Proper Moments to Attack

Like many of my students, most chess players have a particular lust for a great attacking game. Players see the dazzling attacking games of Mikhail Tal, the great Garry Kasparov and want to dispatch of their opponents in similar fashion. The issue for most players is that attacking greats like Tal and Kasparov had a knack for knowing the proper moments to attack.

Identifying the proper moment to attack will become easier if you take the following factors into consideration:

  • Development
  • King Safety 
  • Coordination of Pieces (misplaced pieces)

The late IM Danny Kopec once assisted me with a camp in Charlotte and noted while showing a game that a proper attack can rarely be conducted if ones rooks are not connected. I think that this is generally a good rule. In most cases your development must be completed before an attack can be conceived. Similarly your opponent may lag behind in this department giving you the cue that you’re ready to go!

Your opponents king safety as well as your own is also a good indicator of whether an attack should be conducted or not. If your opponent lacks king safety (can not castle or has not castle) this is generally a sign that you should proceed aggressively. The flip side of this notion is that if your own king is not safe, conducting an attack will not likely succeed.

Lastly, coordination of pieces is very important. “Knights on the rim are grim”, “Knights on the rim are better for him” – GM B Finegold, et cetera. Pieces should be harmoniously placed (toward center, active roles) before any dreams of attack can be fulfilled.

Now for a few games with my notes:

Boleslavsky – Dzinzichashvilli 1967

Bogoljubov – Spielmann 1919

I hope you enjoyed these games as well as the article! Hopefully your next games will feature great attacks which were conducted properly due to your acknowledgment of the factors in an attack listed above!


Until Next Time,

NM Peter Giannatos

USCF: 2301 FIDE: 2209


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