Reports | January 04, 2007 0:32

[lang_nl]Keuzes en twijfels (deel 1)[/lang_nl][lang_en]Choices and doubts (part I)[/lang_en]

[lang_nl]Het leuke van je eigen partijen analyseren is dat je nooit van tevoren weet hoe lang je met een analyse bezig?Ǭ†zult zijn.?Ǭ†Een serieuze toernooipartij tegen een sterke tegenstander kun je soms na uren alweer vergeten zijn, terwijl je op een relatief onbelangrijke clubpartij nog weken kunt zitten broeden.?Ǭ†Onlangs speelde ik op de interne competitie van Euwe Amsterdam zo'n partij.[/lang_nl][lang_en]The cool thing about analysing your own games is that you can never tell beforehand how long you will be analysing. A serious tournament game against a strong opponent?Ǭ†might be forgotten?Ǭ†only hours after the game, while a relatively unimportant club game can haunt you for weeks. Recently, I played?Ǭ†such a?Ǭ†game on the competition of chessclub Max Euwe Amsterdam.[/lang_en]

[lang_nl] De partij kende een aantal momenten waarin beide spelers moeilijke, partijbepalende?Ǭ†keuzes moesten maken. Een beetje houvast zou in zulke situaties erg fijn zijn, maar helaas hadden we die niet, althans niet voldoende.?Ǭ†In dit?Ǭ†eerste deel zal ik het eerste?Ǭ†belangrijke moment?Ǭ†en de twijfels die beide spelers hierover hadden,?Ǭ†tonen aan de hand van enkele illustrerende partijen?Ǭ†van topspelers.

Moll-Hoffman
Amsterdam 2006
Dit is de stelling na de dertiende zet van zwart, en het eerste belangrijke moment van de partij. Wit heeft de opening bepaald niet ambitieus gespeeld, maar?Ǭ†krijgt nu toch de mogelijkheid de zaken op scherp te zetten.?Ǭ†De grote vraag is dan ook:?Ǭ†moet wit?Ǭ†het loperpaar opgeven voor een structureel voordeeltje?

Tijdens de partij herinnerde ik me eigenlijk geen concrete eindspel-voorbeelden waarin wit dit zomaar doet. Natuurlijk is het wel een bekend aanvalsmotief om de zwarte koningsstelling te verzwakken, zoals in de volgende bekende partij:

Kasparov-Timman?Ǭ†
Amsterdam 1994

18.Lxf6 gxf6 19.Tc1 Tc8? Beter was 19...Lxc3. Nu komt wit met een ongekend offensief.

20.Pe4! f5 21.Pg3 Dxd5 22.a3 Ld6 23.Pxf5 Tcd8 24.Te5! en spoedig 1-0

Ook de volgende partij van Kasparov is erg bekend, al was hij hier minder succesvol. Opnieuw probeert Kasparov op aanval te spelen door zwarts structuur te verminken, maar Karpov verdedigt sterk en won de partij uiteindelijk:

Kasparov-Karpov
Sevilla (m/2) 1987
18.Lxf6 gxf6 19.Pe4 Kg7! 20.dxc4 Tad8 21.Tb3?! Pd4! -/+

In allebei de gevallen was wits motief echter de directe aanval.
In mijn partij was dat anders. Het loperpaar is in het eindspel in de regel minstens net zo sterk als in het middenspel; bovendien was het me niet duidelijk hoe ik de verzwakte dubbele f-pion in de toekomst zou moeten gaan aanvallen, laat staan veroveren. Gelukkig realiseerde ik me vrij snel dat ik eigenlijk geen keuze had, aangezien wit na het mindere 14.Ld3?! Pd5! sowieso een van zijn lopers moet inleveren. Daarom speelde ik vrij snel (zie diagram Moll-Hoffman hierboven):

