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wschmidt ♡ 54 ( +1 | -1 )
Vukovic - The Art of the Attack in Chess In my last OTB tournament game at my local chess club, I was paired against a much stronger player. I was White, playing the Closed Sicilian and had a bit of kingside pressure. I botched the attack and went down in flames.

After looking over the game I decided that the next book I'm going to study will be Vukovic's "The Art of the Attack in Chess". It's been sitting on my shelves for ages, unread. Now's the time. Anyone care to comment on their experiences with this book? Anyone care to read it with me?
bhidragon ♡ 17 ( +1 | -1 )
Great Book I started it about six months ago. It's going to take a while to get through, but I've already learned quite a bit. Solid theory backed up by some good examples of his ideas.
cascadejames ♡ 16 ( +1 | -1 )
Count me in. wschmidt,
Count me in if you are still looking for some study partners. I bought the book today, and will begin with the preface and introduction tonight.
marinvukusic ♡ 11 ( +1 | -1 )
Great and important book I don't understand the "Anyone care to read it with me?" part though (this is a book for individual study).
juanvaldezmyhero ♡ 28 ( +1 | -1 )
The one study partner you need is your chess set. I found I learned the most from this book by playing through each example very slowly. The chapter on the bishop sacrifice at h7 stands out as particularly well done, and I would give it special attention.
ganstaman ♡ 65 ( +1 | -1 )
?Useful? example Bishop sacrifices at h7 -- I've got one of those! game

But it's an ongoing game, so I think I may have to stay out of this thread until the dust settles just in case someone starts to talk about it. I don't claim that it's completely correct (my comment in the game at this time of this writing says that I still couldn't work out 15...Bf6), but I think the whole idea of attacking the kingside from 12. h4 could be instructive. If you want to have some fun, try working out 12. h4 h6 13. Ng5, or 12...f6 13. Ng5. At least at the time, that's what I was planning on moving.
juanvaldezmyhero ♡ 17 ( +1 | -1 )
another example of Bxh7 Here is one I credit to studying Vukovic:

wschmidt ♡ 20 ( +1 | -1 )
marin, What I meant when I said, "Anyone care to read it with me?" was "I'm going to start it in a few days and if anyone else is going to do the same, we might share our comments in this thread as we do so."
cascadejames ♡ 228 ( +1 | -1 )
Introduction- "focal point" - "chunk" I have just begun my study of this book. Among other things, the introduction discusses the idea
of a "focal point", that is a square near your opponent's King, which when occupied by the
appropriate piece creates a checkmate. The idea is to plan a series of moves that will allow you
to position the appropriate piece on the focal point. Initially I thought this to be just another label
for something obvious. Then I realized that the focal point concept provided a convenient "chunk"
of chess information.

For those unfamiliar with the idea of "chunks"-- There is a theory that your brain deals more
efficiently with information when it is organized in moderate sized "chunks" instead of many
small bits or one large piece. For easy example, it is easier to remember and use a 10 digit
number if it is divided into 3 chunks. So instead of :
10 small bits 2 1 2 5 5 5 1 2 1 2
or one large piece 2125551212
we use 212-555-1212 as a telephone number.
Notice that the effect is even greater if the chunks contain familiar patterns. In this case, some of
you will recognize this as a telephone number in which 212 is the area code for New York and 555
is a prefix that is reserved for telephone company numbers.

In chess, each individual move is like a single small bit. The focal point is a convenient way of
organizing your thoughts about a series of moves leading to checkmate. The game as a whole
involves multiple possible focal points, and the focal points change from time to time as the
pieces move. If you try to keep track by looking at individual moves only, it is very difficult. If
you try to digest every possible attack, and hold them in all your mind together that is also very

It is easier if you break the game down into a series chunks. Each chunk being a plan to use a
particular square as a focal point, and it is easier still if you can integrate familiar patterns into
the plans to take advantage of the focal points.

I look forward to studying more about focal points. Your mileage may vary. Some people find the
idea of chunks useful, others think it useless.
cascadejames ♡ 108 ( +1 | -1 )
Attack on uncastled King pp.14-18 Attack on the e-file
Vukovic at p. 14 - "The first and most fundamental condition for an attack on the e-file is that the
opponent's King should be on that file, and that for some reason it is impossible or difficult for it
to move away."

