Playing chess offers the students to experience numerous challenges during game play. What makes study of a game educational is the chess move. A time frame is not an issue as to when a game is played because the enthusiast can obtain literature via computer programs, books and magazines. The explosion of literature gives the student a full range of work by a host of teachers; both amateur and professional ranks turn out thousands of games for research and study.
An interesting chess study of opening play occurred between Jose R. Capablanca and Dr. Emmanuel Lasker, 11h game, of their world title match in 1921 that took place in Havana, Cuba.
1. P-Q4 P-Q4 / 2. N-KB3 P-K3 / 3. P-B4 N-KB3 / 4. B-N5 QN-Q2 / 5. P-K3 B-K2 / 6. N-B3 O-O / 7. R-B1 R-K1
If this were a poker match, one would guess it to be: “Black is playing it close to guard against giving the opponent any possible sight of his cards.” But in chess, every move by both sides is in the open for all to see.
8. Q-B2 P-B3 / 9. B-Q3 P x P / 10. B x P N-Q4
Here, Lasker uses an idea of Capablanca to give some relief to his cramped position.
11. B x B R x B / 12. O-O N-B1 / 13. KR-Q1 B-Q2 / 14. P-K4 N-QN3
This standard variation in the Queen’s Gambit Declined for the learning student has probably given little thought to anything other than it has been played many times. But in reality, it gives a clue for the laying down of plans for the middle game. And what of the moves that have been played? White (JRC) has expanded square count to advantage of 12/2. This means that White has continued to develop pieces and has established a strong active pawn center backed up by connected Rooks, both Knights and Bishop. Black has avoided weaknesses but has a cramped position from which the maneuver on the surface has not freed his game as yet.
Dr. Lasker is a clever fox! He was down in the match 3-0 at this point so has adopted a strategy of luring his opponent into an over confident mood and this is often the case when a timely counterattack can be launched against the better developed forces.
After completing this evaluation, it is time to find a way to weigh the advantages for both sides into a workable plan of operations. White B is now attacked so must retreat. N3/Q3/K2/B1 are empty squares for such retreat. Since White’s Q-side expansion by its pawns is a possible short-term plan in the future and the Bishop hits a stonewall at Q5, logic would suggest either Q3 or retreat to B 1. On Q3 it blocks the Rook. Full square count is still achieved with the Bishop on B1 and his central files remain semi-open for Rook action. Still, it is unclear where the Bishop should go.
The assessment is near complete with White enjoying a strong mobile center and well positioned for future action. What does Black plan on doing? Obviously his pawn structure suggests counterattack in the center with either P-QB4 or P-K4 after due preparation by R-QB1. White can stop this monkey business by P-QN4 which definitely leaves out N3 as a Bishop retreat. On going for P-K4, Black must play N-N3 when White can go P-K5 that makes BQ3 retreat attractive. Yet, Black will have the Q4 square once again available for active operations.
As I noted before, the Bishop retreat of B1 retains all the square count along that diagonal and keeps free the two central files.
15. B-B1 R-B1 / 16. P-QN4 B-K1
To give the Rook access to the Q-side.
17. Q-N3 R/2-B2 / 18. P-QR4 N-N3 / 19. P-R5 N-Q2 / 20. P-K5 P-QN3 / 21. N-K4 R-N1 / 22. P-R6
To try to get some space and stop counter play.
White won the game. In many, but not all games, the struggle centers around similar concerns for which reason I chose this game to illustrate the creative thoughts that go into mapping out a plan, carrying it through or adjusting to meet circumstances that might alter planned operations. It is a perfect example where the importance of square count enters the picture.
Adios for now!!