The below position arose from the Queen's Gambit ( Exchange variation ).

[Title "Black to move"]
[StartFlipped "0"]
[fen "2b1rnk1/1pr1qppp/p1p5/2Pp4/P2P4/1R1BPN1P/2Q2PP1/1R4K1 b - - 0 1"]

I have successfully repelled White's queenside minority attack, but don't know how to capitalize on the kingside. This should be an easy win for Black ( in my opinion ) but I am not top GM so I could use all the help I could get...

All I managed to do was to draw by perpetual:

[Title "My best try ended in perpetual check"]
[StartFlipped "0"]
[fen "2b1rnk1/1pr1qppp/p1p5/2Pp4/P2P4/1R1BPN1P/2Q2PP1/1R4K1 b - - 0 1"]

1... g6 2.Rb6 Ne6 3.R1b2 Ng5 4.Qe2 Kg7 5.Nxg5 Qxg5 6.Kh2 Rce7 7.R6b3 h5 8.Qf3 h4 9.Rb1 f5 10.a5 Qf6 11.Kh1 g5 12.Rf1 Qh6 13.Qd1 g4 14.Bc2 Kh8 15.Rg1 Qe6 16.Qd2 Rg8 17.hxg4 Rxg4 18.Bd1 Rg8 19.Bf3 Qh6 20.Re1 Reg7 21.Rb6 Rg6 22.Qc1 Qg7 23.Rg1 f4 24.exf4 Rf8 25.Qd2 Rgf6 26.Qd1 Rxf4 27.Bxd5 Rxd4 28.Qh5+ Qh7 29.Qe5+ Qg7 30.Qh5+ Qh7 31.Qe5+ Qg7 32.Qh5+ 1/2-1/2

Can Black construct a winning mating attack on the kingside?

EDIT August, 5th 2014:

I was able to defeat StockFish 5 ( with few take-backs ) in blitz, but the machine can't cope with plans so I'm posting the game here in case someone can point out better plan for White. I will analyze this game myself after I play several blitz games. I will post those too, in hope that they will be helpful for those trying to answer to this post. Here is the game:

[StartFlipped "0"]
[White "Stockfish 5"]
[Black "AlwaysLearningNewStuff"]
[Result "0-1"]
[FEN "2b1rnk1/1pr1qppp/p1p5/2Pp4/P2P4/1R1BPN1P/2Q2PP1/1R4K1 b - - 0 1"]

1... Qf6 2.Rb6 Ree7 3.Ne1 h5 4.Qe2 g6 5.Kh2 h4 6.Nf3 Ne6 7.Qa2 Kg7 8.Qc2 Kg8 9.R1b3 Qh8 10.Kg1 Qh5 11.Ne5 Nf8 12.Be2 Qh8 13.Bg4 f5 14.Be2 Qf6 15.Bf3 Qg7 16.Bd1 Nd7 17.Nxd7 Rcxd7 18.Bf3 Rd8 19.Qd1 Rde8 20.Qd3 Rf8 21.Rb2 Rf6 22.Be2 g5 23.Kh1 g4 24.hxg4 fxg4 25.Bf1 Qh6 26.R6b3 g3 27.f4 h3 28.gxh3 Bxh3 29.Kg1 Rh7 30.Rxb7 Rxb7 31.Rxb7 Bxf1 32.Rb8+ Kf7 33.Rb7+ Ke6 34.Qh7 Qxh7 35.Rxh7 Bd3 36.Rc7 Kf5 37.Rg7 Rg6 38.Rxg6 Kxg6 39.Kg2 a5 40.Kxg3 Kf5 41.Kf3 Bc2 42.Kg3 Bxa4 43.Kf2 Ke4 44.Ke2 Bb5+ 45.Kd2 Bd3 46.f5 Kxf5 47.Kxd3 a4 48.Kc3 Ke4 49.Kb4 Kxe3 50.Kxa4 Kxd4 51.Kb4 Kd3 52.Ka5 Kc4 53.Kb6 d4 54.Kxc6 d3 55.Kd6 d2 56.c6 d1=Q+ 57.Ke7 Qe2+ 58.Kd6 Qd3+ 59.Ke7 Qe4+ 60.Kf6 Qxc6+ 61.Ke5 Qf3 62.Ke6 Kc5 63.Ke5 Qe2+ 64.Kf5 Kd5 65.Kf4 Qf2+ 66.Kg5 Ke5 67.Kg6 Qf5+ 68.Kg7 Qf6+ 69.Kh7 Qg5 70.Kh8 Kf6 71.Kh7 Qg7# 0-1

EDIT #2:

I have tried again to beat computer with the same plan ( starting with 1...Qf6 ) and failed. It seems all Black can get is kingside pressure...

