Using The Chess Saw

Using The Chess Saw

| 15 | Strategy

"We have to play by the !@#$ rules!" -- Amanda Young, Saw II.

In last week's article, we discussed a dangerous strategic concept, the saw.

So, what should you do if your opponent turns it against you? Well, as Amanda put it, you should play by the rules. And the strategic rules of chess are pretty simple and logical: White has the spatial advantage, so he must be better! The $64,000 question is of course how should White continue since Black's position is extremely solid. The world champion Alexander Alekhine comes to the rescue again!

First he showed us a very strong strategic idea for Black (b7-b5! -- see last week's article), and now he demonstrates one of the most powerful strategic ideas for White. 

Alekhine's idea is very attractive indeed. At the first, superficial glance, c4-c5 looks like a clear positional mistake.  It gives away the d5 square for Black's pieces and makes the d4 pawn backward. But in reality, it grabs even more space and pretty much suffocates  the Black pieces.

Also, it is not that easy to find any counterplay for Black anymore. Look at the next game. Vladimir Kramnik became one of the world's top players just a couple of years after this game was played. And he was completely in control over the only open file (notice the famous "Alekhine's gun" there!). And yet, his position was doomed due to a very pathetic light-squared bishop!

I participated in the same tournament and could see the game live.  I don't recall many games where Vladimir was so completely outplayed!

By the way, once I played the saw position in two of my games the same year and the result of the games was the same! Unfortunately, one game I played White and in another game I was Black Laughing

It was a nice positional lesson from a future super grandmaster!  Fortunately, a half-year later I could show that I had learned my lesson in the game vs. another future super grandmaster:

I hope that from now on you will know what to do in the saw positions regardless of the color you play! 


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