B

Black now has to decide how to improve his position. If he can't find a way to infiltrate on the queenside, then it seems that White will build up effectively on the opposite wing. By traditional theory, White ought to have a substantial edge here.

The introduction to a subtle plan.

Extremely logical, covering c4, connecting rooks and putting an end to the idea of ...&b5

to exchange the bad bishop. White's play has followed all the rules: protect the pawn-chain, centralize the pieces, take over the open file, and prevent the opponent's freeing moves. Now he is ready to take action.

White is superbly centralized and has put every piece to good use.

Black hasn't even looked at the centre for a long time and has systematically shifted his forces to the queenside. Yet suddenly he throws

Black refuses to castle into the attack, judg- out yet another flank pawn on the side of the ing his king to be safer in the centre. He might even be contemplating the exotic ...£>a8-c7, to support the b5-square. But what then? And what about his rook on h8?

20 fohll

Now the move #g4 is in the air and Black still hasn't achieved much on the queenside.

This looks purely defensive and weakening, but it does more than prevent Wg4 or Wh5, as we shall see.

White was probably very satisfied here: by luring the pawn to h5, he can now play JLg5 with a nice positional advantage (space, better bishop, and firm control of the centre).

21M.tfd8! 22 Sc3

Again, the classical way to progress, by doubling rooks.

As anticipated some moves ago, presumably even with 16.. JLc6!. Black thus connects major pieces on his back rank and if need be, his king will be much safer on b8 than on g8 or even in the centre. One thing that bothers White is that there is a sort of mutual stand-off over c4, so that a move by his d3-bishop or d2-knight invites one of Black's knights into that square.

23 Seel board where he has almost no pieces! How can this be justified, especially with this central configuration? One idea is just to gain space (as was that behind ...a4); but he might also be able to open lines on the kingside or force White into a weakening of his kingside light squares. In the latter case, the sacrifice ...fobc4 would be difficult to accept since the c6-bishop would become a very powerful piece. Thus the two flanks coordinate despite Black's pieces being passively placed. This reminds one of the philosophy behind the Hedgehog.

The alternative of just blocking the kingside and restricting the e7-bishop by 24 g4 hxg4 25 hxg4 allows 25...£>bc4! (25...<&c7 26 &g2 <&b8, castling by hand, is also possible) 26 foxc4 foxc4 27 i.xc4 dxc4 28 Bxc4 (D).

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