  • See Portisch vs Yusopov (chess.stackexchange.com/questions/5392/…). Very similar structure in which Black won.
    – Wes
    Aug 4 '14 at 14:09
  • @Wes: "Very similar structure" -> White has Ne2 + Rf1 which is not the same. In the above diagram Rb1 + Nf3 give very great chances for defense ( with idea Bf1 or Ne1 ). Still, I appreciate the effort... Aug 4 '14 at 16:32
  • 3
    Honestly, I rather like White's position. Black is nowhere near an attack, and White would have time to organize a defense if need be, but that doesn't really even appear necessary. Plus Black will be fairly well tied to defense of b7 for the duration. Talk of an "easy win" for Black and asking whether Black can "finish off" White strikes me as very odd. If anything, I would say White is the one who can play for two results in this position.
    – ETD
    Aug 5 '14 at 1:31
  • 2
    @AlwaysLearningNewStuff, by "structure" I refer to the pawn structure. I suppose that's how the word "structure" is always used in the context of chess.
    – Wes
    Aug 5 '14 at 14:08
  • 1
    Regardless, in this case we've all agreed with the engine, or it with us - White is better but there's no clear win.
    – Tony Ennis
    Aug 6 '14 at 12:10

It's a very interesting position. From your description I see that you are on the right path of planning. Let's see:

Clearly your queen-side is safe enough (unless you lose a couple of tempos), and although your bishop is in a completely defensive position on the 8th rank, it has still kept its prospect for a possible attack on white's king-side. Furthermore your rooks are in the best positions, each fulfilling a role(not wasted necessarily) and safe from any harassment (Ne5 e.g. has no immediate threat for you). Finally your queen is active enough on e7.

Now that we have summarized in a rather crude manner our position, let's see how's white doing:

No real weakness in his position, his rooks seem to be looking at a wall as b7 is perfectly safe for now, his knight is in a dynamic enough position on f3 (many maneuvers possible) and he has a slight control on h7 but it doesn't really matter since his queen+bishop are being refuted by single knight on f8.

Now that we have a clear picture of what the situation on both sides is, let's see what we can use as leverage:

Your idea with g6 preparing Ne6 to Ng5 was not a bad plan at all, possibly even forced if you ask an engine, but I don't really like it: simple fact that if we're saying that white's heavy pieces are far from any defense and very inactive (queen on c2 not doing much as long as e.g. you keep control on e4 and h7 with your knight), so if we (as black) have any chance of playing actively, it has to have a really quick tempo or else white builds up an opening on e-file with Re1, Nd2 and e4 happens (he will even have rook on the 3rd rank which can be brought into a king-side attack if e4 happens). As your game shows, your idea was good, but white has enough time for a defensive build up.

My suggestion: start off immediately with g5, with the plan to follow up with h5, very crudely, gaining possible tempo on knight harassment on f3 and forcing an exchange on g4 to open up the h-file, again if in any scenario white's knight is either retreated or exchanged, it's good for us as white's pieces are too far off and we're ok with a king-side pawn expansion (whole idea: gain space on his weak side, force line opening), further ideas to notice:

  • Our bishop is always ready to contribute to the attack whenever needed.
  • once h5 is played the knight on f8 is freed up as well
  • kg7 is a likely move for us as white has no dark square control, so rook can swing eventually to h8
  • we have enough control on e-file, so white cannot really hope for a counter-attack
  • with g4 played so early, any Ne5 followed by f4 maneuver is avoided Finally before getting into possible lines, note that our only idea is to take the initiative with any tempo we can find and hope that white under pressure will fall, I say "hope" because if you feed this position to an engine it's possible that it will see boring draws all around or even like white's position better, so since we're not playing against an engine, such approach does work very well. Lets analyse a couple of possible follow-ups:

