1. Joined
    15 Dec '20
    Moves
    11
    24 Jan '22 16:44
    A recently concluded Red Hot Pawn game (https://www.redhotpawn.com/chess/chess-game-history.php?gameid=14670896) between aukermdr (1871) and flea12 (1312) reached the following position after 15. a2-a4.



    This seems a good time for Black to formulate a middlegame plan. Focusing on the pawn structure,



    Black might first look for where that player has one of the following:

    * A pawn majority
    * A half-open file
    * A space advantage.

    Black not only lacks a pawn majority but is down a pawn.

    With regard to half-open files, Black has two: the a- and b-files. Black also has a space advantage on each file:

    * on the a-file, four squares up to the first pawn, compared to White's three squares up to the first pawn;
    * on the b-file, five squares up to the first pawn, compared to White's two squares up to the first pawn.

    However, so long as each of those pawns is protected by a pawn, attacking them with pieces is futile.

    Can Black create pawn tension against this formation? The only pawn available for this is the c-pawn. Advancing it to c4 would result in the following pawn structure:



    Would the advance of Black's c-pawn tangibly weaken any of Black's pawns? Yes, Black's d-pawn, which sits on a half-open file. This would tend to contraindicate advancing the c-pawn.

    On the kingside, Black has a space advantage only on the h-file and has the same number of ranks of space as White on the other files. If Black were to play ...f5, this would bring about the following pawn structure:



    Would the advance of Black's f-pawn tangibly weaken any of Black's pawns? If Black's f-pawn were exchanged for White's e-pawn, this would result in the following pawn structure:



    The half-opening of the e-file exposes Black's e-pawn, but it's firmly held by Black's d-pawn.

    So, the pawn structure makes ...f5 reasonable. Let's see whether that remains true after all of the pieces are restored:



    If Black were to move the knight and then play ...f5, that pawn would then be supported by the d7-bishop and the f8-rook, and it would be attacked by White's e-pawn and queen (indirectly). Moreover, White doesn't seem to have a viable way to control the f5-square with another piece or pawn.

    If Black's knight were to now unblock the f-pawn, where should it move? Going to h5 would give the knight access to the f4-square, from which it would attack White's queen, pressure g2, and possibly help create tactics along the f-file and a8/h1 diagonal. If White played g3... to keep the knight out of f4, this would weaken the light squares near White's king (which is particularly concerning because only Black has retained a light-square bishop).

    Black indeed played 15...Nh5, reaching the position depicted below.



    One drawback of 15...Nh5 is that it leaves the d7-bishop unprotected, which White might try to exploit by 16. Nxe5. (For one continuation, see the following chess movie.)



    Rather than enter these complications, White played 16. Nd5, which controls the f4-square and attacks the e7-bishop. (See next diagram.)



    Of the various ways to meet the threat to the e7-bishop, two of them strike me as instinctively bad: ...Re8 because it withdraws the rook from the file that Black plans to open, and ...Bf6 because it blocks the pawn of that file.

    Perhaps ...Bd8 should seem instinctively bad because it blocks communication along the back rank. But this isn't as significant as it might first appear. Black probably doesn't want to withdraw both major pieces from the queenside, because this might permit White's passed a-pawn to advance. And Black's queen could reach the kingside using diagonals (provided that the d7-bishop gives way). (See next diagram for the position after 16...Bd8.)



    It seems that White could no longer prevent 17...f5, which would give Black counterplay.

    (A list of the threads I've initiated at this forum is available at http://www.davidlevinchess.com/chess/RHP_my_threads.htm .)
  2. Subscribermchill
    Cryptic
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    25 Jan '22 18:033 edits
    @fmdavidhlevin said
    A recently concluded Red Hot Pawn game (https://www.redhotpawn.com/chess/chess-game-history.php?gameid=14670896) between aukermdr (1871) and flea12 (1312) reached the following position after 15. a2-a4.

    [fen]5rk1/rqpbbpp1/3p1n1p/4p3/P3P3/1PNQ1N2/1BP2PPP/R4RK1 b - - - -[/fen]

    This seems a good time for Black to formulate a middlegame plan. Focusing on the pawn stru ...[text shortened]... initiated at this forum is available at http://www.davidlevinchess.com/chess/RHP_my_threads.htm .)
    It seems that White could no longer prevent 17...f5, which would give Black counterplay.


    Perhaps I'm oversimplifying, but this counterplay comes with a cost. Blacks dark squared bishop is in such passive square on the back rank, as to be almost useless, at least in the short term. Have you considered playing 16...Bf6 after 17. Bxf6 Nxf6 followed by ...Bc6 hitting whites e pawn. This may not result in the desired ...f5 move, but places blacks kingside knight on a more active square, and ties at least some of white's pieces down defending the e pawn.
  3. Joined
    18 Jan '07
    Moves
    10840
    25 Jan '22 20:15
    @mchill said
    Perhaps I'm oversimplifying, but this counterplay comes with a cost. Blacks dark squared bishop is in such passive square on the back rank, as to be almost useless, at least in the short term. Have you considered playing 16...Bf6 after 17. Bxf6 Nxf6 followed by ...Bc6 hitting whites e pawn.
    But why would white swap his decent knight for black's somewhat awkward bishop? It would perhaps be more useful to reposition his pieces for a pawn advance on the queenside.
  4. Joined
    15 Dec '20
    Moves
    11
    25 Jan '22 21:031 edit
    (Italics designate excerpts from mchill's reply.)

