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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Middle game strategy.

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Lilienthal - Botvinnik, Moscow 1935. Black to Play.

In the diagram You have say, Is the Black doing well or will the advantages in White's position lead to difficulties for the second player.

The imbalances here are quite clear. White has two Bishops and more centre

pawns. Black has no problem developing his forces and both his Knights are centrally placed. Probably the most important imbalances in this position, though, are Black's lead in development and the fact that White's King is still in the centre. If Black plays slowly with ---b6 and ---Bb7, White will catch up in development via Ne2 and 0-0 when the two Bishops may make themselves felt. It is clear that Black must do something quickly if he is to make use of the temporary imbalance of development. What are you to do if your opponent is behind in development and his King is uncastled? The answer is to open the position! Only in this way can your better developed army force its way into the enemy position.
This may surprise some players, since they feel that they are supposed to keep things as closed as possible if they possess Knights. This is
generally true, but clearly wrong and short-sighted in this case. the rule of opening things up for one's better developed pieces takes precedence, since by acting quickly Black keeps White off balance and actualy prevents White from using the pluses in his position.

1 ---cxd4  2 cxd4 e5! 3 dxe5

The alternatives are also unpalatable.  3 e4 Nf4 4 Bxf4 exf4  5 d5  Qh4+  6  Kf1  Ne5 When white no longer has the two bishops and Black has a great support point on e5. Even worse is  3  Ne2  exd4  4  exd4  Nxd4!  5  Nxd4  Qh4+  6 g3 Qxd4 and Black has won a pawn. This combination was possible due to White's hnging Knight on d4 and his exposed King on e1.

3 ---Nxe5  4  Be4  Nc4

Euwe says that 4--- Nf6! would have given Black an edge.

5  Qc1  Nxd2  6 Qxd2  Nf6 7  Bd3  Re8  8 Ne2  Qb6  9  Nd4!  Nd5  10 Be4  Nxe3  11  Qxe3  f5  12 0-0  fxe4  13  fxe4  Rd8  14  Nf5  Qxe3+  15  Nxe3  Bee6  16 Rfd1,
and the game was eventually drawn.

It is clear now that Black had at least equality in the starting diagram, and that a lead in development can prove to be quite potent if acted upon energetically.

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