Corner Pawn Attack in Chess – Part 1

Corner Pawn Attack in Chess – Part 1

Hi guys, this is Grandmaster Levan Aroshdize
and today, we’ll have another video lesson. Our theme is “Corner Pawn Attack”. This is
a very famous, powerful and dangerous weapon in chess and it could be used in the different
stages of the chess game. For example, starting from the opening without all pieces at the
board finishing with deep, limited material endgames. This happens because, Corner Pawn
Attack may have various purposes. Everything depends on a concrete situation at the board,
concrete pawn structure and the position. What we could say is that, generally in most
of the cases, Corner Pawn Attack starts when opponent has a fianchettoed pawn structure.
This is the one of the most effective ways to create problems for this fianchetto and
you will try to explore the weaknesses of the structure. I like fianchetto. I make this
in many various opening systems, when I play g6 (with Black) or g3 (with White) and place
the bishop on g7. It’s a really very nice diagonal for the bishop of course. Also, king
feels quite safe in this little flat/little house when I castle in a fianchetto. But from
another point as we already mentioned, this provokes
Corner Pawn Attack that can cause serious problems to the King, on general, to the structure.
So let’s start, let’s see practical examples when these Corner Pawn Attack works
well and what could be the purposes of this idea. First example is my own game, I was
playing with White and my opponent decided to play this Pirc Defense with the fianchetto
as we see. So I thought I’m going to castle longside and attack
that king – the Black’s kingside. Bg7, Qd2, c6. Okay, it’s obvious that now Black wants
to prepare b5. Well, he realized that I’m going to castle longside and also trying to
create some pawn storm on this flank. So, castles (both). Kb1 – this is a good prophylaxis.
If we have time for this move, it’s always a good idea to play this move in all kinds
of longcastle-positions. Now a2-pawn will be better protected, c1-square is free for
some concrete cases. For example, at some point, Knight could go to e2-c1 and support
the a2-pawn even more. So, it’s really a good move. b5 – now we see Black created threat
of playing b4 and then wants to win the e4-pawn. So obviously, we will play f3. b4 – Now, if
Black would start with Qa5, we see one more purpose of this Kb1. Now, Qxd2 will not be
captured with a check. And we can simply play Nd5 – very strong move! And Black already
has serious problems because, in this case, we make intermediate check, winning the material
and then already taking the queen. So Black already played b4, Ne2, a5, and here we go,
h4. Okay, this was possible to prepare also with g4 but I don’t want to waste the time.
And I wanted to immediately push this h-pawn, and open my rook to create direct mating attack
over the King. This is probably the most simple purpose of this Corner Pawn Attack in the
opening stage of the game. Also, I want to weaken the opponent’s King’s position. My
opponent decided to play h5. Okay, letting me to play h5 by myself – it never gives good
result to defensive side because, for example, Qb6 protecting the pawn, planning a4, we will
play h5, we don’t care about this pawn – we’re ready to sacrifice it in order to open the
rook as we mentioned before and attack immediately. So after Nxh5, g4, Nf6, Bh6, another typical
way of weakening opponent’s king, exchanging this fianchettoed bishop and after that exchange,
dark squares around the Black king will become very weak. a4, Bxg7, Kxg7, Qxh6+, Kg8, g5
and the game is finished. Now, we have a typical sacrifice Rxh5 or it’s even not necessary
– it’s just a one-sided game. I don’t see how Black will defend from this mating attack.
So my opponent decided to play h5. This also a well-known trick against the corner pawn
attack in many opening systems because Corner Pawn Attack is used for Dragon, Pirc, Samisch,
Kings Indian and many other well-known opening systems. So h5 is also a known plan but it
doesn’t actually stop it for the long time because we make this sacrifice (g4) – also
famous and typical pawn sacrifice. We’re ready to give 2 pawns, after hxg4, White is going
to play Ng3. Actually, I don’t care about gxf3, it could be taken with Nxf3 but I think
much more powerful will be simply h5. Finally, advancing this Corner Pawn, entering into
the contact, and opening our rook and it should bring decisive advantage. It doesn’t change