14.Lxf6 gxf6 15.Pd4 In het vervolg slaagde ik erin zwarts witveldige loper te ruilen in ruil voor een ge?ɬØsoleerde d-pion, waarna weer een andere problematiek ontstond. Daarover in deel 2 meer. Na afloop van de partij?Ǭ†ontvouwde zich?Ǭ†in de analyseruimte?Ǭ†een levendige?Ǭ†discussie over dit type?Ǭ†soort stellingen. Ik verdedigde, deels uit baldadigheid,?Ǭ†de stelling dat ik, ook als ik 14.Ld3 had kunnen spelen, op f6 zou hebben geslagen, omdat het mijns inziens de enige manier was om op voordeel te spelen. Iemand anders?Ǭ†beweerde dat ik daardoor?Ǭ†ook gevaar liep?Ǭ†in verband met zwarts loperpaar. We kwamen er niet uit.?Ǭ†Ik vraag me nog steeds af wat voor leidraad je moet hanteren in dit soort gevallen en ik zou de Grootmeester-redacteuren Karsten M?ɬºller en Erwin L'Ami willen vragen of zij hier misschien een idee over hebben. Het?Ǭ†structurele voordeel is natuurlijk aanzienlijk,?Ǭ†maar?Ǭ†er zijn?Ǭ†zoveel stellingen waarin het loperpaar zelfs met een pion minder nog?Ǭ†een voordeel is...

In de praktijk komt het?Ǭ†dilemma?Ǭ†regelmatig voor. Er is zelfs een variant van de Ruilvariant van het Damegambiet?Ǭ†waarin de problematiek al na negen zetten op het bord staat:

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Pc3 d5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Lg5 c6 6.e3 Lf5 7.Df3 Le6 8.Lxf6 Dxf6 9.Dxf6 gxf6

Erg populair is de variant overigens niet, maar het feit dat sterke grootmeesters het?Ǭ†zowel met wit als met zwart willen spelen, geeft al aan dat de zaak niet zo duidelijk te beoordelen is. Fijne positiespelers als Karpov, Ivanchuk?Ǭ†en Gustafsson hebben het met wit gespeeld, terwijl verdedigers als Vaganian en Andersson de zwarte stelling hebben verdedigd. Het is een interessante uitspeelstelling.

Elf jaar geleden was ik live getuige van de volgende partij:

Topalov-Shirov
Wijk aan Zee 1996
Na een zeer spannende opening (Archangelsk-Spaans) zou je denken dat wit wellicht nog enig eindspelvoordeel overheeft in de vorm van het loperpaar. U voelt wits volgende zet al aankomen:

21.Lxf6 gxf6 22.Ta7?Ǭ†met enige praktische problemen voor zwart. Ik dacht dat de partij ieder moment in remise kon eindigen, maar tot mijn verbazing volgde er nog een zwarte strijd en kon Shirov pas op zet 53 het halfje bijschrijven. Zelf had ik een paar maanden later?Ǭ†in het?Ǭ†Amsterdamse Eijgenbrood-toernooi?Ǭ†de volgende stelling op het bord:?Ǭ†

Bettman-Moll
Amsterdam 1996

Na zijn laatste zet (25.Td4) bood wit remise aan.?Ǭ†Opeens?Ǭ†herinnerde me?Ǭ†Topalovs pogingen en besloot dat wits structuur doorspelen rechtvaardige. Met 25...f5!? probeerde ik mijn koning te activeren. Na de nodige technische perikelen wist ik de partij te winnen.?Ǭ†Misschien?Ǭ†dat ik sinds die partij geloof dat?Ǭ†het structuurvoordeel?Ǭ†tastbaar is, zelfs als de tegenpartij actiever is.

Maar zoals dat dan gaat komt er ook altijd weer een moment waarop je?Ǭ†gaat twijfelen aan je zekerheden. Onderstaande partij was voor mij een harde ontnuchteringsles.

