Pk Pk Nkb Nqb Bn Pq Pq Bq Nb Nb Bk

7 R K1 NxQp

After 1 ... PxP 8 NxP 0-0 9 BxN PxB we have a different type of pawn formation which was thoroughly examined in our chapter on 'The Doubled Pawn'.

8 NxN PxN

9 BxRf QxB

White's bishop will be placed to maximum advantage on QN2 and will prevent in particular the regrouping of Black's pieces by . . . R-Kl, . . . B-Bl, . . . R-K3, . . . P-KN3 and . . . B-N2, converting his passive KB into an active one.

13 QR Q1

Threatening P-K5. As can be seen, the 'little centre' contains a certain dynamism, even though its mobility is naturally by no means as great as that of the 'classical centre'.

15 R3-K3 Rl-Kl

16 P-KR3 QrN3

It is doubtful whether Black can improve the co-ordination of his pieces by 16 . . . P-KN3, as White would then be able to make effective use of his Q5 square e.g. 17 N-Q5! B-N2 18 P-QB4 N-R4 19 Q-Q2 with a clear advantage in view of the weakness of Black's KB3 square.

17 QrQ3 P-B3

This move is essential, as White is threatening 18 P-KN4 followed by P-N5 and N-Q5, but this weakening of the QP is already a strategic success for the first player.

19 P-QB4

An important manoeuvre, preventing . . . P-Q4 and freeing his knight for work on the K-side, a strange result of 18 N-R4!

This was Black's first and last chance to play . . . P-KN3. Admittedly his bishop would then have to give up the defence of his QP, but this would be compensated by its activity along the KR1-QR8 diagonal. Black chooses a passive defence instead, allowing White to exploit his space advantage in a K-side attack.

20 K-Rl Not only placing the king on a safer square but freeing KN1 for a rook which will support an attack down the KN-file nine moves later.

22 N-B3 Threatening N-K2-N3.

Not however 23 N-K2? P-KB4! giving Black immediate equality by liquidating White's 'little centre'.

It was still too early to play 25 N-K2, as 25 ... N-N4 would immediately force the knight back to QB3.

27 P-B3 N-Rl (148) Black has no chances of counterplay, so must simply await events.

29 R1-KN1!

White's plan is simple. He intends to open the KN-file by P-N5, then transfer his knight to KB5, thus attacking KN7 four times, Black is helpless.

31 P-N5 PxP

32 RxP P-KN3

35 PxR B-N2

36 PxP 1-0

68 Lasker-Capablanca

Moscow 1935, French Defence

1P-K4 P-K3 2 P-Q4 P Q4 3 N-QB3 B N5 4KN-K2 PxP5 P-QR3 B K2 6 NxP N-KB3 7 N2-B3? N2-N3! 7 • • • QN-Q2? 1 ... N-B3! 8 B-KB4 NxN 9 NxN N-B3 10 B-Q3 0-0 11 NxN4- BxN 12 P-QB3 (149)

When fighting against the 'little centre', the simplest method is to liquidate the central pawns by exchanges. It is therefore understandable that Black wishes to force through . . . P-QB4 or . . . P-K4 in the present situation, and that this queen move is the best means available, as it not only attacks the KNP but also contains a subtle trap. However, Lasker has a very neat refutation at hand. Nor was 12 . . . P-B4 possible, as after 13 Px P Q-Q414 Q-B2! White retains his extra pawn. All this means that Black cannot liquidate White's QP, so he should settle for 12 ... P-B3, giving him a passive but solid position.

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