This is an analysis I have already posted once.
I re-post it, just for tomtom and greenpawn, corrected and with fens (about 30), which will make it much easier to read. It is somewhat long, but please take the time to read it! I would be very happy if you did so; and I think it can help beginners having troubles with positional thought or strategy.
“Recent threads claimed some positional analysis, which is one of my favourite issues. I was pretty much decided to do something good about this (with my modest capacities).
In the beginning, my idea was to write a few comments about one of my games, and to post it on Resigning soon topic (equalizing and taking advantage, something like this); but it soon took longer, and ends up with ten pages. So I think it is worth posting it on a new thread.
My hope is this analysis will help beginners to get an idea of what positional thinking mean. If it gives them a first sense of positions, maybe an “aesthetics” of positions, it will make me very happy. I tried to detail everything to the most simple argument.
This is also a way for me to advertise for the semi closed openings with white bishop fancietto, wonderful openings, full of possibilities, agressive king attacks and long positional games. In a recent article, the New York Times underlines that Catalan was strongly renewed recently, to the point that players are now trying countergambits... I recommend it then! It is quite complex, there are many different paths, at each step, to the point that the borders of “Catalan” opening are not clear… Whatever, here we won’t care so much about tactical lines; we will focus on the Catalan spirit. And as everyone knows, spirits easily cross borders.
The game I choose is interesting for getting slowly, in several decisive steps, a strong advantage, in a typical positional style. I think some of the positions look very beautiful, in a positional perspective. Chess Master counts only a few significant mistakes for each of us. So the game is rather clean. I would be interested to have Fritz rates on it, if someone has time to do that. I am myself a limited, young player, so be indulgent with my comments (do not hesitate to be critical!) The somewhat lyrical style is just for fun. Hope you’ll like it. When I claim something is wonderful, of course I do not mean the game is Master-like. Only try to make people appreciate positions.
I integrated shorbock precious comments. Many thanks to him. I also divided my thread in a few replies. Because one does not give enough space.
Here is the game.
1. d4 Ng8f6 2. c4 e6 3. g3
This situation defines the general strategy of the opening. g3 prepares Bg2; it therefore announces further work on the white diagonal, the famous h1 a8 diagonal; with at first sight, an attack on the queen side (but does not necessarily stick to it). Of course, black will prevent this, and try to set up a counter attack plan at the center, King's side or Queen’s side. Fancietto and attacks on the Queen's side often mean longer, more positional games.
Now, what do you play?
My opponent played : 3. ... Bf8b4+
Black brings his black bishop out. This is one possibility. Other possibilities are...
Let see some basic openings. This is the most boring part, you can skip it.
- the obvious d5.
This one, can be deduced from what I said earlier. This is the Catalan with d5, black does sth with the famous h1 a8 diagonal; this is the most common move.
You can go to Catalan when coming from declined Queen's Gambit, or Semi-slave and slave openings; or even from the English.
These transpositions are very interesting. They mean that when you play d4, you have pretty good chance to come back to Catalan, if you want.
Sometimes though, this leaves the opportunity to your opponent to play the Dutch (f5) since he did not play Nf6. But usually this does not happens.
So very good, you can play Catalan all the time.
If he chooses the d5 path, Black will soon or late have to do a strategic choice.
- Will he take the c4 pawn and accept the Catalan's Gambit? we would go on an open Catalan then: black has one pawn, but this imply some delay in development, and creates weaknesses: Black gives up the center, and White can possibly play e4, e5 for instance. It opens the famous diagonal, and White’s nice white bishop will hit b7 and Ra8.
- or Black does not accept the Gambit, and the threat is he slowly dies from within, because at a certain point, he cannot make any move.
- c5 is more counter intuitive! (doesn’t mean bad!)
Why? Because black cannot anymore play c6. And c6 is part of the famous diagonal. So when doing this, Black just calls for white bishop to attack his/her Queen's side.
So why c5? (which is normal, correct, very much played move) It attacks d4. and then, it forces White to make choices.
either White pushes d4 -many players do - but this makes me sad because it kills my famous diagonal (at least temporarily). Or White plays Nf3, and after cxd4 Nxd4 (anti-Benoni variation) we have something very open. and very good for my bishop. usually, after c5 white will soon play d5 to try to fill in the holes he is doing in his/her Queen's side.
and then black will have the same choice ( as for closed and open Catalan); but white can create an IQP (isolated queen pawn), right on the famous diagonal. the perfect target...
- And other moves are not very active, except Bb4.
Let’s back to Bb4.
What is the idea of Bb4+ ? it looks weird ! Obviously, first idea, it fastens development: you get out one piece and at the same time check my King.
But is that all? because I will just get one piece out to protect my king, and then I just develop myself also! So what's the point? what advantage do Black get from that move??
Let us be more precise.
you force me (since I do not want to move my king) to put a piece ... in d2. very intelligent! Now I can see! two reasons. 1. a piece in d2 is not very well developed; I will probably have to move it once more before it is really efficient. 2. if it is in d2, then d4 is not anymore protected by my queen; and when game will open, I will have to be careful about d4 pawn (a bit, only).
So Bb4 is a very good move too. this is what Black plays.
Bogo Indian, according to shorbock.