Rogozenko-Morozevich
Istanbul 2000
21...Df6!! 22.Dxf6 gxf6 Als we van onze verbazing zijn bekomen, zien we?Ǭ†toch wel?Ǭ†het idee achter zwarts verbijsterende dameruil: wit heeft ontwikkelingsproblemen en zwart staat actiever.?Ǭ†

23.h5 h6 24.Th4 c5 25.Le2?! (beter 25.Lg4!) 25...Lb3! 26.Tf4 Kg7 27.g4 Td6 28.Te4 Kf8 29.Tf4 a5 30.Te4 Td8 31.Tf4 Ke7 32.Te4+ Kd6 33.Ld1 Le6!?Ǭ†

En hier verzuimde wit de blokkade van zwarts dubbelpion in stand te houden met 34.Tf4. In plaats daarvan deed hij in tijdnood

34.Le2? en na 34...f5! 35.gxf5 Lxf5 36.Tf4 Ke5 had zwart zoveel activiteit dat wit weldra bezweek onder de druk en verloor. Een indrukwekkend staaltje wilskracht van Morozevich!

Hier nog een verrassend?Ǭ†moment uit alweer een partij Kasparov-Karpov, en alweer trekt Karpov met zijn ge?ɬØsoleerde f-pion aan het langste eind.

Kasparov-Karpov
New York (rapid) 2002
Wit staat beter, maar zwart heeft een target op d4. Daarom besluit wit de loper op f6 uit te schakelen:

24.Lxf6 gxf6!?Ǭ†Wat is dit nu??Ǭ†Welnu, na 24...Dxf6 25.Da4! zou wit goed staan in verband met de ongedekte status van c7 en a7. Nu houdt zwart de schade beperkt en na 25.Da4 c6 26.Lf1 Kf8 was zijn stelling nog houdbaar. Na enige fouten van wit won Karpov zelfs de partij.

Laat hierdoor overigens niet de indruk ontstaan dat het altijd een pretje is met zo'n ge?ɬØsoleerde f-pion. Gelfand heeft twee instruktieve partijen gespeeld die aantonen hoe vervelend het kan zijn om geen pionnenbreaks op de koningsvleugel te hebben.

Barcot-Gelfand
Leon 2001

16...Lxf3! 17.gxf3 Ke7 en vervolgens legde Gelfand zijn tegenstander zestig zetten lang op de pijnbank. Zijn paarden hopsten moeiteloos naar de mooie velden d5 en f4 en de witte lopers staarden in het luchtledige. Pas in het verre eindspel liet hij de winst glippen waardoor Bacrot nog remise wist te maken.

Gelfand-Grischuk
Rusland 2004

Zwart heeft in de?Ǭ†Tarrasch wel vaker?Ǭ†een dubbele c-pion en dat is meestal niet zo'n ramp. Hier wel, vooral na:

16.Lxf6! gxf6 17.e3 en zwart had niet alleen een dubbele c-pion maar ook de beruchte dubbele f-pion. In het vervolg wist Gelfand met fijne techniek aan te tonen dat zwart?Ǭ†deze openingsvariant nog maar eens goed moet bekijken.

Wat kunnen we concluderen uit deze voorbeelden? Activiteit blijkt, zoals zo vaak, belangrijker dan structuur. Het loperpaar kan die activiteit garanderen, maar het hoeft niet, zoals de voorbeelden aantonen. Wat alle voorbeelden echter volgens mij gemeen hebben is de activiteit van de torens. Het voordeel van een ge?ɬØsoleerde dubbelpion is dat je twee extra open lijnen hebt. Maar als je daar niet op kunt opereren, heb je er weinig aan. Grappig genoeg speelt activiteit van de torens in het vervolg van mijn partij tegen Hoffman, waarmee we begonnen, ook een cruciale rol. Daarover in het volgende deel meer. Opmerkingen en aanvullingen zie ik met belangstelling tegemoet in de comments!

>> speel alles na[/lang_nl][lang_en]The game contained a?Ǭ†couple?Ǭ†of moments in which both players had to make tough, game-deciding choices. In such situations,?Ǭ†a little grip would be quite pleasant, but unfortunately we didn't have this grip, or not enough anyway. In this first part I will show the first important moment and the doubts both players were having, and illustrate it with some games from top players.

