Manual The Capablanca-Pokorny Fiasco

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I played it because I was sure Capa would answer 10…P-K4. Capa said his 15…B-QR6 was an oversight. In that case a strange one for him. As variant W. The play through the 22nd move seems to be errorless. Now the opinion of the consensus that says W. The plan should have been simply 23 P-KB4 to start a pawn storming of the B.

Nor is 23 K-R2 necessary. The point is that B. It is not addressed to the strategic needs. Probably B. I overlooked the answer completely and in exasperation overlooked the draw as well. First should have come some move like 32 B-B3. I do not pretend these annotations are complete and some of them being present day offhand may be inaccurate or wrong. Please feel free to question them or to attack their validity. After In that same C. Improving the position of the rook and king first and playing For instance, As regards the game-score, earlier this month Olimpiu G.

Both gave the move sequence as 27 Qe2 and 28 Kh Submit information or suggestions on chess explorations. All ChessBase articles by Edward Winter. Edward Winter is the editor of Chess Notes , which was founded in January as "a forum for aficionados to discuss all matters relating to the Royal Pastime". He is also the author of a monograph on Capablanca Chess Notes is well known for its historical research, and anyone browsing in its archives will find a wealth of unknown games, accounts of historical mysteries, quotes and quips, and other material of every kind imaginable. Correspondents from around the world contribute items, and they include not only "ordinary readers" but also some eminent historians — and, indeed, some eminent masters.

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Muir Middle Ages. Ackrill Handbook of Algebra : Volume 1 by M. Rosch Hardware Bible by Winn L. O Consequences of Martin's axiom by D. Young Aircraft stability and control by A. Comparing with the position after 12 i. White is now a piece down, but his forces have moved into attacking positions. The major threat hanging over Smyslov's head is on the long dark-square diagonal. The main alternative was l S Instead, 1 He would have fewer difficulties if instead of It is not easy to oppose that pressure.

In several games, therefore, Black relied on Ve2 i. More logical is A strong reaction to Black's attempt to escape his predicament. Keres's lesson is straightforward: when you have a pair of bishops, try to prise the centre open, because open spaces are beneficial to their activity. A couple of short, amusing games which follow bring the same message However, even in our time we come across players who try to improve what cannot be basically improved.

In our game the pressure on the e4pawn is strong and it can be enhanced by In Romero-Karpov, Madrid 1 , Karpov, inclined by nature to simpler solutions, chose the sound After 1 1 i. When he was already out of danger, 2 1 l:td1 i. Instead, Steinitz keeps the material advantage, but falls under attack. This is in principle an erroneous decision of the type modem masters are likely to avoid.

Edward Winter - The Capablanca-Pokorny Fiasco

On 7 ttJf3 Black had in mind Most energetic. The light-squared bishop will join his colleague, creating maximum pressure on the diagonals. Leaving the knight en prise, Black hurries to open the h-file, when his rook will join the assault. He wrote: "Black's best continuation seems to be 1 If they cooperate with rooks, their natural mobility and strength reach higher levels.

This is the simple logic of the chessboard. However, even that simplest logic of chess, based on space advantage and activity of pieces, sometimes seems to be put on trial. It saw many ups and downs in the second half of the twentieth century. Although it was looked upon with deep scepticism, it has survived many violent attempts at refutation. At first Based on general principles, that simply could not pass. Once Black has moved the rook from this sensitive place to d7, Black will be able to parry the threats on the d-file and protect the vulnerable point f7.

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In the early days of the variation Polugaevsky thought that The whole story revolves around Black's development. By attacking the f7-pawn, White prevents developing moves. Black has invested no fewer than five tempi in queen moves and seven in pawn moves, and faces threats of all kinds and in spite of appearances holds on. Towards the end of his career Polugaevsky faced this move, and used the crucial defensive idea However, D We could say that Black's defence depends on the a7-rook. The subtle text-move overburdens this rook, which finds no place where it could continue successful defence.

