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, it will make me very happy.
I also think one of the greatest problem of analysis, in general, is that is does not explain things in details; it focuses too much on a few points, taking everything else for granted; and I can remember that was very boring, when I began chess. So here, 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 to Resigning soon!
The game I choose is pretty interesting for getting slowly and in various decisive steps a strong advantage, in a typical positional style. Chess Master counts only a few major mistakes for each of us. So the game is rather clean. I am myself a limited, young player, so be indulgent with my comments (but do not hesitate to be critical!) The somewhat lyrical style is just for fun. Hope you’ll like it.
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. I apologize for the previous, uncomplete version.
If someone could help me, I would like to insert a few fen in my tutorial at key points, but I don't know how to (when I paste from "getting pgn" it only gives me one position...)
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. Of course, black will prevent this, and try to set up a counter attack plan at the center or King's side. Fancietto and attacks on the Queen's side often mean longer, more positional games.
3. ... Bf8b4+
Black brings his black bishop out.
This is one possibility. Other possibilities are...
Let see some basic openings.
obvious one: 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 much more counter intuitive! Why? Because black cannot anymore play c6. and guess what: 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? 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...
- other moves are not very active, except Bb4.
What is the idea of Bb4+?? sounds weird too! Obviously, first idea, it fastens development: you get out one piece and at the same time check my King. but obviously, it is not a real threat, just a way to get time.
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 you I 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.
Why this ? there are at least two other possible moves at that time!
Here it's only a matter of taste. I think taste is very important in chess; and nevermind all tactical, logical necessities, you still have taste. here it's taste. Please have good taste; make up your taste, improve it, as much as you can; make it become a style. So that chess is not only intelligent, but becomes beautiful. All great chess players have specific styles no? very important.
so, what are the two other moves.
Cc3. this you can play, but you do not feel it. because after black c5, Qa4 and possibly Ne4, it makes a lot on your poor knight. and it is easy for black to play this. So you can play, it is not a mistake; but black have higher success rates with this.
the other move is: Nd2. This is as good as Bd2. But I feel more free with the Bishop e2, because whenever I feel bad I can exchange with Bb4. and also, I can develop my knight on c3, if necessary. But on the other side, I may loose a Bishop. Anyway, I do not like normal bishops. they are lazy. This black bishop, I know, in these situations, is usually a bit lazy. So I will keep the knights. I love them, they are like dancers, dancers of the famous diagonal, coming here and there, like nasty flies, and suddenly going deep inside the opponent structure.
4. ... Qd8e7
he/she could also have brought his Bb4 on e7. What?? bringing back stuff in the beginning? why wouldn't he/she rather play Be7? he is wasting his time!
No he is not. Because, as you know now, it is not exactly the same position: now I have a poor bishop on e2...
putting the Queen here is the other possibility. it defends the Bishop, and you cannot take it. it develops the Queen; and possibly prepares... for the long castle?
Whites set up his major piece. This piece he wants to honor with the fancietto ! White’s second king.
5. ... a5 !?
pretty unusual ... why not!! it seems that black would like to attack on queen side? I am not sure here, but probably not a good idea to exchange (he would probably take back with the pawn, opening the rook file, and having an annoying pawn in b4, preventing your knight to get out).
So let him to his own story. at least he has style! and I have no more book to help me... damn, how can I do without cheating?
Whites just develop naturally his pieces. One thing to know: the Nf3 in these situations, likes to go on e5, especially when the dxc4 gambit was accepted: from e5, he may be able to take back the pawn. Moreover, he may attack from e5 on c6 (part of the famous diagonal). This can be terrible, when in one move, white bishop and Nf3 attack c6, at the same time.
In some situations, Nf3 may prefer going to d2; with similar effects (attacking c4, opening the famous diagonal).
6. ... b6
Here, an immediate thought: look at the diagonal! We just talked about Ne5, why not now? this would attack Black rook on the famous diagonal. and put the knight in such a way that he cannot play Nc6 to protect his rook (because then, as I just said, my dancer knights will take it.)
well, I did not play it, because he could simplily play c6. and then he cannot put his knight in a very good place, but he prepares a correct d5.
So, this looks weird, but for the moment I just look.
This, again, is very important: take your time! It is a matter of elegance. Would you go on the meat when it's not even prepared? Just think inside yourself: hmm, nice, nice. Look lik...