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Heritage in Modern Play, End

  • WIM energia
  • | Dec 6, 2013

We will wrap-up this series about heritage in modern play by looking at one more position with a typical pawn structure. This position can arise from many different Queen's Gambit openings after massive pawn exchanges in the center where both sides end up with isolated d-pawns.

The position we will look at here arises when the white bishop is on d3, as in many Queen's Gambit games, and the black bishop is on b7. The difference of the power between the light-squared bishops is evident: whereas the white bishop is active and controls both the f1-a6 and b1-h7 diagonals, the black bishop's range is limited by the d5-pawn.

One of the major strategies for White in this position is to develop an attack on the black king. If White concentrates his pieces on the kingside, Black will effectively play without a bishop, which is stuck on b7. Black can try to bring the bishop into the game by playing Bc8 but then the d5-pawn will become undefended, so it is not so easy to do. Moreover, often an endgame is reached when Black manages to defend against the kingside attack and trades queens. White is still better, because Bb7 is so unfortunately placed. We will see some of these ideas in two classical games and three examples from a modern play.

The first game is, of course, from Botvinnik's practice. The 6th World Champion played these QG-type of positions flawlessly. In the starting position he has a clear advantage as the black pieces are discoordinated. Notice now the f3-pawn takes away the e4-square from Nf6. His queen is controlling the e-file, whereas the rook is controlling the c-file. Botvinnik's pieces are perfectly placed for a kingside attack. The knight is going to f5, the other knight is transferred through e2 (which becomes a classic maneuver) to either f4 or g3. The queen joins the attack through h4. Pilnik defended well and managed to trade queens, but Botvinnik missed a pawn win. He transferred to a much better endgame where Bb7 was limited not only by both the d5- and e6-pawn.

I especially like the next example, where the game is approaching the endgame but is not quite there yet. The black king is still in trouble because the queens are still on the board. The two bishops attack along the a1-h8 and b1-h7 diagonals, and White only needs to bring the queen into the game. Ideally, it should form a battery with the bishop on the b1-h7 diagonal as after the pawn moved to h6 the g6 and h7-squares become weak. It is not that easy to get the queen on this diagonal as Black can cover most of the squares with the queen and bishop. However, White managed to trick Black and achieved the ideal set-up. After that Black's position collapsed as the king took a walk across the board.

The following example is from modern play but it reminds me of Botvinnik's game a lot. The white pieces are harmoniously regrouped to attack the black king. There's knight maneuver Ne2 from Botvinnik's game, and Sasikiran decided to transfer it through g3 because the f5- and h5-squares looked very desirable. It is also instructive to see how White led the dark-squared bishop into the game by the Bb2-c1 transfer. In the end White had six attacking pieces, whereas Black had just four defending pieces.

The endgame in Botvinnik's game was pretty gloom for Black, partially due to Bb7 being locked behind the d5- and e6-pawns. In the example Morozevich - Timofeev the starting position is only slightly worse for Black but it is extremely hard to play it for him and it deteriorates into a much worse position quickly. Notice how Morozevich first ties the black pieces by attacking along the e-file and with pawns on the kingside. Then he switched to the attack along the c-file. Black was too passive to defend against all the threats and had to lose a pawn.

The last example is a cute miniature that has the pawn structure of our interest. Once again, White positioned his pieces ideally with the two bishops along the diagonals facing the king, Ne5 and Qh3. The only missing maneuver is Nc3-e2. The f4-f5 push is also possible in the given set-up. However, Black rushed with Bc8 move, which turned out to be a blunder and didn't let White to demonstrate the attacking plan. Moiseenko ended up winning with a fork connected to the h7-mate.

I hope you enjoyed this series on heritage in modern play! Next week we are starting a new series.



  • 17 months ago


    I love your article, it clean and simple to understand; Botvinnik is definitely important and worthy to study.

  • 18 months ago

    WIM energia

    @IoftheHungarianTiger thanks for the detailed comment :) some of the lines I look at and analyze with the computer-program are pretty intense. I also like Sasikiran's game greatly, it is such a nice illustration how quickly things can go wrong if one plays passively. Ne8 doesn't seem so bad at first, only after white pieces intrude on the kingside one realizes the faults of this move.

  • 18 months ago


    This article certainly hits close to home, as I'm currently playing a game via e-mail where my bishop is locked up tight (although not on the b7 square).  Still, I'll have to check the position of the board and the pawns before deciding too lightly to drop my Bishop on b7 for a long attack!  Playing down a piece can be quite the exercise in frustration!

    Regarding the Sasikiran-Erdos game, I very much appreciated the lines of analysis you provided following move 16. ... Ne8.  Within the analysis, I confess I did not see the danger of moving white's rook to the third rank on move 19.  You are correct that 18. ... Bb4 is a very tricky move on black's part.  Quite easy to spot once someone such as yourself points it out - but I confess I completely missed it Embarassed.  I actually thought 19. Re3 was a great move that would cause black all sorts of problems ... it wasn't until I actually played through the sequence of moves that I realized why the Bishop move prevented Re3.

    This was a great series of articles! Somewhat sorry to see it conclude, but very interested to see what your next articles will cover! Smile

  • 18 months ago


    MikheilDumpling, I believe I can help you. To lose one's "dumplingness" as you put it requires passion and energy, fire from the heart within burning to force us to be more active and make something of ourselves. Doing Zumba is an excellent way to not only get exercise but to ignite this fire, it is decidedly less dull than walking on a treadmill or curling a yoga mat. Somehow everyone who does Zumba finds additional passion to what they were expecting, for example I teach a class of approximately 40 women and half of them have a crush on me- I am their inspiration. Perhaps you should find a Zumba course in the Wilderness of the Obese in Georgia? Regrettably I am unfamiliar with this geographical region so I cannot recommend an instructor to you myself.

  • 18 months ago



    Could not have said it any better myself!

  • 18 months ago

    WIM energia

    @Dumpling I guess it has to be a combination of right diet and exercise. I am not a nutritionist or a fitness person here but can share with you what works for me :) Having some kind of fixed schedule where you do little but consistent exercises every day is a good start! Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people will help you to get the right attitude! and finally, maybe changing your nick from MikheilDumpling to MikheilNoDumplings will help

  • 18 months ago


    @zrahman - Yes, I have tried this from time to time. Unfortunately it seems to fail as every time I get on the treadmill the oily goodness of deep fried dumplings springs into my mind, my mouth starts watering, and my huge excess flabs of skin start jiggling. It makes it very hard to keep on running. Similarly I tried a workout course once but based on my fitness level they stuck me in a class that was mainly populated by 9 year olds. I think Iryna and her articles can be my inspiration to stop being so dumpling-like. One time when I was visiting the US Championship I saw her working out in the gym at the Chase and decided to try to impress her by going all the way up to 2 mph on the treadmill and while the freeweights were too tough for me, I did manage to pick up and curl a yoga mat. As you can see, my gym experiences are not so inspiring and I need a way to become more like that awesome d3 bishop that does not require me to lose my dumplingness. I thought about stopping my nightly habit of chugging ranch dressing, but that would require serious withdrawal symptoms...

  • 18 months ago


    @Dumpling - did you try going to the gym?

  • 18 months ago


    This is why I am so terrible at chess. I feel like I am that passive guy on b7 and I see my beautiful counterpart on d3. I could activate myself, but no, it will be more fulfilling to go order pierogies and chinese dumplings from fast food joints, deep fried of course. Iryna, can you offer any advice as to how I can become more like the bishop on d3?

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