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Monday, July 18, 2011

Chess Improvement Technique Part 11

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Chess Improvement Technique Part 12

Pawn Structure : White Advances with d4 - d5

In continuation of the last article    Chess Improvement Technique part 11 we began with the first Idea i.e White Advances with d4-d5. White's strategic threat, which ties down Black's pieces to the d5-square and forces him to consider the possible d4-d5

advance very seriously. As we will see from our examples, he neglects this central thrust at his peril. thus often Black moves his knight from f6 to d5 in order to stop d4-d5, which in its turn leads to a weakening of Black's kingside in some way and may allow White to attack on that wing.

Once d4-d5 is played, the isolated pawn is usually exchanged and we get a new pawn formation; ; a pawn free centre. In such a case the mobility and activity of the pieces becomes a major factor. In other words, the side which has its pieces mobilised and actively placed in the centre when the centre is cleared, is going to benefit most from the d4-d5 break.

So, we conclude that the chief requirement of this plan is a lead in development. Because white can bring out his pieces more easily, he often has such better development in the opening or just after the opening phase, so not surprisingly this is often the time when the d4-d5 break is most profitable for White. Now let us see all this in action.

1. e4 c5 2. c3 d5 3. exd5 Qxd5 4. d4 Nf6 5. Be3 e6 6. Nf3 cxd4
7. cxd4 Nc6 8. Nc3 Qd6 9. a3 Be7 10. Bd3 O-O 11. O-O Rd8 12. Re1 b6 13. Qe2
Bb7 14. Rad1 g6 15. Bb1 Rac8 16. Ba2

The position in the diagram is clearly in White's favour : all his ieces are well placed and ready for action. White needs to open up the centre with a d4-d5 break and his last move prepares this thrust Pay attention to the fact that both white rooks and the a2-Bishop are just awaiting this move; the e-ray of the d1 rook will affect the black queen, while the a2-Bishop will be pointing to the f7-pawn after the removal of the e6-pawn. Black has to be very careful in defence.


After this unnecessary retreat Black gets into serious trouble. Probably Black, when he played this move, thought that the presence of his rook on the same file as White's queen would discourage White from opening up the centre, but this is far from tru. Instead of the text, Black should have played 16...Bf8 although even then white would keep a serious initiative by playing 17 d5! exd5 18 Nxd5 Nxd5 19 Bxd5

17 d5! exd5 18 Nxd5 Nxd5 19 Bxd5

A critical position. The centre has been cleared and now Black has to decide where to move his queen from the d-file. In the game he failed to come up with the toughest defence.


Let us consider some other options available here.

19 ...Qc7 looks more natural, but it still allows the sacrifice on f7, as White is able to use the position of the black queen to great efect; 20 Bxf7+! Kxf7 and now after 21 Qc4+ Kg7 22 Bf4 b5! 23 Qc3+ Bf6 24 Bxc7 Bxc3 25 Rxe8 Rxe8 26 bxc3 White is a pawn up and may expect to win. However, he should be able to do even better than that after 20 Bxf7+! Kxf7 21 Bh6! Nd8 22 Rd7 Qc5 23 Rxb7 Thus 19 Qc7 would have been no better than the text.

However, another queen move -- 19 ...Qf6 would have been a better defensive try; Black keeps the queen near the vulnerable kingside. As after 20 Ng5 Rf8 White has nothing decisive he should choose between 20 Bh6 and 20 Bg5

The first option is very attractive as White's bishops work well together. Perhaps this is the most practical choice, as after 20 Bh6 White maintains a strong initiative.

However, 20 Bg5 Qf5. White has to play very precisely in order to maintain his advantage. For example, 21 Bxc6?! fails because 21 ...Rxc6 22 Bxe7 Re6 and black is even slightly better now, while other tries on move 22, such as 22 Qxe7 ? Rxe7 23 Rxe7 Qc8 and 22 Rd8? Rxd8 Qxe7 Rb8 24 Nd4 Qg4 25 Nxc6 Bxc6 are even worse for white.

20 Bh6!

creating the threat of Bxf7+! which, however, White could have played straight away As after the text Black is helpless anyway, the choice between these two moves is a matter of taste. The lines after 20 Bxf7 +! Kxf7 21 Bh6 Kg8 22 Qc4+ Kh8 23 Qf7 Bf8 24 Ng5 Rxe1 25 Rxe1 Rc7 26 Bg7+! Bxg7 27 Re8 Qxe6 28 Qxe8 Bf8 29 Qxf8#

20 ... Nd4? 21 Rxd4 Bf8 22 Be3 1-0