In 1925 in Moscow, a relatively unknown Mexican player, Carlos Torre, shocked the chess world by defeating a former world champion, Dr. Emanuel Lasker. It was not an ordinary win; it was absolutely brilliant. Torre sacrificed his queen and used his rook like a windmill in a series of discovered checks, grabing many pawns and a bishop before winning the queen back. The opening played in that game was later named the Torre attack.

Sixty years later I was listening to another Torre, Eugene, the first grandmaster in the Philippines. Although I was his coach during the 1985 Interzonal tournament in Biel, I still had a lot to learn about the Torre Attack. It seemed that the young Torre felt obliged to continue the tradition begun long ago by the older Carlos with his brilliant tactical conceptions. When Eugene talked about the strategic merits of the opening, the spirits of both Torres blended into one and Iwas caught.

The Torre Attack (1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 and 3.Bg5) is a solid choice against overaggressive players. The former world champion Tigran Petrosian mastered the opening as nobody else. Blunting attacks was his trademark. During the 1986 U.S. championship, I faced Walter Browne I put in practice what I learned in Biel. The six-time U.S. champ run his pawns too far too quickly and was left with many holes in his position.

Kavalek -Browne

1.d4 Nf6 2.c3 g6 3.Bg5 Bg7 4.Nd2 d5 5.Ngf3 0-0 6.e3 b6 7.b4 Bb7 (By transposition we have reached a Torre Attack set-up against the Gruenfeld defense. After 7...Nbd7 8.b5 prevents c7-c5 and in the game Torre-Zapata, Brussels 1986, after 8...Bb7 9.a4 Re8 10.Be2 e5 11.0-0 h6 12.Bh4 c5 13.bxc6 Bxc6 14.Qb3 white was slightly better. The immediate 7...c5!? gives white the edge after 8.bxc5 bxc5 9.Qa4.) 8.Be2 Nbd7 9.0-0 Ne4?! (An impatient decision, but Browne always looks for active play. The normal plan for black is to prepare the central push e7-e5, either by 9...Qe8 or 9...Re8.) 10.Nxe4 dxe4 11.Nd2 h6 12.Bh4 g5 13.Bg3 f5 (Black is definitely not willing to step on the brakes and it is hard to criticize his aggressiveness, but to storm white's fortress with so few soldiers and without heavy artillery is inviting failure.) 14.f3 f4?! (Better was 14...Nf6, still with white's edge.)

15.Bf2 (Black's position is undermined and after a few explosions Browne would be left with craters on the white squares.) 15...exf3 16.Bxf3 Bxf3 17.Nxf3 fxe3 (After 17...e5 18.exf4 exf4 19.Qb3+ Kh8 20.Rae1 white's position plays itselfs, since black hurts on the white squares.) 18.Bxe3 e5 (Otherwise this pawn might not move for a long time.) 19.Qb3+ Kh8 20.Qe6! (The quickest way to transfer all the pieces to the kingside. Black is tied up and the road to freedom, if there is one, is very narrow.) 20...Qc8? (Now the end comes swiftly. Browne did not like the position after 20...Qe8 21.Qh3! Kg8 22.Rae1 e4 23.Nd2 Rxf1+ 24.Rxf1 Nf6 25.Qg3 followed by 26.h4! with strong kingside pressure. Still, it was his best chance.) 21.Rae1 Re8 22.Qg6 e4 (It does not matter now. 22...Nf8 23.Qh5 Kg8 24.Nxe5 only prolongs the agony.) 23.Nxg5 hxg5 24.Rf7 (After 24.Rf7 Rg8 25.Qh5+ wins.) Black resigned.

More about the opening can be learned from Graham Burgess' excellent book "The Guide to the Torre Attack", issued by the Gambit Publication in London. Burgess points out, however, that the opening could bear the name of Dawid Janowski, who used it to defeat Capablanca in 1913 and Alekhine in 1914. And not to be undone by Torre, Janowski performed a dazzling queen sacrifice in the 1925 tournament in Marienbad against Fritz Saemisch.


1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bg5 c5 4.e3 Nc6 5.Nbd2 b6 6.c3 Bb7 7.Bd3 cxd4 8.exd4 Be7 9.Nc4 0-0 10.Qc2 h6 11.h4! Qc7 12.Qd2 Ng4 13.Bf4 d6 14.Ne3 Nxe3 15.Qxe3 h5 (A good defense is hard to find. Burgess suggests 15...Nd8 claiming that after 16.Bxh6 gxh6 17.Qxh6 f5 he does not see more than a draw, but after 18.Qg6+ Kh8 19.Rh3 Bf6 20.Ng5 Qg7 21.Qh5+ Kg8 22.Rg3 white wins.) 16.Rh3!? (The firepower on the black king looks overwhelming, but black's counter-punch in the center keeps the game going. Other defense was 16...Bf6.) 16...e5 17.dxe5 Nxe5 18.Nxe5 dxe5? (Black misses the last chance 18...Bf6! and if the knight moves, e.g. 19.Nf3 Rfe8 pins the queen. White can still fight for the edge after 18...Bf6! with 19.Qe2 dxe5 20.Bg5.) 19.Bxe5 Bd6 20.Qh6!! (Such a move must be a dream of any chessplayer. After 20...gxh6 21.Rg3 mates. After 20...f5 21.Bc4+ Rf7 22.Qxg7 mates. On 20...f6 21.Bh7+ Kf7 22.Qxh5+ white is winning.) Black resigned.

Gambit Publications has come up with many good opening books. Jonathan Rowson "Understanding the Gruenfeld" has many original ideas and clearly shows that the author is madly in love with his pet opening. Other titles include Tony Kosten's "The Dynamic English" and well researched "Guide to the English Opening: 1...e5" by Carsten Hansen. "The Guide to the Benko Gambit" by Steffen Pedersen covers this popular attacking opening objectively.