Attacking with g2-g4

Written by admin

My goal is to make chess the most widely played game in this planet. Although this may be overly ambitious, this is the right estimate looking at the amount of effort and dedication put in this website. This blog is just a by-product from the youthful exuberance of a 16 year old. I hope you will support me in this journey which I have undertaken.

May 10, 2020

To better understand the concept of the “g2-g4” idea. I have decided to explain this idea by outlining one such strong player who often played this and his own analysis and thought process in this. I’m talking about none other than Issac Lipnitsky. I will outline some of his achievements and facts to set the mood for this article. Don’t worry, my next article would be an obituary about him so that the chess community learns about this jewel who was buried in the pages of history. So without further ado, let’s begin!

Life of Issac Lipnitsky

Mikhail Botvinnik not only liked to play g2-g4 himself but also rated very highly Isaak Lipnitsky’s book Questions of Contemporary Chess Theory, which contains, besides the majority of the above examples from the games of the sixth World Champion, a particularly beautiful example of the g-pawn battering ram.

Nowadays, the name Lipnitsky says little to the modern reader, but this was a player with a very interesting, striking style, and great practical strength. He also died tragically early, at just 35.

Lipnitsky won the Ukrainian Champion, regularly qualifier for the final of the USSR Championship, and in 1950 was a silver medallist in this marathon tournament, He had an equal score against Smyslov, Keres, Bronstein, and Tal, drew with Botvinnik and had a win against Petrosian to his credit. In the database, he has only 159 games, but the older generation of Soviet players always pronounced the name Issak Lipnitsky with respect.

Although a slight digression, let’s go back to the summer of 1946 in Berlin which will give you a better idea about Lipnitsky’s strength. A ten-board match was held between the Soviet military administration in Germany & their U.S. counterparts. The Soviet team was headed by none other than Lipnitsky, and also contained a dominant Rashid Nezhmetdinov… Unsurprisingly, the Soviet team won 10:0

The GM’s eternal memorial was the above-mentioned book, which came out in 1956. In John Collins’ book on Bobby Fischer, it is stated that the future American World Champion obtained Lipnitsky’s book when still quite young and virtually slept with it under his pillow! It is a striking textbook on dynamics, the battle for the initiative and the linkage between the opening and the middle game, and was recommended to readers by the great trainer Mark Dvoretsky. Having been reprinted in Dvoretsky’s book, Lipnitsky’s famous position then appeared in many other publications. Here it is.

Do you now realize the power of g4. Not yet?! I’ll let Lipnitsky convince you with his analysis which will give the final blow.

Once again, let’s have some respect for Lipnitsky. Almost all of our chess community has forgotten me and including me, I dare say! Such underrated players. As said before, I’ll be posting an obituary to justify my misdeeds for forgetting him. Stay tuned for that as well.



All in all, the g2-g4 push is a significant theme in battling for the activity. Against a f5-pawn, White opens the g-file and can use his rooks to control the open files and create attacking threats.

Without a f5-pawn, White can play g4-g5 to kick back the f6-knight or take that square from a knight eyeing that square – expelling a significant barrier of the kingside and beginning a pawn storm. When g4 is met with …h6, White can play h4 followed by g5 to open lines. So many plans!

To some of you who might be thinking isn’t the h2-h4 idea more dangerous. While that’s true, in order to understand the novel idea of h2 – h4 as demonstrated by Alpha Zero, it is extremely important to understand the g4 idea first as many of the ideas are overlapping and there’ll be a few nuances which we’ll learn by analyzing games in future articles.

In the end, I hope that this is a plan and strategy you might take into consideration. Personally, this is a must have idea in your arsenal if you’re an attacking player. If you’re defensive, this can also help because you might already have an idea of your opponent’s plans and can negate them by playing good strong moves (Although I warn you that you wouldn’t stop g4 played by Lipnitsky)

Some extracts of this blog and diagrams were taken from the book “Attacking with g2-g4: The Modern Way to Get the Upper Hand in Chess by GM Dmitry Kryakvin.”

The author has divided up his content into eight parts (with further sub-chapters) as follows:

  1. Botvinnik’s heritage
  2. The Dutch Defence
  3. The Queen’s Gambit Declined
  4. The Nimzo-Indian Defence
  5. The Anti Nimzo-Indian
  6. The Slav Defence
  7. The King’s Indian Defence
  8. The Grünfeld Indian Defence

Each part has a significant and interesting introduction establishing the historical context of the opening ideas espoused. The reason why I’m mentioning this is because his book was the inspiration for this article. I was surfing the internet for some interesting content and stumbled upon this book. I read it from start to finish in one go. I was a new man! All thanks to this book (For those wondering, I am NOT affiliated with this book)

This is a really good book if you are generally stuck on finding opening plans or want to revise some theory. This might fill some gaps in your theory and you might find yourself doing many things wrong! However, I recommend studying endgames for beginners as they are more helpful and will increase your rating significantly. Do you know the two knights checkmate? If not, then you can read about it here.

Happy Learning,

Yash Mehta

You May Also Like…

Taking a look at the Black Sheep

Taking a look at the Black Sheep

The black sheep is something that is a weakness in one's own position. Most players never recognize this however this...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *