Attacking in Chess: Rules of Thumb


Grandmaster Karsten Müller is the author of Attack: Rules of thumb for practice. His first rule of thumb is “All pieces should participate in the attack.” Bringing pieces to join in a chess attack can be creative and fun.

Rule of Thumb #1

Attack: Rules of thumb

The first chapter of Attack: Rules of thumb for practice is titled “All pieces should participate in the attack.” In the first example, White appears to give up one rook to bring another rook into the attack.

Chessable Masters

Müller’s first example was from the 2022 Chessable Masters tournament, which consisted of rapid games played online.

Coppell Chess Club

As I previously wrote in SparkChess, I enjoy playing chess at the Coppell Chess Club. On September 9, 2023, I played three rounds of a game in 30 minutes, delay 5 seconds (G/30 d5) Coppell Chess Club tournament. I lost 40 points from my US Chess rapid rating after drawing, winning, and losing against lower-rated players.

One move of my one win was satisfying, when I repositioned a piece from a defensive position to an attacking one. To paraphrase Müller’s rule of thumb #1, (almost) all my pieces participated in the attack.

Book and author details

Attack: Rules of thumb for practice by Grandmaster Karsten Müller is available from Chess & Bridge and from House of Staunton. The book’s QR codes can be scanned to replay each of Müller’s examples and exercises on electronic devices. Each chapter begins with annotated examples of that chapter’s theme and ends with four exercises (with the same theme) for the reader to solve. Annotated answers follow the four exercises. The book has many diagrams and some black-and-white photos of top chess players.                

Karsten Müller has a doctorate in mathematics. He is a grandmaster and prolific chess author. Müller was named “Trainer of the Year” in 2007 by the German Chess Federation. His book Attack: Rules of thumb for practice was published in 2023 by JBV Chess Books.

WIM Alexey Root, PhD

Alexey Root is a Woman International Master and the 1989 U.S. Women's chess champion. Her peak US Chess rating was 2260. She has a PhD in education from UCLA. You can find her books on chess on

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