1. Joined
    15 Dec '20
    09 May '22 16:10
    Here is another tournament game I played as a youngster and at several points did not find the best continuation. I was rated 1270 USCF and was White against Peter Szidar in the Edison (New Jersey, USA) First Sunday of the Month Quad on 7 April 1974 (the event where I played the game discussed in Part II). I didn't record Black's rating, but it was probably around 1300, being that we were in the same quad.

    The following position was reached after 12...Nf6-e8.

    White's e5-knight is apparently attacked twice: by the d7-knight and the g7-bishop. But ...Nxe5 would permit Rxd8..., winning the exchange. Therefore, the g7-bishop is the only genuine attacker of the e5-square. Does White have available a move that not only protects the knight but would be desirable anyway?

    Yes, 13. Bf4, which develops while protecting the knight. The threat would be 14. Nxc6 bxc6 15. Bxc6, and White will emerge up the exchange.

    The attempt to divert the bishop by 13...g5 would be met by 14. Bxg5 (attacking the rook) 14...f6 15. Nxd7, with two pawns to the good after 15...fxg5 16. Nc5 or 15...Bxd7 16. Be3.

    White actually played 13. Nxd7, which was a mistake because the pin on the d7-knight was severely impeding the development of Black's queenside. Black's reply 13...Bxd7 brought about the following position.

    Does Black have a threat? Let's look for an undefended White unit. White's c-pawn qualifies, and if Black attacked it by 14...Be6, the reply 15. b3 would forfeit the ability to recapture after ...Bxc3. The c-pawn could evade capture by advancing to c5, but there the pawn would not be immune to further attack (such as by ...Bd4). Moreover, playing c5... would prevent White's attacking the a-pawn along the a7/g1 diagonal and would weaken White's control of b5 and d5.

    The vulnerability of White's c-pawn is largely due to the pressure that the g7-bishop exerts on the long diagonal. Does White have a way to prompt Black to block that diagonal? Yes, by playing 14. Bg5, attacking the rook. Being that moving the rook would abandon the d7-bishop, Black would have to place a unit at f6.

    A. 14...Nf6 would lose material after 15. Ne4 Nxe4 (There's no way to protect the knight a second time.) 16. Bxd8.

    B. 14...Bf6 15. Bxf6 Nxf6 16. Rd6 Be6 17. Rad1 Rxd6 18. Rxd6, and White's veiled attack on the knight will provide time to protect the c-pawn by b3...

    C. 14...f6 15. Be3 Be6 (Intending to meet 16. Rxd8 Rxd8 17. Bxa7 by 17...Rd2 18. b3 f5 19. Rc1 Bxc3 (To restore material equality, at the cost of ceding the two bishops.) 20. Rxc3 Rxa2, hitting a7 and e2.) 16. b3 f5 (Having to move this pawn expended two tempi, whereas White expended only one extra tempo by playing his bishop to g5 and back to e3.) 17. Rxd8 (White must give up this file in order to protect the knight, but he is nonetheless a solid pawn up.) 17...Rxd8 18. Rc1 (Intending Na4... and Nc5..., and possibly Nd3... to shield White's first two ranks from Black's rook.).

    White actually played 14. Be3, to which Black should have responded 14...Be6, with Black's saving a tempo in comparison to the 14. Bg5 f6 line, as illustrated by 14. Be3 Be6 15. Rxd8 Rxd8 16. Bxa7 Rd2 (when protecting the c-pawn by 17. b3... would hang White's knight, and 17. Rd1 would lose a piece to 17...Bxc3 18. Rxd2 Bxd2). Black actually played 14...a6, protecting the a-pawn but fatally weakening the b6-square (as shown in the next chess movie).

    In the position reached above after 16...Rxd8,

    what should White's plan be? Formulating a plan usually involves first determining whether the pawn structure

    provides to the given side, any of the following:

    * a half-open file
    * a pawn majority
    * an uncontestable space advantage.

    Examining these in turn,

    * White does not possess a half-open file.
    * White has a kingside pawn majority.
    * White's space advantages on the c- and h-files can be offset by Black's moving his pawns on those files (not that Black should necessarily do so).

    This indicates that the pawn structure calls for White to prepare the advance of his kingside pawns.

    Returning to the actual position after 16...Rxd8,

    White should first decide how to deploy his rooks, one of which is still on its original square. Given the potential need to protect his c-pawn by playing b3... (as indicated by the above analysis), which would leave White's knight without protection, at least one of White's rooks should be placed where it controls the c3-square. This could be done by putting a rook on the c-file or on the third rank. A rook on the c-file would be inactive, being that White does not plan to open this file. This suggests the alternative of Rd3... followed by Rad1..., which might have unfolded as shown in the next chess movie.

    Returning to the position after 16...Rxd8,

    White played 17. Na4 in order to exploit the hole at b6. However, this maneuver doesn't accomplish much because it doesn't complement a strategic plan such as advancing White's pawn majority.

    The remainder of the game, which White eventually won despite his largely aimless play, is given in the next chess movie without notes.


    When I decided to write about the games against Pat Regan and Peter Szidar, I expected to cover both in a single article. I never imagined that the discussion would encompass four articles. I guess it shows that games played when one knew much less about chess can be instructive.

    (A list of the threads I've initiated at this forum is available at http://www.davidlevinchess.com/chess/RHP_my_threads.htm .)
  2. SubscriberRagwort
    Senecio Jacobaea
    04 Jul '09
    10 May '22 15:58

    Interesting article. I was wondering why you described the white play in the actual game after 17. Na4 as "largely aimless". I appreciate it is not as esoteric as the model line you give after Rd3 but when I played through the Na4 line I see white occupy the open d file, double rooks, and then agitate against the pieces that guard the potential entry points at d6 and d7. Black may have thought so too because he moved his King over to the centre to bolster defences, although Bxe5 opened the e file to his subsequent detriment. Was there analysis that showed the game continuation was worse than it looked, given that white is an exchange up at the start of both lines? Finally was the Rd3 line and strategy discovered in your original post game analysis in the 1970's or a reflection of how you might approach converting the position now?
  3. Joined
    15 Dec '20
    10 May '22 17:011 edit

    In saying that 17. Na4 was "largely aimless," I meant that it was impulsive in that I saw the hole at b6 and hastened to occupy it without my considering how White would make progress after the knight got there. I would agree that this maneuver in conjunction with doubling rooks on the d-file isn't necessarily unreasonable, but I have found that selecting a middlegame plan that's indicated by the pawn structure (such as advancing a pawn majority) provides a large margin for safety (in case you were to make an inaccurate move) and is unlikely to lead to a position where it's hard to make progress.

    Pretty much all of the analysis in this article was new. If I analyzed the game shortly after it was played, whatever insights I gained back then are lost to posterity.

    I probably should add that I don't mean my remarks about the games from that event as personal criticisms of me. After all, I was only 14 years old at the time and had been playing in tournaments for less than a year.

Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services or clicking I agree, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.I Agree