Lock that Bishop away and throw away the Key

Lock that Bishop away and throw away the Key

May 16, 2016, 4:27 AM |

There comes a critical time in the opening where a decision you make will define the central structure and the entire course of the game.


I was on the White side of a Semi Slav where I faced such a situation after my opponent played the provocative 11. ... b5 reaching the following position.



How to Decide whether to close or capture?

Should White close the position with 12. c5 or exchange with 12. cxd5? How do you decide in these situations.

This was the biggest lesson I learnt from my game, for at the time I was thinking about the "wrong things".

I played 12. c5 with the belief that I would be restricting my opponent's space, particularly keeping his light squared Bishop bad.

After 12. c5 I failed to see the strength of 12. ... e5! 13. de Ng4 14. Bxe7 Qxe7

Here Black has destroyed the White pawn centre and importantly opened the c8-h3 diagonal for his Bishop.

Why I believe 12. cxd5 is best

Instead had I played 12. cxd5 cxd5 13. Ne5 (preventing the e5 break for Black) Nxe5 14. dxe5 Nd7 15. Bxe7 Qxe7 16. f4

The big difference here is that Black's light squared Bishop remains bad. White should follow up with Ne2-d4 with an excellent outpost, thus restricting the Black Bishop.

Counterplay with a pawn clearance sacrifice?

What if Black now plays 16. ... d5!?

This was an interesting idea, to clear the a8-h1 diagonal for the Bishop. However, after 17. exd4 Bb7 18. Ne4 takes advantage of the d6 square.

My Game Annotations and Analysis