Games won by subtle, positional maneuvers can be entertaining, but nothing beats a masterful attack, as in the following game.

I like a good, old-fashioned king hunt. In the following game, Romain Edouard, one of France’s top players, engineers an entertaining attack against the monarch of Dimitar Daskalov, a strong Bulgarian master. 

Edouard, R. vs. Daskalov, D.
4NCL 2016-17 | Reading ENG | Round 6.54 | 12 Feb 2017 | ECO: D30 | 1-0
1. d4 d5 2. c4 e6 3. Nf3 c6 4. Qc2 Nf6 5. Bg5 Qa5+ 6. Bd2 Qc7 7. e3 Bd6 8. Nc3 Nbd7 9. Rc1 a6 10. cxd5 exd5 11. Bd3 Qd8 12. h3 O-O 13. O-O Re8 The opening and early middlegame was weird, but now we have a semi-standard looking Carlsbad pawn structure in which White's bishop is stuck inside his own pawn chain. This is not in his favor, which explains Edouard's energetic idea:
14. Rfe1! This is not especially subtle: White wants to play e4.
14... h6 15. a3 a5 16. Rb1! I like this move. White would be happy to play b4, and if Black tries to prevent it, e4 becomes stronger.
16. e4 dxe4 17. Nxe4 Nxe4 18. Bxe4 Nf6 Black is fine. As his queen is clearly better on d8 than e7.  )
16... Qe7? Black respects the b4 break a little too much and ignores the more forceful advance.
16... Nb6 I think Black should have allowed White to play b4.
17. b4 axb4 18. axb4 Be6 Black is still reasonably solid, though he will be left with an isolated pawn after:
19. b5 c5 20. dxc5 Bxc5 21. Ne2 Still, with the c4 square weakened, Black looks fine.  )
17. e4! With the Black queen misplaced on e7, Edouard seizes his chance to play this move.
17... dxe4 18. Nxe4 Nxe4 19. Rxe4 Qf8 20. Rxe8 Qxe8 21. Re1 Qf8 After the series of exchanges, White is in control of the open e-file. But what to do next? Black's position is solid and he is ready to develop with Nf6, Be6, Re8, etc.
22. Bc4! A very strong move. White wants to reroute his bishop to the b1-h7 diagonal. Then with the queen on that diagonal, he can threaten mate on h7.
22... Nb6
22... Nf6 In hindsight, this was better because it keeps h7 protected. Still, after:
23. Ba2 Black has a lot of problems to solve  )
23. Ba2 Nd5 24. Ne5
24. Bb1 This looks more natural. Black has to loosen his kingside. For example:
24... g6 25. Qc1 h5 26. Bh6  )
24... Be6 25. Bb1! g6? Now White breaks through Black's defenses.
25... Nf6! This would have been better, but after:
26. Ng4! Bxg4 27. hxg4 I don't envy Black's position. The threat of g4-g5 is hard to deal with.  )
26. Nxg6! Simple and strong.
26... Qg7
26... fxg6 27. Qxg6+ Qg7 28. Qxe6+  )
27. Nh4 Not the only good move, but the easiest one to find. White retreats his attacked knight having successfully opened Black's kingside.
27... Bxh3 Equalizing material, but Black's king is nowhere near as safe as White's.
28. Kf1! The bishop is expelled from h3.
28... Bd7 29. Nf5 Bxf5 30. Qxf5 Black's king has virtually no hope of surviving the looming onslaught.
30... Bf8 31. Re4! White brings his last piece into the attack.
31... Ne7 32. Qd7 This is one of the saddest positions I have seen in a while. Material is equal for the moment, but White's activity is incredible and Black is about to lose material on both sides of the board.
32... f5 33. Re3 Qf6 34. Rg3+
34. Qxb7 There was nothing wrong with harvesting pawns either.  )
34... Bg7
34... Kh8 35. Bf4! With the threat of Be5.  )
35. Ba2+ Kh7 36. Qxb7 Rd8 37. Bxa5 Re8 38. Qd7 Down two pawns and still facing the same problems, Black had seen enough.


Samuel Shankland is a United States grandmaster ranked No. 4 in the country. He is a professional player and recipient of the Samford Fellowship in 2013, the most prestigious award in the United States for young chess players. He was also a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 2016 Chess Olympiad. He is at @GMShanky on Twitter, has his own site, and is also on Facebook.