Wednesday, April 25, 2012

ATTACKING THE KING


This is always an interesting subject for anyone who has known the rules of the game, learnt openings and basic endgames and started playing chess. What is next for the player, you ask?

To teach the fundamentals of attack, I can honestly find no other book that explains the subject as didactic as JN Walker in his book "ATTACKING THE KING". Through simple examples, he brings to the reader the important ingredients one needs to have before an attack on the King can be launched. Here he also dispels the myth of Scholar's Mate, as well as the rash notion of using only a few pieces to start the assault when the centre has yet to be sufficiently controlled. I am often amazed how students can be made to solve tactical puzzles, yet not explained how these positions are obtained in the first place?  It's like watching the dish pop right out of the oven, tasting awesome but not knowing what goes into it.

JN Walker's approach mirrors closely to another great classic " The Art of Attack" by Vukovic, in that he looks at the assaulting the King in the Centre, the need to know checkmate patterns, then the sacrifices one must make to attain the patterns, finally the concept of attacking the Castled King either with both Kings castled on the same side or opposite sides. I find these concepts necessary to learn before one attempts to play openings with game plans that expound these concepts (especially in the Sicilian Defence). I have come across many games played by juniors in the Sicilian where the entire attack on the King is skipped in favour of exchanging down to an endgame, which to me misses the point of playing aggressively in the Sicilian.  

So I recommend that budding players obtain this book and learn the fundamentals of attacking the King, which will then make chess a lot more exciting. You will renact your computer game thrill with your chess pieces as they smash against enemy pawns, opening lines of fire for other pieces to train their lines onto the enemy monarch. Of course, there's always a good defence to be found but that's what makes chess such a thrill to play, the clash of ideas of attack and defence !
 

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