Chapter

ON OPEN FILES * 1. Introductory. General considerations end some definitions.

The theory of open files, which was my discovery, must be regarded as one of '.he polishing stones of my system. I published the law of the establishment,of outposts in open files about fourteen years ago in the Wiener Schachzeilung, but at that time I had not yet arrived at the perception that this maneuver must logically be subordinate to the main objective of any operation in a file, namely the eventual occupation of the 7th or 8th rank. In other words, in order to break down the enemy's resistance in it, but without for a moment relaxing our aim at the 7th rank, whose occupation must be regarded as the ideal to be arrived at in such an operation. The establishment of an outpost is therefore merely a subsidiary maneuver.

A file is said to be open for the Rook when no pawn of his is in it, or, if there is one, it is masked as, for example, it is in the h-file in Diagram 14. This definition implies that in deciding whether a file is "open" or "closed," we are not concerned with the question whether that file gives an avenue of attack on unoccupied, peaceful points, or on living enemy pieces (as a rule pawns). There is in fact no fundamental difference between play against a piece or against a point. Let us, for example, imagine a White Rook on hi. Black King on g8 and a Black pawn on h7. White is attacking the pawn on h7. Suppose that pawn were removed, White still attacks the point h7, which he wishes to conquer. In either case he will attempt, with the further material which he has at command (this was taken for granted: I give only the most Important elements of the position), to establish a preponderance at h7, to bring up more pieces to the attack of this point than the defense can command. Having succeeded in doing this, he will ultimately play either Rh7 or Rxh7, as the case may be. That is to say our procedure is the same whether we are attacking the point h7 or a Black pawn at that point, for-the measure of the nobility of the pawn will be reduced to nothing, since every object of attack must be made as nearly immobile as possible.

♦2. The genesis of open files: By peaceful means. By assault. The objective.

From the definition of an open file, it follows that a file will be opened by the disappearance of one-of our own pawns. This disappearance will be brought about Peacefully if the enemy feels it incumbent on himself to exchange one of our well,

•MT1» b.l.andhtilw are cpenla WlliU J use, the latter Irom the pant M. The d-file s closed

•MT1» b.l.andhtilw are cpenla WlliU J use, the latter Irom the pant M. The d-file s closed r

(because centrally) posted pieces, and the recapture is made by a pawn (Diagram 15). We must here stress the word "central," for it will be only seldom, and never in the opening, that you will be able to force your opponent to open a file by the exchange of a piece which f you have posted on a flank. You will gain your object ; much more quickly if it is centrally posted, for Dieces thus established in the middle of the board, and | exercising their influence in all directions, are those which will be exchanged.

A position from the game Thomas-Alekhine, Baden-Baden 1925 (Diagram 15a). White to move. Black's Knights are centrally posted, and White finds himself forced to exchange them, so 1.Nxd4 cxd4 (opening of the c-file), and after the further moves 2.Nxd5 Qxd5 3.Bf3 Qd7 4.Bxb7 Qxb7 the significance of this file is considerable. There followed, 5.c4! (On c2 the pawn would have been untenable), 5...dxc3 e.p. with play in both the files, (see Game No. 11).

Therefore post your pieces centi ally, as long as you can do so safely - without inviting the advance of the "pawn-roller." Thus will your opponent be provoked into an exchange which will give you an open file.

Let us in Diagram 15 imagine the continuation, 1 ...Bb6 2.Qd2 0-0 3.0-0-0 h6? (see Diagram 16), we then get a typical example of an effective opening of a file. Thanks to Black's pawn on h6, White can now bring about the rapid disappearance of his g-pawn. 3...h6 was therefore bad, but hardly a waste of time, for Black had already completed his development, and after all there is a difference between going to sleep after or over our work! The mode of advance against h6 (the objective or object of attack) is h3, g4, g5. On hxg5 the pawn is then recaptured by a piece, whereupon Rg1 takes possession of the file which now is open. True, one of his own pieces is in the way, but this is of no consequence, for it is elastic. It is only a pawn which is obstinate, and we have our work cut out if we want to induce him to change his state.

As an example for practice, let us suppose that in the position shown on Diagram 16, the Bishops at e3 and b6 do not exist, and that Black's h-pawn is at h7, his raiii i±± mtmt *±- m m m m m ■

m&mtM m

I mH&H

w swam ■ n m m m m m mtm&m , Mtm g-pawn at g6. The objective is now go, and the h-file (always the one next to the objective) should be opened. The plan is h4, h5, and hxg6. But in this position after h4 we must, before going on, first give the Nf6 a dig in the ribs, since he is in the way, perhaps by 1 .Nd5, and this done the pawn can advance to h5 in all comfort and without any sacrifice. As a last resort the attacked party may attempt to give the pawn the slip, that is on White's h5 to play ...g5, which, however, here would hardly answer since the square g5 is unprotected.

♦ 3. The goal of every operation in a file. On some accompanying phenomena. Marauding raids. Enveloping operations.

The ideal which lies at the root of every operation in a file is the ultimate penetration by way of this file into the enemy's game, that is to say to our own 7th or 8th rank.

A very important rule is the following. Suppose that by operating in the d-file we reach the 7th rank by a roundabout way, by the maneuver Rdl -d4-a4-a7. This cannot be regarded as a direct exploitation of the d-file. A few elementary examples will now be given.

Line of operation the h-file. (Diagram 17) This will be seized by 1.Qh1+ Kg8, and now according to rule either Qh7 or Qh8, the latter not being feasible, 2.Qh7+ Kf8 3.Qh8+ followed by a marauding expedition (for we thus designate every forking attack on two pieces), which is here not a chance raid, but rather a typical example of an entry by force at the 7th or 8th rank. If in Diagram 17 the Black Q were at d7 instead of b8, our method would be 1 .Qh1+Kg8 2.Qh7+ K18 3.Qh8+ Ke7 4.Qxg7+ Ke6 5.Qxd7+ Kxd7 6.g7, and the result would be no less unpleasant. We may describe this triangular maneuver of the Q (h7, h8, g7) as an enveloping attack. Putting it briefly, we may say: Given deficient resistance the attacker, after safeguarding the lines of invasion, raids the 7th and 8th ranks, and, doing so, will not seldom be rewarded by the chance of a marauding expedition or an enveloping attack. So far the operation has been as readily intelligible as it is easily executed. Unfortunately in real life there are often great obstacles to overcome, as *4 will show.

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