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- Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership - 20/41 -


II. (1) P-d4 Kt-f6 (2) Kt-f3

The advance P-c4, which, as explained, is customary in Queen's Pawn openings, serves its original purpose only if Black has a Pawn on d5 so that White can open the c-file. Therefore, it is better for White to wait until Black shows what intentions he has with his Queen's Pawn.

(2) ... P-d6 (3) Kt-c3

Black's last move clearly indicates that he intends playing P-e5 and not P-d5, and so White has no reason to expect that he will be able to open the c-file for his Rooks. Consequently there is no objection to his developing the Queen's Knight to c3, blocking the c-Pawn.

(3) ... Ktb8-d7 (4) B-f4

This prevents P-e5 for the time being, and Black has to make rather complicated preparations, such as P-c6 and Q-c7 before he can advance the King's Pawn two squares. In other words, White completes his development more quickly than Black and he has consequently the better winning chances, provided, of course, he knows how to maintain his advantage in the middle game and in the end game.

THE MIDDLE GAME

It is not possible to draw a distinct dividing line between the two stages of the game which are called the OPENING and the MIDDLE GAME. Strictly speaking the opening comprises only such moves as are NECESSARY for the development of the pieces, and any move which a player--without being compelled--makes with a piece that is already developed, ought to be regarded as a Middle-game move. To give an example: If after (1) P-e4, P-e5; (2) Kt-f3, Kt- c6; (3) Kt-c3, Kt-f6; (4) B-b5 Black plays Kt-d4, he deviates from the Opening and embarks on a Middle-game maneuver; for the Queen's Knight was already developed.

This does not mean that it is bad under all circumstances to make a Middle-game move during the opening stage of a game. But only such moves should be considered in cases of this kind as a player is fairly sure to make at any rate within the further course of the game with a view to increasing the mobility of the piece in question.

This is the main point. A second move made with a piece must improve its position, otherwise, common sense tells us, it is surely bad. For instance: After (1) P-e4, P-e5; (2) Kt-f3, Kt-c6; (3) B-b5, Kt-f6; (4) o-o, B-e7 there is no objection to White's playing (5) R-e1 as the Rook will very likely want to get into action in the e-file in any case, as soon as the development has progressed with P-d4, Kt-c3, B-g5, etc.

But if in an opening like (1) P-e4, P-e5; (2) Kt-f3, Kt-c6; (3) B-c4, Kt-f6 White plays (4) Kt-g5 for instance, or (4) B-d5, it is evident that he merely wastes time, for in the first case he places the Knight on a square from which he is sure to be driven away again as soon as the direct attack involved in his move has been warded off, and in the second case he moves the Bishop to a square which does not afford him any more mobility than the one on which he stood before.

As a rule only Rooks or Knights are in a position, during the opening, to add to their mobility by a second move; the Rooks by occupying a file which is liable to be opened by an exchange of Pawns, and the Knights by occupying a square in the center of the board.

The Knights are really more often under the necessity of making several moves in succession than any other piece, because they can never pass over more than one line at a time, and they may be required to hasten from one wing of the board to the other just as often as the other pieces. This is the reason why the most favorable spot for a Knight is a square in the center of the board; there he is always ready for an excursion to either wing.

The establishment of a Knight in the center can more readily be effected in Queen's Pawn openings than in King's Pawn openings. This will be evident from the following consideration:

In Queen's Pawn openings the squares e5 and e4 are the ones which are aimed at by the respective Knights. If the opponent exchanges the Knight with either his Queen's Knight or his King's Bishop, the Pawn which takes the place of the Knight in recapturing, gains control of two squares in the heart of the hostile camp. To illustrate this by a case which often occurs: If after (1) P-d4, P-d5; (2) Kt-f3, Kt-f6; (3) P-e3, P-c5; (4) B-d3, Kt-c6; (5) o-o, P-e6; (6) P-b3, B-d6; (7) B-b2, o-o; (8) Ktb1-d2, P-b6; (9) Kt-e5 Black plays Bxe5, White in retaking drives Black's King's Knight away depriving the King's wing of an important protection and also creating a weakness on d6, where White might be able at some later stage of the game to establish his Knight.