In case of 2 l I thought it was worth analysing this stunning line of the Sicilian and this remarkable game in the light of our topic, the open centre. All the white pieces were centralized and creating threats on the open d-file, semi-open f-file and light-squared diagonals. In the labyrinth of continuations it is quite easy to miss the right path or overlook a deeply hidden resource. Another game in the Polugaevsky Variation reinforces this impression H The continuation after White's threat was 17 liJxe6 fxe6 or Let us note that the direct threat can be met by After the text-move, however, the critical point e6 cannot be defended 1 8.

This loses quickly. The game continuation, 1 3. Karpov's more cautious approach against Kamsky in Buenos Aires was not an easy road to equality either: However, the critical reply is Wh8 1 5 l:r. White believes in his superior development and even more in the passivity of his opponent's set-up. Black relies on the firmness of his position, which at present has no weak points. From the point of view of our topic, this is a somewhat unusual position, in which the central files are not open, but the centre itself is free of pawns. In Anand-Lautier, Amber rapid, Monaco 1 , In our game, apart from his material compensation, it took patience and precision for Black to free himself.

Open space, in which no pawns bar the freedom of movement, sets an ideal scene for piece activity. In partiCUlar, long-ranged bishops on the diagonals crossing the centre thrive in this environment, but so also do the major pieces pressing down the open files. Here there is no time for manoeuvre. Attacks are necessarily quick, precisely directed, 63 concentrated on a precise motif. In such circumstances the element of time becomes a major factor.

It is not by chance that queenside castling reappears game after game, as it speeds the process of development and quickly creates the conditions for an attack. It comes as no surprise that most of these games are won by tactical skill. The general guidelines about time and material, development, initiative, sacrifice, etc. What did change, however, is the attitude of the modem master.

While respecting the general principles, he abandoned the simplistic rules of development a long time ago and nowadays looks at each position with ingrained scepticism.

Jose Raul Capablanca - The Saga Begins

His aim is to understand those rules and comply. But where do the pawns come in here? In sharp contrast with all the other types of centre, in which the influence of pawns on the general strategy is dominant, their role in the open centre is diminished by the very nature of the position, but it cannot be ignored. It is limited to the early stage of the game, when pawns usually play one of two roles. The above games played in the Polugaevsky Variation provide a warning that we should heed.

Even when facing ideas that challenge the firmly established beliefs or border on the improbable, we have to take them seriously and check them conscientiously move by move. On a higher level it has always been so. Their mission is to claim a share of the valuable central space and the power it yields. The power exercised in the centre would be futile if further play could not be built upon it. There are two basic types of closed centre: the blocked centre and the fixed centre.

We consider these in tum. The Blocked Centre The blocked centre is characterized by a pawn blockade which divides the board, closing lines and diagonals. Sometimes there are possibilities of pawn-thrusts on one of the central files, but in case of a full blockade the simple fact that the central squares are occupied determines the direction the game will take: given that the centre is inaccessible, the battles are waged on the wings.

The strong blocked centre implies a spatial preponderance and manoeuvring freedom. Sometimes such a centre is so stable that it allows the stronger side to play on both wings simultaneously. Tarrasch - Schiffers Vienna French Defence 1 d4 e6 2 e4 d5 3 tbc3 tbf6 4 i. Both continuations fight for living space and both are logical. The blocked centre often offers a false sense of security. He intends to meet The c-file can be opened at will and there was no reason to rush. Instead 1 l. What has logically and consistently been carried out must yield good fruits.

I:tc3 30 'ilVxc3! With the text-move, White keeps the d l -hS diagonal open in order to meet the expected Learning from the following events, we would consider Lasker was a courageous player who often entered risky positions. This time the risk was very high. By vacating the f4-square for the knight, White concentrates his forces for the final assault. This move was played to protect against 23 'it'g3. Black forgets he is vulnerable on the a-file. This clears the way for. This will help Lasker's resignation. The blocked centre led Tarrasch and Pillsbury to logical conclusions and natural reactions.

They both played harmoniously on both wings with great tactical expertise, revealing the vulnerable points of their opponent's positions while emphasizing their own advantages. Black, on the contrary, missed a number of fine but typical points. It took even longer for Black to tackle the defensive tasks we cncounter in some of the following games. I O ttJf8. Black would be vulnerable on the queenside.

