The correct use of open files

The correct use of open files

Aug 14, 2017, 4:09 AM |

In the first post of my blog we learnt about tensionto dominate the 7th rank and some interesting positional motifs that would help us to identify and taking advantage over our opponent. Mastering the open files is a fundamental issue that is important for every beginning and intermediate player, and which must be perfected by advanced players. 

As we know -or as we should know- rooks begin to take on importance in the end of the opening, the beginning of the middlegame and its relevance is very important in the endgame. The game of rooks at the beginning of the game must follow a purely positional and strategic scheme, until opportunities are identified and can make us dominate a certain file -or files-.

In this post, we are going to talk about how to make use of open files and its correct use. the 8th rank, we will review concepts about the 7th rank and we are going to learn about a strong framework of positional and tactical reasons. 

T. Petrosian vs. B. Fischer; Buenos Aires, 1971

T. Petrosian vs. R. Fischer; Buenos Aires, 1971

The speed at the hour of moving our pawn to the optimal file is overriding. To overtake our opponent in this hard work will grant us positional advantages that can last until the end of the game:


As we saw, maintaining an open file will let us acquiring an advantage that if the opponent allows us, it could be decisive. But, what happens if our idea is to go straight to the eighth rank? Capablanca shows us how to do it! 

But this phonomenon is not an exclusive in classic games. We can find many examples of the domination of the 8th file in modern chess, and played by formidable chess players. In this case, GM L. Aronian and GM and 12th World Chess Champion, A. Karpov. 
GM Anatoly Karpov: live example of the greatest feats in the history of chess

It is not surprising that the wise mastery of a rank usually leads to a decisive victory or advantage over those who suffer domination under a passive attitude. On the other hand, patience is a basic value if one wants to maintain a favorable position. Let's put in practice what we learnt today! 

This puzzle may be hard to be the first, but the solution is simple. wink.png

This is a tricky one. After Ra1, white avoids any counter play with Rc1, and after the exchange, it remains in control of the 8th rank. 

Yes, Kh2! The first time I solved this puzzle I was dazzled, until I understood its function: waiting moves and waiting moves! In this case, we dominate totally the 7th rank and we have to take advantage of it pressing blacks at the same time that we take the absolute initiative, including our king. By the way, starting with Nd2 was also a good move, but it's not wise to play cautiously when you have such a beautiful position.  

Alright, alright, I know those ones were hard, but here I give you a funny and not-so-hard challege!

That's right, in this puzzle, you did not had to control a rank or a file, but chasing and outpost, black pieces are paralyzed, whites have an advanced pawn and a very strong bishop against a timid rook and a very weak knight. The alternatives are immense!