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Using the Minority Attack to create weaknesses in your opponent’s position is a very strong strategic weapon.
This attack was implemented into chess practice not so long ago, somewhere in the late 19th century. Before that, some openings which resulted with one side having a 3 to 2 pawn majority on the queenside were thought to have a superior position.
The minority attack changed that idea and made the variations sound and playable on the highest levels. The idea behind this aggressive pawn storm is that you use your two pawns to attack your opponent’s three, thus causing structural damage. The resulting structure often leave the defending side with a backward pawn he is condemned to defend for the rest of the game.
The minority attack most often occurs out if the Queen’s Gambit Declined and from the Exchange Caro-Kann. The prerequisites for it are a 3 to 2 structure on the queenside (with the c pawn advanced to the third/sixth rank to be used as a target) and pieces on the board. Without pieces to exploit the newly created weakness, the attack would make no sense, as the target couldn’t be pressured.
Here are example games in which the minority attack won the game. I would advise you to analyze them in order to get a feel for how the attack works in practice (you can find them all on chessgames).
Yasser Seirawan vs Mikhail Tal 1983 (Nimzo-Indian, Classical)
Larry Melvyn Evans vs Haakon Opsahl 1950 (QGD, Modern)
Anatoly Karpov vs Joel Lautier 1995 (Semi-Slav, Stolz)
Tigran Vartanovich Petrosian vs Nikolai Krogius 1959 (Gruenfeld, Three Knights)
Loek van Wely vs Nigel Short 2010 (QGD, Barmen)