An unexamined life is not worth living.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Positional Chess – Exploiting the Open File

This game, played 10 years ago still brings pleasant memories, and recollections of how easy it can be to a win a chess game if your opponent does not have a plan.
Lee – Jiganchine, 1999
image Black to Move

White played very passively in the Exchange Variation of the Slav Defence, and Black is in control. 26… Qc4! 27. Qxc4 dxc4! This transforms the advantage of an open file, into an advantage of a better pawn structure, where Black has a dangerous majority on the queenside. White’s queen was an important defender that was traded off, and White’s pawns on b2 and a3 now can be attacked by both Black bishop and rook.

image Black is winning here already – due to the threat of c4-c3. Out of desperation my opponent played 28. Be5, dropping the f2 pawn and White Resigned a few moves later. Otherwise the game could have developed like this:

28. Kg1 c3! 29. bxc3 Rxc3

image White can’t save the a3 pawn. 30.a4 bxa4 31. Rb8+ Kh7 32. Rb6 a3 33. Rxa6 Rc2 34. Kh2 a2 35. e4 Bb4 36. d5 Bc3 37. Ra7 exd5 38. exd5 a1=Q 39. Rxa1 Bxa1 -+

The position after 27… dxc4 however, reminds me of the Jurgis-Botvinnik, 1931

imageBlack to move. The future world champion won beautifully by 1... Rc4!! 2. bxc4 Bc5 3. Kg2 Bxf2 4. Kxf2 b3 0-1

What if in my game against Jason Lee, Black also tried to win with 3 pawns and a bishop against the rook after the game move 28. Be5  ? The sac is completely unjustified, insane, but apparently Black might be able to hold a draw!

28... Rxb2 ?!?! 29. Rxb2 Bxa3
imageJust for fun, could Black sacrifice a rook?

  30. Rc2! a5 31. e4 a4 32. Kg3 f6 33. Bc7 Bf8 34. d5 a3 35. d6 b4 36. d7 Be7
image Both sides have advanced their pawns, but Black has 3 of them!! They are so dangerous that White has to bail out with 37. Ba5!? b3
image 37. Ba5 b3 38. Bb4 bxc2 39. Bxe7 c1=Q 40. d8=Q+ Kh7 41.Qa5 e5 42. f3 c3 43. Bxa3 Qf4+ 44. Kf2 Qd2+ with a draw.

Replay the game in the viewer:

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