The Soul Of Chess: Which Pawn To Advance
"The Pawns are the Soul of Chess" - Philidor
Never a truer word said in Chess, particularly on how to handle the central pawn structure. This was fundamental in my game on the Black side of a Richter-Rauzer.
By defining the central pawn structure with 13. ... e5 I believed I passed the initiative to White.
In post mortem, a better plan would have been to prepare d5.
It's almost the Robert Frost poem "The Road Not Taken".
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood"
I had to battle for a draw on the Black side of a Ricther-Rauzer after I both misplayed the middlegame, and my opponent did not find the best way to put pressure on me.
I learnt much from analysing this game in post mortem, namely
- Be very careful declaring the central pawn structure prematurely as Black, as this may result in key defenders of the Kingside being exchanged, and opening of files/diagonals to the Black King.
- Sensing the critical moment after 22. Qh5 for Black, having to ask the question of Defence of Counter Attack
- Endgame exploration after 34. Qxc5
Which Central Pawn to Strike With?
I played 13. ... e5 which I believe is premature, and subsequent play shows the difficulties Black faces with the c1-h6 diagonal open.
I think a better plan is 13. ... c5 preparing Bc6 and Qb7 to focus on ... d5 as shown in Mihalik-Kargin, Ukrain 1999 0-1
How to Deal With White's Threats?
Critical Position for Black
White has played 22. Qh5 and I could sense big danger looming for Black.
His plan is Rg1-g3-h3 inducing Black to play h6. Then he'll play Bd2 to prepare a sacrifice on h6.
Black's biggest problem is a lack of Kingside defenders, and I can now see the problem with e5 in that it opened the c1-h6 diagonal.
I chose 22. ... Qd6 as I believed it top priority to escort the Black Queen to e7 to shore up the Kingside.
Another plan I didn't consider was 22. ... Bc6 followed by Qb7 to counterattack. I missed the possibility of Bh1 threatening mate at g2 in some lines.
Can Black handle 23. Rg3
My Game Annotations and Analysis