The Torre Attack is a Queen’s Pawn Opening which begins with 1. d4 d5 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. Bg5
White develops the dark-bishop actively outside the pawn chain. Later on, white may aim for an attack on the kingside that begins with Ne5 and then f4 – a very common theme in the Torre Attack!
Since the Torre Attack doesn’t create any early pawn tension against black’s central pawn, black has many options against it. Let’s consider some of their main options and see how the game may proceed.
Simply stabilizing the center with the e6 pawn is a common choice against the Torre Attack. This move has the downsides of blocking black’s light-squared bishop, but black could aim for a quick …c7-c5.
Play may proceed 4. e3 c5 5. c3 Nc6 6. Nbd2 Be7 7. Bd3 0-0 8. 0-0 b6
Now that white has played all of their “automatic” developing moves, it’s time to implement one of white’s main ideas in the Torre Attack with 9. Ne5. White would like to follow up with f2-f4 and begin a kingside attack!
White has generally fared well when black allows this plan to proceed, so black will often look for a way to change the pawn structure. For example, one GM-level chess game continued 9…Bb7 10. f4 Nxe5 11. fxe5 Ne4 12. Bxe7 Qxe7 13. Bxe4 dxe4
This was Andreikin – Gunina 2016. Black was willing to incur this weak pawn on e4 to stop white from proceeding with the attack uninterrupted.
White should stand better after 14. Qg4 due to the weakness of the e4 pawn, but after 14…cxd4 15. exd4 e3 16. Ne4 Kh8 17. Rae1 f5, black was still alive and went on to make a draw.
Nonetheless, this simple plan of Ne5 and f4 can really be a thorn in black’s side, so let’s take a look at another variation where black tries to change the course of the game early on!
This move has become black’s most popular choice against the Torre Attack, instantly “turning the tables” on the g5 bishop!
Play may continue 4. Bf4 c5 5. e3 Qb6, putting the b2 pawn under attack.
After 6. Qc1 Nc6 7. c3 Bf5 8. Nbd2 e6:
We reach the position above. Clearly it will be much harder for white to launch an attack here – black’s development is harmonious and the light-bishop stands much more actively on f5!
White has tried to change things up in this line by various means, such as playing 5. dxc5, but black stands comfortably in all cases. It’s no wonder that this has become black’s weapon of choice against the Torre Attack!
The Torre Attack is an interesting way for white to try to generate a ready-made attack on the black king. However, nothing comes free in chess – black can spoil white’s fun with an early …Ne4, after which white tends to have difficulty proving an advantage.
Because black is generally considered to have equality in the main lines, the Torre Attack isn’t commonly seen in professional chess – but it remains a popular weapon among the masses to develop actively and with purpose.
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