Saw: Chess Horrors

Saw: Chess Horrors

| 24 | Strategy

"I want to play a game." -- John '"Jigsaw" Kramer (from the movie Saw).

You all probably know this cliche from many horror movies:

A group of people are having fun (like a bunch of drunk college kids partying in a remote location), upbeat music is playing in the background, and then... BAM!

A killer (or a poisonous snake, a shark, or even a shark tornado...well you get the idea) strikes without any warning.

Well, you might be not a big fan of horror movies (personally, I hate them!), and besides this is a chess website, so what's this all about? 

OK, let's say you have a position like this:

Say you are playing White, have more space and a very powerful center.  Yes, Black's position is very solid, but it looks like the only question is if White will be able to break his opponent's defense or if somehow Black will manage to survive.

The only difference from the happy picture from the horror movies that we discussed above is the lack of upbeat music.

But don't worry, there will be blood and a lot of it!

The great chess player and one of the most influential writers in the chess history Aron Nimzowitsch called this pawn formation in the center a "saw."

via wikipedia

Indeed, Black pawns on c6 and e6 remind one of the teeth of a saw, ready to maul White's beautiful center. The Alekhine's idea b7-b5 implemented in this game is one of the most typical strategic tools in this kind of position.

It is funny that a very experienced international master, Hans Kmoch, allowed Alekhine to play the b7-b5 idea after he already encountered it one year ago!

This episode is another proof that people do not learn from their mistakes! But some people do learn from the games of other people. Look at the next game:

The 14-year-old boy from Baku, who was always very strong in openings, wasted no time to use Bagirov's attractive idea in one of his own games:

So, even if you hate the horror movies, I hope you liked this useful positional idea!


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