Central (Prison) Break

Central (Prison) Break

Aug 8, 2016, 7:38 AM |
When you can't find out what went wrong ...  it's the worst! I asked GM Bojkov to help in reviewing my loss on the Black side of a Caro Kann, which I analysed at the following link
Above all, GM Bojkov proposed central breaks of ... e5 and ... c5 as my main weapon for use as counter attack. It was also paramount that I did not open files to my King.

The Problem with 20 ... b5
I had proposed 20. ... b5 as an alternative to 20. ... Rd7 to obtain typical Queenside counterplay, anticipating only Nh4 as White's reply.
However, GM Bojkov pointed out that it's 21. Ne5 that causes White issues. In this way it forces exchanges at e5 to the point that White establishes a pawn on e5 and after g4 forces Black's Queen to the unfortunate h7 square where she is out of play. This is a good example of piece coordination being an issue for a given side.

Trying to cover e5 with 20. ... Bd6
Playing 20. ... Bd6 to guard e5 unfortunatley doesn't work, for White can drive the Knight back by firstly play 21. Nh4 sacrificing a pawn. Black's Queen on h5 ends up in a terrible place, and the cunning idea of Qe1 to take away the a5 square is very hard to counter. Another example of bad piece coordination.

The Absolutely Critical Position
I wasn't to know at the time, but here I reached the critical position where Black must decide how to meet the impending g5.
At the forefront are ideas of 25. ... Nh7 which I played in the game, as well as the counter attacking 25. ... c5 and 25. ... e5

Striking with the central 25. ... c5
Complicated tactical play by both sides! Particularly impressive if the potential Queen sacrifice on c3 to allow exchanging into a Rook ending.

Striking with the central 25. ... e5
In lines with ... e5, we see the big difference is that White's Bishop doesn't have a ride back to c3 via f6 due to the pawn being on e5

Taking advantage of the d-file pin
Throughout the entire game I never considered the strength of an ... e5 counterstrike. Here 26. ... e5 would have been powerful, exploiting the pinned d-pawn and allow the Black to become centralised, whilst taking the sting out of the White's g5 push.

The Losing Move: Allowing opening of files


I played here 27. ... cxd4 which allowed 28. Bd2 followed by 29. gh and once the g-file is open, it's the end for Black.
Instead, GM Bojkov stressed it was critical I did not allow open files via 27. ... hg 28. fg cd 29. Bd2 Qc5 30. g6 Nf8.
Here this is far better than the game, where White doesn't have the open files he needs to get to the Black King.