the case for example Nh5, well Nxh5, gxh5, simply Bh6 – I want to weaken even more opponent’s
king’s position. f6, avoiding Qg5. And just Ne2, knight will just go to g3 – h5-pawn has
problems, the game should be finished quite quickly. So, my opponent decided to play Nbd7
after h4. Probably the idea was that if I will play gxh5 now, Nxh5, and let’s say in
order of Nf4. Okay, there is this Ng3 move which should be calculated but also, simply
Ndf6 and somehow, Black still keeps here the blocking structure on g5. I believe here also,
White should be better. But there is no need to go in this variation because White has
a much stronger continuation. Ng3 – just increasing the pressure on h5-pawn and I want to take
it. So hxg4 is forced, and h5 – again this famous idea that we already were talking about.
Everything for the rook who want to open it. Position objectively is lost. My opponent
just made quick mistake here. The matter is that we don’t need to open now this file.
We simply play h6 and after Bh8, h7+, the game is lost. After Kg7, Bh6+, Kxh7 Bxf8+.
So this is the most simple purpose of the corner pawn attack – simply destroying fianchetto
structure, opening the file for h1-rook. By the way, I’d just like you to pay attention
to this Sicilian Dragon line. Just to show that this famous corner pawn attack is really
used in many different openings. Bc4, 0-0-0, Rc8, Bb3, Ne5, Kb1, a6 and how are we going
to attack the Dragon? h4! – planning h5, and opening our h1-rook. Generally, Black is stopping
this h4-pawn and now White’s answer will be sacrificing that we already saw. And Rg1,
now we intend to create some serious pressure over this semi-open files. Now, also this
is an example from my game. Here we played French opening. It’s a typical French pawn
structure. Hope you stay in line when Black takes on e4. And I wanted to do something
on this diagonal. So, I just played Qe4, and now Black is in a very tough situation. One
possible move is g6. That was played actually in the game. And if opponent plays just f5,
we may go back (Qe2). Because, we provoke weakness. Now, backward pawn (e6) is always
under the attack. Bc4 also increases the pressure over this pawn. And of course, I don’t believe
in this hxg5 because there is no way that Black king would be able to survive this attack
on the h-file. So, my opponent, after, Qe4, decided to play g6, but what now? g6 is actually
another move that we would like to provoke to get f5. And now, h4-pawn enters simply
into the contact and finally, will be exchanged. Not only exchanged as in order to liberate
the rook, but also, simply to weaken the king’s position. We already saw this similar idea.
hxg5, hxg6, a lot of threats are coming now against the Black king. And Black plays f5.
Here, I was really lucky to make a very beautiful combination. Also, I would say that simply
Qe2 should be winning. But of course, you already understood what combination started
after f5. Rh8+, Kxh8, Qh1+, Kg7, Qh7+, Kf6, g7. Okay, still this not a checkmate. But
for now, the threat is taking the rook and bishop cannot take because queen is also hanging.
So Black decided to develop the bishop (c8). And now I was thinking, “How to finish the
game? ” I need some additional attack over the Black king. I thought I’m going to play
Rh1-Rh6 but now if I play Rh1 immediately, Black may take this pawn and suddenly King
gets the square to escape somehow. So, then I realized that I should just play Be2. This
is a very nasty move. White threats this check and if Kf7, then Bishop (Bh5) finishes the
game. And if g4 will be played, then Rh1 because there is no gxf4 move to liberate the square
for the Black king. And now Rh6 is winning the game. Well, my opponent played Bc6. But
now as we already mentioned, Qh6+, Kf7, Bh5+ and after Kg8, Qh8 checkmate. Okay, let’s
take a look at another example. It’s already a middlegame position. Probably, it appeared
from the English opening. But it could have been something else. And fiancheto bishop
is already exchanged. So, Black king is little bit suffering with this weak dark squares.
However, White doesn’t have the dark-squared bishop and so far nothing terrible can happen
here. White saw the idea of the exchange sacrifice, Rxd6, exd6, Qxf6, and now d6-pawn is also
hanging. But let’s say after Rd7, Black protects everything, he is holding on so far. So, White
thought that it wasn’t slight clearly. And first of all, he decided to go just h4. That’s