D This time As a matter of fact White intends to play on the kingside, but before it is set in motion he wants to neutralize any activity on the queenside. Taking the knight would vacate the e4-square for the queen's knight, while chasing it away by After He demonstrated with his 1 3th move where he sees his chances. Black had to play LtDh7, preparing Black's queen move exposed him to this vicious tactical stroke. Both By 6 thf3 White takes measures against it. From Lutikov one would expect A superficial decision. His prospects lie in an energetic pawn advance against the black king.

Carrying out Better was to be realistic and include the queen's rook in the defence by Given that in case of The final error. Black increases the pressure on the pawn-centre, so as to provoke an immediate response White either exchanges on eS or blocks the centre, which is the option chosen in this game. Today we know that the knight is vulnerable on as. Of course, White does not react to the provocation: the b7-knight is kept out of play. Black would certainly refrain from this advance if he had some active alternative. Obvious but strong. It is true that 1 Nevertheless, the pressure on his kingside will mount all the same.

Having blocked the queenside, White has freed his hands for kingside play. This manoeuvre, typical in the Chigorin Variation, frees the f-pawn and has ideas of tbg4, opening the way for major pieces to penetrate on the kingside. Black misses the point of White's previous move.

One would expect Black has been outplayed. Blocking the centre had heen considered inadequate, but the t i me had come to explore it more deeply. Karpov, with his fine sense for space, was the proper man to tackle it. Foreseeing White's kingside play, Black moves his forces to the same side; the knight retreats to d8 whence it can reach f7 and take part in I he defence of the kingside. White could postpone the exchange hy I S b4, but he correctly assessed that he could seize the open file before Hluck could disentangle his back rank IIlId oppose the aI-rook.

Besides, he prohably wished to exclude Unzicker's decision not to block the queenside is principled, but on b7 the knight has no prospects and Black's difficulties continue. With this in mind 22 'ii'b2 followed by 23 :a3 was more precise. Black should play D Deep and beautiful!

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By temporarily closing the file, White makes sure he can open it at will after regrouping his pieces and so keep control of it. Black assessed 2S No defence is visible. It is immobile and rarely enables Black to create effective counterplay, and it did not protect him against wing attacks.

One is marginal: the quiet and stubborn search for improvements in positions that are losing popularity. Black would usually save a tempo by playing either The many lines of the K i ng's Indian characterized by the hlocked centre were intensely explored 77 all through the second half of the 20th century and are characteristic of the whole process. In my opinion 8 J. After the expected 10 lbd3 the danger of f4 will be imminent and in order to meet White's intentions, Black's queen's knight is best placed at d7.

This was a somewhat optimistic assessment and 1 3 "ii'c2 ks to me more realistic. D Carried away by his own plans, White overlooks the consequences of Black's next move. Correct was 1 4 lbe 1 , with lbc2-e3 in mind. Given the closed pawn-structure, the black knights are superior to the white bishops. Besides, we now see that the f2-knight is stranded in the wrong place. IS bxc3 lbdf6 16 i.

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The weakness created at g3 cripples his defences. It was time for White to give up his unrealistic ambitions, and 17 "ii'd2 offered more hope. Experience teaches us to see to it that a delicate balance is kept all the time. The f6-knight will be able to move aside and Then 1 1. Note that 1 The text-move, by giving up control of the h5-square, allows Black to activate his forces rapidly, but 1 9 ':c I lbc5 is good for Black. A serious error of judgement. To confront Black's initiative 2 1 f4 was called for, with unclear play.

The king is in grave danger as long as the black queen is alive. Of course, retaking the exchange would squander all the latent energy. Of course, Now 3 l Had White instead continued 33 fxe4 the situation would have changed drastically. But time-trouble continues its devastating effect on the game. However, the subsequent analysis proved that was not enough after 1 3 fxe4: 1 3. The variation was put into the archives.