Moll-Hoffman
Amsterdam 2006

This is the position after Black's 13th move, and the first important moment of the game. White didn't actually play very ambitously in the opening, but now he is presented the possibility to?Ǭ†sharpen things. The big question?Ǭ†therefore is: to take or not to take. Should White?Ǭ†give up the?Ǭ†pair of Bishops for?Ǭ†a small structural advantage? During the game I couldn't remember any concrete endgame-examples?Ǭ†in which White does this. It is, of course, a well-known attacking motif to weaken Black's king side, as in the following famous game:

Kasparov-Timman
Amsterdam 1994

18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Rc1 Rc8? Better was 19...Bxc3. Now White starts a fierce offensive.

20.Ne4! f5 21.Ng3 Qxd5 22.a3 Bd6 23.Nxf5 Rcd8 24.Re5!?Ǭ†and soon?Ǭ†1-0

The following game by kasparov is also well-known, even though he was less successful here. Again Kasparov tries to attack by mutilating Black's structure, but Karpov defends well and won the game in the end:

Kasparov-Karpov
Sevilla (m/2) 1987

18.Bxf6 gxf6 19.Ne4 Kg7! 20.dxc4 Rad8 21.Rb3?! Nd4! -/+

In both cases White's purpose was the direct assault.
In my game it was different. In the endgame, the bishop pair is usually equally strong as in the middle game, and also it was not clear to me how I could attack the weakened double f-pawn in the near future, let alone conquer it. Luckily I realized pretty soon that in fact I didn't have much of a choice, since White has to give one of his bishops after 14.Bd3?! Nd5! anyway. So I quickly played (see diagram Moll-Hoffman above):

14.Bxf6 gxf6 15.Nd4 After that I managed to exchange Black's white squared bishop, in return for an isolated d-pawn, which resulted in another difficult situation. More about that in part two. After the game there developed a lively discussion in the analysis room about this type of positions. I defended, partly to play my part, the point of view that even if I could have played 14.Bd3, I would have taken on f6, because it was?Ǭ†the only way to play for a win. Someone else put it to me that I was taking a risk by that because of Black's bishops. We didn't reach a conclusion. I still wonder what rule you have to follow in these situations and I would like to ask the Grandmaster?Ǭ†editors Karsten M?ɬºller and Erwin L'Ami if they have any thoughts on this. The structural advantage is obviously there, but there are so many positions where the bishops are even an advantage with a pawn down...

In practice, the dilemma rises frequently. There is even a line of the Exchange-Queen's Gambit where the?Ǭ†problem arises after only nine moves:

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 d5 4.cxd5 exd5 5.Bg5 c6 6.e3 Bf5 7.Qf3 Be6 8.Bxf6 Qxf6 9.Qxf6 gxf6

The variation is not very popular, by the way, but the fact that strong Grandmasters want to play this with both White and Black, indicates that it's not that clear to evaluate. Fine postion playes like Karpov, Ivanchuk and Gustafsson have played it with White, while defenders like Vaganian and Andersson have defended the Black side. It's an interesting position to play out.

Eleven years ago, I was a live witness of the following game:

Topalov-Shirov
Wijk aan Zee 1996

After a very exciting opening (Arkhangelsk-Ruy Lopez) you'd think White would still have some endgame advantage because of the pair of Bishops. Of course you've already guessed White's next move:

21.Bxf6 gxf6 22.Ra7?Ǭ†with some practical problems for Black. I thought the game could end in a draw any moment, but to my amazement the followed a heavy struggle and Shirov could only make a draw after move 53. A few months later, during the Eijgenbrood-tournament in Amsterdam,?Ǭ†I?Ǭ†got the following position on the board:

Bettman-Moll
Amsterdam 1996

After his last move (25.Rd4) White offered a draw. Suddenly I remembered Topalov's attempts and I decided that the structure justified playing on. With 25...f5!? I tried to activate my king. After a lot of technical adventures I managed to win the game. It's possible that ever since that game I feel that the structural advantage is tangible, even when the opponent has more activity.

