Kenilworth Kibitzer

A blog for members of the Kenilworth Chess Club.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Seek And Destroy

#13  Kotov-Boleslavsky (click here to view on

After some non-optimal opening play by his opponent, Boleslavsky hears the ever-present battle cry of the King's Indian player, 'Forward!', and prepares to assault the center.

12. ....   bxc4
13. Nxc4  Nxc4
14. Qxc4  Ne8
An interesting moment - Bronstein suggested 14. bxc4 followed by exchanges of heavy pieces on the b-file as the best way for White, leading to a likely draw.  White maintains dynamic chances for both sides, choosing instead a pawn structure that orients White toward a center and kingside expansion.  Black now has room to operate on the queenside, and he leverages this to put pressure on the center.  The knight will go to c7 to put pressure on d4 and prepare ...e6 while the rook works the b-file.

15. Bb2   Nc7
16. Nd1   Rb4
17. Qc2  Bxb2
18. Nxb2  Bf5   (trying to provoke 19. e4 to gain a target to attack)
19. e4     Bd7

The battle rages in the center - Black has the d4 square under increasing control, whereas White's possibilities have to lie in a dynamic pawn break.
20. Nd3   Rd4!?
21. Re1    e5!      (trying to seal control of d4)
22. dxe6  Nxe6  (re-supporting d4)
23. Rd1    Bb5
24. Nc1    Qa5     (the activity of Black's pieces is becoming critical.  Though Bronstein does not comment here, the computer suggests 25. a4, turning back the tide of Black's pieces and focusing pressure on d6 with a later Ne2.  Instead White tries to trade bishops, which loses time and weakens e4, which Black targets with vigor)

25. Bf1   Re8
26. Bxb5 axb5

Bronstein: The most cursory inspection of the position will show that Black's pieces hang like clouds over White's position.  But how to turn this to account?  Boleslavsky wants the key to the white fortress: the e-pawn.

27. Ne2  Rxd1
28. Rxd1  Ng5!   (29. Rxd6 is suicide)
29. Kg2   Nxe4   (Shredder likes 29...Rxe4 much better for interesting tactical reasons: 30. h4?  Qa8!  31. Kf1 Rxh4!?  32. gxh4  Qh1+ and ...Nh3 as one possibility.  However, this move would have been hard to calculate, at least for me).
30. f3    Ng5
31. Rxd6  Qa8!

Bronstein: Kotov has won his pawn back, but Boleslavsky relentlessly turns to attack the next pawn on the diagonal, at f3.  What happens if this pawn falls, or moves on?  Behind the pawn on f3 stands the king, which Black has marked down as the next and final target of his attack.

32. Rd3  Ne6
33. Qd2  b4     (this move does so much - fixes a2 as a weakness, claims the c3 square and hems in the white knight.  It leaves a backward pawn, yes, but if I can borrow Bronstein's logic from other games it seems to me that the weak c5 and a2 pawns are not equivalent - the c5 pawn can be supported by a centralized knight which itself has an excellent outpost supported by f6.  The a2 pawn will need the attention of the White army).
34. Kf2  Qb8
35. Re3  Qa7
36. f4   Rd8
37. Qc2  Qd7
38. Ke1  Qd5
39. Ng1  Qd4
Black has consistently applied pressure on White's various weaknesses to force his way toward the back ranks.  And as so often happens when under pressure, the tragedy of the 40th move...

40. Qe2?  Qa1+
41.  Kf2    Ra8

And the a-pawn falls; with the White king so exposed his position starts to collapse, though commendably White held out for another 26 moves before resigning.

What I love about this game is that, in retrospect, Black follows one plan consistently and without deviation.  A few careless moves put White in a bad situation.


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