Is he simply emphasizing the point that an attack on the e-file is particularly effective because
the King is there, or is he really saying that the presence of the King on the file is fundamental? I
have to confess that I will often attack down an open e-file whether or not the opposing King is on
it. Any time the e-file is open, it feels right to place a rook or two on it, where the rooks can play
a part in the struggle to control the middle. I think of it as getting the rooks into the game,
instead of allowing them to sit in the corner not doing much. Would Vukovic say I am wasting my
time when I move the rooks to the middle? Or maybe Vukovic would say that if your opponent's
King is not on the e-file, then moving your rook to the open e-file may be a good move, but it is
not an attack; instead it is merely an appropriate move to develop the piece.
ionadowman ♡ 57 ( +1 | -1 )
cascadejames... ... perhaps context is important here. Massing the heavy pieces on the e-file is usually good (provided the enemy cannot oppose them either by directly challenging your heavy pieces with his own, or by closing off the file with a protected pawn or piece) even if the enemy king is not on the file. But I think Vukovic might be thinking of a more general assault on the enemy king that has been stranded in the centre, using minor pieces or even pawns to smash through the protecting screens the defence puts in place.
bhidragon ♡ 12 ( +1 | -1 )
e-file attack That's the first page of the section on "Attack against the uncastled king". Thus, the king is still on the e-file.
cascadejames ♡ 144 ( +1 | -1 )
Attack on uncastled King pp.18-21 These pages complete the subsection titled, "Attack along the e-file."
This includes a portion of a complex game from 1943 and a 19th century Seinitz gem that I
have seen before. Both deserve more study than I had time to give them tonight. I input the
moves into chessmaster and played through the basic games once. I will return to them for
study tomorrow.

Ion, Yes context is important, and certainly I have not changed my view that putting a rook on
an open file usually improves your position. But I think part of Vukovic's message here may
be that if the opponent's King is not on the e-file, then an attack down that file may not be
decisive. When I think about it, I can remember games in which I congratulated myself for
gaining control of a file in the middle, but then after the other side castled, I discovered that
my control of the e-file ultimately led to no great advantage. Of course that might have
happened because I was inept at using the open file after I gained control over it. But perhaps
it also explains why Vukovic is indicating we would do well to look for a different attack, if the
King is not on the file or not constrained to remain on the file.

Looking ahead, I see that the next subsection of Chapter 1 is titled, "The Attack on
Square f7" and is followed by Chapter 2, "The Attack on the King who has lost the right to
ccmcacollister ♡ 121 ( +1 | -1 )
A great book~! I hope, if you have not seen it, some of you might enjoy my game annotated vs SJAKKMESTER .
I do feel it's one of my better annotations. And imo it gives a practical demonstration for a number of the tactical ideas some of you have already mentioned here, or will be seeing in the book. Such as weakened square(s) & targeting a mating square or square complex; attacking upon an e-file;
sacrifice for purposes of clearance or line-opening. Plus perhaps a concept you may not see mentioned elsewhere ...Why you may wish to open an Opponent's Lines!? Also, maintaining and utilizing a large mobile center, and building behind it in preparation of attack.
Many of the concepts are presented in the last 5 or 6 notes of the game. Center utilization and e-file pressure are earlier.

[Please drop me a "line" if you found anything particularly useful or interesting. Or anything lacking that needs to be said there. I would still like to hone my notes a bit there if its needed; try to get back up to 4 stars :) ]
Regards, Craig A.C.
* * * * *
ganstaman ♡ 19 ( +1 | -1 )
Oh, by the way, in case anyone was playing through the game I posted, it seems that 15...Bf6 isn't good for black. I missed a move before 7 moves into the sequence and it seems to be great for white.
ccmcacollister ♡ 18 ( +1 | -1 )
JVimHERO ... I didn't like his ...c4? move at all. But what a perfect position you created after it, to capitalize & make that Incredible h7-sac combination ... Well played! Certainly one of the strongest h7 sac's I've seen.

wschmidt ♡ 67 ( +1 | -1 )
For those of you who are playing through the book on the computer, here are a couple of ideas -

First, there's a fine collection of gamebook downloads at:

which includes a link to about the first third of Vukovic's book. I don't have any idea why it's incomplete but it still beats inputting all the moves yourself.

