In today’s Daily Telegraph column, Malcolm Pein examines the minority attack, which is an important chess strategy based on pawn structures. Today’s game features another example of the Baltic Defense.

Malcolm Pein on…The Minority Report

The ideas and themes employed in the Minority Attack, the assault on Black’s a, b and c-pawns by White’s a and b-pawns, or vice versa, are well documented. The queenside pawn storm, with all four pawns, is seen less often, but can be a potent plan for White against the Slav or Stonewall Dutch Defences.

At the recent New In Chess Classic on Chess24, Teimour Radjabov gave a nice illustration of how to play positions where White has a queenside space advantage by virtue of pawns on d4 and c5, facing pawns on d5 and c6. Radjabov secures several positional advantages out of the opening.

Queenside Pawn Storm


T. Radjabov – J. S. Christiansen

Queen’s Gambit Baltic Defense

1.Nf3 d5 2.d4 Bf5 3.c4 e6 4.Nc3 Nf6 5.Bg5 c6 6.Qb3 Qc7 (After 6…Qb6 7.c5! Qxb3 8.axb3 Nbd7 9.b4 is good for White and an important theme to note as Black cannot prevent b4–b5. If 9…a6 10.b5 cxb5 11.Nxb5) 7.e3 Nbd7 8.Bf4 Qb6 (8…dxc4! 9.Bxc4 Qb6 would get Black closer to equality)

T. Radjabov – J. S. Christiansen

9.c5! Qxb3 10.axb3 a6 11.h3 Be7 12.b4 Rc8 (White targets b7 next) 13.Nd2! 0–0 14.Nb3 Bd8 15.Na5 Bxa5 16.bxa5 Rfe8 (After 16…h6 17.Ra3 threatens Rb3 when b7 falls) 17.g4 Be4 18.Nxe4 Nxe4 19.Bh2 e5 20.f3

Minority Attack

20…exd4? (White is better after both 20…Ng5 21.Kf2 Ne6 22.Ra4 or here 21…Re7 22.h4 Ne6 23.Ra4) 21.fxe4 Rxe4 22.0–0–0 dxe3 23.Bd3 Ra4 24.Bf5 Nxc5 25.Bxc8 d4 26.Kc2 Rc4+ 27.Kb1 d3 28.Rhe1 Re4 29.Bf5 1–0

Test Your Strength

Lysyj – Shomoev, Barnaul (rapid), 2021

Lysyj – Shomoev, Barnaul (rapid), 2021

White to play and win

Highlight the space below to reveal the answer.

1.Re3! Kf8 (Black cannot prevent the rook reaching the eighth rank, if 1…Rd2 2.Rh3) 2.Rd3 1–0

Play Through the Game

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