Decades later, Grandmaster Uhlmann resorted to this energetic measure, well-known in a similar position of the Siimisch, but here, at first glance, looking out of place and highly risky. Therefore the preparatory text-move. After 10 ,'x f5 gxf5 1 1 gxf5. J:th8 16 ':'dfl After all his preparations White should finally play 16 tDg3. This move chases the bishop where it wants to go and so helps White to engineer his breakthrough. The sacrifice is temporary; the gains, White hopes, could be durable. In my opinion For instance: 27 ':'xh4 ':'xh4 28 i.

His advantage is now clear. The penetration of the white rooks will be facilitated by the weakness of the a6-pawn and the stranded rook at d4. Time-trouble at its worst. Wishing to land his knight on the winning e4square, White enters a lost position, but the miracles continue In those days it looked to me a logical choice, but we continue to learn about chess as long as we live. Black's theatre of action is the kingside. Blocking it means losing counterplay essential to offset White's inevitable build-up on the queenside.

Gurevich, Linares 1 1 l If he opts for 10 exf5 gxf5 1 1. As long as the king is on gS, White can play 13 tZJg3 not worrying about The text-move makes the breakthrough on the wing more difficult to realize. A long time ago, Efim Geller thought that the slow build-up based on g3, h3 and g4 was the most realistic. Georgiev has in mind another possibility. The queenside push is only supported by a single rook and its negative sides will soon be revealed. Already, it is difficult to suggest a good alternative: Better was This way the position falls apart.

Black's counterplay is enough to maintain the balance, but at the critical moment he oversteps the mark. In choosing Having played Kovaliov, Belarussian Ch I 0 exf5 gxf5 1 1 ttJge2 can also be met by l l.. Black's 1 6th move inadvertently allowed 1 7 ttJg3, when The immediate What was planned long ago finally comes true. The loss of time caused by White's superficial 1 7th move had its effects on the position. Relying on his strong centralized knights, Black takes active steps. The b5-pawn is indirectly defended owing to the vulnerability of the e4-pawn.

Now he continued 59 b6 h2 60 b7 h l 11f 61 b8'ii'. White, therefore, needs the c4-square for the knight. If Black opts for Better was s6 1L1d7. Then after 8 ttJge2 cxdS 9 cxdS Black can resort to After 10 'iid2 fS 1 1 , Black went for l An early opening of the c-flle can help Black to reverse the roles and create activity on the queenside.

If, for 87 example, 8 'iid2, then Vd2 ttJbd7 9 d5 cxd5 10 cxd5 a6 In case of 1O We owe such sudden changes to the nature of the blocked centre, offering the choice of the battlefield to both sides, when the decision hinges on subtle nuances. After 1 1 g4 fS 12 gxfS gxfS 13 f4 the exchange of the light-squared bishops would cost White additional tempi. After 17 lbg3 Kasparov had planned 1 With the text-move, White shows he is attracted to a different kind of material gain.

However, it damages his pawn-structure and is rather dubious.


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  4. One would expect the natural 1 7 lbc 1 intending 1 8 4Jcd3. Following his greedy grabbing of a pawn. White has been pushed into a dangerously passive situation. Then 1 Ikaria 1 The consistent 1 4 lbg3 was played in Kramnik-Nijboer. Groningen 1 99 1 ; Black replied with 1 Black's final Illove, played in time-trouble, was an l'lTor that could have caused him some IInpleasant moments.

    After 40 ltJe8. Instead, White blocks I hl' k i ngside, seeking to keep Black's " h'l'l'S out of play and then to transfer ,II I I vi t y to the other side of the board. I I I I lack is provoked into Here 1 In case of 14 , While threatening to take on f3, Black prepares Besides, sooner or later White will want to play f4. Unfortunately, White could not have prevented the black queen's raid by 24 ':c 1 because Happen what may, Black overlooks a tactical stroke which should cost him dearly. The loss of material is unavoidable. Superficial play usually ends in such errors.

    White missed this tactical blow. Black threatens It simply means that the as-knight will have to retreat to the 'horrible' position at b7. However, it turned out that b7 was not as horrible a place for the knight as it seemed at first. In case of 1 2 e4, on the contrary, correct is 1 On f7 the knight stands actively, defending the important central points eS and d6, and ready to support I conclude that White did not expect 1 8. As a consequence he presented Black with the useful d6-square in a position where a strong blockader is ready to appear on it.

