I've always been told that Q and N are very strong in attacking K. Could someone show me some real GM games where Q+N attack decides the game? (where at the end of the aggression, the attacking side gets decisive advantage)

  • 2
    This seems very subjective and opinion based to me: "very strong", compared to what? Also what do you mean by "decides the game". At GM level, if there is an attack going on, there are usually quite a few more pieces involved. It is unlikely that you just move Q+N close to the enemy king and win a game. Or do you mean that the mate is delivered by Q+N only? A famous (though probably not common at GM level) example for the latter is smothered mate en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smothered_mate But overall I don't think there is anything special about Q+N attacks. Mar 28, 2017 at 18:35
  • I suspect the OP is thinking of the fact that Q+N is known to be better than Q+B in the endgame with just those plus pawns, along with the fact that the path the victory for the Q+N goes via attacking the King. I've seen plenty of constructed puzzle examples where the Q+N wins via tactics, as well as examples taken from master games, but I can't remember any in enough detail to give an example from opening through to endgame; the OP is entirely correct in saying that finding one of these is of importance. Apr 1, 2017 at 22:53
  • U need to be specific @jf328 with a particular position . As for theory Q+N is good in attacking because Queen can copy the moves of both Bishops & Rook . Apr 4, 2017 at 8:38

2 Answers 2


The best classical game of Q+N vs king is The game of Fischer vs Panno (1970),

[FEN ""]
[White "Fischer"]
[Black "Panno"]
[StartPly "71"]
[Result "1-0"]
1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 e6 3. d3 Nc6 4. g3 g6 5. Bg2 Bg7 6. O-O Nge7 7. Re1 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. d4 cxd4 10. cxd4 d5 11. e5 Bd7 12. Nc3 Rc8 13. Bf4 Na5 14. Rc1 b5 15. b3 b4 16. Ne2 Bb5 17. Qd2 Nac6 18. g4 a5 19. Ng3 Qb6 20. h4 Nb8 21. Bh6 Nd7 22. Qg5 Rxc1 23. Rxc1 Bxh6 24. Qxh6 Rc8 25. Rxc8 Nxc8 26. h5 Qd8 27. Ng5 Nf8 28. Be4 Qe7 29. Nxh7 Nxh7 30. hxg6 fxg6 31. Bxg6 Ng5 32. Nh5 Nf3 33. Kg2 Nh4 34. Kg3 Ng6 35. Nf6 Kf7 36. Qh7 1-0

You see it a lot in the Ruy Lopez with the maneuvering of the white knights from b1-d2-f1-g3-f5 and Nf3-h2-g4, and the queen joining the kingside attack.

Here are some games taken only from games where both players were above 2500, including this positional masterpiece by Karpov. As soon as both Q+N infiltrate, it was immediately time to resign.

 [Event "Olympiad-21 Final A"]
 [Site "Nice"]
 [Date "1974.06.17"]
 [Round "3"]
 [White "Karpov, Anatoly"]
 [Black "Unzicker, Wolfgang"]
 [Result "1-0"]
 [ECO "C98"]
 [PlyCount "87"]
 [EventDate "1974.06.15"]
 [EventType "team-tourn"]
 [EventRounds "15"]
 [EventCountry "FRA"]
 [WhiteTeam "Soviet Union"]
 [BlackTeam "Germany"]
 [WhiteTeamCountry "URS"]
 [BlackTeamCountry "GER"]
 [FEN ""]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. O-O Be7 6. Re1 b5 7. Bb3 d6 8. c3 O-O 9. h3 Na5 10. Bc2 c5 11. d4 Qc7 12. Nbd2 Nc6 13. d5 Nd8 14. a4 Rb8 15. axb5 axb5 16. b4 Nb7 17. Nf1 Bd7 18. Be3 Ra8 19. Qd2 Rfc8 20. Bd3 g6 21. Ng3 Bf8 22. Ra2 c4 23. Bb1 Qd8 24. Ba7 Ne8 25. Bc2 Nc7 26. Rea1 Qe7 27. Bb1 Be8 28. Ne2 Nd8 29. Nh2 Bg7 30. f4 f6 31. f5 g5 32. Bc2 Bf7 33. Ng3 Nb7 34. Bd1 h6 35. Bh5 Qe8 36. Qd1 Nd8 37. Ra3 Kf8 38. R1a2 Kg8 39. Ng4 Kf8 40. Ne3 Kg8 41. Bxf7+ Nxf7 42. Qh5 Nd8 43. Qg6 Kf8 44. Nh5 1-0

Anand at work. It is amazing that the game lasts only another 7 moves!

 [Event "Wch Chess960"]
 [Site "Mainz"]
 [Date "2007.??.??"]
 [Round "5.2"]
 [White "Anand, Viswanathan"]
 [Black "Bacrot, Etienne"]
 [Result "1-0"]
 [WhiteElo "2779"]
 [BlackElo "2705"]
 [Variant "chess 960"]
 [SetUp "1"]
 [FEN "1R4k1/q4ppp/6n1/2b1pN2/4P3/2N2QP1/5P1P/6K1 b - - 0 29"]
 [PlyCount "12"]
 [EventDate "2007.??.??"]
 [EventType "tourn"]
 [EventRounds "6"]
 [EventCountry "GER"]
 [EventCategory "20"]

 1... Qxb8 2. Nd5 Qe8 3. h4 Qe6 4. Qg4 Bf8 5. h5 Nh8 6. Nde7+ Qxe7 7. Nh6# 1-0

From a blitz game, so there are mistakes, but the Q+N combine nicely.

