M wmm

This was Black's intention. The pressure on the e4-pawn can become very strong, and White is forced to sacrifice a pawn if he does not want to succumb to a colour complex.

12 cxd4 c5

If White here played routinely to conserve material with d5, then he would cede to Black control of all the dark central squares, and with it any hope of obtaining an advantage. In fact, after 13 d5?, Black would have the dynamic advantage of being able to control the dark central squares while White would be occupying the light central squares with pawns, which would bring in nothing.

Not, of course, 14 &xd4, after which the white centre is as full of holes as a Swiss cheese, and his position very precarious.

The black d4-pawn actually helps stabilize the white centre as Black's pieces cannot now use the square. This is an important strategic idea.

If we now take stock, we can see that White's development is -1 (only the a 1-rook needs developing), while Black's is -5 (castling, king's rook, queen's rook, queen's bishop [2]). So White is 3.5 tempi ahead for a pawn, and also has the bishop-pair, plus Black's king is rather insecure. A computer may take note of White's three isolated pawns; however, this is not of much account. What is important is not that they are isolated, but that the squares in front of them are of no use to Black; which in effect means they are not weak.

However, Black is in desperate need to find places for his pieces, and his king position is cause for concern. Any freeing attempt by Black such as 14...g5 15 i.f2! would make his king position even less secure, and allow White to smoothly take control of the central dark squares too. Moves such as 14...£}e5 also do not work as then would come 15 £>xe5 Wxe5 16 £.g3 followed by e5 with a tremendous game for White. On 14...0-0, 15 e5! £>xe5 16 Sael &xf3+ 17 2xf3 i.e6 18 i.xf6 gxf6 19 Wd2 &g7 20 2g3+ wins immediately. Black must face up to the threat of 15 e5 which would win a knight, so he must do something to relieve the pin.

16 2b5 Wa3

17 Wb31(D)

Very unexpected, I am sure. White sees his future in an endgame with a very superior development and his two bishops.

18 axb3 a6

19 Sal!

White's pieces are all beautifully placed, while Black's are either at home or flailing thin air. The fact that Black could never find adequate locations for his pieces was at the heart of the remainder of the game, which Black lost without ever really being in the competition.

Knowing When to take Chances

When playing White it is clear that I advocate playing The System, which, when fully developed, should be a path for maintaining the advantage of the first move indefinitely. However, what is one to do when playing Black? It makes a difference as to whether one is playing in a tournament or match. In a match it is quite satisfactory to draw with Black and expect to gain your points when playing White. However, in a tournament, especially one in which one is hoping for first place, it may be necessary to take some chances. It is possible to play Black in a conservative manner, hoping that the opponent misses the best continuation, and thus expecting to equalize the position. From there on, one can hope to outplay the opponent and eventually score the point.

However, it is also possible to take risks. Risks come in many shapes and sizes. In correspondence play, I have found that during my career in the 1960s, the top correspondence players were, with certain notable exceptions, not among the class of OTB IMs or GMs. These players were able to calculate well when required, but lacked a little in positional understanding, and in their overall understanding of opening play. For the latter, they relied mainly on opening books, which, if you are a top OTB player, you will know are just a compendium, but hardly a bible of what is best. So in correspondence play it is possible to play obscure lines about which one knows something that has not yet been documented in opening books.

Clearly, there is real risk in this. Usually, an opening has a 'bad' reputation for good reason. Also, the opponent may have found out about a 'bust' that is not in the book, or even found his own 'bust'. However, knowing when to risk is an art, and it must be cultivated by experience. In the game below, I ventured the Ale-khine Defence, and especially an unusual 4th move. This move had purportedly been refuted, and the 'refutation', 5 £ig5, was in all the opening books. When this move was first sprung on me by Curt Braskett at the Champion of Champions tourney in 1957,1 did not play the correct 6...^.g7, but was able to escape with a draw. Thereafter, I continued to examine this 5 &g5?! 'refutation', until I found it was not a refutation at all, but led to inferiority for White.

I now began employing 4...g6 again, and garnered a few points with my new move. Also, I won several correspondence games with it. However, about 1965 a new 'refutation' was found, and this was 5 J.c4!. After this move, neither 5...&b6 6 J.b3 Ag7 7 £>g5! d5 8 f4 nor 5...c6 6 0-0 J.g7 7 We2 with a big space advantage is completely satisfactory for Black. I had already lost one game and drawn one against 5 JLc4 in OTB play, but it was a new move, and I was sure that few players would know about this (of course, nowadays with current databases this is no longer possible).

So I employed the Alekhine Defence four times in the Final of the 5th Correspondence World Championship, and won all four games. In three of them, the move 4...g6 was played. The game below was one of these, and it is instructive what happens to White as he gradually realizes that he has been led down the garden path to an unhappy end.

Game 13 Altschuler - H. Berliner

5th World Correspondence Ch Final, 1965-8

6 dxe5

1 e4

2 e5

3 d4

w laut ni ilii

Sfi s m


White now realizes that the intended 7 c4 does not work. In a game Dannberg-Berliner, 5th World Correspondence Ch Semi-Final, 1962-5, the continuation was 7...£}b4! 8 Wxd8+ <&xd8. After 9 £>xf7+ &e8 10 £>xh8 £>c2+ 11 &dl £>xal 12 Ad3 (12 £>xg6 Af5!) 12...Af5 13 Axf5 gxf5 14 f4 £>c6 the al-knight would survive, i.e. 15 k&2> £}b4 16 £>a3 ^xa2. White therefore played 9 £>a3, when 9...&e8 gave Black an excellent game.

