Crushing the Castle

This is a quick guide to a video series:

Crushing the Castle is a series about attacking the position of a castled king. The series starts off with very fundamental advice for attacking and moves through a variety of key concepts, illustrating them with attacking games.

This series is a bit harder than "The Weakest Square," so if you have a beginning student who you'd like to teach about attacking but who has not yet seen that series, they should probably start there (especially since at the beginning level, students will often not manage to castle, in which case attacking f2/f7 is more useful than knowing how to attack a castled position).

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The first three and a half videos are for beginner-intermediate (0-800) level:

Crushing the Castle 1: To attack it's usually necessary to focus on one point at a time. In this video, we'll see what the new "weakest squares" to look for are after the opponent has castled.

Crushing the Castle 2: Now that we know which two squares are most likely to be targets of your checkmating attack, we look at a few positions, asking the student to try to correctly pick which of the two squares is most vulnerable.

Crushing the Castle 2 Quiz Answer: An extended answer to the most difficult position given at the end of Crushing the Castle 2.

Crushing the Castle 3: Here the student is taught to identify defenders of the king, and taught to eliminate defenders in order to attack. This video's examples focus on the Knight on f6, chasing it away or trading it.

From here on, the videos are appropriate for advanced (800+) players as well. A weaker player can continue on if they have watched the first 3 and are demanding more.

Crushing the Castle 4: Now that the student knows to chase the knight away from f6, we start to supply specific attacking ideas they can use to win (using the h7 point as a focus) once that knight is gone. First up: the "classic bishop sacrifice."

Crushing the Castle 5: Again, white is going after the Nf6 in order to try to break into the castle at h7. In this rather complicated example, black uses two excellent defensive techniques: reinforcing the knight on f6, rather than letting it go quietly, and making an escape route so the king can run out of his castle if needed. White crushes him anyway Laughing Note this video also has a related puzzle set.

Crushing the Castle 6: Now we move on to another typical kingside defender, the Bishop on f8 with two not-super-difficult examples of removing the defender of g7. This video also has a related puzzle set.

Crushing the Castle 6, part 2: A third, somewhat trickier example of eliminating the bishop on f8 in order to break through on g7. This video also has a related puzzle set.

Crushing the Castle 7: An example game from World Champion Mikhail Tal reviews everything we've seen so far: what is the weakest square on the kingside, how to choose which one to go after, chasing away the opponent's defensive pieces. It also shows a couple brilliant new techniques for carrying out an attack.

Crushing the Castle 8: the Open h-file: This and the next few videos teach tactical patterns related to the h7-square. In this video, the student learns three different tactical patterns that can be used to win the game once they have opened up the "h-file." These same tactics would work with an open "a" file if the opponent had castled queenside.

Crushing the Castle 9: Anastasia's Mate: Here the student will learn a tactical pattern that can often be used to open up a half-closed/half-open h-file, with immediate checkmate!

Crushing the Castle 10: Clever Clearance: Here the student learns a very tricky pattern that can be used to pry open a well-guarded king's castle.

Crushing the Castle 11: One Stone at a Time: Now the series switches from h7-tactics to g7-tactics for a few videos. Here the student gains an important and typical pattern to prevent the opponent from defending g7 by playing g7-g6. It also shows how an attack sometimes switches from g7 to h7.

Crushing the Castle 12: Focus! Destruction on g2: this difficult video not only teaches a new pattern for breaking through a castle at g7/g2, but it also goes over a full game with an incredible finale full of g2-tactics.

Crushing the Castle 13: Every Move a Check!: Sometimes you've got to crush a castle fast, before your own king is turned into a shishkabob!! The PlayfulSquirrel shows such a case, in which you must make sure that each of your attacking moves is a check, elsewise doom will befall you!

This is an on-going series, check back for more videos!

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