No, the other minority attack

Everyone’s familiar with “the minority attack”, which usually refers to a scheme from the Queen’s Gambit exchange variation. Black has pawns on a7, b7, c6, d5; White pushes his b-pawn up to b5, planning to exchange on c6 and then play against black’s backward c-pawn.

Here’s a different minority attack, coming out of a Gruenfeld.

Black has had many chances to push …f5, but he spent a number of tempi repositioning his bishop to c7, and then bringing the knight to d6. It’s a fantastic piece there, blockading d6, hitting c4 and e4.

Here white played a4 and black responded with …b6.

I think the intent was to protect …c5, which I am preparing to hit with my knight (lacking any other goals). But the pawn on b6 is a classic minority attack target on the half-open file. On b7 the pawn was pretty safe, guarded by the d6 knight.

White wants to play a5 and tear up the queenside, undermining c5 and activating the rook battery.

Problem is that black can respond to a5 with …b5, establishing connected passers. Right?

The side to move will win. Happily it’s white’s move.

See it?

The minority pawn just keeps rolling, undermining c5 again.

30.a6 c4

31.Bxc4 bxc4

32.Na5 Bxa5

33.Bxa5 Bc8


 A good defensive try at this point. Mass exchanges could lead to opposite-color bishops and a draw.

But did you happen to notice that the blockaded d-pawn is not blockaded any more?

34.d6 Rd7

35.Bc7 c3

Now the “minority attacker” has changed jobs.

36.Bxb8 Nxd6  (if …cxb2 37.a7 )

37.Rc2 Bxa6  (if …Nxe4 38.a7 Bb7 39.Rxb7 )



(Haven’t been playing OTB so that’s what I’ve got for the chess tag right now :)