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Jonathan Rowson vs Kaido Kulaots
DEN-chJ (1996), Lyngby, rd 4, Jul-08
Sicilian Defense: Najdorf. Amsterdam Variation (B93)  ·  1-0

ANALYSIS [x]

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Kibitzer's Corner
Sep-05-07  LivBlockade: What's the idea behind 32. Kg1? White seemed to have a strong position, so I expected him to play 32. Re7 or even 32. Qxc6 - wouldn't those have been better moves? Sure, White eventually won, but was the Queen ending the surest way?
Sep-11-07  Marvol: 32.Kg1 is profylactic - after 32...Qg6 there is no capture on e4 with check.

I'm not so sure about your suggestions - 32.Qxc6 puts the queen in a pin voluntarily, never a great idea, but here it's not 32...Rf7 that is troublesome but I think 32...Qh5, threatening on both f3 and e2, that is the real pain-up-the-X.

32.Re7 gets hit by a similar blow: 32...Qg6 and after 33.Qd3 to cover e4 there is 33...Qf6 and things get unnecessarily complicated.

The queen ending is almost impossible to lose for white when you look at all black's weak pawns, so maybe it wasn't the surest way to win, it must have been the most certain way not to lose - equally important.

Jan-16-11  alexrawlings: Jonathan Rowson analyses this game in his book <The Seven Deadly Chess Sins>. After black's 11.. Be6 he says... <...I had a strong feeling the most important factors in the position: the c4-square, the placement of the white king, Black's plan to exchange dark-squared bishops, and the role of the major pieces on the f- and d-files>.

I can follow his thoughts on the position apart from why Black would especially want to trade dark-squared bishops. Can anyone explain this to me please?

Jan-16-11  hms123: <alexrawlings> The simple answer is that the pawns at e4 and e5 make Black's DSB "bad" and White's DSB "good". In addition, that would then leave Black with a "good" LSB against White's "bad" LSB.

Imagine this position: (after <12...Bc5 13. Be3 (Bh6 is better) Bxe3 14.Qxe3 0-0>


click for larger view

Black has equalized.

Jan-16-11  alexrawlings: Thanks <hms123>.
Jan-16-11  dzechiel: <alexrawlings>, to tell the truth, I don't have a better answer than <hms123>. Typically when you hear that a player wants to exchange off one of his pieces it's because he considers that piece to be inferior (less range, less control of particular squares) than the opponent's piece of similar value.

There have been times when an opponent of mine has gotten a knight posted on an excellent square in the center of the board such that no pawns may chase it away. Such a knight can be thought to be worth a rook because of the influence it wields on the board. More than once I have given up a rook to get rid of such a knight.

Jan-17-11
Premium Chessgames Member
  Once: I think it helps to look at the game immediately before this one in "seven deadly sins" - Karpov-Spassky 1974. In this game, with a similar position, Rowson says that "the exchange of White's relatively bad bishop for this knight leaves black with no plan and, as Timman puts it, "a strategically ruinous position".

The key to understanding this is to look at the two locked pawns on e4 and e5. Unless one of the pawns is exchanged then these pawns will be stuck toe to toe with each other for the rest of time. That means that they will have a large amount of say in how the game unfolds. The e4 pawn makes white's dark squared bishop good and his light squared bishop bad. Conversely, the e5 pawn makes black's dark squared bishop bad and his light squared bishop good.

Compare these two positions:


click for larger view

With just light squared bishops on the board, black is happy. His bishop has great diagonals and can get to either side of the board with ease. What is more, he can attack white's isolated e4 pawn, but white's bishop cannot attack black's e5 pawn. The other pawns are of lesser importance - they can always move out of the way.

Conversely, if we have just dark squared bishops left we get this:


click for larger view

Here white is the happier of the two. His weak e4 pawn cannot be attacked by black's bishop. And whilst white's bishop can zoom around the board to his heart's content (the e4 pawn is as good as invisible to the LSB), the black bishop will find himself constantly bumping into e5.

So that defines one of the middlegame plans. Each side would like to swap off one pair of bishops - white wants to get rid of the LSBs and black wants to exchange off the DSBs.

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