Power of centralised pieces in chess

Power of centralised pieces in chess

Hello everyone! 🙂 Now in this video, I’ll show you some remarkable game played between Akiba Rubinstein. He played with White pieces, against Grigory Levenfish. It was played in Karlsbad, 1911. Rubinstein started with 1.d4 but after 1…e6 2.e4 d5, the game was switched to French Defense. Nc3, Nf6 and Bg5. Well, Be7 was Black’s continuation. e5, Nfd7 In that year, probably..not probably, but for sure sharp Alekhine’s attack with h4 still was not found so Rubinstein preferred to play more positionally and Qd2. Well, Black’s idea in that position, is to attack base of pawn chain. You can see the pawn chain..d4-e5 and Black’s d5-e6. Generally, both sides intend to attack opponent’s base of the pawn chain..gaining space and setting dangerous threats. White wants to advance f4-f5, generally. And Black wants to play c5. Black castled, f4 not only intending f5 in some good moment but also f4 just make White pawn on e5 more stable. c5, Nf3 and now, very risky decision f6. Of course, in many various French positions, that is typical attempt to crush White pawn centre. But in that position, simply Nc6 should be preferred. What’s the point of f6? Well, a bit later Aron Nimzowitsch established that it’s not so bad if opponent eliminate your pawns, making pawn chain if you can access that lead squares with your pieces. So actually, if pawns d4 and e5 disappear, White should intend to occupy those squares with knight or with rooks later in the endgame. Let’s see what happened. Something similar happened later. After f6, there are threats on f-file. White decided to take. There are many possibilities and simply Qxf6 happened. g3 only move. Nc6 and White combines offensive and defensive play. So after 0-0-0, not only king goes to safe zone also rook goes to centre and protects pawn on d4. Well, what can Black do? Black continues with a6. Other possibility can be for
instance cxd4, Nxd4 and Nc5 with the idea of advancing e5 in some good moment. After Ne4, for instance. White is forced to take Nxc6 in some moment, bxc6 and e5 will open bishop on c8. That will lead to completely different type of position. Black preferred a6 which is not so bad. Bg2, what’s the idea? Generally, first idea of that move is finishing development with idea of bringing rook to centre. After Rhe1. And also g2-bishop targets d5-pawn. Maybe later, knight can be sacrificed with check from Bxd5+ to g8-king and attacking a8-rook or c6-knight if b-pawn disappears. Also in many positions, that bishop will defend f3-knight making some shot e5 useless. And also, even if Black advances e5 any moment, that bishop targets d5 making dangerous threats. Black played Nb6. Idea is clear – Nc4 organizing pressure on queenside. And now Rubinstein played his only bad move in the game. He played Rhe1. That’s a mistake but why? Well simply White should go for dxc5 – perfect move. And if Black plays Nc4 Qf2. After Qf2, as you can see b5 is forbidden because cxb6 (en passant) and pawn stays on b7, keeping b-file closed. c8-bishop cannot access the long diagonal. And White can build his initiative later after Nd4 maybe with or without b3, Rhe1 attacking e6 step by step. Rhe1 is mistake because that allows, after Nc4 Qf2, b5. Now White takes dxc5 but you can see now Black pawn is on b5 and there are some threats. It was much better for White to go for that position with rook on h1 and pawn stays on b7. What’s the difference? Simply, rook wll go to e1 from h1 without problems. Even in next move..but b7-pawn cannot go b5 because White will simply collect it with cxb6 en passant. After Nc4 happend in the game, Qf2, b5, dxc5 and Black plays very interesting move Nxb2. Well, what’s the idea? Simply crushing White’s pawn shield. That’s very normal and natural. Rd1 is under attack. c3-knight is also under attack so White simply has to take. and b4. Well, knight is pinned. There can be Qxc3 or bxc3 opening b-file for the rook. So it’s good for White to close that dangerous dark squared diagonal. Black queen is too strong in that diagonal and White simply wants to close that by placing knight somewhere. Of course not Ne5 because Nxe5, Rxe5, Qxe5, Black collects rook, winning material but Nd4 will be perfect choice. Simply after Nd4, let’s see what happens. In that moment Black has only two active
pieces – f6-queen and c6-knight. f8-rook is bit active but not working so much as f4-pawn is very stable. At the same time, all white pieces are very active and very centralized! That’s the point! Well, c3-knight is lost. Black will gain material back but still White will have not material but positional