Second, for the later games (or all the games if you choose not to use the Ossimitz collection) it's relatively easy to go to the Chessbase game collection at:

and download the games individually and build your own Vukovic database.

cascadejames ♡ 4 ( +1 | -1 )
wschmidt Thanks those links are helpful.
ccmcacollister ♡ 14 ( +1 | -1 )
wschmidt ... What a shame. It wants Chessbase and mine is acting funky again :(
But what a brilliant idea~! Good for you. Thanks for sharing it too ...
cascadejames ♡ 39 ( +1 | -1 )
Attack on uncastled King pp.21-24 Beginning of the subchapter: The attack on the Square f-7
These are tough games for me. Lots of work required, but I suspect it will be rewarded in the long run.

I don't really understand how the Keres-Kotov 1950 game fits in this section. The focus of attack in the game seems to be more against c-7 than f-7. Either I am not understanding the game, or the game was selected because the attack on c-7 is similar to an attack on f-7.
cascadejames ♡ 25 ( +1 | -1 )
Attack on uncastled King pp.24-27 End of of the sub-chapter: The attack on the Square f-7
Either the theme is more clearly presented in these pages, or I have come to understand it better.
I particularly enjoyed the game winning march of Rubinstein's pawns in the final game of this
longbow57 ♡ 47 ( +1 | -1 )
Study Losses A GM once told me to study my losses instead of buying chess books would make you lot better player at lot cheaper price and l you will learn a lot from this. Find the best move in your games this is the best lesson I learned from him. I was buying chess books left and right spending a lot of money and not having the time to read them and work too. There is enough in your games to last you a life. Thanks
wschmidt ♡ 76 ( +1 | -1 )
longbow57, I think there's some truth to what your GM said if the choice was all or nothing between studying one's own games or studying books. I think there's value to balancing studying master games and analyzing my own games. One of the great chess writers, C.J.S Purdy, the first world correspondence champion, felt strongly that playing over master level games in a "solitaire chess" fashion was the very best study one could do.
I certainly agree that buying books and not studying them doesn't accomplish much. I have a wall of chess books to attest to that. My goal at this point in life is to take a few of those books and really learn what's in them. That, and study my own games. ws
bhidragon ♡ 13 ( +1 | -1 )
Longbow57 That's probably the best advice on how to learn something about this "game" that I've ever heard. Thanks!
ganstaman ♡ 103 ( +1 | -1 )
Since it's all about longbow now... But how do you know what you're looking for in your losses if you don't get some material (eg a book) to tell you? That is, if you haven't read a book like the one this thread is about and you haven't seen master games featuring sacrifice on h7, then when you study your games, you likely won't see that you had missed a winning sacrifice on h7. You will make this mistake every time.

Sure, you could eventually figure out everything all on your own (like if you have enough games where you get doubled pawns, and you start to see the trouble they give you, you could possibly deduce that doubled pawns are usually a weakness). But why try to reinvent the game? If you read about the weaknesses of doubled pawns and then see just a single game of yours with them, you'll learn the same lesson that it would have taken you many many games to figure out on your own.

Studying only your own games or only books is pointless. If you don't mix them, then you aren't maximizing the potential of either.
cascadejames ♡ 116 ( +1 | -1 )
Attack on King that can't castle pp. 28-31 Beginning of Chapter 2. "The Attack on the King that has lost the right to Castle."
These games are a pleasure to play through, but must have been more than usually painful for the loser as his King is helpless and pursued across the board. Vukovic writes about the three stages of this strategy. His three stages-- rephrased-- are: 1) Cause the opposing King to move so it can no longer castle 2) Move the King further out of position with a series of checks 3) Catch the King in the final mating net.

I again like the way he breaks the strategy into ideas that are manageable chunks; instead of attempting to capture the entire strategy in a single idea or expression.

