Friday, May 30, 2014

Positional Squeeze in the French Defence

When all your chess pieces are poised, while your opponents are not, look for the way to break through. Opposite castling almost always suggests pawn storms against each other's King. 

In this game, White is denied his own pawn storms, while black proceeds undeterred.

Egyptian_Assassin (1794) vs. briskwarlock (1703)
Let's Play! | | 17 May 2014 | 0-1

1. e4 e6 Again, my favorite: French! This opening had never been part of my repertoire until recently when I read some books on the French defence. It's ability to strike surreptitiously at the unsuspecting attacker is quite good.

2. d4 d5 3. exd5 exd5 4. Nf3 Nf6 5. Bd3 Be7 6. Be3 O-O 7. Nbd2 Bg4 8. c3 Nbd7 9. Qc2 c5 This c5-pawn counterstrike in the center is the secret of the French. That should be made the earliest possible time, or else, the position become a torture for black. The other breaking out move is f6, if the e5 White pawn were there. In this game, there is none. 

10. h3 Bh5 11. g4 Bg6 12. Bxg6 fxg6 I like this move. It frees my f8-Rook.

13. O-O-O c4 I also like this one. It limits White choices, while Black is getting ready for the pawn storm.

14. Ne5 Qc7 15. f4 b5 Here we go!

16. g5? The move is bad. It allows the Knight to gain the defensive h5-square for free. Once the Knight is there, White's chances for attack is greatly reduced. 

16... Nh5 17. Ndf3 a5 (17... Nxf4 was tempting, but as I said, I would not be tempted. My position is robust with the Knight at h5. )

18. Nxd7 Qxd7 19. Ne5 Qb7 In this square, the Queen also protects the d5-pawn.

20. Qd2 b4 20... Ng3 must be good, too. But I don't like removing my defensive knight at its h5 cozy perch! Instead, the pawn storm must proceed undeterred. It is not advisable to switch plan once it is already been decided, unless you have an obvious reason to do so.

21. Ng4 bxc3 22. Qxc3 Bb4 23. Qc2 c3 24. b3 a4 25. bxa4?? Clearly an error! But everything else also loses. Do not ask me why! The White position is just clearly bad. It's taxing to look into all of the variations, just follow your instinct. A naked King is always Weak.
25... Ba3+ The reward of Black energetic play. White is mated in the next move. So White resigns.

Play through the game here: