Back to Back Issues Page
LCB, Issue #025 --, Start Middlegame Wars with Kings on Same Side
June 01, 2017

Middlegame Wars with the Kings on the Same Side

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #025 -- Conduct Crushing Middlegame Wars

learn and play online chess
Last month we began a study of some very specific types of middlegames. Namely direct attacks on the King in the Middlegame with one distinctive characteristic. The Kings were castled on opposite wings. This gave rise to certain themes and patterns unique to that situation. Pawn storms and violent attacks right in the middlegame were the norm. The pawns were free to storm towards the enemy King because they were leaving no King directly exposed in their wake.

So what happens as is usually the case when the Kings are castled on the same side. It is not usually advisable for the pawns to leave their King out in the open as they surge forward toward his opposite number. How do we open up the defense around the enemy King without compromising our own King's safety?

Let's look at how we can rip open enemy defenses while keeping our own King safely protected and out of harms way. These are direct attacks on the Kings with Kings castled on the same side.

Recurring Themes in Middlegame Wars

Attacking the King when the Kings are on the Same Side

Defending pieces can be compelled to move aside or be exchanged. That leaves the pawns who put up a far more stubborn resistance. There are a few different methods to break down the pawn shield around the enemy King.

You can, believe it or not get away with a pawn storm in certain circumstances. You should not even consider this option if the center is open and your opponent's pieces would have direct attacking lines and diagonals to your newly exposed King. The center must be closed.

If the center is closed then it may be on to launch a pawn storm. With well placed pieces and a well timed assault the onrushing pawns may be able to rip open the enemy pawn shield for the pieces flooding in behind. Alexander Kotov takes you through some instructive pawns storms.

Rip Open the Pawn Shield with a Piece Sacrifice

Another way to get at the King is to give up a piece or pieces to blast open the defensive shell in front of him. Very often you can pick up one or even two of the pawns standing in front of the King.

It works because even if you are down in material you can get more of your pieces into the critical area before your opponent. His pieces are often marooned over on the queenside while your remaining pieces are surrounding his King. Before he can take advantage of his extra piece the game is over.

These smash and grab tactics are always an option lurking under the surface. You should always be on the look out for opportunities like Alexander Kotov's piece sacrifices here.

Weakening the Pawn Shield

You can also line up your pieces to attack the pawn shield, thereby compelling them to advance. When the pawns are forced to move forward, they leave weaknesses in their wake. Weak squares and complexes in the vicinity of the King which you can infiltrate with your pieces.

The more pawn advances you force the weaker the King's defensive shield becomes. The pawns themselves also become steadily weakened. Ripe for a sacrifice perhaps. All of this is achieved by forming batteries and threatening captures.

When the King's position is weakened to the correct degree, the invading pieces swarm in for the kill. The goal is either a direct checkmate or a gain of material so big that the endgame is a formality. Check out this weakened pawn shield described by Kotov.

Opening Lines and Diagonals Against the King

It seems almost like a cliche but open lines and diagonals leading straight to your opponent's King. Get your bishop on the long diagonal looking straight at the king. Open the file looking straight down towards the King and get a Rook on it.

This will naturally lend itself to some of the ideas discussed already as the defense will be forced to compromise in some way. Your opponent will have to deal with the problems and threats that you are posing.

Lines and diagonals will be opened by advancing pawns and creating pawn breaks to clear the way for your pieces to bear down on the enemy King. Kotov advises us how to properly open lines and diagonals.

Changing the Point of Attack

We can also wear our adversary down by attacking first on one wing, then the other, or maybe down the center. When we have more space, better co-ordination and harmony for our pieces, this is a most effective strategy.

The point is when you can move your pieces around with efficiency and ease you do not compromise your position structurally. You maintain your position and cohesion between your pieces. Your opponent on the other hand, with less space and fluidity, has to scramble his pieces from one sector to another in order to parry your continuous threats.

As a result his pieces inevitably get tangled up in knots and he will also most likely have to make structural concessions to stave off disaster. This of course will carry a cost to be paid later down the road. Kotov gives an example of this theme of moving the point of attack.

If you do not have html based email software and you're using a text only system, you may find that the links are only partially highlighted and may not work. If this is the case, simply copy and paste the entire link into the browser and hit Enter. That should get you where you want to go.
Comments, ideas, feedback? I'd be stoked to hear from you.

Get in touch

See you next month.


Back to Back Issues Page