the fianchetto structure, so let’s go for pressuring it. So corner pawn attack also
has the psychological pressure purpose. Because, the opponent never know what we are going
to do after h5. Maybe we will exchange on g6 and simply weaken the pawn shelter of the
Black king. Or, as there is no dark-squared bishop, we cold push this pawn till h6 and
then White simply starts to create this checkmate-threat on the long diagonal and simply on g7-square.
So, it’s really very nasty and very often, mechanical answer here is h5. But after h5,
the combination that we already saw in the beginning, works perfectly. Rxd6, exd6, Qxf6,
and now if Black will go to protect d6-pawn, after Bd5, we realize that h4 and h5 (including
those two moves), what happend now after that? – g6 is weak! There is no h7-pawn already
which was supporting this g6-pawn. So I want to simply take Qxg6 and finish the game. Of
course, if Kh7, simply Bxf7 and Black is already lost. So, another purpose/another idea of
the h4-corner pawn attack is that somehow, in truth we weaken King’s position, the pawn
chain after ANY kind of blocking move. It is always like this. So Black decided to play
Rf8. He gave d6-pawn, wants to protect the kingside pawns after Bd5. Okay, White took
Rxd6, and it’s already enough material – very strong bishop that probably will go to d5,
plus 2 pawns against 1 rook. It’s more than just enough. The matter is that now also g4
is coming – another well-known attacking idea. He could take hxg4 but now after h5, Black’s
king position will just be destroyed. However, also after Qa3, I don’t see the escaping line
for Black. Bxf7 and there is no material left at the board at all. So, let’s go for another
example. This is my own game. (Dragon), well White has a better pawn structure, typical
advantage, strong knight on d5 which is difficult to push away because if Black plays e6 and
knight goes away (to c3-b5) then d6-pawn starts hanging. So I realized that here I could play
Bh6 (for example), exchange fianchettoed bishop to weaken the opponent’s king. Also with the
same idea to play Bd4. But finally, I decided to go for h4! To be honest, I did not have
concrete idea of what I was going to do after h5 as I mentioned, it’s also a psychological
attack. We’ll decide later, we’ll exchange here or push h4 till h6 but it really makes
no risk. He decided ignore h4-pawn and I guess he just played Rd8. But if he would play h5
for example, (already well-known answer), then what happens. King’s pawn structure is
weaker especially, g6-pawn is weaker because it has less protection. So, White is going
to play Bd4. Okay, let’s say Black starting to create some consensus or search for those
consensus. And f4, because now f5 attack and exchanging on this g6 will weaken even more
the Black king as we already provoked h5 move by playing h4. Pawn takes on b3, Nd7, Rf1,
Nf6, f5 was clearly better position for White. As I mentioned, my opponent just played Rd8.
And of course, h5! e6 – well, we already mentioned the disadvantage of this move, Nc3 and terrible
continuation. Well, I realized my opponent also started to be a little bit worried about
the position. Also there was a time trouble. So probably this is the reason for gxh5. But
it opens the king and destroys simply the pawn structure. Better was, just to wait and
somehow try to hold on here. After gxh5, Nb5….and now of course Bh6. Now various threats are
coming. And another decisive mistake (Be5). Probably Nb7 should be played here. Bxg7,
Kxg7, Qg5+. Well, I have to mention that Qg5 immediately looks like it’s winning but it’s
not. Because there is Qc5+ and Black will exchange the queens. So it’s much more clever
and smart to play like this….and simply f4. Anyway, Black’s position is terrible here!
In the game, he played Be5, Qg5+….and now what happens – we get access to those squares
to checkmate the king. Because, there is only 1 bishop who protects those squares. So, Nxd6!
Bishop is hanging already but bishop cannot take the knight because Qg7 is checkmating!

4 thoughts on “Corner Pawn Attack in Chess – Part 1

  1. 5:25 so what if black lets white capture g6 and then recaptures with f7? or would white push to h6, aim for black bishop trade off and then queen g7 checkmate?

  2. My third comment to thank GM Levan Aroshidze for such wonderful chess videos! The timely addition of arrows and highlighted squares, as he does, are always appreciated. These marks make learning ideas and concepts easier.

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