One of the things that I was thinking about when I first started kind of researching a bit about attacking is that there are several balancing acts that an attacker needs to negotiate. The main ones I came up with were
- Balance between tempo gaining forcing moves (particularly checks) that keep up the pace of the attack, and quieter moves that actually strengthen attack but aren't as forcing.
- Balance between the goal of mating the king and cashing out the attack for a material advantage.
- Balancing true sacrifices where there is no immediate win, but there are genuine attacking chances against the urge to play soundly and not throw away material for wishful thinking.
These are probably not the only ones. I like thinking of these kinds of balancing acts because they help to make sense of the attacking thinking process and to parse some of the decisions that are actually required in attacking situations. It's easy to look at a successful attack someone shows you and just see how it all unfolds. It's very different to actually be able to make good decisions about attacks while making one and these balances seem like good guidelines to those actual decisions.
In this game, it seems that the second of the above is relevant. Again, it's not a very subtle point in this game but a clear example for a low level player where Anderssen ends up not mating the king but cashing out for a winning material advantage. I did find an improvement where he could have won more but I still think it's an instructive example for me.
Anderssen, Adolf - Mayet, Carl
[...] 1.e4 e5 2.♘f3 ♘c6 3.♗c4 ♗c5 4.b4 ♗xb4 5.c3 ♗a5 6.O-O I think the usual is d4 then O-O 6...♘f6 7.d4 exd4 8.e5 d5 9.♗b5 ♘e4 10.♗a3 This bishop is crucial for the attack because it prevents the black king from castling. 10...♗xc3 11.♘xd4 Sacrificing a rook for the attack. Of course the sac'ed rook is out of play so the two bishops raining down on the king position matter more. It's also telling that black's bishop remains stuck on a1 playing no further part in the game.
11...♗xa1 12.♘xc6 bxc6 13.♗xc6 ♗d7 14.♕xd5 White could have won back the exchange but that makes absolutely no sense. He is committed to the attack. 14...♖b8 (14...♗xc6 15.♕xc6 ♕d7 16.♕xa8 ♕d8 17.♕xe4 White ends up a piece.) 15.e6 ♘d6 Blocks the deadly a3 bishop (15...fxe6 16.♕xe6 ♕e7 17.♕xe7#) 16.♗xd7 ♔f8 17.♗xd6 cxd6 18.♕xd6 ♔g8 19.e7
11.♘xc3 If white saves the rook instead... 11...♘xc3 This knight fork is annoying and forces the trade of the attacking light squared bishop. 12.♗xc6
12.♕b3 ♘xb5 13.♕xb5 This and the alternative with Bxc6+ both seem less rich for white than the game text. 13...♗d7 14.♕xd5 (14.♕xb7 ♖b8) (14.♘xd4) 14...♗e612...bxc6 13.♕xd4 ♘b5 14.♕b4 ♘xa3 15.♕xa3
19.exf7 ♔xf7□20.♕e6 ♔f8□21.♕d6 ♕e7 (21...♔g8 22.♗e6#) 22.♕xb8 ♔f7 23.♕xh8 ♕xd7 24.♕xh7 Most of these moves are forced and this seems better. This way white ends up a rook and two pawns. In the game he ends up only a piece.19...♕b6 20.♕xb8 ♕xb8 21.e8=♕ ♕xe8 22.♗xe8 g6 23.♘a3 ♗f6 24.♘b5 ♔g7 25.♖e1
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