First line:

[Title "1st variation after g5"]
[StartFlipped "0"]
[fen "2b1rnk1/1pr1qppp/p1p5/2Pp4/P2P4/1R1BPN1P/2Q2PP1/1R4K1 b - - 0 1"]

1... g5 2.a5 h5 3.Ne5 Nd7 4.Nxd7 Qxd7 5.Qe2 g4 6.h4 f5 7.g3 f4 8.gxf4 Qd8

With a very nice continuation for black, of course it's no checkmate anytime soon nor an easy win, but it's a position with solid attacking hopes for black.

[Title "2nd variation after g5"]
[StartFlipped "0"]
[fen "2b1rnk1/1pr1qppp/p1p5/2Pp4/P2P4/1R1BPN1P/2Q2PP1/1R4K1 b - - 0 1"]

1... g5 2.a5 h5 3.Qe2 g4 4.Ne5 Qg5 5.f4 Qe7 6.Bc2 f6 7.Ng6 Qg7

Again a position with a number of weaknesses in white's position and initiative in black's hands.

[Title "3rd variation after g5"]
[StartFlipped "0"]
[fen "2b1rnk1/1pr1qppp/p1p5/2Pp4/P2P4/1R1BPN1P/2Q2PP1/1R4K1 b - - 0 1"]

1... g5 2.Nh2 h5 3.Qe2 g4 4.hxg4 hxg4 5.Nxg4 Qh4 6.Ne5 f6 7.Ng6 Nxg6 8.Bxg6 Rg7 9.Bxe8 Rxg2+ 10.Kxg2 Bh3+ 11.Kh1 Bf1+ 12.Kg1 Bxe2

Again shows you how easy it is for white to go completely wrong in his defense. I think these 3 positions make it clear enough for your to see my idea basically, from this point it's more fruitful if we just keep discussing possible variations of any line you want, and don't hesitate asking any question regarding the positions or ideas discussed so far.

  • I have upvoted your answer, as I like the idea of not wasting time. I will try to test this later. however, I do see good option for White in 1. g5 2.Bf5!, exchanging the best defender of b7. Now rooks will tie Black pieces to defense of b7 and White may get enough time to organize successful defense. That was the reason why I dismissed ...g5 at the first place, but maybe I can make your idea work without the bishop... Aug 5 '14 at 12:08
  • Yes actually I had looked at it, forgot to discuss it. My refutation was simple: 2.Bf5 Be6 (if takes then Nxe6 brings us back on track with possible Nd8 even if needed for b7) 3.R1b2 (building up on b7 with Qb1 possibly) ..h5 (we're safe to continue with the push, useful tempo) 4.Nd2 g4 5.hxg4 hxg4 maybe f6 could be played earlier, but anyway from this point it's only us playing for a winning chance if we don't lose b7, simply because our plan worked (opening line on his king-side) and white didn't gain much attack in the process.. after Be6 we always have Qd7 to force the exchange/retreat
    – Ellie
    Aug 5 '14 at 12:18
  • My refutation was simple: 2.Bf5 Be6 (if takes then Nxe6 brings us back on track with possible Nd8 even if needed for b7) Consider the following line: 1...g5 2.Bf5! Be6 3.Bxe6! Nxe6 4.Qf5! after which White seems to be able to stop the attack, or at least delay it enough to organize successful defense Aug 5 '14 at 17:10
  • @AlwaysLearningNewStuff yes, which probably white should indeed try, but again the position remains relatively dynamic although not as much as we would have wanted it, for example after 4.Qf5 we can go for f6 (basically to free the knight) and prepare Ng7 to push back the queen and prepare h5 again, back on track with the plan! Again mate our hands are kinda tied in this position as we're really digging deep to find some activity here, since finding good moves for white in such positions is always very easy, the tough part remains on our hands. Main weakness of white is still his rooks here.
    – Ellie
    Aug 5 '14 at 19:05
  • finding good moves for white in such positions is always very easy -> exactly. I am tempted to send an e-mail to GM Gary Lane, or some top GM to try and get to the bottom of this... Aug 5 '14 at 19:10

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