Daniel King: Power Play 2 – Attacking the King

by ChessBase
1/12/2011 – As most chess players will tell you, how or where to attack an enemy king is not always obvious. Chess traniner and GM Daniel King provides the necessary knowledge on this DVD. "I cannot praise this 'DVD of the Year' enough," says retired teacher Ralph Deline. "Every chess player from beginner to master, coach to trainer, should go through it until they understand the contents." Review.

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Daniel King: Power Play 2 – Attacking the King

Review by Ralph Deline

“Attacking is a skill we can polish, we can hone, we can practise, by looking at really typical examples.” – Daniel King

Who is Daniel King? He is a chess grandmaster. He has been a professional chess player for over 25 years, representing his country on numerous occasions. In addition, he is a games consultant, television presenter, live commentator, freelance journalist, an award-winning author of more than 15 books and he has distinguished himself as a coach, helping many of England’s younger generation to achieve their potential.

As most chess players will tell you, how or where to attack an enemy king is not always obvious, and most of the time your opponent doesn’t cooperate to make your task any easier. However, if you know what to look for and what you must do, you have a much greater chance of ripping apart the enemy castled position and forcing a resignation or checkmate. Daniel King provides the necessary knowledge on this DVD.

There are 28 instructional video clips with games and quizzes demonstrating methods to attack the castled king. This is the next best thing to having an instructor or coach at your elbow, helping you comprehend the material. As a retired teacher, I can definitely say that seeing and hearing information beats reading a book for retention. This is a simple way to learn more abstract or difficult material.

GM Daniel King, author of the Power Play series

I cannot praise this DVD enough. If there was such an award. it should win the "DVD of the Year". Every chess player from beginner to master, and coach or trainer, should go through this DVD until they understand the contents. Since I watched this DVD, attacking moves made in master and grandmaster games are now more apparent and make sense, whereas before there were many moves that were somewhat puzzling.

Another terrific feature of “Attacking the King” – besides the fact that Daniel King did not skimp on material or examples – is that he is a superb teacher, and as each video clip was finished, I eagerly continued on to the next. He made learning interesting. In addition, with this new knowledge, I feel much more confident when I sit down at the chessboard to do battle.

You may be wondering how did King approach this material? He used a simple and quite effective method by examining mating attacks and final positions to see what they had in common. Here is the result:

  • open lines for the pieces
  • good communication between the pieces
  • superiority in numbers when attacking

This is what I thought I already knew but I really didn’t. Almost immediately, I recalled a couple of unsuccessful attacks where my queen was too far from the kingside when I started the attack, and another time where my minor pieces were trying to manoeuvre around the enemy pieces and my own king was left without support. I can only hope those days are over.

However, the methods King illustrates for attacking the castled king are quite simple. Principally there are two reasons why the attacks succeeded:

  1. the enemy king was exposed; sometimes sacrifices were necessary
  2. the attacker had the heavy pieces involved in the attack, that is, the queen, rook, and sometimes two rooks.

As Daniel King stated, the crucial point, if you want to launch a successful attack is to get in the rooks and the queen. This was my personal epiphany! The heavy pieces, the rooks and the queen are there to deliver the final blow. Eureka! Eureka! I got it! And this is the major theme of the DVD on attacking the king. How do we get the heavy pieces into the attack?

Sample lecture from Power Play 2

There are numerous examples of demonstrating rook lifts, queen transfers to the kingside, getting a pawn to e5, and there are about a dozen examples of playing g4 to open up a file on the kingside. King certainly makes the effort to cover every possible angle to support his theme of attacking the enemy king. As you go through the examples, the ideas become clearer, much like a fog dissipating in the rising sun and exposing the beautiful countryside.

But it is not all one-sided. King also demonstrates what the defender has to do or be wary of, so he can successfully turn back an attack.

Here‘s where I lucked out as a few openings in my repertoire were examined. For example, “Attacking the King” provides games come from a variety of openings such as, the Queen’s Indian Defence, the French Defence, the Sicilian Defence, the Petroff Defence, the Philidor Defence, and the Ruy Lopez. However, whatever the opening the same principles apply. It’s like a formula and it reminds me of what Fischer stated in his book, “My 60 Memorable Games” regarding play against the Sicilian Dragon: “I’d won dozens of skittle games in analogous positions and had it down to a science: pry open the KR-file, sac, sac, … mate!”

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