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Donnelly,M - Booth,S E62

Coventry League, 1997

In Chessbase Magazine 86, Peter Wells discusses the link between the centre and space. He makes a number of interesting points in this article. Firstly, the player who has a space advatage such as arising from the broad pawn centre c4, d4 and e4 has an obligation to play for the advantage. This can be a heavy burden since a poorly timed advance can readily disipate the space advantage. Playing against this sort of set up is sometimes acceptable and sometimes not. The key difference centres around whether exchanges can be made to ease a cramped postion and importantly whether the remaining pieces can occupy any squares the opponent leaves in advancing his centre pawns. It struck me this is the key idea of the whole Kings Indian Opening. Certainly black is cramped but he often gets a very playable game by the means just described. This clash of ideas can lead to tense and difficult games which I guess is why top players like Kasparov favour this opening. Timing is key to implimenting these ideas and how this works in practise is shown in the following game.
1.Nf3 Nf6 2.g3 g6 3.Bg2 Bg7 4.0-0 0-0 5.c4 d6 6.d4
The symmetry of the first few moves is now broken and play transposes to the fianchetto variation of the Kings Indian rather than the English if black had played c5.

6...c6 7.Nc3 Na6
A fairly common alternative to 9...Qa5 according to databases but one which is not covered much in opening theory books.

8.h3 e5 9.e4 Qb6 10.Re1 exd4 11.Nxd4 Re8 when black has given up the centre, is at present confined to the last three ranks, but has an acceptable game since the pieces have scope for occupying squares such as c5 and e5 as is normal for a good black KID position.

8...e5 9.dxe5 (9.h3 Qb6 10.dxe5 dxe5 11.Qe2 Nc5 12.Be3 Qa5 is equal according to McNab.) 9...dxe5 10.Nxe5 Be6 11.Qe2 Qd4 with a complex game Huebner-Shirov, Klooster Tm 1997.

9.Bg5 Nb6 10.b3 h6 11.Be3 Kh7 12.Rc1 Nc7 13.d5 too early I think since the centre is now blocked, play moves to the wings, and after 13...c5 14.h3 Nd7 15.Nh4 b5 black has good play (Jiretom-Buervenich, EUR Womens Ch 2001).

9...e5 9...Re8 10.Qd2 c5 11.d5 Nb6 12.b3 Bg4 13.h3 Bd7 14.Rac1 Qc7 15.Nh4 e5 16.dxe6 fxe6 17.Rfd1 Bf8 18.Bf4 e5 19.Be3 Be6 and following the same policy as the last note black has a position with fair prospects (Blalock-Figueiras, Troll Masters 2000).

10.Qd210.Rc1 seems less flexible since after 10...c5 black has a reasonable position and can meet d5 with a latter f5. Instead after 11.dxe5 Nxe5 12.Bf4 Nxc4 13.Qe2 Ne5 14.Rfd1 Qf6 15.Bxe5 dxe5 16.Nb5 Be6 white has little to show for the pawn: Vadaszi-Loskam, Dortmund Open 1988.

10...exd4 11.Nxd4 Ne5 12.b3 Re8
12...Nc5 also looks reasonable for black with play resembling the lines where black plays Nbd7 and cxd4.

13.Rad1 Qe7
13...Ng4 14.Bf4 begins to put pressure on d6 although tactics could commence with the sacrifice 14...Qa5 15.Bxd6

14.f314.Nde2 Bf8 15.f4 Ng4 16.Bd4 Nc7 is playable(whilst 16...Nc5 17.h3 Nf6 18.Bxc5 dxc5 19.e5 Nd7 20.Ne4 is better for white.)

14...Nc5 15.h3
Further protecting g4 so that f4 now becomes a threat. Instead 15.Nde2 Bf8 16.Bxc5 dxc5 17.f4 Nd7 18.e5 f6 attacking e5 before a bind is established.

A critical loss of time. Essential was 15...a5 establishing control over b4 and allowing the knight to occupy that square without fearing a3.

16.f4 Ned3
16...Ned7 17.Nde2 Bf8 18.b4 with advantage.

17.Qe2 Nb4 18.a3 Nba6 19.b4 Ne6 20.Rfe1
Further consolidating the space advantage and with placing the rook opposite the queen adds force to the threat of f5.

Note that black has not established squares for his pieces and is beginnig to feel the lack of space.

21.Qc2 Ne8
21...Nxd4 was the last chance exchanging pieces to gain some room although black has to accept black square weaknesses and a weak d6 pawn. 22.Bxd4 Bxd4+ 23.Rxd4 Be6 24.Red1

22.Bf2 Nf6 23.Nf3 Nh5 24.Ne2
Taking d4 away from black and overprotecting g3.


Now black is in real trouble and time pressure was looming.

25...Nf8 26.g4 Nf6 27.Bg3 Qe7 28.Nf4
Threat g5 and f6.

28...Ne8 29.Nd3
Controlling e5 and threatening c5 or e5 as appropriate.

29...Nd7 30.Qb3Adding to the threats with potential pressure on f7.

30...Ne5 31.Ndxe5 dxe5 32.Rxd8 Qxd8 33.c5 with threats of g5and f6, Qc3 winning e5 and Rd1.

31.exf5 Qf6
31...Qf8 32.g5 is winning.(32.Bh4 Bf6 33.g5 Bh8 34.Nf4 is also very good for white.)

Simply winning a piece.

