Sunday, October 7, 2012

Positional Play

When there are no tactics, positional play is the main factor. You try to strengthen your own position and weaken your opponent's position. To do that, you need to know the elements that distinguish a strong position from a weak one. To know more of this technique, go to Positional Play in Chess

Akiba Rubinstein is still remembered today for being a brilliant positional chess player. He is known to accumulate small positional advantages and increase them to achieve victory -- usually in end games. To know more of this chess master, go to Rubinstein

In the posted game, annotations were made by Dr. Emmanuel Lasker in his magazine Lasker's Chess Magazine [1906].

Ostend, 1906
Queen's Pawn Game: Sarratt Attack

1. d4, d5
2. Bf4, e6
3. e3, Nf6
4. Nf3, Bd6
5. Bg3, Qe7?!

Lasker prefers 5....c5.

6. Nbd2, Nbd7
7. Ne5 ....

If 7. Bd3 or 7. Be2, then 7...e5! with a good game for Black.

7. .... Ne4
8. Nxe4, dxe4
9. Qd2, Bxe5
10. dxe5, Nb6
11. Bb5+ ....

White's idea is to allow the entrance of the white pieces via the d6-square as well as restrict his queen bishop (i.e. if he plays 11...c6), or exchange the bishop, whose retention is necessary to guard the weak pawn on e4.

11. .... Bd7
12. Bxd7+, Nxd7
13. Qd4, f5
14. exf6, Nxf6
15. Qa4+ ....

 A brilliant idea by Rubinstein. If the queen interposes, White will exchange, castle to the queenside and play Rd4. The fall of the e4-pawn is then certain.

If 15. Bh4 e5, 16. Qa4+ Qd7, 17. Qb4 0-0-0, Black gains control of the d-file.

15. .... Kf7
16. O-O-O, a6
17. Bh4, Qe8
18. Qc4, Nd5

Black cannot avoid the loss of a pawn unless he plays 18...Qc6, which would ruin his pawn position completely.

19. Qxe4, Qc6
20. Qf3+, Kg8
21. e4, Nb4
22. Qb3, Resigns

Dr. Lasker wrote "The play of White is apparently simplicity itself. But there are several moves among the twenty-two made that betoken the instinct of a real master."

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Karpov Tames the Caro-Kann

Bugojno, 1978
Caro-Kann Defence

1.e4, c6
2.d4, d5
3.Nd2, dxe4
4.Nxe4, Nd7
5.Nf3, Ngf6
6.Nxf6+, Nxf6

So far, the moves played were standard lines of play in Caro-Kann.  Now, Karpov tries an innovative move.

7.Ne5, Bf5
8.c3, e6
9.g4! ....

Now, the game has become more exciting....

9. .... Bg6
10.h4!, h5
11.g5, Nd5
12.Nxg6, fxg6

Karpov managed to create a double-pawn, thereby creating a weakness in the opponent's king side.

13.Qc2, Kf7
14.Rh3, Ne7
15.Bc4, Nf5
16.Rf3, Qd7

If 16....Qe7, 17. Rxf5+ gxf5, 18. Qxf5+ Ke8, 19. Bxe6 .... Black's position becomes constricted.

17.Rxf5!+, gxf5
18.Qxf5+, Ke7
19.Qe4, Re8

If 19. Qe5, Black responds with 19....Qd6 neutralizing the attack. 

20.Bf4, Kd8
21.Qe5, Rg8
22.O-O-O, g6
23.Re1, Bg7
24.Qb8+, Ke7

If 24....Qc8, then 25. Qxc8 Kxc8, 26. Rxe6 .... and White gets a superior position.

25.Rxe6+, Resigns

Further play is pointless. If 25....Kf8 (or Kf7), then 26. Rxe8+ Qxe8, 27. Bd6 mate.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Kasparov's King's Indian

Luzern, 1962

1. d4, Nf6
2. c4, e6
3. Nc3, c5
4. d5, exd5
5. cxd5, d6
6. e4, g6
7. f4, Bg7
8. Bb5+, Nfd7
9. a4! ....

Strengthens the queen side against pawn attack (i.e. 9....a6, 10. Be2 b5, 12. a3 b4!).

9. .... Na6
10. Nf3, Nb4
11. 0-0, a6?!
12. Bxd7+!, Bxd7
13. f5! ....

13. .... 0-0

If 13....gxf5, 14. Bg5 Bf6, 15. Bf4 0-0, 16. e5! dxe5, 17. Nxe5 ... and White has the advantage.

14. Bg5, f6
15. Bf4, gxf5?

If Black decides to protect the d6 pawn by 15...Qe7, then White may respond 16. Re1! ...

16. Bxd6, Bxa4
17. Rxa4, Qxd6
18. Nh4!, fxe4
19. Nf5, Qd7

If 19...Qe5, then 20. Qg5! ... and White's attack will be overwhelming.

20. Nxe4, Kh8

If 20....Rae8, then 21. Qg4 Kh8, 22. Nxc5! ...

21. Nxc5, Resigns

Black's position becomes hopeless after 21....Qxd5, 22. Qxd5 Nxd5, 23. Ne6 ....
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