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  1. 06 Nov '07 02:00
    I am currently reading The Amateur's Mind (2nd ed.) by Jeremy Silman. I have found it quite helpful but, occasionally, the author makes a statement which he fails to explain or demonstrate to my satisfaction. Silman's text often shows games replayed from the same or similar initial position by students of several different ratings; and frequently points which are initially obscure become clarified through these example games, but in a few cases the author simply fails to develop the theme. Here are three of the most recent such exceptions:

    (1) pp. 222-223 After 1.c4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.Qc2 o-o 5.g3 b6 6.Bg2 Bb7 7.a3 Bxc3 8.Qxc3 d6 and some remarks by the student made to play White here, indicating his intent to play 9.d3, Silman writes: ". . .While it's alright to play an obviously useful move (like 9.d3), there is also a bit of laziness in the equation. White should really have at least a partial plan mapped out for himself. For example: White has the two bishops and would like to make them better than the knights. Since the dark-squared bishop is the one piece that Black does not have, White should try to make it as active as possible. Thus d3 (limiting the enemy knights) followed by b2-b4 and Bb2, placing the bishop on the fine long diagonal, would be a simple but effective strategy."

    However, on the next page (223) Silman notes that: (i) "A d3-d4 advance would give Black use of the e4 square and activate his knights"; (ii) "It should also be mentioned that Black won't hesitate to play an ...e6-e5 advance if White posts his bishop on the b2-h8 diagonal. True, it leaves a hole on d5. But can White actually use that hole? No, he can't. So, since this weakness is more illusion than reality, Black will be happy with ...e6-e5 since it blocks the a1-h8 diagonal and gains central territory."

    Given this, exactly how should White then deal with an e6-e5 advance in response to the recommended plan? Presumably White should be counting on this and prepare to open up the diagonal, but what are the details? I was thinking perhaps o-o, Nd2 (to cover e4), e3, d4 (with or without Qc2, Re1); and now would Black or White take? Does Black advance or take/be-taken? Meanwhile what is Black doing while White is planning all this? Is this too slow for White? Simply in error? If so, how does White deal with the blocked diagonal?

    I'll be posting other questions separately.