Sports & Games

Double Attacks - Part 2

Garry Kasparov

Lesson time 16:05 min

Garry offers an in-depth study of the double attack to help you expand your practical portfolio.

Garry Kasparov
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What I like about studies is that it has very few pieces and all pieces are active-- all pieces are engaged. So that helps us to understand the purity of the idea of the pattern behind it. So while in a practical game you have many other pieces, and I don't want any distraction, so we just move to the studies. And we'll start with a very, very simple one. So the old one, classical one-- and I apologize if some of the advanced players were watching our lessons, they're familiar with that. Don't worry, there will be other things that are more complicated. So everybody will have positions and tasks up to their level. It's a simple position and we start with the very end of the study. The white king is on c2, the black king is in the corner, on a1, white pawn is on c7, and black rook is on d4. Actually, the last move was rook from d3 went to d4. Now white pawn is just one move away from the promotion. And what could be more natural by taking the queen and promoting the queen-- putting the queen on c8? But here's a trick. Always remember, as we discussed, watch for your opponents tactics. Black is desperate but it has the great way of saving the game. Rc4+ -- it's a double attack, attacking the queen-- king and the queen. Queen takes rook and you can see it's stalemate, black king is blocked in the corner, no moves, draw. So let's go back and see whether we can improve, and what's the next logical move if we promote the rook. Now two rooks, no pawns, empty board, normally it's a draw. But that's not easy because black king is in the really dangerous situation, it's in the corner. And by promoting the rook, we're creating this threat. Ra8 mate. The only way black can protect is just they put rook on a4 to close the a-file. And here is the classical case of double attack. In this case, it's a deadly double attack. Because white king moves on b3, it attacks the rook. But it also creates a threat, Rc1#. And Black is toast. If we look at this position and it looks very, very simple, but it contains two elements of double attack. Double attack as a defensive mechanism-- stalemate combination-- and double attack as an attacking mechanism-- promoting the rook and creating an imminent mating threat-- while attacking the opponent's piece, the only remaining piece. We move to more complicated cases. And again, we stick with an endgame. White king is on b3, black king is on a5, there are two bishops-- black bishop on e3, white bishop on f4-- and white has two extra knights. One is there on a8, and one is on c7. Now what do we see in this situation? Black king is at the corner and it's stalemated. So if we take this bishop, that's a stalemate. Again, black uses this mechanism. It attacks the bishop and tries to force the exchange of the bishops. So how white can avoid this stalemating motifs? For instance, you can ...

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very interesting material and teaching form GK. Gave me a lot to think about. I hope that I will improve especially my middle game.

Very good and complete, i'm a fan of Kasparov style of comunication and learned a lot in this Masterclass


A fellow student

My fullscreen is a different size than my regular screen such that part of the board is cut off. Is there any way to change this?

Neil P.

Also, do not be confused by the suggestion in the comments that 1. Nb6 is a better solution to the final problem, because after ... Ka7 all advantage for white is lost. White's best move is clearly 1. Rb6+, followed by ... Bxb6, 2. Ka6 Rd7 3. Qa8! as suggested by Mr. Kasparov. However, at that point black should decline the sacrifice with 3. ... Kc7, sacrificing its own queen instead. In fact, black should resign, but I maintain that Kc7 is a better move than Kxa8 in the sense that there is more potential for white to blunder, which is black's only hope.

Neil P.

Glennon Brown is correct that 2. Kxb6 leads to Qb4+, but note that after 3. Ka6 it would be a mistake to play Rd6+ because it would be taken by the knight. However, it is still clearly a losing position for white, so 2. Kxb6 is not a good move.

Neil P.

The final problem is very interesting, but Mr. Kasparov takes some shortcuts in his analysis. At 14:34 Mr. Kasparov states that "the only defense is Rd7", but black could also prevent mate with a sacrifice: Rd5. This only prolongs the inevitable, but queen and pawn versus queen, knight and pawn is slightly more hopeful for black than pawn versus knight and pawn (the outcome of the suggested solution). 2. … Rd7 would therefore be inferior to Rd5, except that Mr. Kasparov dismisses another option for black after 2. … Rd7 3. Qa8. At 15:00 Mr. Kasparov states that black must accept the sacrifice to avoid losing its queen, but this is incorrect because accepting the sacrifice also loses the queen! If the sacrifice is declined by 3. … Kc7 black should still lose, with a rook, bishop and pawn against white's queen, knight and pawn, but the possibility of a blunder by white (black's only hope) is far greater than if the board is reduced to a single pawn versus a pawn and a knight; 3. … Kxa8 is therefore inferior to Kc7. So while the suggested solution is very pretty, and illustrates the desired principle very well, it is somewhat artificial in that it results from black playing less than optimally.

Brad M.

I may not be getting the description correct here but would not white QH1 all but guarantee a mate? There is only one move I can see that would lead to a ton of exchange but still a white win. Play it out.

Imad A.

For the practice positions, do we play as white, or do we play as the first one to move. For example, if it says "black to move", do we play as black since black goes first, or do we play as white?

John R.

Better than R b6 is N b6, which wins by mate. I'm surprised he missed this. Threatens mate by the white queen on a8 next move. So black has to take, then after BxNb6 RxB #, and then if the king moves to a7 Q b7 mate, and if the king moves to c8 or c7, Q c6 mate. Come on Gary, my solution is much better than yours, like you said i thought about the position with all of the pieces, and for a finish, with mate, not some negligible material difference. You should redo this video to show my solution, okay? Thanks! sorry instead of BxN, black can instead play Qb4 check, then QxQ and axQ leads to a won endgame for white i think, but not forced as i originally hoped. Still a pretty alternative to the video's moves? actually Q e8 check forces an exchange of Queens. And whilst i still favour white's position, it remains open.

André A.

I'm a bit confused on why the king didn't capture the bishop on the case study. Wouldn't it be easier than going through all that trouble?

Jason B.

Garry spawns the final result to the last position out of the air. Awesome.


Nice Examples there! Chess really shows the infinite beauty of possibility and shows creativity!! Little shift of combination could make a vital change!