SOMETIMES YOU JUST GOT TO SCRATCH AND SCRATCH TO FIND SUCCESS IN BUSINESS and this holds true in chess play. And to play a card in Bridge you got to anticipate the completion of a play. In chess, this often finds a closeness between opponents where the question of how to achieve an advantage or limit that of an opponent occurs again and again in match or tournament play. In this opening setup, White generally runs into the situation where things seem to balance and the need is to create an imbalance of forces where the only means of establishing some pressure is to play for a space advantage.
1. d4 e6 2. Nf3 Nf6 3. c4 Bb4+ 4. Bd2 Qe7 5. g3 Bxd2+ 6. Qxd2 Ne4 7. Qc2 Qb4+ 8. Nbd2 Nxd2 9. Nxd2 Qe7 10. Bg2 d6 11. O-O e5 12.e3 O-O and here is a good spot to take stock of the positions of both forces. Using my sqct theory, White enjoys a count of 10 and Black 5 that translates into a temporary space advantage. Still, theory dictates that chess is such that things can change rapidly. How do you achieve as White a plan to take advantage of this White plus? The question for Black is how to find the best defence and wait for chances to counterattack? If you can solve both situations as being attacker and defender, you will achieve progress as a real chessplayer!
The strategy for White is to find a move that converts his small plus into something more tangible. In chess, as in war or in life, chance does not avail itself for long without achieving advantage in the terrain (the board). As Black, you see no real weakness in your defensive position so you have to respond to the aggressor’s play.
White decides on a plan to force exchanges whereby his spatial edge in ‘square count’ utilizes a maxim that open lines give the player with space chances to attack or a preferable endgame position.
13. c5 dxc5
Here you find, as Black, that it is wise to keep the position as closed as possible otherwise you are falling into White’s plan of operations. That would happen had you decided to play ….exd4, 14. exd4.
14. Qxc5 Qxc5 15. dxc5 Nc6 16. Nc4 Be6 17. Bxc6 Bxc4 18. Bxb7 Rab8.
If you chose to play 18….Bxf1, then 19. Bxa8 leaves White a pawn up.
19. Rfc1 Rxb7 20. Rxc4 Rxb2 21. Ra4
This Rook sortie was part of the end play visualized during the series of exchanges. White maintains a strong position so now Black must find some way to keep in the game; the answer comes in one word–COUNTERATTACK and this means creating the best from the Rook pair. As Aron Nimzowitch wrote in his excellent treatise, MY SYSTEM, “One cannot always be happy.” Being stubborn can be a virtue!
How to make the best of a bad situation? Obviously, 21…Rb7 is better than 21….Ra8 but, as Black, to defend with any chance, you must think counterattack by activating and connecting the Rooks. Square count again helps suggest the right idea move, 21…Rd8 to achieve the best fighting defense. You may lose, but the game result would be far from certain. Play might be visualized by both players as 22. Rxa7 g6 with the idea of Rdd2 with a fight that may hold the game to drawing chances.
White in this situation needs to evaluate choice ideas here. Afterall, he has nursed a small edge which can easily disappear.
22. c6 Rb6 23. Rxa7 Rxc6 24. a4.
End of lesson.
It is not practical to try to digest a slew of possible continuations for both sides as ideas from this type of endgame seems almost endless. The point is that being stubborn is a virtue more often than not in chess ideas and planning. Such positions arising in this example might come from both correspondence chess play as well as overtheboard competition.