Kindred’s Special: Imbalance and Tension go Hand-in-Hand

THE CLASSICAL DEFENCE IS OFTEN SEEN ARISING OUT OF THE BERLIN DEFENCE. I am not sure how many times I have advocated my readers to concentrate on K-pawn openings, answering 1. P-K4  by ..P-K4 or in algebraic 1. e4  e5.  In fact, this varied defensive system is gaining popularity over other choices which lead to games forcing attack-defense motifs on a normal run of strategic planning for both sides.  The pile of openings and variations to choose from within those are enormous and gives the budding player ever greater insight into the realm of chasing down the Kings.

White:  GM Topalov  vs.  Black:  GM Leko

Opening:  Ruy Lopez  featuring the Classical Defence *

1.  e4  e5   2.  Nf3  Nc6   3. Bb5   Nf6  4. O-O  Bc5*

This is probably the best way to reach the Classical variation of the Berlin Defense because 3. … Bc5 is strongly met by 4. c3  Nf6  (4….f5!? is sharp)  5. d4  Bb6  6. Qe2  e:d4  7. e5.  Another way to go is 6. N:e5  N:e5  7. d:e5  N:e4  8. Qg4.  White can also try the tricky fork line that goes 5. N:e5  N:e5  6. d4 which is complex and leads to a different type game plan.  I prefer keeping pieces on the board in hopes of creating more tension and imbalance opportunity arising from the opening.

5. c3  O-O  6. d4  Bb6  7. Bg5  h6  8.  Bh4.

The exchange 8. B:f6  Q:f6  9. B:c6  Q:c6 10. N:e5  Q:e4  11. Nd2  Qf5  12. Nec4  d5  13. N:b6  a:b6  14. Re1  Qg6 and I like Black here.

8. … d6  9. Qd3  Bd7  10. Nbd2  a6  11. Bc4!?

An idea like 11. Ba4 seems too passive because of 11. … N:d4 hitting the center.  12. B:d7  and Black can go …N:f3+  13. Q:f3  Q:d7  14. B:f6  g:f6  15. Q:f6  Qe6.  With Bc4, White keeps an eye on f7 and fairly good play on the diagonal white squares.

11…  e:d4  12. c:d4  g5  13. N:g5  h:g5  14. B:g5  Kg7!!

Well played as White may have been hoping to spring a trap idea 14….B:d4? 15. e5  B:e5  16. Qg6+ Kh8  l17. Qh6+ Kg8  18. Ne4!  The purpose of Kg7 comes clear as now the Nc6-e7 will lend defense to the Kingside while the King defends N on f6.  But what a position!  White has created an imbalance of two pawns for the Knight and a busted open King position too boot.

15.  Nb3  Ne7  16. B:f6+

Going for an all out attack.  Interesting is increasing square count by 16. e5 and avoiding immediate piece captures.  16. … Nh7 17. Bh4  f6  18. e6!?

16. … K:f6  17. f4  Be6!  18. Kh1  B:c4  19. Q:c4  Kg7  20. f5  f6

Maybe in the nick of time. Perhaps 18. Kh1 removing the King off that diagonal  gives Leko time to build a defensive bloc for his King.  Such is the wages of war! Like with the need to defend the d-pawn by Nb3 which takes the Knight away from the action, the dislocation of just one unit or tempo lost can effect the final phase of a game rather well played by both.

21. Rf3  Rb8  22. Rg3+  Kf8  23. Qe6  Ng8.

Now 24. e5 d:e5  25. d:e5  Qe7 seems great for Black by offering to exchange  Queens.

24. Re1  Qe8  25. Qc4  Qf7  26. Qc3  Re8

Black has accomplished a bridge protecting his King.

27. Rg4  Qh5  28. Qg3  Ne7  29. h3?

Hoping to entice Black allowing him to open up lines to the King.  Necessary is 29. Rf1 as he overlooks the pin.  The pin is mightier than the sword! With careful play, the pawn goes in the box.

29. … N:f5!  30. Qf4  Rg8  31. R:g8+  K:g8  32. Rf1  Ng7  33. Q:f6  R:e4  34, Kh2  Qe8  35. Qg5  c6  36. Qg3  Qe6  37. Nd2  R:d4  38. Nf3  Rd5  39. Re1  Qf7  40. Qg4  Bd8  41. Qc8  Qc7  42. Q:c7  B:c7  43. Re7  Bb6  44. g4  Rb5  45. b3  Kf8  46. Rd7  Ne6  47. Nh4  Ke8  48. Rb7  Nf8  White topples  his King in resignation(0-1).

And a bowling rep called chess a boring old man’s game!!  That is often the image of folks who know nothing about how to play chess.  The game, like bowling, to be good requires practice, study of the elements, and determination to succeed at something you enjoy.


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