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Understand The Position 4: Exchange and Conquer!

GM Ján Markoš | April 19, 2011 – 14:42One Comment | 1,127 views
Understand The Position 4: Exchange and Conquer!

The exchange is something what we usually forget about when considering the dynamics in chess; after all, why to exchange the pieces when we want to attack? But the exchange is – just like a threat – a forced sequence of moves and is therefore an important part of a dynamic chess player’s arsenal.

Translated by: D. Turcer

This time we will take a look at the classic example: Keres-Botvinnik, Moscow vs. St. Petersburg, 1941, Black to move:

Keres castled queenside in his last move. So the king and the queen are on the c-file, which is likely to be opened soon. Furthermore, Black will definitely castle kingside, and thus a middle game with different castling will arise. Such a position is one of the “fast” ones and it will probably lead to a tough tactical battle.

Botvinnik played a very strong 8…Bxc3!. At first glance, this looks like an absurd exchange: after all, why to voluntarily exchange the bishop? Ex-World Champion, however, achieved two important goals with this move. Firstly, he exchanged the most important defender of the white king. After removal of Nc3, the king on c1 will be alone and the presence of the queen does not help him at all; rather, will cause him a damage. Because of its high value, this piece will not be a defender, but rather a “tempo reservoir” for Black.

This brings us to another point: thanks to this exchange, Black lured the queen to an exposed square, and thus gained a move.

Although the non-forced exchange 8..Bxc3! is the move because of which this game became well-known, next part of the game is also very instructive. Note in particular how vigorously Botvinnik plays, and also how do white heavy pieces suffer in this open position.

A game between two strong chess players is often similar to a tennis match. In tennis, the player with the initiative seeks a suitable combination of the blows so as to ‘banish’ his rival from the court, get him into a situation when any further blow will be decisive. In chess we are trying to create a consecutive combination of exchanges and threats, where the last threat will not be possible to cover for the opponent.  Also Keres saved a lot of set balls in the above mentioned game, after 16… Qf5, however, his pieces were so much ‘tired’ that he could not even cover a simple threat after all. It is not enough to threaten; we need to threaten in an appropriate way. It is not enough to drag an opponent, we also need to know where do we drag him.

This post is also available in: Slovak

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Comments (1)

  • Eduvelin says:

    And the itminupy with which His H0liness can blatantly declare that he is tired of doing one major part of his job is amazing (especially given that it’s generally accepted that it’s His presence that repulses sponsors).

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