Play Mind-Blowing Chess Moves Like Beth Harmon

The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) – Game 5

There’s nothing quite like using devastating chess moves to launch an overwhelming game-ending attack!

queens gambit game 5 blog image

However, an attack is not something that arises spontaneously. You must create the opportunity step-by-step.

Take a look at how to play great chess moves like Beth Harmon – in this game (featured in Netflix The Queen’s Gambit) she delivers a killer attack and eventually a forced checkmate.

Beth versus Mr. Shaibel

All successful attacks are based on sound chess principles. Unless you have taken the time to place your chess pieces on the best squares, your attack could run out of steam.

Crafting a strong attack is a skill you must learn as a chess player. Beginners can often get away with an impulsive attack because they are playing other beginners who haven’t learned how to defend properly.

A stronger player will repulse your attack unless it’s carefully constructed and has enough support. That’s why it’s important to learn the keys to how to play good chess moves for a winning attack.

Successful Attacks Combine Strategic And Tactical Chess Moves

Two key elements of a successful attack are

  • strategy which comprises the elements of space, harmony and time
  • tactical opportunities

Unless your pieces are within striking distance of the enemy you won’t pose much of a threat because all attacks will fall short. Ideas of attacking are mere fantasies if all your pieces are stuck on your first rank.

mr. shaibel
Mr. Shaibel

Before you can consider attacking you need to devise a plan to gain more space. This can be squares in your opponent’s side of the board or open avenues into the enemy position.

Rooks and bishops can attack from long-range if you have open files and diagonals but knights require outposts a lot closer to the enemy king.

The good thing about gaining more space is it helps your pieces work together. Unless all of your chess pieces are in harmony with each other your attack will limp forward a little before collapsing in a disorganized mess.

We saw a very good example of harmonious piece play in game three of “The Queen’s Gambit” Netflix miniseries when Beth’s bishop combined very well with her rook to win the game.

Game 3: Beth versus Mr. Shaibel

Even your most powerful attacking piece, the queen, is unlikely to deliver checkmate on her own. The queen works very well with a knight to deliver checkmate.

If you find yourself attacking from long-range then the queen must coordinate with the rooks and bishops. A common idea with white is to place your queen on d3 and a bishop on c2 to attack h7.

An Example From A Typical Isolated Queen Pawn Position

Keeping the pressure up and not giving your opponent time to consolidate is extremely important when you are behind in material. Not only must you play with unparalleled urgency but also tremendous energy in these positions.

Choosing The Right Chess Moves

Beth delivers astounding attacking
play against Mr. Shaibel in game 5.

Finding the moves which exert the most pressure in a position is a necessary skill. On the positive side, there is a well-known hierarchy of criteria to help you.

When deciding on moves work through the following checklist:

  • checks
  • captures
  • threats
  • pieces

Checks are the most forcing moves because your opponent has to deal with them immediately. In this case, you are dictating the pace and it helps make your calculations easier.

If there are no checks or the checks are easily blocked then look to see if you can capture a piece. Does your opponent have any loose pieces? Remember undefended pieces are often vulnerable to tactics.

After you have decided the checks don’t help you nor can you capture a piece then it’s time to consider if you can create threats. Perhaps you can use the rook swinger to increase pressure against your opponent’s king or you might attack his queen with your bishop.

Finally, look to see which of your pieces can be brought to a better square. Maybe your rook on a8 could get moved closer to the central files.

Is your bishop on b7 staring at a blocked diagonal? Get it back into the fight by moving it to a6 or c8.

Never discount the impact of slightly improving the placement of your pieces. These small improvements add up.

Even if there are a lot of pieces in the way, place your rook in the same file as your opponent’s king or queen. As a result, you now have the basis for a plan – opening the file.

Time Narrows Your Choice Of Chess Moves

In a closed positional or if you are playing a positional game you have more time to bring your chess pieces to their best squares. Unless you are under direct attack you usually have time to slowly improve your position.

Checks, captures, and threats are very important if you have sacrificed material. After you sacrifice a piece it may be necessary to play a second sacrifice.

Trust the calculations you made before playing the first sacrifice. Maybe your opponent defended with a move you weren’t anticipating.

When this happens don’t panic! Treat this position as your starting point and begin again.

Even if you lose the game, learning why you missed a defensive resource will ensure you don’t repeat the mistake again. Your goal shouldn’t be to avoid making mistakes it must be to avoid repeating them.

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In Conclusion

Beth combined all the elements of a good strategy with forcing tactics when it was required. She knew how to play good chess moves when she had to. She kept dictating the game with constant threats, checks and placed herself in a position to deliver an unavoidable checkmate.

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