Saturday, May 7, 2011

Various Pawn Positions in the Center: Open Center

I’m working through the section on open centers in Kotov’s article on central pawn formations. He has the following to say about open centers:

The attacking side usually tries to conjure up weaknesses in the opponent’s position by piece play and then to attack these vulnerable points. Usually, too, no pawn storms occur, since a pawn weakness in one’s own position becomes risky once the center is open. It must be added  that the offensive should only be carried out when and where the attacker has a clear advantage.

The defense aims at warding off the opponent’s attack, while avoiding as much as possible weaknesses in the pawn position. In the best of these cases the defense itself goes over to the counter-attack, or else exploits the opponent’s excessively bold play to gain a material advantage.


He summarizes at the end of the section:

In positions where the center is open play with the pieces takes place; on the other hand, as a rule, no pawn attacks, since pawn advances expose one’s own King. The attacker tries to create weaknesses in the enemy position and to exploit these to obtain either a mating attack or else decisive material advantage. The defense attempts to ward off the enemy attack and then to go over to the counter-attack. Sometimes one can utilize the attacker’s rashness or foolhardy taking-of-chances to obtain material superiority.


Kotov uses this beautiful game below between Alekhine and Lasker at Zurich 1934 as an example of an attack being successfully carried out.

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