Biting on Granite: Sorrows of a Bishop

Biting on Granite: Sorrows of a Bishop

Apr 21, 2016, 6:14 AM |

Imagine the scene in the 1970s. Sveshnikov strikes out with 5. ... e5, breaking every "positional" rule in the book. 

Black's d-pawn is eternally doomed to be backward. The d5 square weak. Yet Sveshnikov set out to prove the dynamic potential of this position.

Still, White must appreciate his "positional" trumps. It is such "trumps" that my opponent gave back in my game which I believe caused the deterioration of his position.


On the Black side of a Sicilian Sveshnikov, I reached the following position where I have just played 22. ... Bxd5.

White has three possible recaptures of A) 23. cxd5 B) 23. Qxd5 and C) exd5

A) 23. cxd5

This blocks the d5 square with a pawn, and more so White's Bishop bites granite at both e4 and d5. Black can immediately double Rooks on the c-file with ... Rc3 and Rc8 to follow. This can not be good for White.

B) 23. Qxd5

White keeps thematic control of d5 by occupying with a piece. White keeps control of the d5 square, and the d6 pawn remains backward. This is structurally consistent with White's positional theme in this opening

C) 23. exd5

Pawn majorities suddenly appear on the board. White with a Queenside pawn majority, Black with a Kingside pawn majority. However, White's Queenside pawn majority can not become mobile as Black has firm control over c5. It's far easier for Black to get his Kingside majority going with f5. White's Bishop at g2 bites granite at d5. In positions of opposite coloured Bishop, the side with the initiative has advantage (virtually "up" and unopposed piece).


My opponent played 23. exd5 and I believe it was this move that allowed Black to take over the game.

Coordinating Bishop and Pawns  

Fast forward four moves and this is a dream position for Black. With just one Bishop, ideally you want your pawns to control the squares your Bishop can not control.

Black's Bishop and Queen cut across dark squares, whilst Black's pawns control the light squares. 

Observe the two pawn majorities: Black can prepare the advance of the f- and e- pawn possibly with Re8 and doubling on the e-file. Compare this to White, who can not advance to c5.

My Game Annotations and Analysis