KindredSpirit’s Fighting Chess In the Opening Stage

I am asked just what square count holds out for the opening phase of the opening, any opening, and how does it set the tone for competing effectively in an imbalanced struggle?  To show some samples from major tournaments how openings do indeed find square count valuable is herewith my attempt by reviewing some openings as played by the elite of the chess world.  It is my attempt to illustrate strategy for both sides for my readers who I hope will benefit by my teaching from move 1 recognizing that you are not a chess machine but should let you begin to grasp what good planning adds to your enjoyment of chess play by these examples chosen at random.  There is a word of warning.  Opening variations as played by these elite may well find ways to improve game play or find a variation losing its flavor merely by inciting  new ideas to try.

1. d4  d5   2. c4  c6  3.  Nc3  Nf6  4. e3  e6  5. Nf3  Nbd7  6. Qc2  Bd6  7. g4

This was a relatively new idea by White that by offering to sacrifice this pawn White will benefit from the open file. Black accepts the challenge.

7. … Nxg4  8. Rg1  Nxh2  9. Nxh2  Bxh2 10. Rxg7  Nf8  11. Rg2  Bd6 

What should White do now with s/c in mind?

12. e4

This opens up the diagonal for the Bishop, pressures the center which increases s/c. Black now activates the N with gain in s/c.

12. … Ng6  13. Bg5!  Be7  14. Bxe7  Qxe7  15. O-O-O  dxe4

On 15. … dxc4  16. Bxc4  Bd7  17. e5  Nh4  18. Rh2  O-O-O  19. Ne4  Nf5  20. Be2 and White is better.

16. Nxe4  f5  17. Nd2

What is a good strategic plan for White? The N retreat should give you a clue.  One try for Black would be 17… Bd7 (develop) 18. c5  O-O-O  19. Nc4  Kb8  20, Nd6  Nf4  21. Rg3 with good chances.

17. …c5  18. dxc5  Bd7   19. b4 O-O-O

Here Black misses the opportunity to play what s/c move?   19. … a5! 20. b5  Qxc5 and doesn’t s/c point to a better idea?  Castles looks risky because White appears to be launching a Queenside attack.  White now plans to play the Rook to the Q-side.

20. Rg3  e5!

I am a rat.  I want you to think.  Some good ideas are possible in this opening variation.  Good training.  Do you still think me a rat for leaving you in this whirlwind position with both sides slugging it out?  Chess is such a fun game!!

This is one example where I hope you start to see the value of my s/c theory.  Perhaps for the elite players who can spend hours on their chess study, my theory is not viewed highly probably but a way for any amateur or beginner to play an intelligent game with some practice.  I hope this occasional look on this series will give you food for thought in planning your own game moves and anticipate that of your opponent.  Clarity helps and that is basically what square-count offers me and hopefully will you as well as we walk the road to good chessmanship.

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