Kindred’s Special: The Importance of King Pawn Openings

The ever popular Ruy Lopez is an excellent training tool for the serious student who wishes to improve. The King Pawn double opening 1. e4..e5 of course can result in a number of openings that range from positional struggles to fire and brimstone of gambit systems. Getting exposure to such variety and gaining practice will provide you ample opportunity to investigate not only your games played but working with friends or use of your home computer chess program.  Such analysis of positional middlegames and endgames that arise in the current example lend themselves to a fuller understanding of the opening mechanics of strategies to test and or employ.  Lets examine one of the possibilities from the game, Judit Polgar versus Michael Adams.

1. e4  e5  2. Nf3  Nc6  3. Bb5  a6  Probably the most popular choice for decades. In recent years the Berlin Defense 3….Nf6 has gained quite a reputation due to the world championship match in which Kramnik tied the hands of Kasparov who could not quite solve the intricate problems of avoiding drawish positions while feeling the stress of this complex defense system. It gained for Kramnik the world championship title.

4. Ba4  Another popular choice has seen through the years 4. Bxc6  dxc6 in order to meet 5. Nxe5 with Qd4 regaining the pawn.

4. … Nf6  Another popular sideline is the Steinitz Deferred 4. … d6 which can be found in either MCO editions or NCO or Standard Openings.

5. O-O  Be7  An equally vigorous defense is 5. … Nxe4 that was in the repertoire of many like Dr. S. Tarrasch, Dr. Max Euwe, Victor Korchnoi and has remained a weapon for variety if nothing else.

6. Re1  b5  7. Bb3  O-O This move keeps open the possible option of playing the Marshall Attack  8…d5 if White plays 8. c3. Just as good here is 7. … d6.

8. h3  Bb7 9. d3 h6  With the idea of keeping g5 under wraps but it weakens the light squares.  A bit safer is 9…d6 guarding the e-pawn. This seems a favorite idea of Adams and has appeal in that Black can now keep options open. Now, on 10. Nbd2 Re8  11. c3  Bf8 12. a3  d6 13. Ba2  Nb8  14. Nh4  d5 15. Qf3 pressuring f5 and light squares as played by Topalov in a 1999 game against Adams.

10. Nc3!  I like this move as it increases square count hitting the 5th rank squares b5/d5. It can also transfer to the K-side via e2>g3.

10. … Re8  11. a3  This allows the Bishop to retreat to a2 if attacked by Na5.

11. … Bf8  This redeployment of the Bishop to f8 eyes possibly g6 and Bg7 to strengthen the King defense. More energetic possibly is …Bc5.

12. Nd5!  Na5  13. Ba2  Bxd5?? This logical looking move is bad but understandable as Black wants to find a way to activate the Knight on a5 and getting rid of the Knight on d5. The flaw in the oinment is the pawn structure resulting. The only alternative would be …c5.

14. exd5 d6 This purely defensive plan to shut down square count of the Bishop on a2 making it’s role for the near future of little import gives Black some breathing room but the black Knight on a5 is vulnerable and presents White with increasing square count with a pawn demonstration on the Q-side.

15. b4  Nb7  16. c4  Qd7 17. Be3  Nd8  18. Rc1  c6  19. Nd2 cxd5  20. cxd5  Nh7 21. Bb6!  Rc8 22. Rxc8  Qxc8  23. Qc1  Qb7  Black’s hope is to play f5 >Nf7>Rc8. White closes the door on that idea.

24. Qc7  Qxc7  If Black tries the jump move series, White plays 25. Qc6 and on Nxc6, then 26. dxc6+! wins.

25. Bxc7  Nb7  26. Rc1  Rc8  27. Rc6  Nd8  28. Bxd8  Rxd8 29. Rxa6 Rc8  30. Rc6  Ra8 31. Nb1 The King’s Knight takes up the home post of it’s partner!

31. …Nf6  32. Kf1  The King must play an active role in endgame play.

32. …Be7  33. Ke2  e4  34.Bb3  exd3+  35. Kxd3  Nd7  36. f4  g5  37. Rc7  Rd8 38. Nc3  gxf4  39. Nxb5  Ne5+  40. Ke4  Re8  41. Ba4 Adams resigned.

This is a wonderful game to study on your own, with a computer, or friend. Such battles played on the field of 64-squares illustrates the aesthetic beauty that true Grandmasters can paint with imagination and valor.  Such games bring out the classic style as rich and rewarding.  For the amateur enthusiasts who participate in our walk together in the battlefields of chessplay, it is hoped that each will get benefit from the experience.

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