But as always, there comes a moment when you start to doubt your certainties. The next game was a?Ǭ†sobering lesson:

Rogozenko-Morozevich
Istanbul 2000

21...Qf6!! 22.Qxf6 gxf6 When we are recovered from our amazement, we can actually see the idea behind Black's astonishing queen's trade: White has problems developing, and Black is very active.

23.h5 h6 24.Rh4 c5 25.Be2?! (better 25.Bg4!) 25...Bb3! 26.Rf4 Kg7 27.g4 Rd6 28.Re4 Kf8 29.Rf4 a5 30.Re4 Rd8 31.Rf4 Ke7 32.Re4+ Kd6 33.Bd1 Be6!

And here White forgot to block Black's doubled pawn with 34.Rf4. Instead, in time trouble he played

34.Be2??Ǭ†and after?Ǭ†34...f5! 35.gxf5 Bxf5 36.Rf4 Ke5 Black was so active that White soon collapsed under the pressure and lost. An impressive sample of will-power by Morozevich!

Here's another surprising moment from again a game Kasparov-Karpov, and again Karpov is successful with his isolated f-pawn in the end.

Kasparov-Karpov
New York (rapid) 2002

White is better, but Black has a target on d4. That's why White decides to eliminate the bishop on f6:

24.Lxf6 gxf6!?Ǭ†What's this? Well, after 24...Qxf6 25.Qa4! White would be fine because of the unprotected pawns on c7 and a7. Now Black is hanging on and after 25.Qa4 c6 26.Bf1 Kf8 his position was still defendable. After some mistakes by White, Karpov even won the game.

But?Ǭ†don't let the impression?Ǭ†convince you that it's always such fun to?Ǭ†have this isolated f-pawn.?Ǭ†Gelfand has played two instructive games that show how annoying?Ǭ†it can be to have no pawn breaks on the king's side.

Barcot-Gelfand
Leon 2001

16...Bxf3! 17.gxf3 Ke7 and Gelfand went on to torture his opponent for 60 moves. His knights effortlessly jumped to the beautiful squares d5 and f4 and White's bishops where staring into blank space. Only in the far endgame he missed the win?Ǭ†which enabled Bacrot to draw the game.

Gelfand-Grischuk
Rusland 2004

In the Tarrasch Defence, Black often has an double c-pawn, and usually it's not such a big deal. It is here, especially after:

16.Bxf6! gxf6 17.e3 and Black not only have a double c-pawn but also the infamous doube f-pawn. Gelfand next?Ǭ†indicated with his fine technique that Black should revise this particular opening line.

What?Ǭ†can we conclude from these examples??Ǭ†It appears that activity, as?Ǭ†ever so often, is more important ?Ǭ†than structure. The pair of bishops can guarantee this activity, but it's not always the case, as the examples indicate. What?Ǭ†I think all examples do have in common is the activity of the rooks. The advantage of an isolated doubled pawn is that you have two extra open lines. But if you can't operate on these lines, 'what's the use? It's funny that rook-activity also plays an import role in the following of my game against Hoffman with which we started. More about that in the next article. Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to?Ǭ†your ideas or?Ǭ†suggestions in the comments!

>> replay everything[/lang_en]

Arne Moll's picture
Author: Arne Moll

Chess.com

Comments

Goran's picture

Among many things preventing me to become better player is my ungrounded unpleasantness while playing with doubled pawns and fixed pawn chains, and consequently my aim to avoid such situations without really trying to look deeper.

I can't say anything about your game as some diagrams that have been here this morning are missing.

Goran's picture

Sorry, diagrams are there after the page refresh.

You said: "I defended, partly to play my part, the point of view that even if I could have played 14.Bd3, I would have taken on f6".

In the given position I would play Bd3 if I could, because I fancy (again ungrounded) pair of Bishops. Nd5-Nb4 pretty much limites white's options.

