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jstevens1 53 ( +1 | -1 )
How good is the Four Pawns Attack? Hi everyone!

Just to let you know that I played a game against a 1900+ player called Michaeltf with the Four Pawns Attack and lost it. It was annotated as "How Good is the Four Pawns Attack, Part 1". There is also a Part 2 game of which my mentor, Ion sent me and I decided to annotate - he drew that one.

Has anybody else on this forum played the Four Pawns Attack and done well with it?

It would be nice to know.

I hope you have all enjoyed your weekend.

Bye for now.

Joanne
More: Chess
ionadowman 127 ( +1 | -1 )
Welll... ... It used to be my preferred response to the King's Indian Defence. I have to admit, my success with it was fairly indifferent, but that might have been due to my preferred line later on.

The main line runs (with side branches beginning with moves in parentheses):
1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 g6 3.Nc3 Bg7 4.e4 d6 5.f4 0-0 (...c5?!)
6.Nf3 (or 6.Be2 often transposes) 6...c5 (...Bg4?!, ...Nfd7?!, ...Nf6?!, ....e5!?)
7.d5 (7.Be2 is the "fluid" line) 7...e6 8.Be2 (Be3?!; but I've played 8.dxe6 on GK with success) exd5;
when this position is reached after 8 moves:
w

Now White has a choice of 3 lines:
[a] 9.cxd5 - which leads into Benoni-like positions in which White's K-side play is balanced by Black's counteraction with his Q-side majority;
[b] 9.exd5 - a solid continuation;
[c] 9.e5!? - a weird, wild line pioneered by one Gunderam, as I understand it
Guess which I preferred! The Gunderam was tried against Harry Kasparov once and a very wild and woolly game developed that Black was lucky to win.

However, my success with the line didn't match my liking for it. Otherwise, both the alternatives are in my view very good, but I'd probably marginally prefer the solid line.

I'll see if I can't find some good examples...
Cheers,
Ion

ionadowman 190 ( +1 | -1 )
Here's one from my own archives... This game was the first round of Wellington's Civic Club Champs of 1980. That I hadn't played for a few months prior to this game shows, I think. White needs to play actively to justify his early aggression, and misses his opportunity to do so.
White: Ion A. Dowman Black: D.J. Four Pawns Attack, Wellington 19 Sep 1980.
1.c4 Nf6 2.Nc3 g6 3.e4 d6 4.d4 Bg7 5.f4 0-0
The move order so far is due to my preference for the English and disinclination to learn how to combat the Grunfeld.
6.Nf3 c5 7.d5 e6 8.Be2 exd5 9.e5!? dxe5 10.fxe5 Ng4
11.Bg5 f6(!)
More popular is 11...Qa5, but this move is quite good.
12.exf6 Bxf6
Possibly safer is 12...Nxf6...
13.Bxf6 Qxf6 14.Nxd5 Qxb2 15.Rb1 Qg7 16.0-0 Bf4 17.Rb3?
The idea was to use the 3rd rank to switch the rook to a more useful file. Had this game been played in Round Three instead of two rounds earlier, I probably would have seen and played 17.Ng5! with a strong attack after 17...Bxb1!? 18.Rxf8+! Qxf8 19.Bxg4. For example, if 20...Bf5?! (20...Nc6 is better) 21.Bxf5 gxf5? 22.Qh5 Qg7 23.Qe8+ Qf8 24.Nf6+ Kg7 25.Nh5+ Kh6 26.Qxf8+ etc.
Instead what happened was that White never seemed able from here on to realise enough play for the pawn deficit.
17...Nc6 18.h3 Ne5 19.Nxe5 (19.Ng5 maybe?) 19...Nxe5 20.Re3 Rae8
21.Re1 Nc6 22.Bf3 Rxe3 23.Rxe3 Qd4 24.Kh1?! Qxd1+ 25.Bxd1 Kf7!?
26.Bf3 h5 27.Rb3? (27.Ra3 looks in hindsight to be the better choice) 27...Na5!
Drat.
28.Re3 Re8 29.Ra3 Re1+ 30.Kh2 b6 31.g4 hxg4 32.hxg4 Bb1.
33.Ne3 Rc1 34.Bd5+ Kf6 35.Ng2? ...
Hoping to shut off the avenues by which Black could invade, but 35.Kg3 might have served this purpose better.
35...Rf1 36.Rg3? Bxa2 37.g5+ ...
At this point came the adjournment. I don't recall now whether this was my sealed move or I played it over the board. At any rate, it was clear that White's chances of saving the game had diminished sharply in the last three or four moves, so I resigned without continuing. 0-1.

