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LCB, Issue #071 --, Cramp Your Opponent with an Advanced Central Pawn
May 01, 2021

Cramp Your Opponent with an Advanced Central Pawn

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #071 -- GOTM #41

learn and play online chess
The battle for space is a crucial one in chess. More room means greater mobility and connectivity for your pieces. It usually means control of the center, a key factor in the struggle for victory.

Of course more space for you also means less space for your adversary. His pieces are less mobile, have no harmony and his future consists of a long, frustrating and likely unsuccessful defense against your attacks.

Space can be annexed in many ways. One method of achieving a durable spatial advantage is via a central pawn wedge on the 6th rank. Such a pawn causes all kinds of serious positional problems for your opponent.

You can stop him from developing naturally, his pieces closed in behind his pawn. It also proves difficult to bring defenders across to defend his King which your pieces now have an open road to. Let's see these ideas in action. Our game this month was played in Brussels in 1991. It was contested by two top players of that time, Vassily Ivanchuk and Artur Jussopow.

Cramp Your Opponent with an Advanced Central Pawn

Ivanchuk, Vassily - Jussopow, Artur [E67]

GotM #41 - Brussels, 1991
[Connaughton, Ken]


English Opening


Reversed Sicilian

2.g3 d6 3.Bg2 g6

Black going with a King's Indian Defense, this game will go along the lines of the Fianchetto Variation


Game position after 4.d4

Taking on a d4-like set-up

4...Nd7 5.Nc3 Bg7 6.Nf3 Ngf6 7.0-0 0-0 8.Qc2 Re8 9.Rd1 c6 10.b3 Qe7

Game position after 10...Qe7

As we move into the middlegame both players are maneuvering behind their pawn shells. They both hope to assume control when the game inevitably opens up and explodes into life.

11.Ba3 e4 12.Ng5 e3

A nice idea from Black, this pawn will prove surprisingly difficult to dislodge and White's camp will be greatly cramped as a result. In fact it will be seen that this little pawn will prove to be a central character in the upcoming drama.


(13.fxe3 Qxe3+ 14.Kh1 Qxg5-+)

13...Nf8 14.b4 Bf5 15.Qb3 h6 16.Nf3 Ng4 17.b5 g5

White expands on the Queenside while Black attacks on the Kingside.

18.bxc6 bxc6 19.Ne5 gxf4 20.Nxc6 Qg5

Game position after 20...Qg5

Who's attack is more potent?

21.Bxd6 Ng6 22.Nd5

White's minor pieces look powerful but Black is building a dangerous force on the Kingside.

22...Qh5 23.h4

(23.Nxf4 Qxh2+ 24.Kf1 Nxf4 25.Bxf4 Be4-+)


Game position after 23...Nxh4!

Sacrifice to break through the King's fortress

24.gxh4 Qxh4 25.Nde7+ Kh8 26.Nxf5

Two pieces are the price for the invasion.

26...Qh2+ 27.Kf1

It seems as if the attack is losing momentum, Black will have to bring more attackers into the game.

27...Re6 28.Qb7 Rg6!!

Game position after 28...Rg6!!

Now a Rook is sacrificed so that Black's Kingside pieces can renew hostilities against the White King.

29.Qxa8+ Kh7 30.Qg8+!

The best. White gives back some material to get rid of the dangerous g6-Rook.

30...Kxg8 31.Nce7+ Kh7 32.Nxg6 fxg6 33.Nxg7

White is trying to trade off pieces in order to neutralize Black's attacking force.



Not bothering to pick up the Knight, Black presses on with his attack instead.


These troublesome pawns must go at all costs.

34...Qxf4 35.Ne6 Qh2

White has two Rooks and a Bishop for the Queen and has defended valiantly. So he must be favorite to win the game now if Black can't find fresh threats.

36.Rdb1 Nh3

White is one move from defeat now.

37.Rb7+ Kg8 38.Rb8+


The Rook is given up to take the Queen out of the danger zone.

(38.Bxh3? Qf2#)

38...Qxb8 39.Bxh3 Qg3!

Game position after 39...Qg3!

White finally resigns as checkmate will not be delayed any further.


Ivanchuk - Jussopow, Brussels (1991)

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