A charming thing to observe is that people tend to play chess they way they live their lives. It's quite interesting to notice that a player with an aggressive temperament tends to play systems that lead to early complications. Others with more tame dispositions tend to select opening systems that compliment their laid-back personality. In addition, they tend to play moves that are less confrontational and without much risk. These features lead to different playing styles varying from player to player. But sound aggressive chess can and should be played by everyone.

It is important to decide early in chess development what opening systems are most compatible with one's personality. Doing this one will be able to always navigate games toward familiar waters. This is a big advantage in tournament play where emotions are very high.

It is also important to play systems that have some spice. In modern master chess players with aggressive temperaments who don't shy away from complications tend to do better in higher level competition. The static chess of players like Capablanca and Lasker probably has seen its best days. Today most high-level players are just too wellversed in the basics of good and solid positional play. Playing systems that allow for calm development and uninterrupted planning usually leads to draws stale continuations. No one plays chess to draw. The absolute desire to win is what gives us that drive to always want to find the best moves. However, the best advice for the more timid player is to find systems that are not too risky but have some "life" in them. Aggressive players should play aggressive systems but with a bit of refinement and observance of good chess strategy.

Queen's Gambit Declined: Exchange Variation

Here is an example of a well known quiet system played with a bit of an aggressive twist. It is a variation of the Queen's Gambit Exchange where white, instead of playing for the usual slow minority attack on the queenside, plays for a decisive attack on the black King.

Botvinnik Mikhail - Keres Paul

Moscow 1952

1.d4 nf6 2.c4 e6 3.nc3 d5 ed 5.¥g5 ¥e7 6.e3 O-O 7.¥d3 nbd7 8.£c2 ¡e8 9.nge2 nf8

a b c d e f g h

White plays this well known system in a more dynamic fashion. He will not be content with his usual slight opening advantage where black has numerous routes to full equality. He develops his King's knight at e2 in order to allow for the later advance of his f-pawn. This will enable him to create a dangerous pawn center and launch a terrible attack against the black king.

lO.O-O c6 11^ab1 ¥d6 12.Ch1 ng6 13.f3 ¥e7 14^be1 nd7 15.¥e7 ¡e7 16.ng3 nf6 17.£f2 ¥e6

a b c d e f g h

White has begun his methodical march toward the kingside. He will play e4 at the right moment and launch a decisive attack.

18.nf5 ¥f5 19.¥f5 £b6 20.e4 de 21.fe ¡d8 22.e5 nd5 23.ne4 nfB 24.nd6 £c7 25.¥e4 ne6 26.£h4 g6 27.¥d5 cd 28.¡c1 £d7 29.¡c3 ¡f8 30.nf5! ¡fe8 31.nh6 Cf8 32.£f6 ng7 33.¡cf3 ¡c8 34.nf7 ¡e6 35.£g5 nf5 36.nh6 £g7 37.g4 [1:0]

An excellent display by the former world champion. He showed how this deceptively tame opening can be spiced up to provide more winning chances for the first player.

An excellent display by the former world champion. He showed how this deceptively tame opening can be spiced up to provide more winning chances for the first player.

Sicilian Dragon

Here is a game for the aggressive minded player. Any player with a flare for tactics and a love for complicated positions should consider playing the Sicilian Dragon. The Dragon allows the aggressive player much room for creativity and inventiveness.

Plaskett - Watson

1.e4 c5 2.nf3 d6 3.d4 cd 4.nd4 nf6 5.nc3 g6 6.¥e3 ¥g7 7.f3 O-O 8.£d2 nc6 9.g4

The stuff that dreams are made of. White has chosen the Yugoslav Attack which is the most aggressive system against the Dragon.

¥e6 IO.O-O-O nd4 11.¥d4 £a5 12.a3 | fc8 13.h4 | ab8 14.h5 b5 15.h6 (hxg6 is more natural in positions like these. White evidently underestimated black's strong reply.) b4!!

Well played by black! Only the strong survive! 16.hg ba 17.£h6 ab 18.Cd2 ¥g4!!

A bolt of lightning out of no where! If White now takes time to play 19. fxg4 then black will have time to seal off the kingside with 19...e5!

19.¥f6 ¥h5 20.¥d4 e5 21.|h5 gh 22.£g5 £b4 23.¥d3 £d4 24.nd5 £f2 25.¥e2 ¡c2 26.Cc2 £e2 27.Cc3 £f3 28.0c4 £b3mate

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Any Questions?

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