Student Game Analysis #1: Capablanca's Rule

Student Game Analysis #1: Capablanca's Rule

Apr 7, 2015, 6:46 PM |

Clmonat is a student of mine who is new to competitive chess. He recently played his first over the board tournament, and in the process earned himself a respectable published rating of 1007. He finished 1.0 of 4, which is considerably more impressive when you consider all but one of his opponents was rated 1400-1600. In the month and half since he sat down over the board, Clmonat has increased his correspondence rating nearly 300 points.


In this correspondence game played here on, CL made a very instructive mistake that we could all benefit from review.


After a well played English opening CL finds himself in the following position:


Black has just played b5 creating pawn tension between c4 and b5. It is stressful to have tension on the board and understandablly CL wanted to resolve that tension as soon as possible. To that end, he played cxb5 which is quite a serious positional mistake.

  1. After black replies axb, the White's A pawn will be backward on a open file leaving it vulnerable to a major piece attack.

  2. White would have a Queenside majority, usually an Endgame advantage, but here that majority is completely inflexible.


If all the pieces were traded off the Kingside we might be left the following drawn pawn ending despite white being up a pawn:


If instead White didn't trade, and created a situation where Black was forced to trade we might have the following endgame:


The basic idea here I first learned from Capablanca's excellent book “Chess Fundamentals.” The great Cuban Champion said that you should always lead with the pawn that is unopposed. When CL took on b5 to resolve his pawn tension, he created a position where he broke Capablanca's rule.


Sometimes you break rules and get away with. CL sure did in this game. He probably takes his tactical studies more seriously than any other part of chess—an endeavor which paid for itself in this game. Let's take a good at the nice conclusion of the game.


Well done CL! Keep it up an I am sure you have a bright chess future ahead of you!


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