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Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Hawaiian Orangutan Attack Revisited

     I have been fascinated with playing 1.h4 (or 1...h5) in online Blitz lately. At first I was bringing the R out immediately with 2.Rh3 (or 2...Rh6), but I discovered the “best” idea is to simply keep advancing the h-Pawn as far as possible. 
    The thing that amazes me is how most average players meet it. Their preferred method, thinking it can be immediately refuted, is to launch an “attack” with only one or two pieces. The other common mistake is to become overly concerned about the P-sac b6 (or ...b3). This, coupled with an inability to see elementary tactics has frequently resulted in the loss of the game, sometimes very quickly. 
     Sidebar:  When I say elementary tactics I'm not talking about anything deep; I'm talking about one or two movers that hang a piece or Pawn or miss a mate.  The best way to avoid dropping pieces is, after every move make a visual scan of ranks, files and diagonals.  You have to know where the pieces are and this simple technique helps a lot.  Years ago I had a bad habit of hanging pieces and one day realized it was because my vision was fixated on one small section of the board.  This board scan eliminated the problem almost immediately and even today if I blunder a piece it's because of the failure to make the scan though by now it's almost automatic.
     Unorthodox openings generally have a disregard for the center, either delay development or place pieces in awkward positions, give up the right to castle or somehow create a weakness in the position. That does not mean that they are always bad to the point of being unplayable, but that can't be said of the hideous 1.g4. 
     Every player knows that the objective of the opening is to control the center and get their pieces into play, but for some reason when confronted with something bizarre like 1.h4 they often forget that because of the desire to quickly punish their opponent. In the following game my opponent, who had an 1800+ rating, makes the mistake of ignoring sound opening principles and his position was soon in shambles.

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