Longbow, Thanks for your suggestion. I think I will continue to study both the games and books of others, as well as my own games. But I am happy to believe that your study strategy works best for you. As my grandfather would have said, again with a chuckle, "Some people can learn by the experience of others, and some people have to touch an electric fence themselves." I aspire to learn from the experience of others.
cascadejames ♡ 47 ( +1 | -1 )
Attack on King that can't castle pp. 32-33 Chapter 2 continued.
Averbakh v Kotov Zurich Ct 1953
Kotov sacrifices his Queen to expose the White King to attack, and 22 moves later White resigns. A remarkable example of confidence and courage. I don't think Kotov could possibly have calculated all 22+ moves, especially since he was under time pressure, and at one point repeated a series of moves quickly to make the time cut-off. Am I wrong? Does anyone think he calculated 22+ moves ahead?
ionadowman ♡ 122 ( +1 | -1 )
Seems unlikely... ... if you mean calculating move by move, unless it involved a forcing line with practically no choice open to the defender to vary. I think it is possible to see that far ahead in general terms when there are clear-cut features that are likely to remain unchanged for quite a while. For instance, if by sacrificing the queen, Black led the White king away from his defenders, with White's own men preventing the king reaching safety (or leaving only a very narrow, easily blocked route), whilst at the same time presenting a barrier to his own men to come to the rescue. (It's a good 30 years since I saw the Averbakh-Kotov game, but I seem to recall the thing went like that). Kotov might have decided (after calculating to some depth) that he had great practical chances, that at least he couldn't lose (with the king so locked out he could probably have baled out to a draw if things started heading south), and maybe something good would turn up.
After all, Yuri Averbakh was himself a strong grandmaster, and if the 22 moves were calculable, he would have done so, saved himself 22 moves of effort, and resigned at once!
ionadowman ♡ 39 ( +1 | -1 )
I was going to say... ... but I hit the wrong button -
There are positions or games in which you can foresee the likely shape of the game an indefinite number of moves ahead, with likely future positions arising. This isn't calculating, exactly, but it is a process involved in long term planning, especially late in the game, or when the game has taken on a decidedly positional character with few tactical opportunities.
lighttotheright ♡ 55 ( +1 | -1 )
This comes from experience in playing a LOT of different games and positions. You very rarely can precisely predict what the position will be after 22 moves (especially since you have an opponent working against your own efforts); but you can know what is possible.

What is your definition of seeing 22 moves ahead? ...precisely? Seeing 'in your mind's eye' and predicting every single move are two different things. When the two start to coincide (or at least come very close)...that is when you start to win games.

cascadejames ♡ 117 ( +1 | -1 )
Thanks Thanks for your comments Ion and Light. No doubt you are correct. The White King was forced
outside the circle of the wagons; restricted; isolated from its supporting forces; and had no place
to take cover. Kotov probably decided that the position would enable him to find a forced win at
some point and made the sacrifice. Still I am very impressed that Kotov had the nerve and skill
to make the attack ultimately successful. As Vukovic points out in the text, it is entirely possible
to chase a King around the board and achieve nothing except allowing your opponent to engage in
". . .artificial castling on a large scale!"

I am going to slow down my already slow progress through this book, and spend a little time with
this particular game over the weekend.

