Maneuvering Against Weaknesses

Maneuvering against an enemy weakness. The combined attack on both wings. « 1. The logical components which go to make up a maneuvering action against a weakness.

As an introduction to the following analysis I would like to try to present an idea for the operation which is to be considered. I picture the course of a maneuvering action somewhat as follows: An enemy weakness can be attacked in at least two ways. Each of these attempts at attack would be met by an adequate defense. In order that we might in the end conquer the enemy weakness in spite of this, we take advantage of the greater freedom of movement which belongs to our pieces, due to certain conditions of the terrain, so as to attack it in turn by different ways (maneuvering action), and thus oblige the enemy pieces to take up uncomfortable positions for its defense. Eventually an obstruction to the defense or something of the kind will intervene, and the "weakness" will prove untenable.

As we can see from this scheme, it would be quite a mistake to label this type of maneuvering as mere purposeless moving back and forth. On the contrary every move has set before it a clearly prescribed end with the conquest of a quite definite weakness in view. The ways which lead to this conquest are of a complicated nature.

♦ 2. The terrain. The conception of the pivot around which the maneuvering turns.

The terrain over which any maneuvering action takes place must, if our plan is to succeed, be strongly built up. A characteristic of such action is that the different troop movements always cross a quite definite square (or line of demarcation). As an example see Diagram 169. Here it is the point d5 which the White pieces will wish to occupy, making it a base for further maneuvering. Accordingly the point d5 might be described as a fortified post in the lines of communication, and it is therefore right and proper to regard it as the pivot around which the whole maneuvering action turns. It is in virtue of this fortified post d5 that the whole operation is accomplished. Every piece, even the Rd1 strives to get there at some time or another. The law governing this maneuvering action moreover demands that d5 will be occupied by different pieces in turn, for this will always create new threats and thus help to embarrass the enemy. The relationship between the White pieces and the pivot

»169 White mane the d6 pawn using the point d5 as the pivot around which the operation runs

»169 White mane the d6 pawn using the point d5 as the pivot around which the operation runs d5 exactly corresponds also to the "contact" between overprotectors and a strategically important point, which was discussed in the previous chapter. In this case the pieces strive to establish contact with d5. This speaks plainly for the strength of that point. Notice too, the device by which pieces exchange stations in, for example, the sequence of White moves Ne3-Qd5-Nc4. This operation serves well the purpose of the general plan of maneuvering acton.

We now give some typical examples of this type of maneuvering.

(a) A pawn weakness which is to be brought under bombardme'nt from the 7th rank. Rubinstein-Selesnieff, Diagram 17.0. There occurred 1...b6 (1...d4 deserved preference. For instance, 2.cxd4 Nxd4 3.Bg5 Ne2+ 4.Kf2! [otherwise 4...Rf7] 4...Rf8+ 5.Rf6 Rxf6+ 6.Bxt6 Re6). The game continued 2.Bf2 Rf8 3.Re1 Ref7 4.Rhxe6 Rxf2 5.Re8+ Kb7 6.Rxf8 Rxf8 7.Re7 (now some magnificent maneuvering begins against the h7 pawn) 7...Rh8 8.Kf2 Kc6 9.g4 Kd610.Rf7 a511 .g5 a4 12.h4 b5 13.Kg3 c5 (Black now threatens to make a passed pawn by ...b4, so Rubinstein attacks the weakness, the h7 pawn, from the other side) 14.Rf6+!

Kc715.Rh6 b416.cxb4 cxb417.axb4 Ra818.Rxh7+! (the "weakness" has fallen) 18...Kb619.Rf7 a3 20.Rf1 a2 21.Ral Kb5 22.g6 Kxb4 23.h5 Black resigns.

The following case Is much more complicated.

(b) Two pawn weaknesses (Diagram 171). Here c3 and h3 are both weak. The pivotal point, around which action against h3 turns (f4), seems to be threatened, but is rescued, and actually by timely attention paid to the weak c3 pawn on the other side of the board. We see here the two separated theatres of war logically connected one to the other. The game continuation follows: Dr. Kalaschnikow-Nimzowitsch. Black played 36...Ke7. If White would only do nothing Black could get the advantage by a direct attack, by ...Kf7-g6 followed by ...f5. White would then have to defend with f3, and would thereby give his opponent the handle to clutch which he has long wanted, namely (after of course moving the Nf4 out of the way) the posting of his Bishop at g3, when the threat to White's entire line of defense could not be parried. But White did not sit still. Instead he did his best to hinder his opponent in the execution of this plan, and played 37.Ng2! With this he hopes to bring off a general exchange which would lead to a clear draw. The idea is 38.Bxf4



