“Education in Chess has to be an education in independent thinking and judging. Chess must not be memorized... You should keep in mind only methods…The method it’s applicable in every situation.” Emmanuel Lasker
The infinite possibilities that exist in a chess game creates a wonderful frame for a battle of personalities. Among those infinite possibilities, I would like to highlight the occurrence of the so called typical middle game positions; those are the positions that happen more often and have been thoroughly studied by many brilliant minds. The study of those positions lead to the acceptance of a whole set of strategical values. In spite of it, chess remains difficult to encage; more often than not, recipes won’t work at the practical game.
I will examine an example with the intention to make things clearer:
Space advantage Vs. Cramped position
After advancing our central pawns we got a space advantage, that leaves us in a comfortable position commanding the game. Now we are supposed to:
•take care of the pawns that warrant the space advantage;
•try to avoid exchanges;
•try to increase the space by expanding on either flank;
•or, if possible, trade it for another value that improves your position.
Now it’s time to examine the situation from the other side’s perspective:
We allowed our opponent, on purpose or not, to gain space. When we are already cramped, our policy of action should be more or less the following:
• try to ease the lack of space by trading pieces;
•try to create some kind of counter play to distract your opponent from his plans;
•try to dismantle your opponent’s space advantage with a pawn breakthrough.
It’s very important to keep in mind that, what I've described above are just guidelines; they are not intended to work as recipes, just to describe what usually happens in this kind of battle. Chess is a very concrete game and every position has to be analysed independently.
Our practical example comes from the Accelerated Dragon, a very popular variation from the Sicilian Defence. This variation allows white to play the Maroczy Bind.
The game started like an average, somewhat dull, battle until GM Ivan Morovic, conducting the black pieces, made a couple of surprising moves with his heavy pieces. At the end it became clear that those strange moves where united by the same purpose and constituted a highly effective manoeuvre that achieved great coordination for his pieces.
There is no doubt that the play in cramped positions requires patience and inventiveness. Black’s surprising manoeuvre (10…Qb8; 11…Rd8; followed by …d6; …Rd7; …Qf8; …Rad8 and …e6) was first played in this interesting game. It has been repeated a lot of times by many strong players, being the main specialist IM Moldovan. Thinking about all those akward moves black played, I can't help imagining an escape act. For this reason, I'll call this idea The Houdini variation of the Accelerated Dragon. In honor of the great american (hungarian) magician, Harry Houdini (1874 - 1926).