Tom Chivers's picture

Doesn't the bishop normally go to g6 in that QGD Exchange Variation?

Bc8-f5-e6 is a loss of tempo and the bishop's a bit duff on e6 imo. It could be vulnerable to a further bluntenning too from f4-f5 - since white will have Bd3 to support that push, unlike in the Bg6 line.

Surely black plays ..Bf5 not to court the bishop pair for the doubled pawns, but because otherwise white will get a perfect set up with Bd3?

Flip's picture

Nice article,

it stimulated me to do some database search, looking at situations where one side has a bishop for a knight for at least 3 moves in a row and a double f- or c-pawn. Due to Goran's remark I distinguished between players with an Elo>2600 and 22002600:
Black: 60-40
White: 50-50

Bishop pair and double f-pawn, both players 22002600:
Black: 78-22
White: 63-37

Bishop pair and double c-pawn, both players 2200

Flip's picture

ok, something went wrong with the results, but here is a conclusion

What does this mean?

First of all 2600+ seem to do very well with white playing agains or handling an isolated double c-pawn while holding the bishop. Especially when we compare this with the winning percentage against or holding an isolated f-pawn. We can conclude that the white player is ussually right when he lands up with or against the double c-pawn.
The 2200-2600 category seems to have more problems as white to evaluate the case of the double c-pawn for both sides, resulting in a more balanced score sheet. In case of the double f-pawn, there is a small difference in results between both levels. Interesting is that the creation of a isolated double f-pawn, in exchange for the bishop decreases the winning chances of the double pawn side.

Therefore B*f6!, even if Bd3 is possible :)

Flip

rapanui's picture

Flip, I'm not sure but doesn't this just show that 2600+ are .. just good players, no matter what position is on the board? Also, I don't see the relevance of the results of White and Black unless you mean White is the player with Bishops and Black the position with the structure or something.
To get a good comparison, you would have to take only opponents of equal strength. Or is this actually what you did?

My suggestion would be for example to take only 2600+ players in a sample, and see how well the bishops+lousy structure are doing against good structure without bishops.
And then we can compare these results for 2200-2600 players only. Is there a difference in results? Do 2200-2600 players score better with bishops (or structure)? (My guess is that the results won't be significant, by the way, because it depends too much on the details of the position - but then again, maybe there really is a sort of rule for this.)
It could turn out that it's statistically better for a 2600+ player to take on f6, but for a 2200 player it's statistically better to play Bd3 ;-)

rapanui's picture

@Tom. You're right, Black can also move his bishop to g6. I can see two reasons why Be6 also has its merits. After White can play f2-f3 and finally e3-e4 (usually preceded by Nf3-h4, g3, Bg2 and Kf2), d5 badly needs extra protection since after d5xe4 f3xe4 White has a great centre. Also, the move f6-f5 which Black sometimes has to play, is even less attractive with a bishop on g6.
So, both moves have advantages and disadvantages.

Flip's picture

Yeah sorry, i wrote my lines in word and something went wrong in the copy-paste.

I actually did what you suggest. What I observed is that 2600+ players increase there winning probability with white is both cases (compared to average winning percentages). So when the white player in a 2600+ match accepts a lousy structure for a bishop, he increases his winning odds in most cases, while when he gives the bishop to destroy the opponents structure he also usually increases his winning odds. This might has to do with certain opening structures, for example in certain variations in the sicilian where the c1 bishop controls the important square d6. For black I cannot think of popular openings where you accept isolated c-pawns for an active bishop.

I compared these results with the 2200-2600 range. There the increase in winning odds is much smaller. This indicates a higher magnitude of random versus lousy structure/ bishop exchange, while for the 2600+ player it seems to serve a more positional goal.
However, also for the "white" 2200 players the winning percentage against the double isolated f-pawn versus a bishop was higher than average, so B*f6 is statistically a good decision. :)

ps. Rapanui, happy new year ey!

rapanui's picture

Happy new year to you too Flip. I still don't see what the color-comparison tells us except that perhaps there are more openings for White where the bishops are active. It tells us, I think, more about opening theory than about chess strategy. Not to mix things too much, I suggest dropping the color-variable for now. Let's only focus on the comparison between structure vs. bishops.
In games between 2600+ players, do you find better results (independent of color) for the structure or for the bishops?