Dt. KateschrakcMi-Nlmzowilsch, 1914

Nxf4 39.Nxf4 Bxf4 and there is nothing left. The pivotal point f4 could now not be held were it not for the maneuvering chance on the other side of the board. There followed: 37...Ra1 + 38.Rc1 Ra2! 39.Ne1! (the relief expeditioi i carried out by Black with his 37th and 38th moves has succeeded, for now with the Rook at a2 White's intended exchange would lead to his own disadvantage. For example 39.Bxf4 Bxf4! 40.Rd1 Bd2 41.N02 N?4! zr.t after the further moves 42.Ngxf4 gxf4 43.Kg2 Rc2 Black develops a remarkable appetite). 39...Kf7 Black has gained a tempo! Now the game starts anew. 40.Rc2Ra3!41.Ng2Ra1+42.Rc1 Ra2!43.Ne1 Kg644.Rc2 Ra3 45.13 (this weakening move could not have been permanently avoided, otherwise ...f5 would follow, and if gxf5 ...Kxf5 followed by ...g4 creating a passed pawn) 45...f5. It is accomplished! The end is peaceful. 46.Kf2 Kf6 (making room for the Knight) 47.Bc1 Ra1 48.Ke3 NgG 49.Nd3 Bg3 (see note to Black's 36th move) 50.Ne2 Ngf4 51.Ngl Nxd3 52.Kxd3 Bf4! 53.Ne2 Bxc1 54.NXC1 Nf4+ 55.Ke3 Nxh3. After a heroic defense the fortress falls (h3). There followed only 56.Ne2 f4+ and White gave up since ...Rf1 will win another pawn.

(c) The King as a "weakness". See Diagram 172. For the terrain there function here two possibilities of a driving action. As pivot we have a line of demarcation.

Nimzowitsch-Kalinsky, 1914. In this very piquant position there occurred first l.Bb3 (the reply to 1.Bc2 f2 2.Rd1 would be 2...Ke6 and White cannot win.) 1..M4 2.Bd5 Rg4 (2...f2 3.Bxe4) 3.Rhh5 f2 and now White doubles his Rooks on the f-file with gain of tempo. 4.Rf6+ Ke7 5.Rhf5 Rg1+ 6.Ka2 d3. We will use the position now reached as a touchstone of the correctness of our thesis. We explained in its place that a maneuvering action is only possible if certain conditions are fulfilled. These were: (a) the presence of a pivot, (b) a diversity of threats which might be directed against the weakness. The test turns out in our favor. Although this time the weakness is an ideal one, with no concrete pawn weakness, the circumstances (favoring a maneuvering action) are identical with those which we have laid down as typical. The variety of threats leaves nothing to be desired, for White plans by their means not only to force the King to the edge of the board, but determines also to arrange, when opportunity serves, a pretty Kinghunt, which drives him into the middle of the board. The requisite pivot is the l-file (line of demarcation which the King cannot pass). The game proceeded 7.Re6+ Kd7 8.Rf7+ Kd8 9.Ref6 d2 (the border mating position now reached cannot be taken advantage of, for on 10.Rh7, comes 10...f1=Q, and as 10.Rh6 is not possible, he maneuvers further) 10.Rf8+ Ke7 11.R6f7+ Kd6 12.Bb3 Bb6? (perhaps 12...a6 would have been better as it gives the King an escape route to creep through) 13.Rf6+l! Now the Black King has to face the choice. He may return to the edge of

Nlmzowtiseh-Kalinsky, 1914

Nlmzowtiseh-Kalinsky, 1914

the board, where his position will now be untenable, or he must go out into the open, where fate in another form will overtake him. There followed 13...Ke5 (13...Ke7 ' 14.R8f7+ Kd8 15.Rh6 and wins) 14.Re6+! Kd4 15.Rxf2! di=Q 16.Bxd1 Rxd1 17.Re2! winning the pawn and the game.

♦ 3. Combined play on both wings, with weaknesses which though fcrthe moment are lacking are yet hidden.

