The Amateur Eye – Road Map of Puzzles

Did you ever wonder what life’s journey would be depending on the road map of life?  Ideas, decisions, whirling about in uncertainty with a goal to achieve remaining obscure in a rational mindset?  In some ways that is the monster awaiting the chess player’s love-hate relationship with this war game seen as having tied in a knot the art, science, and beauty of a timed-consuming beast all rolled into one with definable streets and roads leading to many different pathways.

Value is in the eye of the beholder.   Reward?  Certainly not money; it would never survive or rise above hardships faced by even the famous who starred during it’s long history.  It has lured and captured the imagination and heart of many.  Numerous attempts have been penned by writers and thinkers to explain it’s complex nature.  It has survived and prospered in the era of high tech.  But in all, I see the crux of the joy being in whole part the fun and competitive spirit it continues to give every level of skill amassed through the ages.

Last examined was the artful play from 1916 between Janowski and Capablanca.  Now we turn to the 1940s to capture the expertise and skill of Laszlo Szabo as he dissects the cunning classical defense of E. Book at Stockholm 1948.

Openings often featured classical versus Hypermodern practitioners and this one features the Closed Catalan which starts out with 1. Nf3  d5  2. g3  Nf6  3. Bg2  e6  4. O-O  Be7  5. c4  O-O  6. d4  c6 Setting up a Stonewall pawn structure.  Had he exchanged d:c4, Black’s central configuration would be upset and White could play 7. Ne5 effectively opening the long diagonal of the Bishop on g2.

7. Nc3 b6 8. Ne5  A great square-count move! The next and also 8…Bb7 was to be considered.

8. … Ba6  9. c:d5  c:d5  10. Bf4  Strengthens e5 in full MY SYSTEM hypermodern approach. It also clears the first rank toward connecting Rooks.

10. …Nfd7   The Queen Knight is stuck on b8 for the moment because of the need to guard the c6 square to avoid White penetrating and adding the two-bishop plus advantage. But the Knight on e5 is a sore spot in Black’s freedom of movement.

11. Rc1  Hoping to capitalize on the superior White development instead of going for something like 11. N:d5 e:d5  12. B:d5.  White is banking on his active space advantage.

11. … N:e5  12. B:e5!  b5  Black chooses this over employing the Knight d7 aiding development of his forces.

13. e4!  Aiming to exploit the long diagonal.

13. … b4  Trying to stir up some complications that White’s next neutralizes.

14. Ne2  Qa5  15. e:d5  e:d5  16. Nf4  B:f1  17. Qg4!!  White doesn’t recapture but startles Black with this mate threat at g7. Note the power of a centralized Queen with it’s mighty power coming from that given in square-count.

17. … g6  Worse is 17…f6 18. B:d5+ Kh8 19. Ng6+ h:g6 20. Qh4 mate.

18. B:d5  Bd3  Very sneaky and charming because if 19. N:d3 Q:d5 wins for Black.

19. B:a8!  Bf5 20. Qe2  Bg5 21. h4  B:f4 22. B:f4  Nd7  23. Bf3  Be6 24. Bd6 And Black has no good move for the Rook and so resigns.

Yes, the streets and roads traveled on maps have a kinship with our royal game.




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