If anyone would like to see the game we have been talking about, it is available in the data base
Averbakh v Kotov played at the 1953 Candidates Tournament -- one of two between these two
players that year. It is the game which was won by black.
ccmcacollister ♡ 301 ( +1 | -1 )
KOTOV ... Is the Author of Think Like A Grandmaster (which imo would make a great following book for those now studying Vukovic ). Since one of the main concepts taught by TLAG is to perform Tree Analysis in accurate, efficient manner ... I imagine Kotov is a pretty good analyst. At least he certainly knows how to be.
cascadejames , I recall Yasser Seirawan mentioning a game he had played, some years back. In coming to the win he was analyzed it, I believe, 24 moves deep to reach the 'payoff' position. Not bad~!
Of course, especially during my young and determined days, I'm certain I could have also analyzed a line of play 22 moves deep . . . As long as the first 21 were Pawn Moves that is~! :))
Just seem to have a knack for seeing things that move straight ahead, you know
* * *
ganstman : Great point, well said. You condensed two paragraphs of my own thinking into three precise, concise words. "...reinvent the game..." . That is just the thing. Seeing other player games gives you ideas and shows you How to Do things, in a way that costs no rating points either.
Not to suggest study of one's own games is not important. Know thyself applies to Chess. For eg. I conducted a study of my own OTB games looking for weakness statistically, and surprisingly found significant results. Most of my errors were coming
on move 18, or if not then between move 18 thru 22. My strongest Phases would be moves 12 thru 16, at which time I would usually be gaining advantage. And also the transition phase converting from middle-game to endgame. These stat tendencies were irregardless of what opening(s)! Upon making such a startling discovery, it was a simple matter to circle move 18 on a score-sheet and be sure to give extra time and care to that 5 move section. And it made a significant difference in avoiding blunders
or inferior moves around there. Also around move 36-42 , from Time Control coming due at Move #40 in so many events at the time. THAT is a bit harder to correct. But
can often be.
Is anyone giving thought to a follow-up book for study ?
Besides Kotov's TLAGM, you might whet your new turbo-tactical appetite upon a Tal
collection of games, such as his 200 or the more recent one which I have not yet seen ... so may want to give it a look also.
Or GM Larry Evans' "Modern Chess Brilliancies" was one of the most fun Chess books I had ever looked at for games. Besides Tal there-in, I also especially like the play of GM Edmar Mednis, whom I had not even realized til then, was such an accomplished tactician! A very enjoyable tactical games read ... and some of the games from it are
available at one place and another, here & there, online as well - if sought out.
cascadejames ♡ 44 ( +1 | -1 )
You are starting to think about the next book? Kotov, Evans, and Tal all sound like a good ideas, but I can't calculate that far ahead. :-)

BTW, I am also studying Hans Kmoch's "Pawn Power in Chess" at the same time; I am self-employed; I am married; and I hope to continue the status quo on all counts. Those circumstances leave me with only limited time, so I am going to be moving through this book very slowly.

longbow57 ♡ 41 ( +1 | -1 )
My favorite book Pawn Power IN Chess Dear Sir , That is very good book on pawns and pieces and how to use in endgames, I have been reading and reading that book for about 30 years it came out in 1959. Some times it is a little hard understand what he is talking about and it is in descripitive notation that makes it hard too. If you study that book and your games you need no more chess books. Thanks.
wschmidt ♡ 219 ( +1 | -1 )
I agree with you CJ, I just finished the first chapter this weekend and I feel I could profitably go back and replay the games a second or third time.
Which brings up what is for me one of the biggest issues I have when studying chess. I figure I'm somewhere near the middle of the bell curve when it comes to chess memory. Maybe even a little on the low side. It's entirely possible for me to play through a chess game in a book and, if I come back to it in a few days, have entirely forgotten some of the key moves. I remember concepts quite well - rook on the 7th, opposition, pawn breaks, etc., but particular move sequences in a game are soon lost. So repetition and review is a necessary thing, at least for me.
As a result, I've decided that I want to have a small body of chess knowledge that I know really well. Basic endgames, tactical motifs, and an opening repertoire are part of that. The one area where I'm a little undecided about how to proceed is the study of master level games. Some writers suggest that it's good to memorize games (I interpret that as playing through and studying a game thoroughly enough to be able to explain the main ideas to someone who hasn't seen the game before.) Others (Heisman is one) say don't bother with that kind of deep study, just play through a lot of master games fairly quickly and get the main ideas.
Right now I'm trying to blend the two ideas. I've made the decision that the games I'm going to learn well, even if it takes me a couple of years to really internalize them are the ones in McDonald's "Chess: The Art of Logical Thinking" - 30 modern games annotated in "Logical Chess, Move by Move" style, and the games in Vukovic. In addition, I'm watching 20-30 minute videos on while on the treadmill and reading through Purdy annotated games as the spirit moves me.
My hope is that building up a body of knowledge from the McDonald and Vukovic games will provide a sturdy foundation that will make it easier to retain other information.
Anybody else have any experience with this kind of quandry?
cascadejames ♡ 54 ( +1 | -1 )
Attack on King that can't castle pp. 33-37 More attacks on the King in the open. It continues to be interesting because there are some cross-connections with the Kmoch book that are interesting. Different vocabulary and different emphasis but in some ways the same weakness.

