The Torre Attack is not a particularly popular opening these days. Wikipedia says that " The Torre Attack is rarely met in modern top-flight play, and statistical analysis shows that it is not particularly advantageous for White." Maybe so, but it can be a real nightmare for an unprepared chess player. The innocent looking development of White's pieces can turn into a deadly attack, provided that White manages to utilize the 'killer' move Nf3-e5. Then Black has a choice either to tolerate such a powerful Knight or just to eliminate it. Let's examine both cases:
As you could see in the above mentioned games, after the trade White's 'e5' pawn really cramps Black position and allows White to start a very dangerous attack. So, maybe Black shouldn't capture the Ne5? Let's see:
As you could see, Petrosian has won a bunch of very impressive games with the Torre Attack. So, it is not a big surprise that many chess players noticed this opening (which was considered not dangerous for Black at that time). GM Boris Spassky even decided to use it in his World Championship Match game! There was one little problem though...he was playing it against Tigran Petrosian! The danger of such an approach was discussed in last week's article:
Spassky managed to play the 'killer' move, but something went very wrong...
So, what was wrong? Why did the 'killer' move really work there? The explanation is pretty simple: the Ne5 move prepares the kingside attack, except Black hasn't castled there and White had nothing to attack! That's why the opening is not very popular these days and top GMs don't play it, right? Well, not exactly. GM Andrei Sokolov showed that he was familiar with the previous game and was going to crush White's position a-la the great Tigran Petrosian, but his opponent had his own ideas. By the way, here GM Sokolov was playing in his opponent's backyard as well .
As you can see, this opening is better than it's reputation and can be a very dangerous weapon. Why it is not very popular these days? In my opinion it is just a matter of chess fashion. Just wait and see what happens if one day the mighty Magnus decides to play it. Meanwhile, you can try it in your games and see what your opponent can show against the 'killer' move.