fruit.

22. Rb7

  Some commentators suggested this may be inaccurate, but that is what open files are for

22... a5 23. h3 Reb8 24. Rcb1 Rxb7 25. Rxb7 c5

  Black must try this move before White can gang up on the pawn

26. Rb5 cxd4 27. Nexd4

 

t+-+-+j+
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Xr+x+-+-
q+-N-+-X
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p+-+-Pp+
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the weakness on c6 has vanished, but there is a new weakness on d5 and the a5 pawn is still under threat

27... Rc8 28. Nb3 Bc3 29. Qxh4 Rc4 30. g4 a4 31. Nbd4 Bxd4 32. Nxd4 Qe5 33. Nf3 Qd6 34. Ra5 Rc8 35. Rxa4 Ng6 36. Qh5 Qf6 37. Qf5 Qc6 38. Ra7 Rf8 39. Rd7 d4 40. Rxd4 Ra8 41. a4

1-0

 


Alekhin,Alexander - Euwe,Max (Amsterdam) (2) [D17] the queen's-side attack: minority attack, 1935

1. d4 d5 2. c4 c6 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. Nc3 dxc4 5. a4 Bf5 6. Ne5 Nbd7 7. Nxc4 Qc7 8. g3 e5 9. dxe5 Nxe5 10. Bf4 Nfd7 11. Bg2 Be6 12. Nxe5 Nxe5 13. O-O Be7 14. Qc2 Rd8 15. Rfd1 O-O 16. Nb5 Rxd1+ 17. Rxd1 Qa5 18. Nd4 Bc8

 

-+l+-Tj+
Xx+-LxXx
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D-+-S-+-
p+-N-B-+
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-Pq+pPbP
+-+r+-K-

Black's Queen's side majority is a potential asset but because it cannot yet be advanced it is mostly a target.

19. b4

  Alekhin is always tactically alert

19... Qc7

[19... Qxb4/19...Bxb4 drop the Ne5]

20. b5 c5 21. Nf5 f6 22. Ne3 Be6 23. Bd5

 

-+-+-Tj+
XxD-L-Xx
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+pXbS-+-
p+-+-B-+
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-+q+pP-P
+-+r+-K-

Although the c-Pawn is passed Black's pawns are blocked and awkward. With the disappearance of Black's good bishop White's pieces start to create threats across the board, and the blockade of the c-Pawn stops Black creating any nuisance with it.

23... Bxd5 24. Rxd5 Qa5 25. Nf5 Qe1+ 26. Kg2 Bd8 27. Bxe5 fxe5 28. Rd7 Bf6 29. Nh6+ Kh8 30. Qxc5

  A symbolic final move

1-0

 


Kasparov,Gary - Larsen,B (8) [A55] the queen's-side attack: Bugonjo, 1982

1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 d6 3. Nc3 e5 4. Nf3 Nbd7 5. e4 Be7 6. Be2 O-O 7. O-O c6 8. d5 Nc5 9. Qc2 cxd5 10. cxd5 Qc7 11. Nd2 Bd7 12. a4 Rac8 13. Ra3 Ne8 14. Rd1 Bg5 15. b4 Na6 16. Qb3 f5 17. Nc4 Bxc1 18. Rxc1 fxe4 19. Nxe4 Bf5 20. Ng3 Qd7 21. h3 Nf6 22. Raa1 Bg6 23. Ne3 Rxc1+ 24. Rxc1 Rc8

 

-+t+-+j+
Xx+d+-Xx
s+-X-Sl+
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pP-+-+-+
+q+-N-Np
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White is better, but the resource Kasparov finds is remarkable

25. Rc6 bxc6 26. dxc6+ Qf7 27. Bc4 d5 28. Nxd5 Kh8 29. Nb6 (the point) 29... Qc7 30. Nxc8 Qxc8

 

-+d+-+-J
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s+p+-Sl+
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pPb+-+-+
+q+-+-Np
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White has not sacrificed so much after all, and the Queen's-side pawns are rampant.

31. b5 Nc5 32. Qa3 Nce4 33. Qe7 Nxg3 34. c7 Bf5 35. fxg3 h5 36. a5 e4 37. b6 axb6 38. axb6 Kh7 39. Qc5 1-0

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