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A Story of One Ruy Lopez

  • WGM Natalia_Pogonina
  • | Oct 18, 2011
  • | 14171 views
  • | 57 comments

Today’s article will be based on a game that was played by me against GM Monika Socko at the recent European Club Cup. I will elaborate not only on the course of the game, but also offer general tips and approaches that can be applied in any chess match.

The chess encounter was revolving around a well-known endgame that occurs in the exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez. The modern theory evaluates these positions as more or less equal. However, the endgame is complicated, and can be won by the more proficient side. In our match the endgame happened in the 5…Qf6 variation, but it also often occurs after 5…f6. White is giving up a bishop for the knight with the idea of doubling Black’s pawns and obtaining a pawn majority on the kingside. In this structure the endgame will favor White, so they are eager to trade pieces. The main plan for White is to push pawns on the kingside and create a passer. Another common idea for White is attacking on the queenside and marching with the a-pawn in order to create weaknesses in the Black camp. After provoking Black to play c5, White puts a knight on d5.

What about Black? For the doubled pawns Black gets a two bishop advantage and can play on both flanks. On the kingside this plan may involve f5 and other breakthroughs/clearing the space for the bishops. On the queenside – with pushing pawns, getting rid of the doubled pawn, and trying to create a passer. Therefore, Black should watch out for exchanges, as they usually favor White.

The situation on move 13 of the game is rather interesting. For Black it makes sense to meet a5 with c4-b5. Then b4 will be a threat. However, in this particular position allowing White to play a5 is risky. White has a promising pieces sacrifice up her sleeve.

Generally speaking, attacking the king involves the queen. As the queen is a very powerful piece, it can cooperate with just one more colleague to create a mating attack. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that even when the queens have been traded, mating attacks are still possible in some positions. The preconditions for those are the same: vulnerability of the king, including getting stuck in the center; misplaced pieces; lack of coordination between the pieces. If I played 13…0-0-0, White would start a strong attack. For a human it is hard to calculate all the lines, so I relied on common sense: with all those checks coming and my kingside being undeveloped, I decided to avoid forced lines.

Another important point was move 17. White started attacking too aggressively; trying to take advantage of the fact that Black’s king got stuck in the center. However, the variations were not in her favor. One of the main reasons for this was the knight on b3, i.e. its limited mobility. Try to compare this positions with the variations after a piece sacrifice after 13…0-0-0. In that case all the White pieces would be cooperating well to ensure a strong attack.  

Move 19 was a critical moment. Normally, castling takes place in the opening, middlegame and only very rarely in the endgame. Adhering to stereotypes can be harmful for one’s performance. Don’t forget to evaluate the position not only on the basis of strategic principles, but try to understand what is going on in particular. Sometimes you might discover powerful and unexpected moves. In the game I forgot about the option of castling, as we have been playing the endgame for quite a while, so I just made a simplifying move 19…Bd5 with the idea of coming to e6 with the king.

After swapping bishops on d5, it is hard to win the endgame. If I could capture the pawn on e5 while keeping all the pieces on the board, my chances would be higher. Black has more opportunities, e.g. place a piece on d4 that would be very strong. If White tries to eliminate it, it will lead to giving Black a passed pawn.

 

As you can see, the endgame that occurs in the exchange variation of the Ruy Lopez is far from being easy to play. When White started pushing for a win too adventurously, Black’s pieces burst into the game and made White switch to the defensive mode. However, before that it was Black’s turn to play very carefully so as not to end up being worse. Patience and a high level of attention are essential in such endgames.

Comments


  • 15 months ago

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

    They are equally good. I reply to messages on all of them.

  • 15 months ago

    diogens

    WGM, which FB account you endorse to keep in touch? Undecided

  • 15 months ago

    WGM Natalia_Pogonina

    Let’s stay in touch on social networks! Here are my official accounts:

    Twitter
    YouTube
    Facebook:
    Account 1, Account 2, Account 3
    VKontakte
    LiveJournal
    Google+

  • 3 years ago

    shon615

    fail video whoever posted it...