 [Event "Wch Blitz 6th"]
 [Site "Astana"]
 [Date "2012.07.09"]
 [Round "15"]
 [White "Ivanchuk, Vassily"]
 [Black "Karjakin, Sergey"]
 [Result "1-0"]
 [ECO "C96"]
 [WhiteElo "2769"]
 [BlackElo "2779"]
 [SetUp "1"]
 [FEN "8/1b3pk1/6p1/3P4/2Q1P3/1p2N1PP/1q3P2/6K1 w - - 0 45"]
 [PlyCount "29"]
 [EventDate "2012.07.09"]
 [EventType "tourn (blitz)"]
 [EventRounds "30"]
 [EventCountry "KAZ"]
 [EventCategory "19"]

 1. Kg2 Qb1 2. Qc3+ Kg8 3. Ng4 $1 {The exclam is for allowing Karjakin to take a center pawn with check, but there was much stronger.} (3. Qe5 $1 b2 4. Ng4 Qc1 5. Nf6+ Kg7 6. d6 {Taking away e7!} b1=Q 7. Ne8+ Kh6 (7... Kf8 8. Qh8#) 8. Qh8+ Kg5 9. Qh4#) 3...Qxe4+ 4. Kh2 Qc2 5. Qe5 b2 $4 (5... Bxd5 {Was the last chance.}) 6. Nf6+ $2 (6. d6 {Only this move taking away e7 again wins.}) 6... Kf8 (6... Kg7 $11) 7. Nh7+ $2 {The wrong way.} Kg8 8. Nf6+ Kf8 $2 9. Nh7+ Kg8 10. Nf6+ Kf8 11. Nd7+ $1 {Finally, on the right track.} Kg8 12. Qe8+ Kh7 13. Qxf7+ Kh6 14. Qf8+ Kg5 15. Qf4+ 1-0

Here is a nice high-level example because the players were both world-class, and black is actually up a piece, but still cannot defend against the attack.

 [Event "Linares 09th"]
 [Site "Linares"]
 [Date "1991.??.??"]
 [Round "3"]
 [White "Jussupow, Artur"]
 [Black "Kamsky, Gata"]
 [Result "1-0"]
 [ECO "D58"]
 [WhiteElo "2605"]
 [BlackElo "2640"]
 [Annotator "Ftacnik,L"]
 [SetUp "1"]
 [FEN "5n1k/5p1b/p7/3N4/P2P4/5Q1P/1P3PPK/2q5 b - - 0 41"]
 [PlyCount "16"]
 [EventDate "1991.02.??"]
 [EventType "tourn"]
 [EventRounds "13"]
 [EventCountry "ESP"]
 [EventCategory "17"]

 1... Bg6 {Defending the pawn, but also giving the Kh8 the h7 square to avoid Qf6+ Kg8; Ne7#.} 2. Qf6+ Kh7 3. Qe5 $1 {Setting up dangerous knight checks on f6.} Ne6 4. f4 $1 {Keeping the Qc1 from coming back to defend.} Qf1 5. h4 Bd3 6. Qf6 Kg8 {Defending the critical f7-square.} 7. f5 $1 {Blocking the bishop's defense of the critical g6 square.} Be4 (7... Bxf5 8. Ne7+ {Wins the Bf5, and the attack continues...but not for long.}) 8. Ne7+ Kf8 9. Ng6+ {And mate next.} 1-0

I found this really nice game, which is only partially about the attack on the king. I had to include it since it beautifully demonstrates a high-level concept that GMs use regularly, and that is the limiting of the opponent's piece scope. The annotations are mine.

 [Event "Chigorin Memorial-14"]
 [Site "Sochi"]
 [Date "1980.09.23"]
 [Round "15"]
 [White "Sveshnikov, Evgeny"]
 [Black "Torre, Eugenio"]
 [Result "1-0"]
 [ECO "C50"]
 [WhiteElo "2570"]
 [BlackElo "2520"]
 [PlyCount "79"]
 [EventDate "1980.09.04"]
 [EventType "tourn"]
 [EventRounds "15"]
 [EventCountry "URS"]
 [EventCategory "11"]
 [FEN ""]

 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 d6 4. d4 Bg4 5. Bb5 Nge7 6. Bg5 f6 7. Be3 exd4 8. Bxd4 a6 9. Bc4 Nxd4 10. Qxd4 b5 11. Be2 c5 12. Qe3 Nc6 13. a4 b4 14. Nbd2 Be7 15. Bc4 Qd7 16. Qd3 Qb7 17. O-O Bd7 18. Bd5 Qc7 19. Nc4 Ra7 20. Nfd2 Nd8 21. Ne3 Nf7 22. Ndc4 O-O 23. Nf5 {This game revolves around that bad Be7, and limiting the scope of the black pieces.} Bxf5 24. exf5 Kh8 25. f4 {Limiting the movement of the Nf7.} Nh6 26. Rfe1 Rd8 27. Re6 Bf8 28. Rae1 Qf7 {Clearly, white has an overwhelming position here, so black looks for counterplay. What I love about this game is how white tries to prevent black's pieces from getting any activity, and the transitions as they trade pieces, leaving black with a sorry bishop, and white with the powerful knight.} 29. h3 {Anticipating Qh5, and getting ready to box in the black queen.} Qh5 30. g4 Qh4 31. Kg2 Ng8 32. Re8 Rad7 33. Nb6 Re7 34. R1xe7 Bxe7 35. Rxg8+ $1 Rxg8 36. Bxg8 Kxg8 37. Qd5+ Kf8 38. Qe6 $1 {Keeping the Qh4 from getting active on e1.} g5 {A desperate attempt at counterplay.} 39. Nd7+ Ke8 40. Nxf6+ {And mate next move.} 1-0

And one last game because it is a nice attacking game, but also because white has a classic chess name: Geller, the namesake of Efim Geller, the great Soviet GM.

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