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LCB, Issue #095 --, Clear Your Pawns Out of the Way
May 01, 2023

Clear Your Pawns Out of the Way

Lapoc Chess Board, Issue #095 -- GOTM #65

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Pawn shells keep you safe in chess. Like how the skull protects the brain. Much of the maneuvering in chess centers around opening a hole in the pawn shell. You then position your forces to control the files and diagonals that lead from one camp to another. Control this high ground and odds are you win the game.

So the craziest thing to do should be pushing your pawns forward to be eliminated, especially the pawns in front of your King. You should only do this if you know you can control the open highways they leave and win quickly.

This is a high risk strategy but has high rewards when executed correctly. We can see this in this month's game played between Leo Forgacs and Saviely Tartakower in St Petersburg back in 1909.

Clear Your Pawns Out of the Way

Forgacs, Leo - Tartakower, Saviely [C14]

GotM #65, St Petersburg, 1909
[Connaughton, Ken]


King's Pawn Opening


French Defense

2.d4 d5 3.Nc3

Paulsen Variation - most popular

(3.exd5 Exchange Variation; 3.e5 Advance Variation; 3.Nd2 Tarrasch Variation)

3...Nf6 4.Bg5 Be7

Classical Variation in the Paulsen Lines

5.e5 Ne4

(Main Line of the Classical Variation continues with 5...Nfd7 6.Bxe7 Qxe7)

6.Nxe4 Bxg5 7.Nxg5 Qxg5

Game position after 7...Qxg5

Black leads in development, his King is ready to castle unlike White who needs three more moves to do so.

8.g3 c5 9.c3 Nc6

Game position after 9...Nc6

Thematic strikes against d4 but the Queen is on the wrong wing to help with this. No quick excursion to b6 for her.

10.f4 Qe7

...Qd8 - b6 was rejected in favor of holding the c5-pawn.

11.Nf3 Bd7 12.Qd2 0-0 13.Bd3 c4 14.Bc2 b5

Game position after 14...b5

Black attacks on the Queenside as White sees his future prospects in a Kingside attack.

15.0-0 a5 16.Rae1 b4 17.f5!

Sacking the pawn to open lines and diagonals against the Black King.

17...exf5 18.g4!?

Game position after 18.g4!?

He goes further trusting his attack to be potent enough to occupy his opponent. The calculation is the open ground in front of his own King is something Black will never be in a position to exploit.

18...fxg4 19.Ng5 g6 20.Rf6 Cramping his opponent so that his pieces both in defense and attack will remain immobile. A vicious attack begins here.

20...Kg7 21.Ref1

Game position after 21.Ref1

A tussle for f7 or is White merely forcing his opponent into passivity by making him protect f7 with his pieces.

21...Be8 22.Qf4 Nd8 23.e6 Ra6

Game position after 23...Ra6

All six of Black's pieces are tied down to the defense of f7.


Deadly tactical threats of double checks are now emerging.

24...Kh6 25.R1f5

Now pins are being used to hound the Black King.


The last nail in the coffin. It's # in 4 moves now.

(25...Qxf6 was best but we understand why it's not so appealing.)


Game position after 26.Nf7+!

The killer idea. The King can't return to g7 and nothing he does here can parry every threat.

(If 26.Rxf8 gxf5 27.Rxf5 Bg6 28.Rf6+- then White is still better but the road to victory is longer and harder.)


(26...Rxf7 27.Rh5+ Kg7 28.Rxg6+ Kf8 29.Qh8#; 26...Nxf7 27.Rh5+ Kg7 28.Rxg6#)


Forcing the King on to the dreaded g7 square.

27...Kg7 28.Rxg6#

Game position after 28.Rxg6#

A most pleasing finish.


Forgacs, Leo - Tartakower, Saviely

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