Fritz Analysis of 'The Modern Openings in Theory and Practice' by AP Sokolsky

Jan 4, 2014, 3:42 PM |

I am analysing the games in Sokolsky's book using Fritz to help improve my game.  The book was published almost 40 years ago. How well do Sokolsky's examples and analysis stand the test of time.

The first full game in the second chapter features the author himself demonstrating the power of the d5 square.  The game is shown below - together with the annotations from the book.

Now, what does Fritz have to say about this game - and what can I learn as a player that wants to improve my technique for converting good positions to won games ?

The first diagram in the book is the position at move 16.


Despite whites obviously more harmonious position - Fritz scores it as only a slight edge (+0.25). 

Black plan of securing the bishop on e5 was not the best - but the most serious over-sight was white missing the trick of Qd5 after black payed b6 (ironic really in a section about the importance of the d5 square).

After Qxd2 and Rxd2 black needs to get the kingside rolling, instead of h6 Fritz prefers h5, and the attack can be supported by Rg8.  Perhaps the biggest decision is to trade on d5.  Now the evaluation shifts in whites favour.  His queenside attack is fast - but the evaluation on move 23 is only +0.33.

However, black now makes several poor moves, 23)....Ng6 is too passive and opening up the a-file with 25)...bxa5 is the worst move of the game. 

Indeed - what I learn from this game is the importance of files - the plan of Ra2 and a5 to pierce open the queenside was new to me.  I would probably have been seeking to attack with c5. Observing how skillfully Sokolsky creates play on the queenside is an important technique.  And d5...well the pawn there creates space, covers the c6 square and deters black from moving his e-pawn.  All good stuff.