I have included two blitz games featuring g5 attacks. The first is a loss, the second is a win. Both are good examples of trying to deal with an early g5 attack.
We’ve all faced players who love to attack. But losing to an aggressive attack is common. In this game, my opponent grabs the initiative and swarms his pieces to the kingside trying to mate my king. The lesson to players is this: when under fire, focus your play on the problems at hand. Don’t be distracted by cheapo attacks that achieve nothing. My crazy 28. h5?? is an example of what NOT to play.
Chess is a game of repetition. We are often presented with the same types of problems over and over again. One of them is facing an overly aggressive opponent. In this game analysis, my friend Fritz makes me defend against an early attack. He comes at me with an early g5 trying to open my kingside and mate my king. As you’ll see in this game analysis, playing an early g5 has negative consequences for Black.
takeaways from both g5 attack games:
Keep your cool. When an opponent launches an all-out g5 attack, calculate what he is trying to do. Remember that you cannot be mated with a couple of pawns and an army of undeveloped pieces. Use your opponents aggressiveness against them. Early pawn moves allow you to develop pieces and occupy key squares.
Winning positions need to be converted. Just because your opponent gets a winning position doesn’t mean he will win. As you saw in the first video, my opponent blundered away a crushing attack. He missed a key capture and allowed me to equalize. I didn’t see the move but the fact remains that it was there. Escaping from a winning attack is not impossible. Stay focused!
When in doubt – look to control key squares. I missed a lot of good moves in both games. Early g5 attacks create weaknesses. Playing freeing moves like f4 would have given me a good game but I didn’t play it. Instead, I opted to maneuver my knights around, making sure to maximize their scope in the center.
Don’t help your opponent. This is a point that cannot be emphasized enough. In the first game, I let my opponent have his way with me. I traded pieces where I shouldn’t have. He got a strong center early in the game and didn’t let up.
In the second game, I was more shrewd. I did not capture pieces that would have helped him. I left his pawns scattered across the board. I focused on maneuvering my pieces to good squares and letting him suffer with a broken pawn structure and a vulnerable king.
Advantages in chess are like investments. Sacrificing a pawn (or a piece) for the initiative are not always rewarded right away. It’s like putting money into an investment. You will earn interest over time but it is not immediate. The same is true with chess. Sometimes you have to make concession to your chess plans. Usually, this results in short term challenges such as having a cramped position or needing to re-position several pieces to better squares. The long-term effect is a position where your pieces dominate the board and your opponent is left with few options to defend themselves. That is what happened in the second game.
If you would like to see more video-based game analysis, please check out the Better Chess YouTube channel here.