What this game goes to show is that in the Gunderam line, White does get chances for active play early on, but if he allows these to dry up, then he may find himself having to fight for a draw.

See you anon...
Ion

ionadowman 256 ( +1 | -1 )
The beauty of the 4 Pawns' Attack... ... is that inexperienced opponents playing Black can get very horribly squashed. Impressed by that central phalanx, they play unaggressively, try to keep their distance, and find themselves, if I may steal a line from Gerald Abrahams, treading carefully, as Agag did, with the risk of being hewn in pieces.

At about the middle of the year before the game in the previous post, this happened. Before continuing, I have to say that I appreciate these aren't top-class games. But games at rather less than the top notch in my view are often useful by showing more clearly what, and what not, to play.

White: Ion A. Dowman Black: B.J.B; May 1979
1.e4 ... Not your usual beginning of a Four Pawns Attack!
1...g6 2.c4 Nf6 3.Nc3 d6 4.d4 Bg2 5.f4 c5 ...
Usually Black castles first, but this line is playable, if a little risky.
6.d5!? (6.dxc5) Nbd7 ...
Now this, again playable, is a bit on the passive side.
7.Nf3 0-0 8.Be2 a6 9.0-0 Rb8 10.a4 ... to restrain Black's threatened Q-side expansion.
10... Nb6 11.Ng5!? (11.a5 would have driven Black's knight back whence he came)
11...Ne8 12.f5!? Nd7 ...
Black is already looking constricted. White could probably look to a positional squeeze here, but I decided to go for a direct K-side attack. Possibly not the safest approach...
13.fxg6 fxg6?
A mistake that doesn't so much lose material as disrupts Black's already difficult and cramped defence.
14.Ne6 Rxf1+ 15.Qxf1 Qb6 16.a5! ...
Opportunities like this are not to be missed. Black's Q is, for the time being, removed from the action.
16...Qa7 17.Nxg7 Kxg7 18.Bg5 Nef6 19.Qf4 Ne5
Black is hastily throwing up entrenchments and establishing outposts in the face of White's looming attack.
20.Rf1! Nd7 ...
The outposts are driven in already. Black is probably close to lost by this time.
21.Bg4 b6
Trying to bring the Queen back into action.
22.Bxd7!
Counter-intuitive, perhaps, in that it seems to help the Queen's intervention. But White had to remove a guard from the f6-square.

22... Qxd7 23.Bxf6 Kg8 ...

Black may not retake on f6. I had planned simply 23...exf6 24.Qxf6+ Kh6 (forced) 25.Rf4!? Qg4 26.Rxg4, winning the major exchange, then taking out the ending. But White had a mate instead 23...exf6 24.Qxf6+ Kh6 25.Qf4+! Kh5 (forced) 26.Ne2! Qg4 27.Ng3+ Kh4 28.Qh6+ Qh5 29.Rf4+ Bg4 30.Nxh5 etc.

24.Bg5 ... (1-0)

Rather a prosaic finish, when 24.Bg7 (better) and 24.Bh8! (best) were more spectacular. But Black can not survive even this third rate move:
24...Qe8 (24...Bb7 25.Qf7+ Kh8 26.Bh6 Rg8 27.Qxg8+ Kxg8 28.Rf8#)
25.Bh6 Bd7 (or ...Bb7) 26.e5 (26.axb6 is also good) 26...Bf5 27.g4 Bd3
28.Rf3 (28.exd6 turns out to be even better) 28...Bc2 29.e6 with the idea 30.Qf7+ Qxf7 31.exf7+ Kh8 32.f8=R+ Rxf8 33.Rxf8#.

So, if you are playing the Black side of a Fout Pawns' Attack, it's best, if you can, to carry the fight to your opponent.

Cheers,
Ion