+---------------------------------------+ 8 | #R | | #B | #Q | | #R | #K | | |---------------------------------------| 7 | #P | | | | | #P | #P | #P | |---------------------------------------| 6 | | #P | #Kt| #B | #P | #Kt| | | |---------------------------------------| 5 | | | #P | #P | ^Kt| | | | |---------------------------------------| 4 | | | | ^P | | | | | |---------------------------------------| 3 | | ^P | | ^B | ^P | | | | |---------------------------------------| 2 | ^P | ^B | ^P | ^Kt| | ^P | ^P | ^P | |---------------------------------------| 1 | ^R | | | ^Q | | ^R | ^K | | +---------------------------------------+ a b c d e f g h

DIAGRAM 45.

Another advantage of the position for White is that he can get his King's Rook into play by P-f4 and R-f3-h3, while Black's Rook cannot get to f6 as long as White has his Pawn on e5.

In King's Pawn openings the situation is different. Here the squares d5 and d4 respectively are the aim of the Knights which normally are posted on c3 and c6. However, as long as the opposing King's Knight can exchange himself for the advancing Queen's Knight there is no advantage in occupying the center. The position of Diagram 46 is a typical example. If White plays Kt-d5 he loses practically a move, as after Ktxd5, Pxd5 he has in no way improved the mobility of his men while it is Black's turn to move. In addition, White, by transferring his Pawn to d5, gives up his Pawn-center and blocks a diagonal which his Bishop could use, while Black, in retreating with his Knight to e7, gains a move towards the efficient use of the Knight on the King's wing.

All the same, the advance of the Queen's Knight in the center is one of the most important maneuvers in King's Pawn openings when it is properly prepared, and its consequences need thorough discussion.

The proper preparation consists in first fixing the object at which the Knight aims. This--from White's, the attacker's point of view--is the Knight f6. The developing move B-g5 serves this purpose in the most natural way, and a position arises similar to the one shown in Diagram 43 where Black prevented any further accumulation of white forces on f6 by B-e6. In the present case this move is of doubtful value as White, by P-d4, can force Black to give up his center-Pawn.

+---------------------------------------+ 8 | #R | | #B | #Q | | #R | #K | | |---------------------------------------| 7 | #P | #P | #P | | | #P | #P | #P | |---------------------------------------| 6 | | | #Kt| #P | | #Kt| | | |---------------------------------------| 5 | | ^B | | | #P | | | | |---------------------------------------| 4 | | #B | | | ^P | | | | |---------------------------------------| 3 | | | ^Kt| ^P | | ^Kt| | | |---------------------------------------| 2 | ^P | ^P | ^P | | | ^P | ^P | ^P | |---------------------------------------| 1 | ^R | | ^B | ^Q | | ^R | ^K | | +---------------------------------------+ a b c d e f g h

DIAGRAM 46.

If Black is ready to admit that Kt-d5 is a disagreeable threat he will either exchange the Knight for his Bishop b4 or he will play Kt-e7 in order to take White's Knight should he go to d5. Ordinarily Black plays first Bxc3 and then Kt-e7. The reason is that this maneuver enables Black to get his Queen's Knight over to the King's wing while White's Bishop b5 is rather out of action, so that Black has a good chance to enter the battle on the King's wing with one piece more than White. Of course, White can get his Bishop into play again by placing him on c4. But he has to spend a move in doing so, which does not add to the completion of the development.

In the position of Diagram 46 Black would not take any steps to prevent Kt-d5 unless a threat is involved in this move which cannot be counteracted by the most natural continuation, which is the development of the Bishop c8. Indeed, there seems to be no reason why Black should not answer (1) B-g5 with B-g4 and (2) Kt- d5 with Kt-d4; for the Knight f6, who after Kt-d5 is attacked twice, is defended twice, and there is no possibility for White to attack the Knight again. On the other hand, the attack on the Bishop b4 is balanced by the attack on the Bishop b5, and if White were to withdraw his Bishop to c4 Black could withdraw his to c5.

However, in the position resulting after these moves (Diagram 47)


Chess and Checkers: The Way to Mastership - 20/41

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