Torre Attack Chess Opening

Torre Attack is a queen’s pawn opening that starts with 1.d4 d5 2.Nf3 Nf6 3.Bg5. White’s plan is to simply develop his pieces with e3-Bd3-0-0 and then go Ne5. The idea is similar to the London system where white plays Bf4 instead of Bg5.

It is popular opening among club players or armatures because white can complete his development almost without any interruption from black. And if black is not careful, then white can also get a dangerous attack.

Black plays 3…e6

For example, the game can go 3…e6 4.e3 c5 5.c3 Nc6 6.Nd2 Be7 7.Bd3 0-0 8. 0-0 b6 9.Ne5

White’s idea is to play f4 which creates a very strong point on e5 square, giving white chances of a kingside attack. Black should play 9…Nxe5 at once without hesitation. Allowing white to play f4 here can lead to a quick disaster for black.

 For example, after 9…Bb7 10.f4, we get a structure similar to Dutch stonewall system.

The pawn structures are similar but the difference is that white’s ‘bad bishop’ (dark squared bishop) is already out of the pawn chain. It is a great advantage compared to the typical Dutch stonewall position.

The demonstrate one game, let’s continue 10…Nxe5 11.fxe5 Ne4 12.Bxe7 Qxe7 13.Bxe4 dxe4 14.Qg4 cxd4 15.exd4 e3 16.Ne4 Kh8 17.Rae1 Ba6 18.Rf3 e2

Exercise: Find a winning move for white.

19. Nf6! After 19…gxf6 20.exf6 white is threatening mate with Qg7+ at the same time attacking the queen on e7. Black loses material.

So black played 19…h6 but after 20.Rh3 Rd8 21.Qe4 g6 22.Qf4 black resigned, the mate is inevitable.

Notice how quickly and even with only 3 pieces, a mating attack can mount up on black! Therefore, black should capture 9…Nxe5 before white can play 9.f4.

Going back, after 9…Nxe5 10.dxe5 Nd7 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.f4 Bb7 13.Qh5 g6 and here, things are not that dangerous for black because the f file is closed.

Black plays 3…Ne4

However, black has a better refutation to the Torre attack with 3…Ne4!. Note that this idea is similar to the concepts we saw in the Trompowsky attack. Black will use the weak b2 pawn as a target and develop a quick counterattack.

After 4.Bf4 c5 5.e3 Qb6 6.Qc1 Nc6 7.c3 Bf5 8.Nd2 Rc8 9.Be2 e6 10.0-0 Be7 Black is enjoying a very good position.

For example after 11.Nxe4 Bxe4 12.Qd2 0-0 13.Ne5 Nxe5 14.Bxe5 Rc6 and black can play to generate a queenside attack, while there is no weak spots in black’s camp for white to attack.

And finally, after 4.Bh4 c5 5.dxc5 Nc6 6.e3 g6 7.Nd2 Nxc5 black has already achieved equality.

Game Played with Torre Attack

Here is classic game played between Romanov, Evgeny (2619) vs Svidler, Peter (2760)


As we saw, the Torre attack is a good option to play against ametures, and you don’t have to remember exact move orders. You know the plan e3-Bd3-c3-0-0-Ne5-f4…etc. But as we saw it is very easy to refute as well.  Even a less experienced player can figure out how to refute it. The main refutation 3…Ne4 is similar to the Trompowsky attack, after which black gets a good outcome from the opening.

Harikrishnan A

I am an International Fide Rated player with 10+ years of experience. Played many International Chess Tournaments and Commonwealth games.

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