  • 3 years ago

    nyLsel

    I prefer in Ruy Lopez opening rather than Queens Gambit 

  • 3 years ago

    madmanchessplayer

    thanks for the tips. it will come in handy when playing Ruy Lopez.Smile

  • 3 years ago

    nyLsel

    Nice article Natalia!

  • 3 years ago

    diogens

    BaasDNB . look, I'm not hitting in anybody but the contrary. I think she is:

    - a 2450 rated player with the potential of improving 100/150 rating points in a short time

    - a cute person, smart and sensitive, very well written articles considering a non native english speaker plus she is one of the few chess.com contributors who annotates her games thoroughly instead of just pasting variations or submitting puzzles

    - a good photographer, her pics about the Saratov Cup are just amazing

    - A beauty chess icon (not for me) and legit to take the most of it

    I was just asking if she had, in short, plans to drive her career or not through a turning point. The fact that some of us would like seeing her chasing Hampu or Yifan is as legit, as others enjoying her dressed in that horrible black and white suit or estimulating their imagination playing online rapid games. At the end, important is what she likes to do, and fortunately she has plenty of choices.

    Let's leave it here, ok?

  • 3 years ago

    BaasDNB

    No im not "in love" with her, but I do think shes cute. I was simply commenting on your ridiculous angle of hitting on her. Giving her life advice and talking in a condescending way is the absolute WORST way to go about it.. You need to change your whole attitude

  • 3 years ago

    diogens

    Soll, glad you are back Smile. Lady Gaga (the one with a raw meat costume?), Britney Spears, Ch.Aguilera? Who are those, I can't mention a single song of them.

    BaasDNB. WTF are you saying? My question was very simple and can resume it in other words:

    Obviously she is a beauty chess icon which provides her diverse line of activities not directly related with improving her chess. She can choose, others like Hou Yifan or Koneru can't. Nature and life have gifted her with chess smartness and cuteness.

    I was just asking if she intends to concentrate in one or other direction, or just continue diversifying her interest in the actual status quo. 

    Why you call me an arrogant dick for such a simple question? Being in love with her? Sounds crazy.

    Another simple question. Are you in love with her, BaasDNB, and you are focusing over me your own feelings? Laughing

  • 3 years ago

    Samer-Syr

    thanks alot 

  • 3 years ago

    BaasDNB

    "diogens, wtf are u talking about?Smile Charly Parker, Ch.Mingus, Coltrane etc. are for Spassky, Tal, Petrosian or Alekhine. try Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Cristina AguileraSmile"

     

    the jazz artists u mentioned are amazing individuals, but lady gag reflex britney spears and christina aguilera are all terrible trash!!

  • 3 years ago

    sollevy10

    diogens, wtf are u talking about?Smile Charly Parker, Ch.Mingus, Coltrane etc. are for Spassky, Tal, Petrosian or Alekhine. try Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Cristina AguileraSmile

  • 3 years ago

    Dmateking

    I have not played the Ruy Lopez ever since the 1970's when Fisher and Spassky over played it to the point it became boring. I would recommend the Guiocco Piano.

  • 3 years ago

    BaasDNB

    "You seem quite young (under 30?) and your rating is quite below your capabilities, it looks stucked at the 2450."

    "What's really important in life is to be happy. If modeling, writing Kama Sutra chess books, playing online chess 4 a good amount of dough,  etc. fullfills you is ok. But remember talent is a gift, much scarcer than beauty. As a music lover you will understand me."

    ...diogens wtf are you even saying?

     

    If you like her just tell her without being an arrogant dick! Obviously shes cute!

  • 3 years ago

    arlonchavez

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 3 years ago

    olivertwistiloveyou

    you want to play with her?Sealedshe can defeat you with 10 moves,forget it,man.自不量力

  • 3 years ago

    bradsu

    I want to play with you!
  • 3 years ago

    glowstixx

    easy draw for natalia :D

  • 3 years ago

    NM flashboy2222

    ?

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