    The b3-knight failed to realize its mission and the tempi spent would have been better invested in tiJe2, ':be 1 or 'iith2. He therefore pins his hopes on potential threats on the a1-h8 diagonal. The text-move causes a sudden collapse. In case of 1 The text-move will be met by the same little tactical solution. Black's hopes were based on this manoeuvre. The hesitant approach started by the text-move is too slow to bring anything palpable. The active knight will do his job. Both White and Black create play in different sides of the board depending on the nature of the central pawn-wall.

    We shall examine it on the model of the stormy Mar del Plata line, whose vicissitudes marked the second half of the 20th century. In those days, news spread slowly, and Najdorf astutely decided to use the same ideas to his advantage. The knight is moved to d3 to support c5 or f4. At the same time 9. For that reason 9. However, modem practice has shown that 10 lbd3 if 10 f4 at once then 1O The simple l What Black probably likes less is D Having divided the board with a pawn-chain, White and Black have The essential question is who will be quicker.

    Given the fine balance between both sides' attacks, the use to which each tempo is put is especially crucial. A drawback of putting the knight on d3 is that it blocks the influence of the e2-bishop on the light diagonal fl -a6 especially on the b5-square. Caught by surprise, Taimanov could not discern these nuances. Looking back on it, doubling rooks on the c-file looks naive.

    White has reached the point when extraordinary measures are necessary. I am thinking of 16 g4. The same happens after 1 6 lLlb5: 1 6. From there it can play a double role: defending against the intrusion of the white knight and supporting the advance of the g-pawn. In comparison, White's preparations to double rooks on the c-file look slow and clumsy.

    For the second time in the course of the game Black earns a tempo against the dark-squared bishop. This time it is at the cost of a pawn, but not in vain. Before White was ready to play lLlb5 and make further progress on the queenside, Black strikes and seizes the initiative. All of a sudden the white king is seriously exposed to attack. Everything fits well in the black mosaic. Black's attack was quicker.

    The tempi lost by the dark-squared bishop proved fatal for White. The effect of this game coupled with the impressions from the Mar del Plata tournament was such that 13 lLld3 was condemned as dubious and abandoned. White rested his hopes on 'more natural' continuations. When the c-file is opened, Black's queenside will become vulnerable. On the other hand after 1 Watson, Beersheba , White threatens Black' s kingside chances matched it. Note that 16 as comes too late due to Previously, Black had played Then: a On e2 the bishop has no prospects and in this clumsy mass of pieces it stifles active opportunities.

    For the time being the pressure on g3 delays There is also 2S. In view of the uncertain situation on the kingside that move can be justified only if2S Vif8 can be met by 26 liJd3 liJhS 27 ':'f2, planning l:. However, the e4pawn, up until now overprotected, has now become shaky and that makes the difference. Just at this moment the long-awaited advance is possible since the e4-pawn is not protected by the knight. On 20 liJxa7 commentators give However, in my opinion Jhb6 Note that The text-move loses material without compensation. Again the h5-square is vital.

    White turned to other continuations. Was this strange, unexpected move what he had been looking for? An overdose of optimism or a greedy conclusion that the knight must sound retreat or pay in material for its impudent inroad? The correct response is Note that in similar positions h5 is the knight' s square and each time Black decides to play D After 1 8 bxc5 lbxc5, 1 9 :el would fail to 1 Black is pushed down a narrow path leading to defeat. Having concluded that the breakthrough on the c-file takes too much time and the early ttJb5 yields less than initially hoped for, a new idea was tested.

    The advance has been given much thought in recent times. Then in the position after 17 ttJb5 g4 1 8 J. Here 17 cxd6 is met by Korchnoi's 17 c6 threatening 1 8 cxb Black should then refrain from the hasty Thus Black should resort to 1 IS liJf6 16 liJxa Note that he carries out The clumsily positioned pieces around him are more like obstacles than effective bodyguards.

    The knight is valuable on g3 and one should not impatiently exchange it, even if it wins an exchange.