More Of My Favorite Classic Chess Games

More Of My Favorite Classic Chess Games

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This series is all about the classic games that affected me in a profound manner as a young teen (15 years old). In general, they were positional games, since for a kid that grew up on attacking chess and combinations (12 to 14 years old), strategic considerations were left behind, and as a result were alien.

Thus, when I was finished studying games by Anderssen, Morphy, Spielmann, Marshall, Alekhine and Tal, I decided to check out less extreme players and broaden my chess horizons.

This is part 14 in the series. You can read the first 13 articles by using this search and scrolling down. 

The games I will share might or might not be masterpieces; the criterion for this series is that they taught me an extremely important lesson(s) that made me well-rounded and much stronger. I’m hoping that these games will teach you the same lessons, thereby improving your positional understanding and helping you become a better player.

I’ve left this series for quite a while but, from time to time, I’ll go back to it since I feel these games are incredibly instructive and also (in many cases) mind-blowing


The following game is something I first saw in my mid-teens. I have to admit that going over this game was like a slap in the face and it completely changed the way I looked at passed pawns. It not only taught me about blocking an enemy passed pawn, and it not only taught me how to retain that blockade, but it also taught me what the side with the passed pawn should try to do.

Here are the first moves:

So, what is this position all about? The answer is that it’s all about the d6-square (if you can control that square then White’s pawn can’t advance), AND the e5-square (that’s right! You’ll see why the e5-square is so important later on). In fact, controlling the d6-square is a matter of life and death!

In general, the blockader should be a knight:
A bishop isn’t a great blockader (of course there are always exceptions) since it might end up being a tall pawn.
Sometimes a queen can be a good blockader (It can leap off the blockade square in a blink and jump across the board in a single bound, often doing serious damage.), but a rook is an absolutely awful piece to put in front of an enemy passer.

Later in the game you’ll see that a king can also be a fine blockader (though only after the queens are gone)!

Let’s return to our game. Black will try to stop the d5-pawn by placing a knight on d6 while White will try and stop the blockade.
Black’s better due to the completely blocked d5-pawn (his blockade has been a great success!) and the juicy square on e5. However, Black now seems to go berserk. Or did he?

Just in case you think that a passed pawn isn’t so good after all, take a look at the following game. Black has two connected passed pawns on a5 and b5. However, White’s passed pawn hasn’t been blockaded and, as a result, is very close to the queening square. When you also notice that Black’s king is no longer safe behind its pawns, you should look hard for a way to lower the boom on all of Black’s fondest dreams.

As you can see, a passed pawn on the 6th or 7th rank can be extremely strong. However, if you blockade it on the 5th rank then you can, in many instances, turn the passer into a liability.

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