Tom Chivers's picture

I had a quick look at some stats on this line rapanui - on the Shredder on-line database Be6 is played 10 times, Bg6 over 100. However - Be6 scores higher - 40% compared to 36%. Although maybe 10 games is too low to draw definite conclusions.

I have played the Bg6 line quite a few times myself. I've not had any particular problems with it OTB or at blitz, but in correspondence games I've found the position almost impossible to defend. White just slowly (very slowly) builds up, black never has any sniff of a winning shot.

Anyhow.

Do you remember the game Salov-Ljubojevic from that 1994 Sicilian Thematic tournament? The two bishops were out of the question in that endgame - but black had doubled f-pawns. Salov blockaded them and then made use of his q-side majority. Maybe in your game Bxf6 can be followed by a similar piece blockade on f5, with f3, g4, h3 thrown in to follow. Although possibly black would need one more weakness somewhere else for you to exploit the blockade. Also there is a risk of BxNf5 and OCB.

Just some thoughts from a patzer :)

rapanui's picture

@Tom. I had forgotten about this game by Salov, but it's very instructive. By the way, it seems to me a typical example of a position where having isolated doubled pawns actually is an advantage. Just imagine if Black could have used square e5 for one of his pieces, or the e-file for his rooks to attack the pawn on e4. But now Black was badly blocked for the whole game. It made a huge difference.

In my game I actually managed to occupy the key-square f5 as well, although at the cost of an isolated d-pawn, resulting in yet another interesting but very difficult structure-situation which I'll talk about in part 2 of the article.

Tom Chivers's picture

I look forward to part 2 . . . and yes you're right - the e5 pawn is badly in the way for black in Salov-Ljubo. I'd not thought of that.

Tryfon Gavriel's picture

Hi there rapanui

I think the blockade strategy (Bxf6 followed by trying to play for Bf5 - to exchange off blacks light squared bishop, then Nxf5 hopefully) is the best way to approach the position - but I have not checked this with for example engine analysis. The plan has been disputed on the effectiveness of the f5 blockade at:-

http://www.chessworld.net/chessclubs/forums_thread_show_one_posteronleft...

However, if it can be reached, then I believe, White could then try and actually undouble black's pawns with a later g5 which would result in two black isolated pawns in the ending on f7 and h7. It would help in my view also to exchange off a pair of rooks if possible. And most certainly try and get in bf5 to make sure black has not got the bishop-pair.

Best wishes
Tryfon (kingscrusher on chessworld.net)

rapanui's picture

Indeed, Tryfon, if White could get an untouchable knight on f5 he would be close to winning as your scenarios suggest nicely. It turns out, however, that this is not really possible because after Bf5, Black always plays Bc5! challenging the knight on d4 (and the pawn on f2).
In the game I did manage to exchange light-squared bishops by means of Bf5xd7, but at the cost of an isolated d-pawn (Bc5xd4). This led to another very interesting structure about which more in part 2.

Tom Chivers's picture

Why should the knight reach f5 via d4 though, and not h4? Nh4 also has the merit of defending pg2 against Rg8, until a supported g4 is possible . . .

rapanui's picture

@Excellent suggestion, Tom. I completely missed this idea, since I wanted to play for the trick Nxc6 (which by the way is no trick at all.) However, things are still not so simple. If White plays 15.Nh4 instead of 15.Nd4, then after 15...Be6 Black can probably still challenge the blockade on time with Bh6-g5. However, things still look OK for white there, so perhaps I should have played Nh4 anyway.

