We have already had articles dealing with piece sacrifices near the short-castled king, commenting on the attacking and defending opportunities for both sides according to the involved pieces. Here I will emphasize on the role of the f-pawn as a supporting force.
One of the leading games in my last material was Jacobsen - Csom. Let me return to the subvariation, which actually inspired me to start a new research:
The push of the f-pawn deserves special attention for it is a popular option on the very first moves. It is characterizing the romantic King's gambit, besides it we have the Dutch Defence, the Austrian Attack against the Pirc, also the pretentiously sounding Grand-Prix attack. All of them can be described as a clear demonstration of aggressive intentions, based on its subsequent advance. Note that Magnus Carlsen has recently started some of his games with 1.f4!
However, the pawns cannot move back. Let us return for a while to an instructive example from Nimzowitsch's My System:
1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nf6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.d3 Nc6 5.f4 d6
The author adorned 6.f5 with two question marks!
Here is his instructive explanation:
"White's last move does not only contribute at all in a sense of center control but is also an unfounded turn towards the flank. Such wrong strategical decisions must be always rejected, at any cost.
The natural move, in this case, is 6.Nf3. In reply to the text, Black obtains excellent play in the center (and on the queenside as well) with 6...Nd4, followed by c7-c6, b7-b5, a7-a5, Qb6 and d6-d5 at a proper moment."
Having this advice in mind, in this article positions with mutual castling to the short will be examined with the marching f-pawn as a destroyer or opening the file/ freeing the way to the kingside for its own rook from f1/f8, all after sufficient mobilization of our forces.
Indeed, it is not an exception a player to find himself in a favorable situation very early in a game, as this can happen in the following tricky line from the Philidor:
1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 Nd7 4.Bc4 c6 5.0-0 Be7 6.d:e5 d:e5 7.Ng5 Nh6?! 8.Ne6! f:e6 9.B:h6 Nb6 10.Qh5,
In this position, 10...Kf8 is known to be more than risky in the view of 11.f4! Here 11...Qd4 12.Kh1 Q:c4 is losing to 13.Nd2 with 14.f:e5 coming next, while 11...Bc5 12.Kh1 Kg8 allows, amongst all, a real breakthrough - 13.f5!? N:c4 14.f6! blasting the shaky shelter of the enemy king.