8 We2

The attempt to make something out of the situation occurred in Stern-Berliner (in the same tournament), which continued 8 £}c3 h6! 9 £>xf7 &xf7 10 £>xd5 cxd5 11 ±xd5+ £>e8! 12 e6 Sf8 and Black had a winning position. Here again one sees the difference between correspondence play and OTB. If this had occurred in an OTB tourney, all players would have access to games played in earlier rounds. In correspondence play, unless there is much discussion among players, each game is a new experience.

Black now has a position that could have been reached from a Pire Defence where White is a move behind and Black has ...h6 thrown in for good measure. Compare this position with the one in the introductory comments when White plays the correct 5 J.c4. Now Black threatens ...^.xf3, which would leave him with a very superior pawn structure, and an excellent future. Nevertheless, White's best continuation is probably 10 h3 Axf3 11 gxf3 e6 12 f4, when Black has all the chances. Instead, White hopes to save himself with a clever tactic, but overlooks the cleverer response, after which he is essentially lost.

But not 10...£>f4 11 £.xf7+, when all is well with White. Now, however, White must either play 11 J.xd5, which gives up his best minor piece, or take on a horribly cramped position. He chooses the latter.

This artificial-looking move is really quite effective, and forces the reply in order to avoid 13...J.xf3, which would paralyse White. By forcing 13 c3, Black makes the d3-square available to his pieces.

White plays in the best manner, but he is a pawn down and is just plain lost against proper play. Black's next move avoids any tricks beginning with £}2b3, and prepares to exchange some minor pieces to ease the advance of his centre pawns.

17 h3

I had expected 17 f3 followed by Wf2 and 0-0, which is better than the text.

To get rid of White's best placed piece and begin the advance of the

centre pawns. White must now reply 20 £}ed2, but, possibly discouraged by his poor position, he overlooks Black's full threats.

Now everything is clear! White dare not castle because of ...£}g5 followed by ...f4. And, 23 i.b3 is met simply by 23...$h7.

Losing another pawn, but one cannot blame White for rejecting 25 £>d2 i.c6.

I gave the following 'if' move sequence: 26 cxd4 i.c6 27 d5 i.b7 after which the d5-pawn would soon be captured.

The essence of this game is that Black was willing to risk in the opening, while White believed in the opening books. His 5 £}g5 was bad. After that he did not go into the losing complications of 7 c4 (which would still require much accurate play by Black), but chose an inferior position which he hoped would not be too bad. However, his 10 &bd2 was a losing move, which allowed Black to expand decisively. He must have overlooked 10...b5. He had to play 10 h3 in order to have any chances, but here too Black has things all his way.

One Final Tidbit

Rotlewi - Rubinstein

Lodz 1907

Finally, I cannot resist including a game fragment from one of the most beautiful and influential (on me) games ever played. In the diagram, we see the position of Rotlewi-Rub-instein, Lodz, 1907, after White's

15th move. Whereas in the initial position White has the advantage of half a move, here White has squandered his resources, and now has a development count of -2 since both his rooks are not yet developed. On the other hand, Black has a count of -1, and since it is his move, he is ahead in development by 1.5 in a rather symmetrical position. Let us see how this is turned to account.

Black plays through the centre, rather than occupying it with 15...e5, which would be effectively met by 16 £}g5. Now the threat of ...&xf3+ forces the exchange of knights, which gives the black pieces more scope.

17 f4

There is no need for this. The threat of 17...£xh2+ 18 &xh2 Wd6+ could safely be met by 17 Sfdl Wc7 18 f4 and if 18...J.xc3,19 Sac 1 wins back the piece. However, White was clearly not up to the high level of tactics required to defend his position. Yet, the above is far from fatal.

Putting another target in the centre for Black to shoot at. There is no hope of this leading to anything positive. Play should centre on the open files on the queenside and the invasion points c4 and c5. Now White's d4 is also weak.

It was already difficult to find a defence to the threat of... J.b6+ followed by... J.d4. However, the move played, which drives the f6-knight to a better post, leaves the whole queen-side undefended and opens up two major diagonals on to his own king, is hardly the answer.

21 4.e4

This must have been what White was counting on. If 21 Wxg4, then 21...Sxd3 gives Black the two bishops and a vastly superior game. Now, however, the mating attack comes on like a thunderstorm, and the flimsy defensive structure that White has erected is exposed.

After 22 h3 Black wins quickly with 22...Sxc3 23 £.xc3 ±xe4 24 ®xe4 ®g3! 25 hxg4 Wh4#. There are other defences on move 23, which the student should work out for himself. The main point is that Black's pieces are all effective and supporting the attack, and White's are not placed well enough to counter this, so some of his pieces will become overloaded. But White hopes to gain time with his last move, attacking the queen.

Now the full import of Black's play can be seen. There has been a systematic destruction of White's defensive set-up, and now the sole defender (the queen) is decoyed away from its primary duty of protecting the long diagonal hl-a8. There is no further hope now, so White goes down in flames in the most greedy way.

24 Wxd2 i.xe4+

25 Wg2 2h3!

There is no defence against the mate at h2.1 can still remember the first time I played over this game, and how at about move 19 I felt that Black was about to embark on a terrific attack, and after 22 g3 'seeing' the sacrifice 22...Sxc3 followed by 23...Sd2 instantaneously. How did that happen? It must have been an understanding of each of the defensive chunks and how the structure of these chunks could be shattered. This is dynamism at its best! !

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