    Perhaps I'm oversimplifying, but this counterplay comes with a cost. Blacks dark squared bishop is in such passive square on the back rank, as to be almost useless, at least in the short term.

    It's true that black's dark-square bishop is passive where it is now. But Black's f8-rook will become active after ...f5, and as I noted, Black's queen can maneuver to the kingside if time allows. That strikes me as a better deal for Black than a passive rook, a bishop on f6, and no clear plan.

    Have you considered playing 16...Bf6 after 17. Bxf6 Nxf6 followed by ...Bc6 hitting whites e pawn.

    As Shallow Blue notes, the immediate exchange at f6 seems to help only Black, but to further the discussion I'll grant that White plays it.

    This may not result in the desired ...f5 move, but places blacks kingside knight on a more active square, and ties at least some of white's pieces down defending the e pawn.

    Suppose play unfolds as shown below.


    In the position reached in the above chess movie, White has the idea of f4... to open the a1/h8 diagonal and f-file against Black's knight and kingside in general.

    Having placed his knight and bishop on "active" squares, Black seems to be groping for an effective continuation. Logical seems to counter in the center by 19...d5, but it doesn't seem to work. (See next chess movie for a continuation.)



    A middlegame plan that's supported by the pawn structure tends to provide sustained play because there are ample useful squares for pieces against a persistent target. (Edited to add last four words and to correct analysis in the bottom diagram.)
  5. Joined
    15 Dec '20
    Moves
    11
    26 Jan '22 02:11
    @fmdavidhlevin said

    Suppose play unfolds as shown below.
    [pgn][fen "5rk1/rqpbbpp1/3p3p/4p2n/P3P3/1PNQ1N2/1BP2PPP/R4RK1 w - - - -"]16. Nd5 Bf6 17. Nxf6 Nxf6 18. Nd2 Bc6 19. Rae1 [/pgn]

    In the position reached in the above chess movie, White has the idea of f4... to open the a1/h8 diagonal and f-file against Black's knight and kingside in general.

    Having placed his knight and bishop on "active" squares, Black seems to be groping for an effective continuation.
    19...Nh5, intending 20...f5 seems at least as good here as it would have been after 16. Nd5 Bd8. But that mainly shows how 17. Nxf6+ facilitated Black's regrouping.
  6. R
    Standard memberRemoved
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    26 Jan '22 06:00

    Removed by poster

  7. e4
    Joined
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    26 Jan '22 16:23
    Hi David.

    Whilst passing had a quick look.

    A quick tip. you can link to any game on RHP with with Game 14670896
    [gid] then the game number with no spaces and [/gid].

    Interesting post but at this level, without being unkind the two move trick rules.
    I was only into the opening when the tricks appeared and the pawn was lost..




    But that was not the question.


    Black is a passed pawn down and does need counter play but first take the two moves tricks off the board. 15...Be6 now Nxe5 shots are no longer on and d5 has extra cover.

    Also an annoying move for White because what does he do?
    Black now has Nh5 - f4 and f5 ideas to cloud the issue.

    In the variation with the Bh3 idea. White can handle that one better.



    Here, from the actual game.


    Just becase b3 was played he was not forced to play 14.Bb2.
    14.Be3 centralises the Bishop, gains a tempo and helps the a-pawn on it's way.
  8. Joined
    15 Dec '20
    Moves
    11
    26 Jan '22 23:30
    Hi Geoff,
    I appreciate your input. I was unaware of the "gid" tag but will be using it henceforth.

    After 15...Nh5 16. Nxe5 Nf4 17. Qd1 Bh3, your suggested 18. Nd5 is a shot that I hadn't considered. One point is that 18...dxe5 fails as depicted in the following chess movie.


    18...Bxg2 is interesting, although that doesn't seem to avail Black either. (See the below chess movie.)


    So, it does seem that 15...Nh5 needs preparation, such as by your suggested 15...Be6. Perhaps then 16. Rad1 Nh5 17. Bc1, putting the bishop on what you'd noted was a more functional diagonal.

    (Incidentally, thanks to those who have replied on this thread. Your questions and comments help me explain the material I've posted and hopefully increase its value to the reader.)
  9. e4
    Joined
    06 May '08
    Moves
    41637
    27 Jan '22 10:15
    Hi David,

    That position after dxe5 was the kind of thing I was wanting to avoid.
    I had Black defending the e7 Bishop instead. The position after Qxe4
    is where all the two move tricks kick in. It appears defendable but on
    here these type of attacks crash through. I know, I have won more than
    just a few with a dodgy attack that needed a blunder, first to attack wins on
    RHP in about 80% of the cases.
  10. Joined
    15 Dec '20
    Moves
    11
    28 Jan '22 04:25
    @greenpawn34 said
    Hi David,

    That position after dxe5 was the kind of thing I was wanting to avoid.
    I had Black defending the e7 Bishop instead. The position after Qxe4
    is where all the two move tricks kick in. It appears defendable but on
    here these type of attacks crash through. I know, I have won more than
    just a few with a dodgy attack that needed a blunder, first to attack wins on
    RHP in about 80% of the cases.
    Hi Geoff,
    I think that if I had enough time left on the clock to work it out, I might have played 16. Nxe5 (in response to 15...Nh5) despite its complexity, because it would have given me a position that I'd be absolutely confident of being able to win. On other 16th moves, I wouldn't be sure of bringing home the point.
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