When I was age 18 I did not have to think about memorizing a sequence, I just remembered it without effort, almost by osmosis. At age 60 I have to work at it. The chunk method and repetition works best for me, but it is an imperfect combination.

I am happy to see that we have a common viewpoint on some things.

cascadejames ♡ 46 ( +1 | -1 )
Attack on King that can't castle pp. 37-50 Finishing up the chapter on attacks against Kings that are uncastled. Interestingly, in the final game black fails to follow-up adequately against the exposed white King near the middle of the board, and a result the white King is well positioned late in the game to aid an attack on the black King, and black wins the game.

I infer from the table of contents that the remaining 7/8's of the book focuses on attacks against the castled King.
cascadejames ♡ 40 ( +1 | -1 )
Delay - time to do the tax forms It is income tax time here in the US, and because I am a small business owner/professional, my
tax forms are more painful and time consuming than most. I must fill out the forms myself, so I
am blocking out chess until after April 15, then giving myself a few days and a weekend after
that to catch-up. I will post and continue my study of Vukovic and Kmoch then. Cheers.
cascadejames ♡ 40 ( +1 | -1 )
Castling pp 51-54 OK, I have finished my tax returns and caught up with the delays caused by the time need to do
the taxes, so I am back-- with a new computer by the way. Turbo Tax 2008 would not run on my
ancient G4 Mac, so I had an excuse to upgrade to a new MacMini.

Chapter 3 On Castling and attacking the Castled Position in General.
The first 4 pages of the chapter are merely introductory, and in turn the remainder of this
chapter looks like it is an introduction to the remainder of the book.

cascadejames ♡ 20 ( +1 | -1 )
Timing for Castling pp 54-61 Some interesting examples of when castling should be delayed. Concluding that ". . .it is good policy to get ready to castle as soon as possible, and then consider whether it can still be put off for a while."
wschmidt ♡ 35 ( +1 | -1 )
Well, as is often the case, CJ, I've gotten sidetracked onto something else after the first couple of chapters of Vukovic. For reasons I don't even clearly remember, I picked up the Andrew Martic book on the Center Counter (Scandinavian) and started playing through those games. I'm about 2/3 of the way through and will return to Vukovic when I've completed it. So thanks for leading the way. ws
cascadejames ♡ 83 ( +1 | -1 )
Historic attacks on Castled King 61-65 Chapter 3 concludes with 2 interesting games from early historic texts on "modern" Chess, The
Paris MS and Greco's manual. Both illustrate early ideas about how to attack a castled position.
The Greco game is interesting because both players have a tenency to counter attack rather than
defend. So for example if a piece is attacked, instead of moving it or defending it, the player
who is under attack leaves the piece hanging and responds by attacking another piece. Of course
everyone does that from time to time, but this game seems to make a specialty of it. I will
probably play through it again before going on to Chapter which gives examples of common
mating patterns. This is still the introductory part of this book.

cascadejames ♡ 1 ( +1 | -1 )
wschmidt You are welcome.
cascadejames ♡ 24 ( +1 | -1 )
Mating Patterns pp.66-79 Chapter 4 "Mating Patterns"
Most of these patterns are familiar attacks on a castled king, and all are worth repeated study. I
would like to have these burned into my brain as clearly as the common openings. So I am not

cascadejames ♡ 42 ( +1 | -1 )
g7 (g2) focal point pp. 80-84 The preliminary remarks are over. This section begins the real heart of the book, with specific themes of attacks on particular critical squares, beginning with g7 (g2) [more to come on the same square following p 84].

It seems most instructive for me. For some reason, in the past, I have usually focused on the idea of attacking h7 (h2) or f7 (f2) in a castled position, and neglected the possibility of an attack on g7 (g2). Never again I hope.