Don't understand "typical" ...c5 moves (or c4 for white)

Machariel

See diagram: black's last move in both cases was ...c5. I rarely have the insight when to properly play c4 or ...c5. Can anyone help me how to think? What does black tangibly achieve in these positions right now?

White to move, black played ...c5

I know in many openings, playing c4 or ...c5 helps with pressurizing the center, but too often I do not see how these kind of "typical" ideas help me. It's a structural problem that I have and I hope somebody can provide and aid in how to think when it comes to this. Not even sure what question exactly to ask.

inkspirit
Left: Black challenges white’s center. ...c5 has to be carefully timed with DSB on e7, because d4-d5 usually gives white a big space advantage. Tactical resources are vital in such positions.

In the diagram above, white is better after 8... c5 9. exf5 exf5 (9... cxd4 10. Nxd4 gxf5 11. Qe2 Qd7 12. Bh6 Rf7 13. h3 Nc6 14. Nxc6 bxc6 15. g4 black’s kingside is shaky) 10. d5, when black has no visible counterplay and a dangerous hole on e6.

8... fxe4 is better here. In the classical Dutch structure, ...fxe4 followed with ...Nc6 and ...d5 is a well-known plan to put pressure on white’s center, which equalizes comfortably in the diagram above.

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Right: Black fixes the c-pawns, which in itself is a common way to exploit doubled pawns. The timing of this move is questionable, though. Black is much underdeveloped, allowing white to take the initiative with 1.. c5 2. dxc5 dxc5 3. Qd6.

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From my experience, the ...c5 move should be analyzed case-by-case. The purpose and soundness of the move depends on the pawn structure, piece development and tactical opportunities around the board.
Machariel

Thanks, I see now. This helps.

pfren

In the first diagram, Black wants to liquidate white's big center. The whole strategy might look a bit dubious because opening the center can make Black's kingside weaknesses on the dark squares relevant, but still I cannot see a concrete way for white to take advantage of such an aggression.

 

In the second case, ...c5 might have been played a tad early, but still it makes sense, positionally: Black wants to fix and eventually surround the doubled white c-pawns.

The above suggestion of dc and Qd6 does not achieve something special, e.g. 1.dxc5 dxc5 2.Qd6 Nd7 (it is important to prevent Nf3-e5!), when the queen can be kicked out by ....a5 and ...Ra6. This looks more or less balanced to me.

 

 

Machariel

@ pfren

OK thank, I'm prepping for my match tomorrow.  I'll have a look at this again. For the second diagram I already prepped ...Nd7 first instead of ...c5.

King_Oueen

Thanks, I see now. This helps.

Optimissed

I admit to only looking at the positions for ten seconds each. But in the first position, black is trying to undermine and smash up white's centre and in the second, black is trying to fix white's centre so there are long-term weaknesses.

It all depends on what the possible moves can be and there are three different, potential courses of action for each position of tension. White, or the player who is reacting, can push, take or defend. So there can be six or nine situations to consider and it can be complex. It comes with experience.

Optimissed

Oh, reading pfren's post, he has said exactly the same thing. I apologise, pfren. I ought to look and see if you've posted in future. If you have then I will only post if we disagree! tongue.png