Von Gottschall-Nimzowitsch, Hanover, 1926. (Diagram 173). A logical analysis of the position reveals the following data. White's pawn on c5 is, in view of the insecure position of the Bf2, to be regarded as a pawn weakness. On the other hand I cannot agree under any circumstances in branding the pawn mass g3, h3, as a "weakness," and this for the reason that here, on the Kingside, "terrain" is lacking. Black chose the following maneuver which at first sight looks most unintelligible. 39...Ke5 40.Rb4 Kd5. The explanation of this combination which sacrifices a tempo lies in the following: With these moves a position is reached where White is in Zugzwang, for if the Rook goes back to b6 (and he as no other plausible move, for 41 .Rd4+ fails against 41...Kxc5 42.Rxa4+? Rxf2+, etc., while 41 ,h4, as we will see. provides just that "terrain" which before was so sadly missed) 41 .h4 (on 41.Rb6 IW 42.gxh4 gxh4 43.Bxh4 comes the intermezzo 43...Kxc5 threatening the Rook) 41...gxh4 42.gxh4 Rh3! 43.Rd4+ Ke6 44.Rd8 Bd5 and now Black began systematically to maneuver against the h4 pawn, with the square g4 as his pivoi, and in fact by way of this point succeeded in breaking into his opponent's game.

The meaning of the strategy employed here appears Out of the following scheme which is applicable to all analogous cases. We maneuvered first against the obvious weakness, the c5 pawn. By means of Zugzwang (with a slight mixture of threats) we succeeded in inducing our opponent to make a deployment (moving the pawn to h4). This, however, led to a weakness, which before h4 was played was merely latent, but afterwards became manifest and easily assailable. To recapitulate: Play on two wings is usually based on the following idea. We engage one wing, or the obvious weaknesses in it, and thus draw the other enemy wing out of its reserve, when new weaknesses will be created on that reserve wing, and so the signal is given for systematic maneuvering against two weaknesses, as in the game Dr. Kalaschnikow-Nimzowitsch which was given above.


v. Gottschali-Nimzowitsch Hanover, 1926 Combined attack on both wings. The White weaknesses are the c-pewn, and as becomes


v. Gottschali-Nimzowitsch Hanover, 1926 Combined attack on both wings. The White weaknesses are the c-pewn, and as becomes

This is the rule. As an interesting exception to the rule, I may call attention to the case where>we may act as though the exposure of the weakness on the other wing had already taken place.

The following is an example of such an exposure. Von Holzhausen-Nimzowitsch, Hanover, 1926.

(Diagram 174). Black here hastened to bring about the exposure and played 32...Rh6. True, the real fight was on the Queenside ( b5), but I knew that after I had succeeded in opening up the game with ...b5 the advanced position of White's Kingside pawns could only serve my ends. There followed: 33.h3 Rg6 34.Re2 a6 35.Rf4 b5 36.b3 Rg5 37.g4 Rge5 38.Kc3 a5! (the weakness h3 along with the chance of getting the e4 pawn unblocked made Black decisive in his demand for "terrain" with the pivot to go with it. It was for this that Black was fighting with his last moves) 39.Ref2 a4 (threatening 40...axb3 followed by ...bxc4 followed by an invasion by the Rooks via the now opened Queenside files) 40.bxa4 bxc4! 41.Rf8 R5e7 42.Rxe8 Rxe8 43.Nxc4 Nxc4 44.Kxc4 Ra8 (the desired terrain is now won; it consists of the a, b, and d-files. The pivot will be the point d4) 4S.Rf7 (45.Kb3? Kd5!) 45...Rxa4+ 46.Kb3 (better was 46.Kc3) 46...Rb4+! 47.Kc3 Rb7 48.Rf5 Ra7 49.Kc4 Ra4+ 50.Kb3 Rd4 (the pivot!) 51.Re5 Kd6 52.Re8 Rd3+ 53.Kc4 Rxh3 (the proper use made of the "terrain" has not failed to yield fruit, as the "weakness" has fallen) 54.Rxe4 Ra3 55.Re2 Ra4+ 56.Kb5 Rxg4 57.a4 Rb4+ and Black won on the 71st move.

In Diagram 175 an elegant mating threat is used merely as an instrument to carry out with gain of tempo a weakening attack on the enemy's Queenside. 31...Ne6 (threatening 32...Rxh2+ 33.Nxh2 Rxh2+ 34.Kxh2 Qf2+ 35.Kh3 Bf4! and wins) 32.Re2 (parries the threat, but now there follows a gain of tempo) 32...Nd4 33.Reel (if 33.Rf2 Be3!) 33...Qb7! (now 34...Rc8 can be warded off only by a sacrifice) 34.Rxd4 (34.c3 bxc3 35.bxc3 Qb2+ and wins) 34...exd4 and Black won after a hard struggle. (See game No. 40)

We will now give two endgames which illustrate in miniature the combined attack on two wings. As the position in Diagram 176 shows, Black (Nimzowitsch) has first made a gesture as if he were going to attack the Queenside, but then has chosen

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