Uncommon Commons: Squeeze Play in Pasadena


Kim Commons was a prominent IM on the US Chess scene during the 1970's.  In this game, he faces GM Anatoly Lein in Round 12 of the 1978 US Championship in Pasadena, CA.  White chose to play the Panov Attack vs the Caro-Kann, and Black countered with the rather sharp Fianchetto variation, prepared to sacrifice a Pawn for piece activity.

Given this, you would think that the game would end quickly in fireworks.  This, however, was not at all the case.  Commons shut down the Queenside and squeezed his opponent out of options.  The grueling struggle ended just short of 75 moves.

The game is quite instructive of how to obtain and play a bind, and is no doubt one of the very best games of Kim Commons.  Among the themes employed is "file denial" where the strong side denies an open file to his opponent.  In this game Commons denied Lein use of the c file, and with that got a decisive bind.