Erwin l'Ami's picture

Hoi Arne,
Na zo'n oproep kan een reactie natuurlijk niet uit blijven :)
Interessante stelling tegen Hoffman. Na 14.Lxf6 gxf6 15.Pd4 lijkt het me objectief remise. Allereerst vroeg ik me af hoe het staat nu 15...Le6 16.Pxc6!? f5 17.Lf3 Lg7 18.O-O-O bxc6 19.Lxc6+ Ke7 20.Lxa8 Txa8 21.f4. Moet ok zijn voor zwart: a5-a4 en Tb8 geeft zwart tegenspel.
Anders kan zwart ook 15...Lc5!? kiezen (16.Pxc6 O-O!) bijvoorbeeld 16.O-O-O Le6 17.Pf5 O-O gevolgd door Tfd8 ziet er ook weer ok uit voor zwart. Kortom, ik denk dat de dubbele f-pion te weinig is om echt van voordeel te kunnen spreken en dat zwart weinig gevaar loopt.

Tryfon Gavriel's picture

Hi rapanui

There are some ideas for White which boost the blockade strategy idea to make it a lot more playable including castling queenside, and also being willing to sac the pawn on f2, if black plays later Bc5.

Here is some concrete analysis to check the blockade plan, with the help of Rybka on very quick time given to it:

1. Bxf6 gxf6 2. O-O-O Bd7 3. Rhe1 O-O-O 4. Nd4 Kc7 (4... Bd6 5. Bf5 Bf4+ 6. Kb1
Be5 7. Bxd7+ Rxd7 8. Nf5 Rxd1+ 9. Rxd1 Re8 10. g3 Bb8 11. f4 a6 12. Rd2 Bc7 13.
c3 Re1+ 14. Kc2 h5 15. h4 Re8 16. Kd3 b5 17. Re2 Rh8 18. Re7 Rd8+ 19. Kc2) 5.
g3 Bd6 6. Bf5 Bxf5 (6... Bc5 7. b4 Bxd4 (7... Bxf5 8. Nxf5) 8. Re7) 7. Nxf5 Bc5
8. b4 Rxd1+ (8... Bxf2 9. Re7+ Kb8 10. Rxf7) 9. Rxd1 Bxf2 10. Rd6 Be3+ 11. Kb2
Rf8 12. Kb3 Bg1 13. h4 Bf2 14. Rxf6 *

I find clear advantages for White in all variations.

I prefer Nd4 to Nh4 because it offers greater flexibility, and didn't really see the issue you have based on Bc5, but maybe I will check the analysis later again. As Tom saids, Nh4 is also possible, and this was my original "implementation" of the f5 blockade strategy.

In the conclusion of this article you talk about structure vs activity. I would also consider the actual ability to blockade being function of the effectiveness of doubling the opponents pawns. As Nimzovich has told us "Restrain..Blockade...then destroy!". So if there is only the structural damage part, without these three parts, then the doubled pawns or structural damage may be more academic in nature, and not so "exploitable".

The above analysis is illustrated at:-

http://tinyurl.com/yhe5fw

Best wishes
Tryfon Gavriel
Fide 2157

rapanui's picture

Hi Tryfon,

I think you're too optimistic about the position for White. For one, I think the opposite-bishop ending you mention is quite an easy draw for Black, and even if White can get a perfect blockade with his N on f5, it's still not clear. The real problem is that White can probably never really get this 'ideal' position due to concrete moves.
For example, after 1.Bxf6 gxf6 you suggest the normal-looking 2.0-0-0 but now I was afraid of simply 2...f5!? with the idea Be6 and Bg7 and I think White may actually be worse here.

I agree with Erwin that it's probably an equal position after Bxf6. Black simply has too many options to disrupt White's simple plans. Still, White may be worse if he doesn't take on f6, so that justifies it entirely.

Federico's picture

I like your site. Well done!
I'll come by again soon.

BartRulz's picture

I'm not quite sure I understand that?
Then again it's probably just me.

Anxiety's picture

Very nice.
Keep up the great work!

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