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     Volume 4 Issue 20 | November 5, 2004 |

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Time Out

Opposite side castling Chess

In most games the players castle on the same side. That makes it a bit hazardous to push the pawns in front of the king, unless the centre is closed with no possibility of a counter strike there. But with opposite side castling, it is often a race between the pawns rushing up the board. The players try to get at each other's throat with everything at their disposal. The play is usually very sharp and double-edged.

In such games time and development play a decisive role. The player ahead in development will have the time to push the pieces quickly towards the battlefield. This is particularly true about open positions where the pieces can move freely. And the pace of the attack on the enemy king can be greatly accelerated when your opponent has weakened his position by moving one of the pawns guarding the royal home. Such pawn moves create various possibilities for the attacker. It may be possible to push pawns and exchange them to open files and diagonals or the pawn that your opponent has pushed may itself become the target of a sacrificial attack. So think twice before making moves like h3, g3, h6, g6 early in the opening fearing a sortie which might actually be quite harmless.

You have to be careful as you move your pawns towards the enemy camp. Remember the purpose of such "pawn rolling" is to drive away the well-placed enemy pieces and open files and diagonals for the rooks and bishops. The advanced pawns may also support important outposts for your pieces. But you must not allow the opponent to close the wing where you are planning to launch an attack on the king. If it is closed then all the play will take place on the wing where you are defending. That can be very unpleasant.

Look how Tigran Petrosian manages to keep the queenside closed in the following game. A little pawn move does the trick. Spassky has no way to open the queenside after 18..a6! No matter how he manoeuvres his pawns, the queenside remains closed for ever.

White-Boris Spassky
Black-Tigran Petrosian [D03]
World Championship, Moscow 1966
1.d4 Nf6 2.Nf3 e6 3.Bg5 d5 4.Nbd2 Be7 5.e3 Nbd7 6.Bd3 c5 7.c3 b6 8.00 Bb7 9.Ne5 Nxe5! 10.dxe5 Nd7 11.Bf4 Qc7 12.Nf3 h6! 13.b4 g5! 14.Bg3 h5 15.h4 gxh4! 16.Bf4 000! 17.a4? c4! 18.Be2 a6! 19.Kh1 Rdg8 20.Rg1 Rg4 21.Qd2 Rhg8 22.a5 b5 23.Rad1 Bf8! 24.Nh2 Nxe5! 25.Nxg4 hxg4 26.e4 Bd6 27.Qe3 Nd7 28.Bxd6 Qxd6 29.Rd4? e5! 30.Rd2 f5!µ31.exd5 f4! 32.Qe4 Nf6 33.Qf5+ Kb8 34.f3 Bc8 35.Qb1 g3 36.Re1 h3 37.Bf1 Rh8 38.gxh3 Bxh3 39.Kg1 Bxf1 40.Kxf1 e4! 41.Qd1 Ng4! 42.fxg4 f3 43.Rg2 fxg2+ 0-1

Position after 16...000!


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