advantage with so much centralized pieces..very influent pieces. Also Nd4 is good. Simply if you have all active pieces and opponent, for instance like in that position, has two active pieces, it is good for you to exchange opponent’s 2 active pieces. You will stay with 3 active pieces and opponent with 3 passive pieces. That will be much better for you. Logically that must be good strategy. bxc3 of course, White will not take. White just went with Ka1. King on c3 will collect pawn that will be so dangerous and too risky. What can Black do? There is the idea of Nc6 to take that knight for free but if Black plays Bd7, Ne6 can follow with finally, Re6 and Bxd5 using pin. Bishop from d5 will attack e6-queen and g8-king. Nxd4 happened – what else! Of course, Qxd4. If Black takes, that will be normal. Solution in that position is White will take and still be better because simply he will have better bishop against that one. c3-pawn will be lost very soon. After Re3-Rc3 and e6 and d5-pawns are very weak. Even Rxd5 is threat now as you can see with Bxd5 and Ba8. So…. still Qd4 wasn’t played. Rb8 happened. What now? Idea is clear. Rb2. Qc3 is impossible because f6-queen defends that pawn. And also in various positions Black has g5 as an option. If Qxf6 then Rxf6 fxg5, Black will have much better..almost winning position..after Rf2. Rook is gaining 7th rank or let’s say 2nd rank, of course, attacking bishop. After moving bishop, c2-pawn is lost. Other comes to b2 with winning position for Black. White must do something quickly and he did it – Re3. Queen stays on d4 and rook collects c3 that’s something White must do immediately. Of course Rb2 will bring nothing because after Rxc3, White will not only take c3-pawn but same time defends c2-pawn. Support c5-pawn and b2-rook will be under attack. After Re3, Black played g5 – risky move. And White used the right moment to collect that pawn. Of course, fxg5 will not satisfy White because Qxd4 following Rf2. Rc3 was played. gxf4, gxf4, and Black’s position looks hopeless. Why so? Well, first, Qf4 isn’t working because Rg3+ wins immediately. What can Black do? If Qxd4 which was general possibility, still White’s position is much better. There are many possibilities. c6-c7 Then another possibility Bh3 with Re3, attacking e6. Also a3 with Rb4 can be played. After that White king will come to play. So much better for White. Even in that moment, White has an extra pawn. After gxf4, Black decided to play Bd7. And after that, White simply realized that huge advantage. c6, Qxd4, Rxd4 and Be8. Now once again, see, all black pieces are kicked..they’re under last rank.. eighth rank. All White pieces are perfectly placed. Both rooks on centre. Completely safe position for white rooks and White goes for decisive attack with Bh3. If Bf7, simply c7. If Rf6, once again, c7. Black played Rc8. And now White uses that powerful bishop..Rxd5 and hence, the struggle. If exd5, Bxc8 and after moving the bishop somewhere, c-pawn will be promoted. Black tried Rxc7. Of course, not Rxc7 because of exd5 with chances for a draw but simply Bxe6+..intemediate check. Black is forced to take that bishop and rook takes rook on c7. White will be exchange up and also, 2 pawns up and Black decided to resign in that moment. I really hope you enjoyed the video. That was one remarkable game played by Akiba Rubinstein. White punished Black for his not-so-precise and very risky move of f6. Without finishing development, Black decided to go for, probably, wrong strategic solution.. which is attacking the peak of the pawn chain. Generally, base of pawn chain should be attacked and Black should go for Nc6. Later, White found perfect possibility with Nd4 to block the diagonal to eliminate all threats to exchange all opponent’s active pieces. Well, c6-knight and f6-queen. And transfer his positional advantage into material. You could see how White always centralized his pieces. During the entire game, White had centralized pieces. Well, White centralized pieces simply, pretty easily defended White king. Black started to attack without several conditions (development). Centre was not closed. Black wasn’t better in centre and simply, Black’s attack on the flank was wrong solution. You cannot attack on the flank if you are not better in centre. White easily organized centralization of his pieces and Black’s attack on the flank must fail. Once again, I hope you enjoyed that video. And see you soon with new material. Bye-bye! 🙂

One thought on “Power of centralised pieces in chess

  1. thank you for really nice video and nice game!! Old games are better than movie! Please do more, its fantastic that we can see how chess are simple and interesting and you doing great job!! Thank you, Petr

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