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Smooth Criminal

  • GM Gserper
  • | May 27, 2012
  • | 11569 views
  • | 32 comments

One of the most famous quotes of Aron Nimzowitsch is: "A passed pawn is a criminal which should be kept under lock and key. Mild measures, such as police surveillance, are not sufficient."  What did the famous Grandmaster mean?  We are going to investigate the cases where a passed pawn appears to be stopped ('police surveillance' if we use Nimzowitsch's analogy)  since a move forward would lead to her immediate liquidation. Yet in many cases the little soldier does exactly that. There are many reasons for such a suicide and today we'll discuss the particular case where a pawn gets sacrificed to clear her square for a Knight.  As you all probably know, the best squares for most of the pieces and especially Knights is in the center of the board, so naturally it is mostly central pawns that get sacrificed for this purpose. The first example is a very famous game by the first World Champion.



In the next game the future World Champion Boris Spassky (who was ony 12 years old at that time) shows that he knew chess classics:


It is nice to see that the new chess generation still studies the games played over 100 years ago as the following game demonstrates:



Now let me show you two beautiful games of Tal where White won with the same clearing pawn sacrifice.  Except in one of them the legendary World Champion was on the receiving end of the combination...



In the next game the British Champion uncovers the idea that later became one of the most powerful weapons White uses against the Modern Benoni set up.



Here you can see Jonathan Penrose ponders his 11.h3 move. Could he imagine that he was playing the game of his life?!


Penrose.jpg

Comments


  • 14 months ago

    markysharky

    a thematic presentation

  • 2 years ago

    MrMars

    the first game, Steinitz, his opponent didn't just resign...I heard he stormed out of the chess hall. haha

  • 2 years ago

    night_queen

    they r really smooth criminals...Wink

  • 2 years ago

    sryiwannadraw

    Cool

  • 2 years ago

    night_queen

    like!!great games...

  • 2 years ago

    thunderwood

    a pity that we don't even have one game like this in the ongoing WCC match

  • 2 years ago

    Greenmtnboy

    Thanks for the article; great theme--Nimzo. was brilliant.

  • 2 years ago

    vly

    A clever and wonderful presentation. The Spassky puzzle was an instructive introduction to a common theme.

  • 2 years ago

    zakaryah

    Svidler's game was wonderful - reminds me of Alekhine

  • 2 years ago

    wikipedia1286

    Why wouldn`t spassky do a queen sacrifice and then do a knight fork?

  • 2 years ago

    wasil

    to jempty_method : i liked your game os much , great play by you Laughing

  • 2 years ago

    zonebone

    Post for beginners!

    Svidler vs Volkov:

    d5 may be followed by d6 and white forms a small castle around the rook. Black King has to go towards the lower ranks to pass around the castle. However, there is no time to catch the a-pawn. Once the Bishop is sacrificed for the a-pawn all remains to do is collect the rest of the black pawns  and mate (for beginners it is always a good practice to kill all the pawns and then go for a mate).

  • 2 years ago

    zonebone

    Tal vs. Chandler game:

    The end game will be an easily won 1+3 vs. 2 pawn game once Tal gets rid of the Rooks and the Queens. He doesn't even lose time by securing his King on the low rank (i.e. classical breath out by h3) since he doesn't want to give Chandler time to pressure White's a-pawn. Since the Queens are placed on the f1-a6 diagonal he nicely clears out the rest. Note that the possibility of a black Rook coming down with a mate threat may be met by Qf1. He uses this positional advantage twice and forces a resignation..

  • 2 years ago

    YoniKer

    Nice examples (I liked the challange from young spassky's game,wish there were more positional puzzles like that one) however-

    The article began with a quote about a passed pawn,and the title is about this quote about passed pawns....but there is not even one example with a passed pawn whatsoever :)

  • 2 years ago

    mopaska

  • 2 years ago

    Irontiger

    UnD3R0aTh : In the first game (Steinitz) you miss the fact that White's first rank is undefended, thus taking the queen not on check leads to a quick checkmate after ...Rxc1+.

    In Tal-Chandler, the queen can go back to f1 to defend against checkmate. And White ends up with a passed pawn which guarantees the win.

  • 2 years ago

    Tmb86

    It's not checkmate, UnD3R0aTh. Generally a good policy to assume you haven't spotted something someone like Tal missed.

  • 2 years ago

    Tmb86

    [COMMENT DELETED]
  • 2 years ago

    Tmb86

    It's really quite an amazing position, Pokernator. I recommend you look through some variations to see why.

  • 2 years ago

    FranciscoCorralesM

    wow!

    those games!!

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