Monday 22 April
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Well, been away from the blog for a while. Been playing online, some good, some outclassed (helped a couple of times by a complete failure on my side to see what threats could happen if I moved a certain way, including managing to get my Queen into an unretrievable situation).
Anyway, I am now working on Art of the Trade 15 [correction: it's 16] which has the following typically interesting intro:
This line was a favorite of the late Igor Ivanov, while Boris Spassky also gave it a toss from time to time. It begins a deep strategic battle for d4, based on an eventual capture of the f3-Knight, which takes away one of the defenders of the d4-pawn/square. Of course, taking the Knight will hand White the two Bishops, so Black must be certain that he plays with energy and strives to create pawns structures where this won't turn out to be a major disadvantage (or that he has his own perks that counterbalance it).
Since I don't know how to copy a position from Chess Mentor, have to wait till a new post to go on with this.
Update: worked it out eventually (only scored 14 % because of a couple of false starts). Point of the exercise seemed to be finding moves to pursue the theme of gaining control of a particular square (d4 in this case). Question: is d4 a strategically central square in all cases?