32...Qc3 33.Qxc3 Bxc3 34.Bxd8 Bxe1 35.Rxe1 1-0

Donnelly,M - Hall,M E49

Coventry League, 2002

Strategy against hanging pawns. Hanging pawns are a common feature of many openings and middle-game positions. This type of pawn structure is characterised by two pawns being on adjacent files and not supported by other pawns. They have benefits and disadvantages. For example, they can control key central squares and often can advance and push back the opposing forces. Sometimes this leads to the creation of a powerful passed pawn which is difficult to contain. However, if the hanging pawns are put under pressure, importantly as soon as they appear on the board and before pieces can be used to support them, then difficulties might arise. Either the pawn under attack can be won or forced to advance when both pawns become weaker. The advance of one pawn usually creates weak squares in front of the pawn which can be used by the opposing pieces in much the same way as that occuring for an isolated d-pawn. Occasionally, however, the advance of one pawn serves to fix the opponents pawn on the adjacent rank and allow it to be attacked instead. So postions featuring hanging pawns often need careful consideration. The following game illustrates the ideas used in the situation of playing against hanging pawns.

1.d4 d5 2.c4 e6 3.Nc3 Bb4 4.a3
Instead of this I played 4.Nf3 ,answered by 4...Nc6 ,the last time I played this opponent (Coventry League 2001).

4...Bxc3+ 5.bxc3 Nf6 6.e3 0-0 7.Bd3 Nbd7 8.Ne2
8.cxd5 exd5 9.Ne2 with a transposition to the Samisch variation of the Nimzo-indian opening. 9...Re8 10.0-0 Nf8 11.f3 c5 12.Ng3 Euwe-Steiner Groningen 1946.

An interesting attempt to change the character of the play that normally arises from this pawn structure (where white usually aims for e4 as in the last note).

9.c5 Nbd7
Not 9...Nc4 10.Bxc4 dxc4 11.Qa4 Qd5 when 12.Nf4 nets the pawn on c4.

10.c4 c6
10...e5 is too early since after 11.cxd5 Nxd5 12.Qc2 the opening up of the position suits the white bishop pair.

11.Bb2 b6 12.cxd5 exd5
12...cxd5 is too risky as after 13.c6 Nb8 14.Rc1 Qc7 15.Qa4 white has a freer position and pressure even if the c6 pawn falls.

13.Rc1 allows too many exchanges after 13...bxc5 14.dxc5 Qa5+ 15.Qd2 Qxd2+ 16.Kxd2 Rb8 17.Bxf6 Nxf6 18.Nd4 Bd7 and although white is a shade better black should be able to hold the ending without too many problems.

13...axb6 14.0-0 c5 15.dxc5 bxc5
So by a complex series of pawn structure transformations we have now arrived at the position where black has hanging pawns.

Immediately attacking the pawn on d5.

16...Bb7 17.a4 17.Bf5 increases the pressure by attacking pieces supporting the hangning pawns.

Played after some thought the idea being to threaten c5 and h7 whilst allowing the white rooks to come to the centre. 17.a4 Be6 18.a5 Nbd7 19.Bc3 was another approach but I felt black could play Ra7 and Qa8 with a reasonable position.; Also 17.Qf3 Bb7 (Not 17...Bg4 18.Bxf6 winning a piece.) 18.Nh5 Nxh5 19.Qxh5 g6 20.Qe5 f6 21.Qe6+ Rf7 was not clearly better for white.

17...c4 So black has been forced to advance one of the pawns when both are now more vunerable due to their reduced flexibility in options. In adddition white has the good square on d4 for his pieces and can also blockade the c-pawn using the c3 square.

White cannot snatch the h7 pawn since 18.Bxf6 Qxf6 19.Bxh7+ Kh8 gives good play due to the threats of g6 and d4.

18...Qe7 19.Rfd1
19.Bd4 Ra6 20.Bxh7+ Nxh7 21.Bxb6 Rxb6 22.Nxd5 Qd6 23.Nxb6 Qxb6=

19...Be6 20.a4
Further intensifying the pressure due to the possible plan of a5, Bc3, Rd4 and Rad1. So, 20.Bxf6 Qxf6 21.Bxh7+ Kh8 22.a4 Ra5 again with compensation for the pawn.

20...Bxf5 21.Qxf5 Rxa4
21...Nxa4 was better but black was getting very short of time (the first time control was on move 30) which often occurs when under pressure. 22.Bxf6 Qxf6 23.Qxf6 gxf6 24.Nxd5 Nb2 25.Rdb1 Nd3 26.Kf1 Rxa1 27.Rxa1 Rb8 28.Nxf6+ Kg7 29.Ne4 Rb2 and although a pawn down black has some hope due to his active pieces.

22.Bxf6 Qxf6 23.Qxf6 gxf6 24.Rxa4
24.Nxd5 is a blunder due to 24...Rxa1 25.Nxf6+ Kg7 26.Nh5+ Kh6 winning.

24...Nxa4 25.Nxd5 Kg7 26.Kf1 Rc8 27.Rc1 Rc5
If 27...c3 28.Ke2 Rc5 29.Nf4 Kf8 30.Kd3 Ke7 31.Ne2 with a clear advantage.

28.Nc3 Nb6
28...Nxc3 29.Rxc3 f5 30.Ke2 Kf6 31.Kd2 Ke5 32.Ra3 f4 33.exf4+ Kxf4 34.Rf3+ Kg5 35.Rxf7 Kg6 36.Rf4 when the c-pawn is also in trouble.

29.Rb1 Rc6 30.Ke2 Kf8
Now in the play finish stage of the game black was desparately short of time now.

With the idea of Kc2, Ne4 and Nd2/Rb4 rounding up the c-pawn.Also setting a simple trap into which black falls headlong.

31...Ke7 32.Rxb6 Rxb6 33.Nd5+ Kd6 34.Nxb6 Kc5
A slim hope is the idea of promoting the pawn but white just has to be careful to gain the full point.

35.Nd7+ Kb4 36.Nxf6 Kb3 37.Nd5 Kb2 38.e4 f6 39.f4
With e5 to follow hence black resigned.


 update 26-08-2002